Benefit Cosmetics is a brand that I love the idea of. They have kitschy packaging, cute concepts, and are generally regarded as being great quality. Despite all of that, Benefit is not a brand that I have had a LOT of experience with.
Fortunately my lack of experience with Benefit all changed last year, when a friend of mine gave me the highly sought after Benefit Advent Calendar as a (completely unnecessary) thank-you gift for doing her wedding makeup.
I got a great deal of enjoyment opening the little doors to discover a different product each day, and thought I would share some brief thoughts about each product and the calendar as a whole.
Day 1: Coralista Blush
Coralista is a lovely peachy-coral blush loaded with golden shimmer. The formula is smooth and blendable and the finish is reminiscent of cult favourite blush, NARS Orgasm.
All in all, it’s a beautiful blush, and one that has been on high rotation since I received it.
Day 2: Stay Don’t Stray Eye Primer
Stay Don’t Stray is a lightly pigmented eye primer designed to knock out discolouration and veining on your eyelids, as well as increase the wear time and pigmentation of eyeshadows applied over the top. It works quite well, although my eyelid veins are still visible after I have applied it.
Although it’s not the most performant eye primer in my collection, it does the trick, and works perfectly well.
Day 3: It’s Potent! Eye Cream
I typically don’t comment on the efficacy of skincare products, as it is not my area of expertise, What I will say is that this eye cream feels nice and hydrating when I apply it.
Day 4: Dandelion Ultra Plush Lipgloss
I have heard a great deal of criticism for the Benefit Ultra Plush Lip Glosses, so when I received this in my advent calendar, I didn’t have the highest of hopes for it. Turns out, I really enjoy it.
The Ultra Plush Lip Glosses offer a good amount of slip to my lips with absolutely no stickiness at all. Dandelion does not offer any colour to my lips, but has a crystal shine that is quite pretty. There is a very light fruity scent but no discernible flavour. It feels quite hydrating on my lips, however the trade-off is that this is not a particularly long-wearing product.
Day 5: Benetint
Benetint is a product that will always have a very special place in my heart. When I got my first paycheck from my first ever corporate job (I was still a teenager) I visited Grace Bros. (now Myer, a large Australian Department Store) and bought my first ever non-drugstore makeup. I purchased a now-discontinued foundation from M.A.C, M.A.C Studio Finish concealer and Benefit Benetint.
For years, Benetint was a staple part of my daily makeup routine. I loved the natural flush it gave my cheeks, and the long-wearing colour it gave my lips.
It’s been years since I have used it, and I’ve really enjoyed re-incorporating it into my makeup. I can honestly say I was on to a good thing back then, because I love it just as much now as I did back then. It’s become an integral part of my no-makeup makeup routine.
Day 6: Bow Barette
This is a cute little bobby pin that was included as an advent calendar exclusive. My daughter has stolen it from me.
Day 7: Ultra Plush Lip Gloss in A-Lister
This Ultra Plush Lip Gloss in A-Lister is a milky peach colour with the finest holographic glimmer throughout. On the lips it is crystal clear, however in the right light the holographic shimmer catches the light in the prettiest way.
The formula performs exactly the same as the Dandelion Ultra Plush Lip Gloss from Day 4.
Day 8: High Beam
High Beam is a white-based facial highlighter with a soft pink cast. It is a lovely illuminator for pale skin, however I suspect it may look a little ashy on deeper skin tones. Although it is quite shimmery, it contains no chunky glitter.
Day 9: That Gal Brightening Face Primer
That Gal Brightening Face Primer is a pink based face primer with a pearlescent sheen. It leaves skin feeling hydrated, but is not overly silicone-y in its finish.
This primer marginally increased the wear time of my foundation, but it’s real strength is in adding life to tired, dull skin. It’s great to help create a dewy look, even if your foundation is more on the matte side.
Day 10: The Porefessional
The POREfessional is a heavily silicone-based face primer that has been an integral part of my professional makeup kit for a number of years. It really does reduce the appearance of pores, and acts like a “spack filler” for fine lines.
I tend to use this primer as a special occasion primer, as it does cause me to break out with extended use, but it definitely improves the texture of my skin and increases the wear time of my foundation while I am wearing it.
Day 11: Bad Gal Waterproof Liner
I remember when Bad Gal Liner was released, it was an absolutely groundbreaking formula, being smooth and creamy like a kohl pencil, but drying down to a waterproof finish.
It’s still a lovely eyeliner, but doesn’t necessarily live up to some of the more advanced formulas available now. I would like to see this reformulated to be a little blacker as it is more of a washed out charcoal colour.
Day 12: Total Moisture Facial Cream
Again, I struggle to offer an informed view on skincare, however this is a very nice, balm-textured facial moisturiser with a light, fresh fragrance. It feels nice and hydrating on my dry skin, but may be a little too rich for oilier skin types.
Day 13: Horseshoe Charm
Another cute addition to the calendar that has been stolen by my daughter.
Day 14: Bad Gal Lash Mascara
For a long time, this was my very favourite mascara. It does a great job at creating big, fat rock chic eyelashes.
I’ve moved on to another Benefit Mascara – They’re Real! but this is still a reasonable mascara for that rock ‘n’ roll look.
Day 15: Posietint
Posietint is the little sister of the iconic cheek stain Benetint. Where Benetint is a soft red colour, Posietint is the palest baby pink. When I use it on my cheeks, it gives a gentle “ski-bunny” glow, however I question whether it would show up very well on darker skin tones.
I don’t get a lot of colour payoff when I wear this on my lips, so I tend to keep it to my cheeks.
Day 16: Hoola Bronzer
I generally avoid bronzing products like the plague. It has been my experience that they are almost always too dark and too orange for my skin, looking unnatural and unflattering.
I tried Hoola with some trepidation, only to find that it works very well on my pale, pale skin, and is a cool enough tone when applied to work as a contour.
Day 17: Sugarbomb Ultra Plush Lip Gloss
Sugarbomb Ultra Plush Lip Gloss is the same formula, texture and scent as the other Ultra Plush Lip Glosses. Colour-wise, it is the most pigmented of all four glosses I have tried, it’s a soft neutral brown-pink with loads of micro-shimmer.
Day 18: Sunbeam
I’ll admit, when I saw sunbeam come out of the advent calendar, I wasn’t overly excited, because, being so pale I thought it may not work for me. I was proven wrong.
Sunbeam is a lovely facial illuminator in the style of Highbeam, but where Highbeam is a white-pink, Sunbeam is a Champagne gold. It blends out beautifully sheer, making it completely wearable on my pale skin. It’s a lovely summertime illuminator that adds warmth without adding noticeable colour.
Day 19: Girl Meets Pearl Liquid Pearl for Face
I get the impression that Benefit is all about glowing skin, with their huge range of glow-enhancing products. Girl Meets Pearl is a facial illuminator that brings light to my face in a fairly understated way.
It’s a pinky flesh tone that, when blended out, has a reflective sheen with no visible shimmer or glitter.
Day 20: Ooh La Lift!
Ooh la lift is a product that I don’t really “get”. It’s designed to be an undereye illuminator, however I don’t really notice any visible difference when I apply it. It is not pigmented enough to conceal any darkness under my eye, and the texture is very similar to my skin. It may work more effectively on darker skin tones, or lighter eye bags?
Day 21: Coralista Ultra Plus Lip Gloss
Just like the other Ultra Plush Lip Glosses, this gloss in COralista has a lightweight texture, good slip, no stickiness at all and a delicious fruity fragrance. It adds the slightest whisper of peachy coral to my lips, but for the most part just imparts a crystal shine.
Day 22: Star Charm
Another one that was stolen by my daughter!
Day 23: Cha Cha Tint
Cha Cha tint is another lip and cheek stain in the same family as Benetint and Posietint. Unblended it is a perfect creamsicle orange that blends out to a pretty peach. It can be layered to become a more vibrant orange.
It’s not my favourite of the Benefit cheek tint products, because I lean more toward pinks than oranges, but it’s still a nice product, and would be very flattering on darker / more tanned complexions.
Day 24: Dandelion Blush
Dandelion is a powder blush that I have often heard referred to as more of a highlighter, however on my skin it is a beautiful pale ballerina pink that flatters any neutral, wearable makeup look.
My thoughts on the Benefit Advent Calendar 2013:
I really enjoyed having an advent calendar stuffed with fabulous makeup goodies to open in the lead-up to Christmas last year. Having said that, at $99AUD or $69USD, I felt that this calendar was somewhat overpriced compared to other high-end makeup advent calendars that were available.
I would purchase the Benefit Advent Calendar for 2014, however I would be much happier if they included a few more current products, got rid of the jewellery items, and perhaps included a full-size product for Christmas Eve.
My thoughts on the Benefit Products I have tried:
Other than Ooh La Lift, there were no products that I was not able to make work for me. I was pleasantly surprised by quite a few products, and will be actively using more Benefit products in my makeup routine. The products that really were winners for me were:
- Benetint (an old favourite that I was happy to be reunited with)
- That Gal Brightening Face Primer (I love anything that helps my skin to look glowy)
- Girl Meets Pearl (again with the glow)
- Dandelion Powder Blush (for a pretty neutral pink cheek)
- Hoola Bronzer (a pleasant surprise for a natural looking contour)
- Ultra Plush Lip Glosses (for a super-shiny, hydrated lip that isn’t even slightly sticky!)
Are you a fan of Benefit Cosmetics? What’s your favourite Benefit product? Let me know in the comments below.