Monday, December 14th, 2009

Get Glowy Cheeks for the Holidays with Benefit

Benefit Cosmetics Sugarbomb ($28.00 for 0.42 oz.) is the newest powder addition to Benefit’s line-up. It joins cult favorites like CORALista and Hoola, and Benefit describes it as a “sugar rush flush” for the face.

The powder comes with four triangles of color, which Benefit describes as “rose, shimmering pink, soft plum, and peach.” The powder is designed to be used all at once, rather than one triangle at a time. I’d completely agree with that notion, particularly because the space is just not big enough to really grab one shade over another that well.

When swirled together, the outcome is a beautiful peachy-pink shade with a very, very subtle golden sheen. This is half blush, half highlighter, because it’s not ultra pigmented and on my skin tone (which you could describe as “medium”), while it shows up, it looks very soft. It’s certainly not invisible (which would make it more like a highlighter), but it’s not vibrant. This is good and bad, depending on your usage — but it’s a good thing to me.

It actually reminded me of a peachier version of CORALista, but they are different, since CORALista is much more pigmented and pinker. On my skin, it gives me just enough color and really gives me that “glow.” That super sought after glowy cheek look? That’s what this is in a cute lil’ box.

Both the texture and the results reminded me quite a bit of my beloved Dior Skin Shimmers (particularly Pop Diamond). The shade itself is a reminiscent of NARS’ Orgasm, but it’s less orange (on me) and the shimmer more refined. But here’s something fun: Benefit is way, way cheaper than both. Benefit’s Powders are HUGE–a whopping 0.42 oz.–compared to the average blush that weighs in at a mere 0.20 oz. NARS’ blushes are $156/oz., MAC’s are $88/oz., and Dior’s are $150/oz., but Benefit is $67/oz.

It’s packaged exactly like other Benefit powders, which is in a cute little cardboard box. If you don’t dig Benefit’s packaging, this is probably not going to do it for you either. It’s typical Benefit–and I say that as a good thing–and even though I do prefer sturdier packaging, this will hold up quite well, even if you do keep in your purse. Of course, if you toss it in your bag, the outside will get dinged up a bit, but in the end, it should still survive with the product intact, which is the more important part.

Bottom Line: This is a beautiful get-glowy-cheeks product if you’re light to medium-dark. If you have a deeper or darker skin tone, I think this will end up being more of a highlighter–if that’s what you’re looking for, it’s worth considering, but I don’t think the color will show much very well. I fell in love with this product at first swatch (and I had a hunch it’d be mine kind of color just from looking at it, too) – it’s everything I love: soft, subtle shimmer (think Dior Skin Shimmers, mmm!) that gives me glowy, naturally flushed cheeks. This is something I could wear everyday, with or without other makeup. Benefit, I’m totally impressed by this!

P.S. I also want to give props to Benefit’s website for showing incredibly color accurate photos of Sugarbomb, too. You don’t always see such accuracy in official product imagery, so it’s really a nice touch.

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

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

Recommendation: If you love glowy cheeks, check out Benefit’s Sugarbomb!

Availability: Benefit Cosmetics, Sephora

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Friday, October 23rd, 2009

Benefit Powderazzi ($30.00 for 3 0.10 oz. powders) is part of Benefit’s holiday offerings, and it features three shades of their popular powders: CORALista, Dallas, and Hoola.

This past summer, I reviewed and adored Benefit’s CORALista powder, which is a soft, pinky-coral with subtle sheen. I loved it then, and I still love it now. It’s particularly flattering on my warm-toned skin, and I’ve always been a big fan of wearing coral. I’m glad they chose to include it in their powder trio this year!

Also featured is Hoola, which is a matte medium dark cocoa brown meant to be used as a bronzer. I rarely wear bronzer, but when I do, I tend to gravitate towards very lightly shimmered or matte shades, like Hoola. Hoola also feels more like a neutral shade, so it’s something that has more universal appeal.

The third shade in this trio is Dallas, which is a plummy color with kind of a dirty feel. It reminded me a bit of MAC’s Marign blush, but more on the plum side. It’s not as shimmery as CORALista, but it definitely has a sheen and shimmer to it. I think this is a great shade for the fall/winter, where darker cheeks always feel more appropriate (to me, at least).

The packaging is typical Benefit — cute print on cardboard packaging. I don’t tote my makeup around very often, so I don’t mind cardboard packaging. Others who often toss products into their bag may find the cardboard will take a beating, though it probably won’t disintegrate or anything–it just won’t look perfect.

As far as size goes, you get 0.3 oz. of product total in this kit, and each full-size Benefit powder goes for $28 for 0.4 oz. You’re paying a little extra to be able to try three shades at once rather than picking up one huge-sized powder. This is a good opportunity to try three shades without having to purchase all three separately. If you find you love any of the three enough that you actually finish it, the full-size is available to you.

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

  • Product: 28/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you’ve wanted to try out Benefit’s powders in the past but haven’t wanted to fork over the money for each one, this trio may prove a better chance for you to try a variety of colors instead.

Availability: November 2009 at Ulta

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Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Benefit BADgal Liner (Waterproof) ($20.00) is a medium black pencil liner designed to be smudgeproof and waterproof. It’s a follow-up release to the original BADgal liner, which many had trouble getting to really stick on the lash line.

While the newer Waterproof version is longer lasting in comparison to the original formula, it’s not quite waterproof enough. I guess, in that sense, it sort of fails to live up to its name, because I do find that it can be smudged a bit with watery eyes. I think the average person may find this to be long-wearing and smudge and water resistant, but it’s certainly not going to pass the cry test. It’s also not something that lasts well on my waterline (but so little does, and most liners are never touted as waterline safe…).

Personally, it lasts for hours on my lower lash line with little smudging and definitely no creasing or serious migration. My eyes aren’t, though, watery on a regular basis, but I happened to wear this while suffering some seasonal allergies (pollen, dust, and the like) and found it just didn’t hold up well. When it gets hit by tears/water, it has a tendency to smudge a bit. Now, don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t start cascading down your face or anything! It does stay within a tolerable distance from where I originally put it, but for something called Waterproof, I expect just that.

I do like that the liner itself is double-ended; it has the liner on one side and a sponge smudger on the other, so it can really give you a quick and dirty sultry eye on a whim. (Really, just smoking out the lower and upper lash lines can add drama to eyes–even if you don’t wear any eyeshadow!) It’s slim and portable, and the formula itself is very creamy and easy to apply… but I just wish it was truly waterproof — I’d describe it more as a water-resistant formula, so it’s like 80% there.

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

  • Product: 22/30
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you don’t have watery eyes and like a soft, medium black, BADgal liner (Waterproof) might be a match for you.

Availability: BenefitCosmetics.com

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Sunday, October 4th, 2009

Benefit Georgia Face Powder ($28.00 for 0.4 oz.) is a pale, warm-toned peachy pressed powder. Benefit describes it as, “Our “just peachy” face powder leaves your complexion warm and vibrant. Georgia is a dream…it’s peaches and cream!”

Georgia is best used as a sheer, all-over powder on light to medium skin-tones. I think darker skin tones will find this can go on ashy or so sheer they’re not sure they’ve put anything on. It’s really good for brightening and warming up lighter skin tones, so it’s actually a very product for barely-there makeup days. When I’m in a rush, this is something I can easily dust on to make my face look a little more alive and less likely I only slept four hours the night before.

I think only the lightest of skin tones will find this useful as a blusher, just because the color is both sheer and pale. In my swatch, there’s only a hint of product that shows up, so you can see that my NC25/30 skin tone starts to get close to the end of the spectrum for this product’s usefulness. I also think that some people go into purchasing this product expecting to use it as a blusher, and then find themselves disappointed by its sheerness. I do like it as an all-over face powder, but it does have shimmer in it, so if you don’t want shimmer all over your face, this isn’t the best choice in all-over powders for you.

Additionally, this can be used as a highlighter on cheeks alone, too. It’s a more versatile product than you’d think, but I think a lot of us just get trapped into expecting a blush and not getting it. Georgia also feels a bit powdery/chalky, which is yet another reason I think it’s not a workable product on darker skin tones. I find this best applies with a stippling brush (like MAC’s 187) all over the face for a light, warmed up look without too much shimmer or product.

By the ounce, Benefit Face Powders/Blush colors are actually cheaper than MAC! Benefit comes in at $70.00/oz. while MAC is $88.10/oz. Benefit Face Powders/Blushes are actually some of the most bang-for-your-buck in the high-end department. The packaging is cute and exactly what I’d expect out of Benefit. Georgia actually does have a light peach scent to it, though it’s not something I notice while wearing the product–only when I sniff the product itself.

Bottom line: It’s not replacing any products I’m already using, and I’d probably be more apt to use it if it provided more of a peachy blush color than an all-over color.  I prefer other highlighters and all-over powders with setting qualities, as well.  It’s a quality product, but it doesn’t work for everyone, and it’s best used as an easy all-over powder.  I think if that’s what you’re looking for, you’d enjoy this product.  For others, this is nice, but it isn’t a must-have.

  • Product: 25/30
  • Value: 9/10
  • Ease of Use: 3/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: If you’re looking for a sheer, warm-toned all-over powder and you’re light to medium in skintone, this might work for you.

Availability: BenefitCosmetics.com

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Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009


Benefit Lipglosses: Almost Famous, Fresh Squeezed, Zone Out

Benefit Lip Gloss: Review, Photos, Swatches

Benefit Lip Gloss ($18.00 for 0.17 fl. oz.) is available in eight shades from copper to berry to gold. Each is scented with an apricot-lychee scent with a non-sticky, slick-feeling texture. They’re fairly glossy with lots of shimmer.

  • Almost Famous is a sheer rosy-bronze with amber bronze glitter throughout. This one felt a little glittery to me.
  • Fresh Squeezed is a pinky-coral with smoother, more shimmer-esque multicolored shimmer.
  • Zone Out is a sheer nude gloss with golden shimmer to add some sparkle.

These glosses wear about average (four hours), and they don’t dry out lips but don’t feel extra hydrating either. I like them, but I don’t love them. Both Fresh Squeezed and Zone Out felt nice on my lips, but Almost Famous has a gritty glittery texture that I didn’t appreciate. (Luckily, neither Fresh Squeezed or Zone Out felt like that!)

These lip glosses are slightly pricier (by the ounce) compared to Make Up For Ever and NARS, but they’re a better value than Dior and Chanel. At $18, I’d probably opt for a NARS gloss instead (though these smell much, much better).

  • Product: 8/10
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Recommendation: If you sheer, shimmery lipgloss, you may want to snoop at the Benefit counter for these!

Availability: Benefit

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Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009


Benefit Lipsticks: Fame Game, Label Lover, No Competition, Breakup Rumor

Benefit Full Finish Lipsticks: Review, Photos, Swatches

Benefit Full Finish Lipstick ($18.00 for .10 oz.) are slim lipsticks available in fourteen different shades and two finishes (cream and pearl). Today, let’s look at four shades — Fame Game, Label Lover, No Competition, Breakup Rumor.

  • Fame Game is a soft frosty pink with silvery-white shimmer. It’s opaque and has a pearl finish.
  • Label Lover is a bronzy, russet rose kind of color with a gold-bronze shimmer and pearl finish. It goes on semi-opaque on lips.
  • No Competition is a creamy, opaque muted berry that is dark and bold, but not overly so.
  • Breakup Rumor is a shimming rosy plum with gold and rose shimmer and pearl finish. It applies mostly opaque on lips.

Benefit’s Full Finish Lipsticks are mostly opaque to opaque in color, feel creamy, and don’t leave lips dried out while you’re wearing them. They wear well (I get about six hours of wear-time with minimal drinking/light eating), too, which is always a plus. I love the shade range Benefit has, because I feel like they offer a good mix of shades that flatter many skin tones. Their pearl finishes aren’t drying in the least, as some frost-finish lipsticks often can be. I love all four of these shades, though I love the way Breakup Rumor shimmers.

The packaging is slim and compact, and it looks sleek in an all slightly shiny all-black case with Benefit’s logo wrapping around it in white. The value is so-so; it comes in as slightly more expensive (by the ounce) than Urban Decay and MAC, but it’s still less than brands like NARS and Dior.

  • Product: 9/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 8/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Recommendation: If you love more opaque lip colors, these lipsticks are a great place to start your search!

Availability: Benefit

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