I’ve always been intrigued by Benefit. Its marketing and brand aesthetic is cute and memorable: 50s pin-up style model, bright, bold colours, and plenty of puns. Who doesn’t love a good pun?
I see their products all over Instagram, and as well as being cute and funny they seem to make effective, innovative cosmetics. Their Porefessional Primer, They’re Real! mascara, Hoola bronzing powder and Brow Zings brow kit are all cult faves, beloved by beauty bloggers, MUAs and casual makeup wearers alike.
My first Benefit buy was the Sun Beam liquid highlight. I’d seen High Beam online and fallen in love, but it was too light and pink for my complexion. Then I discovered that they had a golden version called Sun Beam and… well… I threw my money at the poor lady on the counter. I was not disappointed, either!
So when I was invited to a bloggers’ event at the John Lewis Benefit counter in Nottingham, I was BUZZING. I was offered a makeover and product rundown, and a goodie bag! So uhh, yeah… I was so there. And now I’m gonna relay all the fabulous details to you guys. You lucky, lucky things.
Benefit recently released a few new products, including their Dew the Hoola liquid bronzer and their new Dandelion range. When I arrived, everything was adorably decorated with promotional material and shiny new products, and the Benebabes working the counter were wearing punny aprons and flowery garlands. Honestly, Benefit’s aesthetic is 100%. Yeah, I’m easily pleased.
Or am I?!?!?!?!? (Yes.)
The lovely Shadrine, a black woman, was my makeup artist. If you have been blessed with brownness you will know how reassuring it is when counters have a brown-skinned employee or two, and it certainly put me at ease.
Shadrine was bubbly and informative, attentive and knowledgable. Her co-worker bustled around us, taking care of other customers and joining in our easy conversation when she could. The Nottingham John Lewis counter certainly gets 10/10 for customer service from me.
The makeover itself was super fun! It was only the second time I’ve had my makeup applied by someone else, and before each step Shadrine gave me the rundown on the products she was using and answered any questions I had.
I ended up with a glamorous version of the sort of look I like to wear out and about: gold eyes, winged liner, bold brows, a flawless face and a bold lip. Without any further ado, here are my before and after pics!
So, what were the highlights of my face?
I’m wearing two powder products: the Hello Flawless powder in Amber, and Rockateur blush.
The face powder was divine; it added extra coverage without being cakey, and provided a smooth, matte finish. It also held my oily T-zone in check for hours!
The blush was equally impressive. It was a beautiful rose-gold shade, pigmented enough to show up on my skin but not so intense that one swipe had me looking like I’d been slapped. The colour built up gradually from lightest flush to pretty and intense, which I loved.
I was also a huge fan of the popular Brow Zings eyebrow kit, which comes with a wax and powder. Shadrine mixed the two to create natural, hair-like strokes that were still bold enough to match my jet-black brows and keep my curly hairs under control.
If you’ve been blessed with bushy brows like me, this kit is perfect. At the same time, the product creates such a natural finish that if you have zero brow hair, don’t even worry; Brow Zings will take you from nineties to noughties as far as brow trends go.
As I have hooded and slightly oily lids, so a good eyeshadow primer is my life’s blood. Shadrine introduced me to the Air Patrol primer, which has an SPF of 20 (I take eyelid protection very seriously my friends) and comes in a conveniently-sized pen shape, through which the product can be pushed up (and retracted again, yay for minimising waste!) with a few twists.
What can I say? It’s an absolutely cracking product. I’m seriously considering jacking in my Urban Decay Primer Potion for this! I love the applicator, and it kept my eyeshadow creaseless and in place for around 8 hours, so I am here. for. it.
Now; unless you’ve been living under a social media rock, you’ve probably heard of both the They’re Real! mascara and Push-Up liner. I was eager to try out both and see if they lived up to the hype, so they deserve a mention.
You know I love to bust myths and live to whine, but based on this one application I have absolutely zero complaints. In fact, I liked the Push-Up liner so much I bought one for my bestie! (She is cat-eye queen).
I’m a huge fan of gel liner, and it was cool to have one in pen form, since pens are easier for me to grip than slim brushes (ahh the joys of disability). Plus, the liner itself was great quality; amazingly black and matte. Y E S.
As for the mascara: when Shadrine showed me my reflection after applying They’re Real to one eye, I literally gasped. I’m not using ‘literally’ in the figurative sense, either. I literally mean literally. Like… literally.
And last, but not least, I absolutely adored my lipstick. As a matte lip fanatic, I was apprehensive about Benefit’s lack of liquid lipsticks—the modern heroine of the matte lip world. I was pleasantly surprised when Shadrine applied the Hydra-Smooth lip colour in Dare Me!
It was a beautifully orange-toned red, perfect for my colouring and bright yet sophisticated. The finish was interesting; genuinely hydrating and fresh, yet semi-matte. Turns out I can totally work with semi-matte; in fact, I loved it.
So uhhh… that’s a lottttt of highlights!
Do I have anything to moan about? Yes, obviously. I am a whiny cow.
But it’s nothing you haven’t heard before. Like 99% of mainstream brands, Benefit is made with white skin in mind. Cue deep, mournful cello music, because this is not a tiny violin issue.
SO, Benefit HQ, if you’re reading this: MORE BROWN SHADES, PLEASE! Also, not all of us have pink undertones. In fact, a lot of us don’t! And that advice is free, because you make such lovely products and I like your style. Email me. Wink wink.
And now we’ve run through the makeover, here’s how I was looking in natural light, around six hours later:
The lipstick wore off after many hours and two meals, but as you can see a trace is still clinging on, which is impressive, considering. As for the rest, it stayed put! I was particularly pleased with how crease-free my eyeshadow remained. Cute, right?
Yessss, they gave me a cute lil goodie bag, FULL OF HAPPINESS AND JOY! AKA makeup. Same thing.
I received this makeup bag:
Inside I found samples of their:
- Porefessional Matte Rescue primer
- Big Easy Complexion Perfector
- Dew the Hoola liquid bronzer (hello new product!)
- They’re Real Remover
- Air Patrol primer (yaaaay my new fave)
- It’s Potent eye cream
- Instant Comeback facial serum
Oh, and a gorgeous luggage tag, which I may attach to my belt loop so people can see it at all times. What? It’s pretty.
I tested out the samples because of course I did, and ohhh my God… can we talk about the Porefessional Matte Rescue primer?
That badboy made my skin silkkyyyy smooth, matte and ready to rumble. And my makeup lasts and lasts and lasssssts when I wear it.
I also liked the Complexion Perfector, which had a lovely lightweight texture, being a liquid to powder formula.
The skincare products were gorgeous; you guys know I love to glow, and the Instant Comeback facial serum had me gleaming. Not in a greasy way though. Y’know, the good way. Like Zendaya.
Another stand-out was the They’re Real! remover. I didn’t think it’d be good etiquette to whack out the Push-Up liner I bought for my friend, so instead I tested it out on three eyeliners: a liquid, a gel, and a felt-tip style pen.
I used a serious blob of the remover, but in hindsight I really didn’t need that much. A quick rub with some tissue and it just.. wiped.. clean.. off.. WITCHCRAFT! OF THE VERY BEST KIND!
So in short, I was pretty damn pleased with my Benefit experience. Not only was the Nottingham counter at John Lewis gorgeous, with amazing staff who practiced fabulous customer service, and I discovered a great products.
If you, like me, have been worried that Benefit’s beautiful products wouldn’t be accessible for your skin tone, don’t worry; as you can see, there’s plenty to get excited about.
I’ll certainly be back for more!