In My Makeup Kit: Benefit Powder Eyeshadow Brush

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.


In My Makeup Kit: Benefit Erase Paste

Benefits 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!