Sunday, July 11th, 2010

Benefit Scene Queen Makeup Palette

Get Ready to Make a Scene

Benefit Scene Queen Makeup Palette ($38.00) contains something for each part of your face — 0.1 oz. CORALista, 0.09 oz. High Beam, 0.18 oz. Juicy Coral Lip Shine, 4 0.1 oz. eyeshadows, Smokin’ Liner, and 2 double-sided makeup brushes.

  • CORALista is a pink-cral with subtle sheen but not a lot of shimmer. It’s very pigmented, so a little goes a long way. I actually didn’t even realize it was in the palette until I went to write the review! It’s a pretty small pan, so it may take some maneuvering to get your brush in it. The included brush is a bit stubby, so I find it cumbersome to use.
  • High Beam is a light, shimmering pink-toned highlighter. It’s a whitish-pink, and it works best on light to medium skin tones (Moon Beam better for deeper skin tones).
  • Juicy Coral Lip Shine is a semi-opaque coral-orange with golden shimmer. It’s a very pretty shade of coral, and it’s not too orange either.
  • Smokin’ Liner is a dark black-brown eyeliner that goes opaque without trouble. Very smooth and richly pigmented.
    Charcoal is a darkened gray-black with subtle silver shimmer.
  • Shimmering Beige is a pink-toned medim beige with a frost finish.
  • Misty Blue is a slightlyg rayed medium-dark blue with a silver sheen.
  • Navyis a rich navy blue with a purple edge and flecks of midnight sky blue shimmer.
  • Dual-Ended Brushes have an angled brush on one end and a fluffier brush on the other–and then two of them. They’re usable in a pinch, but they’re not the best brushes of all time. Better than the usual inclusions, though.

I like all of the products individually, and I feel Benefit gives you a good amount of each of them (in fact, the eyeshadows are surprisingly weighty–0.1 oz. compared to the average of 0.05 oz.–but I don’t feel that such a rich shade of coral on both cheeks and lips is actually all that suitable to pair with the eyeshadows. I think medium skin tones will be able to pull off that look, but paler skin tones may have to be a little cautious. I fear it may be too much all at once. I was expecting a pinker blush (maybe Sugarbomb) rather than CORALista here.

That’s my only gripe about the palette, though! There are only powder products exposed, while the lip and cream products are housed in their own containers, so there’s no worry about cross-pollination of shadow dust. The palette is cute and still functional, and it even includes a step-by-step guide on how to wear the palette.

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 10/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

RECOMMENDATION: If you like yourself a blue smoky eye, this may make a great g-to palette.

AVAILABILITY: Sephora

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Monday, June 14th, 2010

Benefit Stay Don't Stray

Packaging Woes with Benefit Stay Don’t Stray

Benefit Stay Don’t Stray ($24.00 for 0.33 fl. oz.) is a creamy, smooth neutral eyeshadow base. It’s a light beige, which will be a little tinted on the fairest of skin tones, but it will be very flesh-toned for light to medium skin tones. It reminded me a good deal of MAC’s Beige-ing Shadestick, which was always a popular eyeshadow base. Stay Don’t Stray has a near-matte finish, but there is an ever-so-subtle satin-sheen to it that’s really difficult to see when applied on the eyes.

Stay Don’t Stray is a fantastic product – it gives your eyeshadow something to adhere to without muting those eyeshadows and never creased, smudged, budged, or faded when I used this as an eyeshadow base. For those with imperfections or require some color-correction, this is the kind of base that excels in that department. It’s opaque–this is not a sheer, invisible base in the vein of TFSI and UDPP. This is much more like MAC’s Paint Pots, but it has the consistency of a liquid, rather than a thick cream.

For primer underneath a concealer, it worked well, but I think medium to dark skin tones may find it doesn’t work right.  It seemed to accent my concealer to the point where it didn’t match me at all.  It also was best applied before foundation, but then the foundation covers it up quite a bit.  It works in terms of keeping concealer put, but the color of it makes the concealer stand out a little on my skin tone (like the concealer appears darker – like the base is accenting the color, rather than blending it in with my skin tone).  It works best with cream concealers rather than more liquid-y ones, as well.

Where Stay Don’t Stray fails is in the packaging. I’m completely astonished that the packaging made it through R&D and testing, because one pump and you have more than enough to cover your entire face. The label around the packaging is cute, and I like that it stands up, and while the idea of a pump might be great (less contamination), it distributes far too much. Ridiculously too much! It’s such a shame, because inside is a product that really holds its own amongst eyeshadow bases, but the subpar packaging is so frustrating.

If you wanted to use this, you’d have to pump into a separate jar so you wouldn’t end up wasting a lot of the product–you don’t even need very much at all to get full coverage of both lids, let alone as much as a pump (or a half-pump, or a quarter-pump!). I tried on multiple occasions to ease the product out of the pump, but it’s just not easy to get as little as you need.  More often than not, I ended up with far too much product and nowhere to apply it to!

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 3/5
  • Packaging: 1/5

RECOMMENDATION: Make sure you read where this product really failed on, because it might not bother you. The product itself is excellent, but you’re just not getting as much as I’d expect for the price tag, plus the packaging is poorly executed.

AVAILABILITY: Benefit, Sephora

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Thursday, May 13th, 2010

MAC Marine Life Dupes

MAC Marine Life Dupes — Sorry, Keep Looking

When I think of dupes, I think of something that is pretty close to it — I’m talking 90% or closer — not just similar. There are plenty of similar shades to Marine Life; after all, it’s really just a vibrant coral-red with minimal shimmer in it. NARS Deep Throat and MAC Foolish Me come the closest, though the texture of Deep Throat is obviously different and Foolish Me is a little more orange. It’s not quite as red/orange and intense as Marine Life, but it’s the closest I found of the many shades I do own that were in the running.

  • MAC Ripe Peach (Limited Edition) is lighter, more peach-coral than vibrant red-based coral. Verdict: not really a dupe, maybe a cousin.
  • Benefit CORALista is a pinker, less distinctly coral version with a significant amount of shimmer in comparison. Verdict: not a dupe, but a good friend.
  • MAC Instant Chic (Limited Edition) is much softer pink-coral with a bit of peachiness to it. It has a more powdery look and feel, but it’s so, so subtle. Marine Life is like Instant Chic if it took steroids for a year. Verdict: similar color but so, so much lighter–like a fruit picked too early.
  • MAC Hipness is much pinker in comparison to Marine Life. It’s not quite as intense, and it doesn’t have the strength of the redness that Marine Life as. Hipness is a less shimmery, pinker version of CORALista, though. Verdict: not a dupe, too pink.
  • Illamasqua Hussy is similar in its intensity, but it’s definitely pinker. It’s a more pigmented, matte version of Hipness/CORALista. Verdict: not a dupe, too pink.
  • NARS Super Orgasm is a peachy-pink concoction that pulls a noticeable gold sheen. It has a lot more shimmer (and even Orgasm, which I don’t own, would still be pretty shimmery in comparison). Verdict: not a dupe, too peach, not pink/red enough.
  • MAC Springsheen is very similar to Super Orgasm–it’s that same mix of peach and pink with a gold shimmer-sheen. Verdict: not a dupe, too peach and shimmery.
  • NARS Deep Throat is a pinker version of Super Orgasm/Orgasm, and it’s probably the closest to Marine Life, but it’s still not quite as red or as intense–plus it has the sheen/shimmer that Marine Life definitely doesn’t have. Verdict: almost a dupe, like sisters.
  • MAC Dainty is a sheer peach-coral with a smidgen of pink in it. It’s way too sheer and light to be a great dupe for Marine Life. Verdict: not a dupe, too light and peach.
  • MAC Foolish Me is everything that Marine Life is, except a little more orange.  The two are very similar, both in finish and color, but Foolish Me does run a little on the orange side.  Plus, it’s discontinued, so that sucks. (I thought about this one originally, but it looks so orange in the pan… just swatched it at the last second, and yep, they are indeed surprisingly close.)  Verdict:  similar, like fraternal twins.

I don’t own Fleur Power or Style, but I did swatches here last year, and by referencing those, I can tell you Style is most definitely not a dupe — too orange/peach. Fleur Power comes a little closer, but it seems a bit pinker in comparison to Marine Life.

See swatches… Continue reading →

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Benefit Ultra Shines
Benefit Ultra Shines: Wild Child, Back to the Fuchsia, Spiked Punch

New Lipgloss in Town — Benefit High Shines

In June, Benefit will launch a new lipgloss called Ultra Shines Lip Shine, which will retail for $18 fo 0.17 fl. oz. There will be five shades available: Back to the Fuchsia (sparkling fuchsia), Dancing Queen (watermelon pink), Foxy Lady (diamond rose), Spiked Punch (juicy coral), and Wild Child (glimmering amethyst).

Benefit describes these as, “The newest, hottest beat on the gloss scene… back-to-the-disco drama! One gleaming stroke of our ultra-new pulse-pounding ultra shines will unleash your inner dancing queen. Loaded with bright patent-leather shine & sparkling crystal brilliance, these lip shines glide on smooth with the specially-designed custom brush for a gloss inferno pout. In a fevah of must-have vibrant shades so pumped up with pigment, you’ll be lettin’ loose in your boogie shoes… NOW!”

  • Back to the Fuchsia is a sheer, lightened raspberry pink with fuchsia sparkle.  The way it looked (but not the way it felt) reminded me of MAC Dazzleglass–maybe if Love Alert and Ms. Fizz had a baby.  Smoother and non-sticky, unlike Dazzleglass, though.
  • Wild Child is a semi-sheer, iridescent plum with a fuchsia shimmer and sheen.  I think this one would be exceptionally lovely over lipstick.  It also kind of reminded me of MAC’s Negligee, which is one of my favorite lipglosses (and it was limited edition).
  • Spiked Punch is a slightly creamy, semi-opaque lightened apricot-pink with subtle silver shimmer.

My favorite of the three was Spiked Punch, because it packed plenty of color, had a glossy sheen, and still felt and looked like a gloss rather than a lipstick (or even liquid lipstick). Back to the Fuchsia and Wild Child were both pretty but on the sheerer side–I think Wild Child would be lovely over some in-your-face bright pinks. Back to the Fuchsia was the sheerest and added more of a dazzling, glossy look rather than a ton of color. As you can tell, pigmentation definitely varied from shade to shade!

Ultra Shines have a kind of fruity scent that’s noticeable but not overwhelming (and not at all noticeable once worn). The packaging is sleek in a plastic tube with a clear end and a shiny black cap. The gloss applicator is a stubby brush rather than a doe-foot applicator, which I liked. I also found that they wore a little longer than average for a gloss (about three hours), which was definitely an added bonus!

Benefit’s Ultra Shines are ultra glossy with either a shimmer or more glittery sparkle with sheer to semi-opaque color. They smell good, feel moisturizing, and last longer than the usual gloss, too. I like that they feel thick and jelly-ish but aren’t sticky. I definitely like the new Ultra Shines more than Benefit’s regular Lipgloss!

If you want to know more about how products are evaluated, read out Rating System FAQ! :)

  • Product: 27/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you love a super glossy finish in your lipgloss, you might like Benefit’s new Ultra Shines. If you love pigmented glosses, though, you may want to look elsewhere, as these do run a bit on the sheer side.

Availability: June 2010 at Benefit and Benefit counters

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Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Benefit Zone Out Lipgloss
Benefit Zone Out Lipgloss

The Spring Season: Benefit Zone Out Lipgloss

 

Benefit Cosmetics Lip Gloss Zone Out ($18.00) is an ultra sheer shimmering champagne with a touch of gold. This is really a gloss that’s best to enhance another lipstick or worn alone for a quick, everyday kind of lip that just sparkles a bit. It doesn’t actually add or change-up my normal lip color, so that’s why I like to pair it with a flatter lipstick to enhance the undertones of my lip color instead. Benefit Lip Gloss is a non-sticky, thinner gloss with a springy doe-foot applicator and no real noticeable scent from what I could sniff out!

More Benefit Lip Gloss Reviews…

Is this the perfect gloss for you? Would you wear it?

The Spring Season is a series of posts featuring my favorite soft beige, coral, and pink lipsticks and lipglosses — all perfect for the first blossom of spring — that runs through March 2010.

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Benefit Sugar Cookie Lipstick

The Spring Season: Benefit Sugar Cookie Lipstick

Benefit Sugar Cookie Lipstick ($18.00) is an ultra sheer golden shimmered nude shade with a very glossy finish. This lipstick glides on and looks incredibly smooth and soft while giving lips a healthy glow. It’s moisturizing and feels good on the lips. This isn’t a pigmented lipstick, but it’s an easy-to-wear shade when you want some glitz but not a lot of color.

Is this the right sheer lipstick for you? Would you wear it?

The Spring Season is a series of posts featuring my favorite soft beige, coral, and pink lipsticks and lipglosses — all perfect for the first blossom of spring — that runs through March 2010.

See photos and swatches… Continue reading →

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