Tag Archives: Benefit

In My Makeup Kit: Benefit Powder Eyeshadow Brush

I never blog about my brushes, (not because I don’t love them, because I do – the same way I love macaroons, vintage Brooke Shields and moon bears, which is to say A LOT) but because blogging about them is like blogging about my own arms – they are so much a part of me that it almost seems silly to talk about them.

However when I come across something new that I haven’t seen before, I feel honour bound to tell you all. This is my new dude in my extensive brush collection – it’s Benefit’s Powder Shadow brush from their new range of brushes. This brush is noteworthy as it’s great for laying down shadow. Sounds boring, I hear you ask? Well a good lay down brush is surprisingly hard to find these days, as you want one that is dense and soft, where the bristles aren’t too long (as then it blends instead of laying down product). MAC do a few, Laura Mercier does a good one and I have a bunch left over from makeup college, but of late I have been very short of a good lay down brush. The Benefit brush is very soft as they’re made of real hair, yet the bristles are just the right length to do the job, and as a double extra added bonus, it’s slanted, so if you wish to buff in a liner it’s perfect for that. It’s also quite genius as a crease brush too, so it can do double-duty in your makeup bag.

The new line of Benefit brushes is reasonably priced (which is nice as brushes can be very expensive), and I’m quite keen to try some more of them on for size. Because, as with vintage Brooke Shields, so it is with makeup brushes – you can never have enough.

Here’s Brooke in Louis Malle’s 1978 classic, Pretty Baby so you can see what I mean – the Benefit Powder Eyeshadow brush you’ll have to get on your own.



Benefits Erase Paste

In My Makeup Kit: Benefit Erase Paste

So this really is the wonder eraser for the under eyes. Of all the concealers I’ve tried, this one covers with just one dab, so it’s perfect for those early mornings when your undereye circles look like they just want to go back to bed and curl up for a few more hours sleep. (A bit like their owner). But! Before you go racing off to invest, there are two drawbacks that you need to know about.

It only comes in three shades, so it’s nor for everyone. My skintone is literally the colour of Barbie (as in, melted plastic pink), so it’s perfect for me and this lives both in my kit and in my personal makeup bag, since it’s just so quick and easy. But you really need to be able to try it on to ascertain whether its amazingness is going to work on your skintone.

Also be careful not to overdo it – it’s a very creamy (yet covering) formula, but if you just blob it on, it can get a little bit goopy. Also it does need to be set with a loose powder to prevent creasing later on.

Having said that, if it IS a good colour on your skintone, it’s phenomenal as an everyday concealer. The little pot will last you a lifetime of early morning starts and undereye blitzing, and a little dab really will do ya. This truly is Erase Paste.


Brand Breakdown: Benefit

Benefit BenetintI was trying to figure out the other day when I first encountered Benefit, the quirky skincare and makeup brand that has now spawned a host of imitators (that to my mind, never quite capture the kitschy ‘50’s essence that Benefit does). The first piece of Benefit I ever bought was back when the brand had first arrived in England, when it used to be sold at Space NK in Covent Garden (and what a frantic makeup lurker I was there! I could always be found, rummaging through the Shu Uemura displays and discovering all the hot new boutique brands like Stila, NARS and Laura Mercier when they first launched in Europe. Ah, those heady days of mud brown lipstick).

I bought a white eyeliner, the nub of which I still have somewhere in the Vault, a testament to my first but not my last piece of Benefit fabulousness.

These days the brand has grown tremendously from when twin sisters, Jean and Jane Ford, (this is a true story) were running a small makeup shop in San Francisco and were asked by a local “exotic dancer” to create a special stain to make her nipples look more flushed. They concocted a special product out of strained rose petals, which became the still ubiquitous and best-selling Benetint. You’d have to have been living under a rock to have missed out on that one, it’s a classic and for most of the 90’s that and a slick of Vaseline was pretty much all the makeup you needed.

Over the years I’ve tried many of their products, some which have stayed in my handbag, some in my kit and a few (but not many), that didn’t make it into either. Here’s a run-down on the must-haves from Benefit.

Benefit Posey Tint – I actually prefer this to the original, redder version – it’s a perfect pretty pink flush and great for when you don’t have lots of time to fiddle with your makeup, and it stays all day. Destined to be a new classic.

Bad Gal MascaraBadGal mascara – I’ll be honest and say this one took me awhile to get into. I tried it a few times and wasn’t dazzled, then I tried it again and I was hooked. Perfect for big, sexy lashes when you’re doing a smoky eye. It’s not a natural mascara and it’s not so good for precision lashes, but when you’re going for all out sex appeal, this is the one I keep in my kit.

Blush powders in Hoola, Georgia, Dandelion and my personal favourite, Sugarbomb, which I’ve posted about before. I do wish they would call them blushers instead of face powders however, as I think it’s confusing since face powders are typically either translucent or skin coloured, which these are patently not – but they are lovely, sheer blushers in flattering shades. They are quite a light product and not superpigmented, but this is what gives them their lovely, weightless flush on the skin. They weigh a ton though, and I found out why – there is a weight in the box to make them feel heavier and I guess, more luxurious. Good on your dressing table, less so when you’re lugging 40 kilograms of makeup around.

Sheer cream blusher in Oooh and Sssh! These have quite a dry texture but I love the colours, plus you get tons of product since a little bit goes a long way.

Creaseless Crème Eyeshadows – I have posted about these before and I think they are all pretty gorgeous, lovely on their own or as a base for a smoky eye.

That Gal brightener – a luminous pink highlighter that I would only use on the high points of the face, not all over. This is a welcome change from similar products of their ilk, like MAC Strobe cream (which I’m really, really bored with now). Great for the fair complected. In fact, my only quibble with Benefit is that their shade range is not as comprehensive as I would like, not going deep enough into darker skins and not enough colour selections even in the Caucasian family. However all brands have good and bad points, and they do many other products you can’t find anywhere else (like yellow concealer).

You’re Bluffing – Redness concealing wand
I don’t use this on everyone, but I find it handy to have in my kit as certain people have a lot of red in their skin and can benefit (get it? ha ha! Oooh, I’m hilarious today) from a bit of this applied either sheered out with moisturizer or mixed in with other concealers.

Ultra Shine lipglosses – Zone Out, Foxy Lady and Dancing Queen
Just yummy, pure gloss for those moments that demand a shiny lip.

All in all there are few makeup counters that give you the brand experience of Benefit, a real sense that you have stepped into a different world. What’s your favourite Benefit?

The Mole Patrol: Spring Picks

As the weather starts warming up, it’s time to re-think your makeup bag – here’s a few of my new favourite things:

Paul & Joe Blotting Papers1 – Paul & Joe blotting papers

    How cute are these? Sweet little oil-blotting sheets when the heat just gets too much. The package is so cute, you won’t want to hide them away.

    2 – Benefit Creaseless Cream eyeshadows

      I love these shimmery, elegant eyeshadows that are gorgeous as a base for serious eye makeup, or as a wash on their own. Currently in constant rotation are Busy Signal, a rich copper which is amazing on darker skin tones, Stiletto in aubergine, for blue eyes, and Skinny Jeans, a rich pewter, for green eyes. And it’s true, they are the most creaseless of all the cream eyeshadows.

      Benefit Cream Eyeshadow3 – Liz Earle Daily Eye Repair

        I’m going to preface this by saying I’m not a big eye cream girl. My eyes are quite sensitive, so a lot of eye creams make them even puffier than normal in the morning (NOT the effect I was going for) and itchy and red. This is not the best way to start your morning beauty routine! So generally I avoid them, but this one I love. It has echinacea, Vitamin E and Vitamin B5, and it’s keeping my incipient eye wrinkles at bay.

        4 – Tom Ford Lipstick

          Um, Tom Ford? Anything Tom Ford? The man could be designing plumbing equipment and I’d be there with bells on at his counter in Selfridges, signing up for some plungers. Happily it’s not plumbing equipment but gorgeous lipsticks he’s turned his clever hands to (designing clothes and the grooviest sunglasses AND incredible movies is not enough apparently), and the twelve shades hand picked by the master are lovely enough to turn anyone’s head.

          5 – Laura Mercier Brow pencils

            Let’s just say my eyebrows now (in their infinite wisdom), need a little work, so I’m always on the lookout for brow products that define naturally without heaviness or giving nasty 1990’s brow, which for me is super drawn on, unnatural and overly sculpted. Yeuch. Sooo nasty and dated. Laura Mercier has four brow pencils in her range which are not too soft, not too hard and the right colour for brow hair – not orange, not tan, not too grey, but just right on all counts. So my brows can get the help they now definitely need, every day.

            In My Makeup Kit: Benefit SugarBomb… It’s the Bomb

            Benefit SugarbombThis is an instant sugar-rush of perfect rose toned powder to give you just the right healthy flush, and I’m loving it this time of year as it’s the perfect transition into warmer summer makeup.

            This is the latest in Benefit’s line of blushers (although they will call them face powders, but blusher it is). Following on from last year’s massively successful Coralista, this I one of those products that might look a little confusing at the counter but you love when you get home.

            It has four shades that you swipe together, and the colors themselves look even a bit confusing to a makeup artist, but put all together they give a very slightly shimmered rosy glow to the skin. And it’s not too vibrant for even pasty, winter-white skin (what? Who, me?) The four colors are rose pink (with shimmer), a brighter strawberry pink (with less shimmer), an apricot heading towards mustard AND a cool toned mauve. Sounds hideous right? But swiped together it’s gorgeous and it’s a timely reminder that often it’s the strange colors that can be the most flattering. Because it has the four colors together it will work on a variety of skin tones as well – also a winner. I don’t know what makeup genius came up with this little cheek candy confection, but boy is it working!

            Video: Lanvin Autumn/Winter 2010 Behind the Scenes

            I loved this show – incredible clothes (what we have come to expect from Alber Elbaz), and I found the aesthetic to be really interesting. This season the Lanvin team were playing with the idea that everybody is starting to look the same, which I think we can all attest to – the incredible rise in plastic surgery creating a veritable army of clone-like female “beauty”. By giving the models the same hair and a robotic black eye, Elbaz eloquently makes the point that fashion should also be about diversity. It might be beautiful, but surely we don’t want everyone to look the same? Nice to see a really interesting ethos behind a show. Hats off to Elbaz, Guido on hair and the redoubtable Pat McGrath on makeup (who, quite frankly, does it again).

            For those viewers at home who would like to take this look for a spin, I would recommend:

            • Bobbi Brown Black Ink Gel Eyeliner plus MAC Smolder pencil and MAC Carbon shadow to create the black structure to the eye
            • MAC Pro glitter in Gold and Reflects Antique Gold for golden shine on the lid
            • Benefit Hoola bronzer for contour under the cheekbones (no blush)
            • Estee Lauder Vanilla Truffle lipstick for an expensive beige mouth, and Estee Lauder Clear Gloss for shine

            Trends: Coral

            I don’t know about you guys, but I for one am Officially. Over. Winter. In my mind it’s done – I’m sick of the scarves and coats and hats and ready for some tropical style—ee warm weather.

            So if I can’t have summer in actuality, I’m going to fake it. Which means getting into the color on everyone’s lips and cheeks. Yep, coral. A shade you might be frightened of, quite rightly, because you think “Oh my God, Nana”. But like lots of things (such as clogs and double denim) that are so wrong they’re right again, coral is the lip color for spring.

            Why? Because it’s just really gorgeous and flattering, and it’s more interesting than pink and not as full on as red or orange, so you can feel like you’re making a statement and flirting with a trend yet not feeling like an escapee from Disney’s Small World. Coral is pretty, flattering and lady like. Call it the Mad Men effect.

            It’s no longer a color for Mrs Slocum. It’s more a modern version of Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief. (For really, who DOESN’T want to be cuddled up in a convertible with Cary Grant on the Riviera?)  It’s true, it’s a color that had its heyday in the 50’s and 60’s, called something clever like “Shrimp Cocktail”, and everybody’s gran had a tube of the stuff in their bathroom. But now with the improvements in technology and a wider range to cater for all skin tones, it’s possible to find a shade of peach for everyone.

            Cary Grant and Grace Kelly

            Corals to Covet

            Bobbi Brown has a whole Coral collection out this season, called Cabo Corals. I’m loving the Cabo Coral Pot Rouge, which is the yellow-er sister to Calypso Coral Pot Rouge (which has a bluer undertone.) Cabo Coral would be beautiful on anyone, but it’s gorgeous on deeper skin tones, and those with more yellow-ish skin. The Cabo Coral lipstick and the shimmery nectarine Sunset Beach gloss are pretty spesh as well. I even like them all together – call it the Double Coral Face! Bobbi Brown  Lip Crayon in Coral Pink is also on my wishlist – it’s gorge.

            Benefit – Coralista blush, which came out last year but is still right on trend for 2010. We do love Benefit’s blushes,( although why they insist on calling them “Face Powders” is beyond me –  I think it’s confusing and misleading.) But call them a blush and they are DIVINE. Coralista  went straight into the Top Ten of Benefit’s prodiucts as soon as it was released, so I’m clearly not the only one with a love of all things peachy.

            Illamasqua – Obey lipstick, the perfect 60’s peach lip and Excite powder blush, a vivid apricot, are my top shades in their range.

            Paul & Joe Cheek cream in 03 – this gives you that watercolor, lit from within glow.

            NARS – Casablanca and Barbarella lipsticks are both classic corals, plus the new Summer 2010 collection which I’m BEYOND excited by, has Love Devotion Lipstick, a sheer guava stain, and Enchanted, a coral cream blush (which J Lo, and  Zoe Saldana  wore to the Oscars.) And let’s face it, full monty coral needs luminous skin, so add a bit of Orgasm Illuminator whilst you’re at it. Oh and you could add NARS lipgloss in Orgasm whilst you were there. You know, if you wanted.

            How to Wear It

            Even though grannies are cool again (witness the incredible resurgence of grey hair and the lavender rinse that Kelly Osborne has been sporting lately), still there are limits to how Gran can you go? Let’s think about it instead as how Grace can you go?

            So I would advise  going coral strongly only on one feature – for instance, if you’re sporting a coral cheek, just do a peachy stain on the lips, and vice versa. There is no need to become a Technicolor Shrimp Cocktail billboard! I love it with a soft, neutral shadow on the eye, something like NARS Cyprus or Estee Lauder Cinnamon single eyeshadow. And natch, neat brows, lovely skin and lots of ladylike lashes (but no clumps please, this is the Riviera).

            Serendipitously, I found a video from the new NARS Youtube channel that is the look from the Autumn/Winter 2010 Marc Jacobs show that has, drumroll please, Lilac Eyes and Coral lips together in one look!

            Right Now: Benefit Talk to the Tan

            Benefit Tell it to the TanA while ago, I posted about the new pale trend – skin like milk that looks touched by moonlight. Certainly with the release of the latest film in the Twilight saga, New Moon, whitening skin products are up over 200% (200 % people, that’s not a trend, that’s a tsunami of creamy complexions!), and that looks set to continue.

            I applaud this wholeheartedly with skin cancers also on the rise – pale is beautiful. But now, in the depths of winter and with skin the color of an uncooked mackerel, it’s time to buck the trend (something I’ve always liked doing), and go the other way – let’s find a bronzer for winter-struck skin.

            And I bring you my new addition to my kit, Benefit’s Talk to the Tan. It is delicious. It’s a self-tanner that washes off at the end of the day, so for those commitment-phobes, it’s perfect. One coat will give you sun-kissed gorgeousness, and you can layer it to go deeper if you must (although please, no Jordan tans!) I’m pretty pale and it boosts my complexion just enough to take me from this side of the undead to passably human. It solves the problem of deep-freeze weather time, where your normal blush looks like you’re auditioning for the circus. And apparently it’s one of those products that combines with your natural chemistry to make it the right shade for you – and it’s certainly working for me. And with its cute sunshine-y packaging (one of the things Benefit is justifiably loved for), it’s making me feel more Acapulco than Alaska.

            Now the only question is, is this one going into my personal bag, or into my kit? It’s a tough call but the last model I worked on was the color of unbaked oatmeal, so I think it will be kit-side for now. Maybe I’ll have to channel my inner Bella until I can get to Benefit again – particularly if that pale skin comes complete with an Edward.

            The Mole Patrol – Five Top Faves

            MakeupMole - FavesThis time of year one’s mind starts turning to all things cosy and wintry, so it’s time for a snuggle-fest on the Mole Patrol. Crack out that duvet, whip up some hot chocolate and slather yourself in serious moisturizer for that dry and winter parched skin – it’s a cold weather delight!

            Embryolisse moisturizer

            This is a must for winter skin. It’s heavy and glues back all those lovely dry

            crack-y bits you get when your nose turns red. I always put it back in my kit at this time of year as more and more models start turning up with their faces falling off due to too much heating inside, the cold outside, and seeing as they’re so gorgeous and can get away with it, often a diet of caffeine and cigarettes. Embryolisse to the rescue. Word on the makeup streets is that what you buy in Parisian pharmacies is better than their export stuff (which you can get in London at the makeup shop PAM in Shepherd’s Bush).

            Illamasqua Cake Liner in Mislead with Sealing Gel

            Because this sucker don’t move. I’d read all the raves on the internet but only recently have I tried it, and it is amazing. So when the wind is blowing and you’re swaddled in scarves and beanies, at least your eyes will still look like Audrey Hepburn’s (even if the rest of you looks like Freddie Krueger).

            Bobbi Brown Eye Palette in Velvet Plum

            Fab neutrals that would suit any eye color, and an amazing dense black brown eyeshadow which is a surprisingly difficult color to find in other ranges. Combined with the Illamasqua Cake liner it is a wintry winner.

            Chanel Particuliere Nail Polish

            Straight from the Paris shows (where she created 50 shades of nude nails for Louis Vuitton) Sophy Robson’s top nail color for the coming season is Chanel Particuliere. Sure to be as coveted as last season’s Jade and the original got-to-have-it nail color, Rouge Noir, I fell in love from the second I saw it. It’s a weird taupe-y mauve color that’s like dead people’s hands, but better. The fashion pack are going to love it! I think the new Chanel shade is chic, effortless and original – just like Chanel really.

            Benetint by Benefit

            Aaah, a hardy perennial – just rescued from the makeup Vault where it has been languishing for quite a while, this is the perfect outdoor flush for when it gets cold. I do love a wind burned cheek (well a fake one, not a real one!) this time of year, and this bestselling 30 year old tinted liquid made from rose petals is still the original, and still the best.