Benefit They’re Real & Watt’s Up review, photos, swatches | Sephora + Benefit “Real Birthday Turn-Ons”

Friday, May 3, 2013

Sephora Beauty Insider birthday gift

The products: Benefit They’re Real! Mascara and Watt’s Up! Luminizer

↳  as seen in Real Birthday Turn-Ons!, Sephora’s 2013 Beauty Insider birthday gift

It’s not my birthday, but this year’s Sephora BI birthday gift almost makes it feel like it is. I’ve been playing around with the highlighter and mascara duo, and (while I don’t love it quite as much as last year’s Fresh lip balm duo) it’s pretty great.

Honestly, though: the freebie consists of two best-selling Benefit products, shrunk down into miniature form, with puns in tow. How could it not be?

Sephora x Benefit birthday gift BI

Benefit They’re Real! Mascara, $23 USD/#29 CAD

Described as “a jet-black mascara that lengthens, curls, volumizes, lifts, and separates lashes,” They’re Real! has a very cool applicator. Made out of a flexible plastic, it has staggered short-and-long bristles that go all the way around the tip of the wand – perfect for adding length and separation right down to the roots & the hard-to-get outer corners of the eye.

I haven’t tried the much-loved Benefit BADgal Lash, but according to this cool chart on Benefit’s site, They’re Real! is glossy and lengthening (both of which I can hands-down confirm) while BADgal is matte and volumizing.

Benefit They're Real mascara review

The pitfalls: I really wish They’re Real! wore for longer on my eyes. Like with most mascaras, I start seeing some smudging after 4-5 hours, which (at $29 CAD for the full sized version) is pretty disappointing. My lashes could use a little more volume, too, but that’s easily excusable for a mascara made to focus on lengthening!

The high points: The applicator! You wouldn’t think having bristles on the tip would make much of a difference, but it makes getting picture-perfect outer corners a cinch. It does a great job at providing length, too (particularly on the lower lashes), and I really love the soft, glossy finish. 

Benefit They're Real mascara applicator

Benefit They’re Real! ingredients:

Water (Aqua), Paraffin, Polybutene, Styrene/Acrylates/Ammonium Methacrylate Copolymer, Beeswax (Cera Alba), Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, C18-36 Acid Triglyceride, Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Triethanolamine, Vp/Eicosene Copolymer, Acacia Senegal Gum, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Phenoxyethanol, Tetrasodium Edta, Butylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Laureth-12 Sulfate, Glycerin, Potassium Sorbate, Sericin, Calcium Chloride, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tilia Tomentosa Bud Extract, Citric Acid, Bht, Sorbic Acid. [+/-: Iron Oxides (Ci 77491, Ci 77492, Ci 77499), Ultramarines (Ci 77007), Chromium Oxide Greens (Ci 77288), Chromium Hydroxide Green (Ci 77289), Titanium Dioxide

Benefit Watt's Up swatches review

L-R: Benefit They’re Real!, Benefit Watt’s Up! (straight from tube), Benefit Watt’s Up! (blended)

Benefit Watt’s Up! Soft Focus Highlighter, $30 USD/$36 CAD

Watt’s Up! is a cream-to-powder “luminous champagne” highlighter for the cheeks and browbones, which (in the full-size form) comes with a little “soft glow blender” to smooth out the luminizer into an even, diffuse sheen.

Honestly, my favourite part about Watt’s Up! is its adorable pun & packaging, but the product itself definitely has its merits, too!

Benefit Watt's Up highlighter review swatches

The finish of Watt’s Up! is a tiny bit too shimmery for my tastes (I prefer a super-finely-milled sheen), but it does still create a gorgeous, noticeable glow. Unlike highlighters that depend on a mix of base pigment & shimmer to lift the complexion, this one is mainly based on peachy-champagne shimmer, which means that it’ll work well on a really wide range of complexions, right from NW15 through to NC42. 

It’s not too warm (orange-gold) or too cool (silvery-pink), either — I can wear this tone without a hitch, but my warmer, darker mother (around a NC35 in the winter) can pull it off no problem, too.

Keep reading! »

On Our Radar | Spring beauty launches from LUSH, Benefit, YSL, & more

Monday, April 8, 2013


A few April (and April-ish) picks

– LUSH Big Solid Conditioner. Fragranced with vanilla, jasmine, and tonka bean, this solid conditioner uses sea salt to add volume to fine hair… & comes free of parabens, silicones, and packaging. $9.95 CAD/100g.

– Benefit Fake Up Hydrating Crease-Control Concealer. Like a lot of these spring picks, Fake Up offers more than just colour: silicone- and paraben-free, these sticks (which come in three shades) bring light-diffusing hydration to the table, too. $24 USD/$29 CAD.

– Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in I Lilac You. How pretty is this 7-in-1 varnish? The reformulated Sally Hansen Complete polishes come in a terrifying 49 shades, and are made to be your base coat, strengthener, growth treatment, colour, and top coat, all in one. $8.95 CAD.

– eos Smooth Sphere Organic Lip Balm Duo. With one best-selling fan favourite (the pink Strawberry Sorbet) & one set-exclusive flavour (the elusive purple Passion Fruit), this is one set that you can’t miss… if you can find it before it sells out, that is. $5.99 USD/$7.99 CAD.

– Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupté Shine in Pink in Confidence. YSL’s new Rouge Volupté Shines may be sheerer than most makeup addicts would like, but I love the vibe of this paraben-free dusty pale pink. $34 USD/$39 CAD.

What’s on your radar for the spring?

Get it now | Benefit Hervana Boxed Powder: it’s heeeere!

Monday, December 5, 2011

The one-day pre-sale is here. Will you be trying Benefit’s newest powder? (I’m waiting ’till I can see it in-store first – but it does certainly look pretty!)

Find Hervana on the interwebs…

What do you think? Love it? Hate it? I’m loving the swatches that I’ve seen so far, but I don’t know about $28 (& even more in Canada). It looks like a great blush, but not a phenomenal one! Benefit, I dare you to prove me wrong.

I believe Hervana comes out “officially” in January (Dec 26th for Sephora), but please correct me if you have more up-to-date info!

Benefit BADgal waterproof eyeliner in Espresso | review and swatches

Monday, July 18, 2011

The product: Benefit BADgal Waterproof Eyeliner in Espresso

It’s taken me forever to review this one, and I think that’s because we have a bit of a love/hate relationship going on. Before you read on, I’m going to remind you that (as always,) eyeliners can be very ymmv – that is, “your mileage may vary.” What works for you may not necessarily work for me, and vice-versa!

The formula: The BADgal waterproof liner formula is smooth enough to easily smoke out, but not so smooth that I’d call it slippery. (Hello, Urban Decay 24/7, I’m looking at  you… and giving you the stink-eye!) For this reason, I do find it tugs a little bit going on; enough to notice but not enough that I think it’s a huge issue. It glides onto the waterline, which definitely gets it points in my books, and you have about fifteen seconds to work with it before it sets (which is plenty of time).

The wear: As longtime readers may know, I’ve always had problems finding liners that wear well on my lids. Unfortunately, this is no exception.

I can get a meagre hour or two of wear before I notice migration from the waterline onto the lower lashline, and from the upper lashline to my fold. That’s actually not bad for a pencil liner, when it comes to my monolids – a lot of them don’t even make it to the half-hour mark! I was still left disappointed, though: what good is a gorgeous smudgey eye if it won’t even last ’till lunch?

(Note: while the liner resisted spritzed-on water within this time frame, it didn’t wear through water + friction. Water-resistant, perhaps, but not waterproof!)

The packaging: The smudging end of Benefit’s BADgal waterproof liners is plasticky and smooth, rather than slightly rough and spongey. It’s something I haven’t seen on a pencil before, and it makes blending a breeze – even on my sensitive skin! (Smudging out eyeliner usually irritates the heck out of my eyes.) It’s something that I can definitely see myself using, even if it’s to blend out other pencil liners instead.

The colours: There’s just three shades in this range right now – Charcoal, Espresso (featured here), and Black. All three are smooth, matte shades, without any bells or whistles, and (weirdly enough), I think this is probably the only matte medium-brown liner I’ve ever tried. Most companies either a) make a darker brown or b) sneak in at least a little shimmer or sheen, so don’t miss this one if you’re looking for really minimalistic colour.

The verdict?

This BADgal liner is a lovely matte brown, easy to smudge and brilliantly packaged – but it’s not without its flaws.

All in all, I’d recommend this if you don’t usually have problems with wear and you live in the US (where it’s $20). It does a stellar job of creating a natural “my eyes but better” look in under a minute (and you could quite literally do it with one hand tied behind your back), but while it lasts longer than Urban Decay 24/7 or Make Up For Ever Aqua Liners on my lids, I don’t think it’s worth the $26CAD price tag.

(Ingredients and more…)

Review and swatches: I’d let Benefit’s new Ultra Shines shades frisk me…

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What it is: Benefit Ultra Shines lipgloss in So Frisk Me (new this spring, but not limited edition)

The gloss: I’ll admit that I was skeptical about this one at first – anything with “ultra” or “super” in its name usually makes me a little suspicious (I blame Burts’ Super Glossy line). In all honesty, though, these really are ultra-shiny! I don’t like wearing a lot of product on my lips, simply because I find it uncomfortable, but So Frisk Me leaves my lips quite glossy with just a light layer of product.

Now, keep in mind that these are scented (unlike most of my favourite lip products), but it’s a light, fruity scent – and for once, I don’t mind at all! They’re flavourless, though, which is probably a good thing… because I’d totally want to snack on them if they tasted the same as they smell.

The shade: So Frisk Me is described as a “gilded berry,” and is one of four new nude shades (it’s the least “nude” of the bunch, though!) The others are Nudie-Tude (goldspun twist), Nooki Nookie (opal glaze), and Patootie (oyster pink). Now, I’m not sure about the other three, but I’d say that this one is medium-sheer to sheer, in terms of opacity.

From L-R: Nudie-Tudie, So Frisk Me, Nookie Nookie, Patootie

While So Frisk Me has more glitter than I’d usually go for, I still do like it – the glitter’s really finely milled, so it’s not gritty, and the gloss is well-formulated, so the glitter doesn’t migrate down my chin (ahem, Rimmel StayGlossy)!

The verdict? I’m on the fence about this oneSo Frisk Me is a great colour, and I love the scent and packaging of the Ultra Shines, but $23 is a little high. If it these were either a little cheaper (say, $18, which is the US price) or more moisturizing (all the reviews I’ve read have said they’re quite moisturizing, but I personally found I really needed to layer lip balm underneath), I’d give them the go-ahead… but as they stand, I’m just not sure!

Try them if… your lips aren’t chronically dry (mine are), or if you find a shade that you really, really love.

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