What’s this?! I thought this was a food and random travelling mess blog? When did this become a beauty blog?! – is probably what you’re thinking.
This is very much in my head also. But the reason for this is simple. Drunk shopping.
In October 2017, I’d seen internet chat relating to the release of this *legendary* beauty calendar and it was percolating around my head but never thought I’d end up actually getting one. In truth, I had long thought to myself that when I was a rich independent lady with my life sorted out I would totally spend £175 on a completely ridiculous and unnecessary adult advent calendar but would do so in a considered way rather than impulsively. My approach to beauty is mainly based on fleeting attempts to economise through savvy purchases vs a luxury bitch mentality hungrily fed by Sister Lewishambles’ job as a beauty writer (oh god, the freebies are SO GOOD). This manifests primarily as a huge selection of rather spendy beauty items mostly gifted (once you create the By Terry addiction it cannot be undone) set off by more bargainous everyday purchased items from the likes of Beauty Pie (which honestly was a game changer and broke my terrible Elemis addiction). But honestly it felt like a step too far to splurge quite that MUCH. I like a spendy beauty treat as much as the next lady but I have my limits.
Or, I did.
SO on 25 October, after a few drinks after a few weeks of high-octane projects after a few very hard months at work (which resulted in rather more drinks than were wise) I awoke with a start to a pounding headache, a mouth like a mouldy carpet and a rather unexpected delivery confirmation email from Liberty London. It seems that Drunk Lewishambles has decided that she was going to live her best TREAT YO SELF life. Curses.
When life gives you lemons
My loss is the internet’s gain as I decide like every other middle class waster to turn my sow’s ear into a slightly crappy silk purse and give you the Lewishambles Review of the Liberty Beauty Advent Calendar 2017 .
A starting disclaimer. I’m not a beauty blogger, an expert or anything other than a beauty idiot who still doesn’t really know how to use a beauty blender. I like nice things but don’t really know how to use them. I have had the opportunity to try lots of different brands through testing my sister’s cast offs but I’m more Facegoop than GOOP if you feel me. (RIP Facegoop, you truly were the best of the internet). The below constitutes my opinions and I’m probably wrong about everything.
Also I’m not going to do a blow by blow review of each day’s item. You can see my instagram for that @lewishambles. Why? Because I can’t be arsed is why.
Are the contents value for money?
With shipping costs the calendar came in at £185, the commonly trumpeted claim is that the LABA is worth over £500 and so represents phenomenal value for money. Based on the standard RRP of the full sized items (or, where I couldn’t find this, the cost on the Liberty website), I calculated the costs per ml/g as follows:
- Aveda hair tonic – 40ml – £8.40
- Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant – 11g – £11.40
- Hourglass Girl Lip Stylo in Influencer – half size – £13
- Margaret Dabbs Nail and Cuticle serum – 15ml – £12 (full size)
- Omorovicza Moor Cream Cleanser – 30ml – £9.80
- Espa Pink Hair and Scalp Mud – 30ml – £5.60
- Malin and Goetz Lip Balm – 10ml – £10 (full size)
- Aromatherapy Associates Revive Roller Ball – 10ml – £18 (full size)
- Skin Laundry Cream Cleanser – 65ml – £6.50
- Laura Mercier caviar stick eye colour in Amethyst – half size – £11.21
- Liberty Small Washbag in Strawberry Thief print – £25
- Nars Orgasm Blush – half size – £12
- Sol de Janeiro Bum Bum cream – 75ml – £13.75
- Eve Lom Cleanser – 30 ml – £16.50
- BBrow Bar brow oil – 15ml – £16 (full size)
- QMS Medicosmetics activator mini mask – 10 ml – £6.60
- Suratt Smoky Eye baton – full size – £34
- Aurelia night oil – 30ml – £37.20
- Davines OI shampoo – 90ml – £4.96
- Dr Sebagh Serum Repair – 20ml – £69 (full size)
- Byredo Bal D’Afrique hand cream – 30ml – £24 (full size)
- Trish McEvoy liquid lip colour – full size – £30
- Votary Cleansing Oil – 50ml – £22.50
- Diptyque Pomandar Mini Candle – 70g – £24 (full size)
- Le Labo The Noir 29 EDP – 15ml – £36
I counted 10 full size items and an overall value of around £477. While this is by no means a small amount of money it’s a rather generous approach to rounding up which I’m not sure I am on board with. I’m looking at you, advertising people.
Looking at the contents, it’s a rather cleanser-heavy mix with a few items I’m a bit *meh* about. I mean, what is a Revive aromatherapy roller for, exactly? I also found a few items a bit underwhelming – see below for my roundup of winners and losers from the calendar.
So much for value, what about the *exclusivity factor*? My research on a variety of blogs confirmed my suspicions that quite a few of these items are regular returners, being old faithfuls (Votary Facial Oil, Dermalogica microfoliant and the Byredo hand cream among others) and other items having popped up in other boxes and subscription services (hello, Laura Mercier eye stick!). As such the claim that this represents a truly exclusive selection of treats feels a touch old hat and it’s important when bearing in mind the overall costs.
Winners and losers – my hits and misses
WINNER ONE: Dr Sebagh Serum
Serums were the big discovery of 2017 for me along with the realisation that my little brow furrow was actually becoming one giant wrinkle (these two facts may be related). I’ve been using some very excellent and well-priced Beauty Pie serums but this little wonder may just cause me to break my loyalties. It’s oddly tacky when you first apply it, but it sinks in quickly and really has brightened and plumped my ravaged face. At 69 squids for 20ml its definitely not a regular purchase option for the Lewishambles budget, so finding it in the calendar was a good way to try something I’d never ordinarily opt for.
WINNER TWO: Aurelia Night Oil
This stuff is just crazily good. You clean your skin thoroughly, smear on a small amount before bed and wake up with the dewy flawless poreless skin of a preteen. WHAT IS THIS WITCHCRAFT?!!?
WINNER THREE: Suratt Eye Pencil
This thing looks a bit boring at first glance, but is a gorgeous silky-textured coppery stick which has a spongy blender bit on the other end of a twist-up eyeliner for creating a range of LEWKS. On the basis that 34 quid is a crazy amount of money for a fancy eyeliner which I’d never ordinarily spend, this represented a really good value for money moment which felt very special.
WINNER FOUR: Liberty Washbag
Look, this is legit adorable, guys. It’s also the perfect size for makeup and a few brushes and is in the iconically beautiful Strawberry Thief print, designed by William Morris in 1875 but not successfully printed until 1883.
WINNER FIVE: Bum Bum Cream
Smells like sexy marzipan and makes me silky like a pair of naughty drawers. It’s good shit.
In a wide selection box like this its a bit churlish to define anything as a definite LOSER, but there were a few things which ended up making me think “what’s the point?” Rather than OOOOOO. I’ve already mentioned that there were rather one too many cleansers in this year’s selection (five if you count the microfoliant) and honestly while I’m a fan of a good oil, I’ve never really understood the mania for specific “thing” oils. This meant that finding brow oil, cuticle oil, face oil and general aromatherapy oil isn’t likely to cause me to throw away my trusty “everything” mix of geranium and almond oil which can be smeared over more or less anything on my body. The QMS face mask was fun (you pour the activator liquid over a pellet which expands into a sheet mask) but honestly I much prefer my multipacks of TonyMoly which are much better value and frankly do a better job (I really couldn’t see or feel a difference after usage). Finally, and this will sound churlish, I didn’t like the Trish McEvoy lip colour. It was a rather loud shade of red but the real issue was the formulation which was just not great, sis. Not great. A bit drying and smeary and not enough hold for a matte liquid colour. For £30 I could buy nearly 3 of my beloved Nyx colours instead…
Overall thoughts – how major was my drunk error?
In terms of other competitors on the market, such as the well regarded Marks and Spencer advent gift and the Estée Lauder mixed edit (see this list for other options ranging from 35 quid to a frankly stupid 300), its clear that Liberty has maintained a leading position as a beauty lovers treat. Despite the latecomers to the game, the size and quality of the products is something of a one-off and it’s truly a very special item. However, I’m not sure that I can justify the cost next year unless Drunk Lewishambles decides to make an appearance again.
I mean, what else could she get up to? (Cue DUH DUH DUUUUUUUH music)