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

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.

Benefit Watt's Up luminizer review

Benefit Watt’s Up! ingredients:

Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Mica, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Polyethylene, Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), Soybean Glycerides, Silica, Dimethicone, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Butyrospermium Parkii (Shea Butter) Unsaponifiables, Iron Oxides (Ci 77492), Iron Oxides (Ci 77491), Iron Oxides (77499), Lecithin, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Glyceryl Stearate, Glyceryl Oleate, Citric Acid.

Sephora BI birthday gift 2013

Sephora + Benefit Beauty Insider Birthday Gift (2013)

Benefit They're Real mascara review swatches

Benefit They’re Real, Watt’s Up! swatches (indirect sunlight + flash)

Sephora Real Birthday Turn-Ons

Sephora Beauty Insider + Benefit “Real Birthday Turn-Ons!”

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  • mostlysunnybunny

    I've been curious about Watt's Up, but I typically don't have a lot of luck with the type of wand on They're Real. Glad to hear Watt's Up works on your mom, who is a bit darker than I am but the fact that it works on warm-toned people makes it very promising!
    My recent post Chanel L’Été Papillon de Chanel Sneak Peek & Quick Swatches!

    • Aww, sorry to hear that, hon! I don't love silicone applicators (hello, five-lashes-per-eye), but I really like the way that this one has spikes around the tip — I wish nylon applicators would follow Benefit's lead ;)

      Just as a heads up, I don't think Watt's Up will be lighter than your skintone — but it's definitely shimmery & sheer enough to work anyways! Let me know what you think if you pick it up, yeah? :)

  • BellaChique

    Now this is a cute little deal ^^. I really dig those sets, they are nice and fun to look at ^^. The Watts Up seems to be really loved but somehow I never tried a highlighter or anything like that from Benefit. Oh and mascara seems to be amazing! Great weekend to you Rae! :D
    My recent post Chanel Le Vernis in Azure 657 and Lilis 647

    • Eep! You've never tried a Benefit highlighter, Teri?! But they're so… plentiful! And widespread! /flails

      High Beam. Go research it, stat! :D

      (Hope you have a great weekend, too ♥)

  • BooBooNinja

    I'm bummed that my birthday is in December, because that Watt's Up cream highlighter would do a lot to stifle my current infatuation with cream MU. Grrrrr. :D

    • Aww, sorry to hear that, dearling! Have you checked out Benefit's travel/combination sets (x)? A lot of them have mini highlighters — there might be something in there to tide you over until December! ;)

      • BooBooNinja

        Oh Rae, I'm embarrassed I was so whiny and petulant on your blog. I think I was having "one of those" days.
        Instead of being a brat, I think I'll try to make my own cream highlighter. :)

        *whistles while she works*
        (With "work" meaning "thinking about how to make this DIY happen".)

        Cheers! & Happy Weekend!

        • You're not being whiny, silly! 12 months IS a long time to wait for something — I mean, it's inconsequential, but I'd be kind of bummed!

          I know it's not a cream, but if you're looking for a highlighter, NYX do an amazing mosaic one that I've been absolutely obsessed with recently. It's really subtle; glowy but super finely milled, and completely charming in the pan. I think you'd like it! ;)

  • I have to wait until September! I can't wait to try out the mascara! The highlighter looks lovely too!
    My recent post Spring Empties Part 2: Facial Cleansers

    • Man, that's a long time to wait for such a pretty duo! Happy suuuuper early birthday, Jenny :p

  • I love this year's set. Like you said, it's not quite as awesome as last year's Fresh duo, but hey at least it beats things like that vanilla shower gel they used to give out, right (god that one was pretty darn bad)? Can't wait to test these in person :)
    My recent post Feeding My Blue Addiction With Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils | Review & Swatches

  • Lily @ChloeAsh

    Watt's up looks good :-) They're Real mascara has a great formula, but I don't like the spiky wand. I poked my eyes a few times and it hurt >_<
    My recent post A 15-minute Quickie: A Fresher Face For A Night Out Right After Work

    • Lily! Mascara wands are for your eyelashes, not your eyeballs, silly. :p

      *hands you a warm compress for your eyes*. Be careful; we need your pretty peepers in top form!

  • I really like this year's gift, but I got to remember to go get it. I forgot last year, and when I remembered, it was way past my birthday month.
    My recent post Borghese Fango Active Mud for Face and Body|I'm Pledging For Smooth Skin And A Poreless Summer

    • I guess you'll just have to get yourself a birthday gift this year, Angela! Can't forget then ;)

  • Oh this is funny! I wrote about this yesterday. I loved the mascara so much, I went back the following week to get the full size. On me it's perfect, I get lenght and just enough folume but most importantly, it keeps the curl all day!
    My recent post L'Oréal Telescopic Shocking Extensions Marcara / Review

    • Hurray! I'm so pleased that you've found a mascara that you like THAT much — they're such a finicky thing to buy, but mini tubes are such a great way to find a new one to love. :)

  • Angela

    I just got the birthday gift last month too! It’s such a great sample. I think Whatt’s Up is a little too shimmery for my liking too. I just followed! Would appreciate if you follow back :)

    • Thanks, Angela! Hope to see you around more in the comment threads — welcome to theNotice :)

  • ohhh the mascara is so black! now i look forward to trying it… my birthday is in a month! I got the mini watts up as a 100 point perk last fall, and i actually love it as eyeshadow! You should try it that way. :)
    My recent post An Everyday Look

    • Happy early birthday, dearling! ❤ I feel like Watts Up would crease horribly on my oily lids, but the thought *is* tempting… it has such a gorgeous shimmer!

    • Beezy_78

      Omg I love it as eye-shadow as well! I tried it when I was late for church and all I had in my order was bb and my b-day gift! I have bet DRDO-set eyes, and this combo brightened and brought forward my eyes, and the mascara became a go-to. I've since moved on to Buxom mascara, but use the watts up regularly. The tiny tube is SO long-lasting! <3

  • Don't really fancy mascara samples~ The shorter wand just doesn't do it for me. Somehow the formula dries out faster too?
    My recent post Lancome Mat Miracle 24H Foundation Review – Perfect Cover And Finish For Oily And Blemished Skin

    • Aww, sorry to hear that. I never finish anything up, and I love short-handled things, so they work well for me :)

  • Katie

    I received that from Sephora for my birthday as well last month. I absolutely hated the mascara. It gave me "crispy" lashes which is a huge pet peeve of mine. I prefer YSL Shocking Mascara, which gives me tons of length and volume but my lashes stay soft.

    I liked the highlighter somewhat, although it emphasizes pores and I wouldn't want to wear it during the day since it gives me disco-ball cheeks. :) It's really hard to like other highlighters after trying one that's finely milled.

    • Hah! Y'know, it's funny — I have a sample of Shocking kicking around, too, and I absolutely hated it! I love a soft mascara, but that one just turned my lashes into one big clump. Not a good look on me :p

      Do you have a favourite highlighter, Katie? (I've really been loving the shimmer-free Ben Nye ones recently!)

      • Katie

        That's funny! It makes sense that you would hate the YSL mascara if you like a natural mascara, because it creates almost a false lash effect on me. Those are my favorite lashes! I was born with the puniest most awful lashes so I take all the volume and length I can get.

        My current favorite highlighter is from Chanel's spring collection. It's the Poudre Signee de Chanel highlighter. Soo gorgeous but not too over the top. :)

        • Haha, absolutely! I like my lashes to look long and fairly full, but still really natural — I find that I just don't have enough lashes for wetter formulas to work well for me!

          I keep hearing such great things about the Poudre Signee de Chanel — it's great that you've found a highlighter that suits you; "the one" can be so hard to track down ;)

  • Ashley

    I've tried They're Real twice now and I *still* hate it. It's hard to remove and smudges before I even leave the house :@
    Watts Up is decent, but if I could go back in time, I'd choose the Fresh set *again* over this year's birthday perk!

    • :( That sucks, lovely! I'm sorry to hear it.

      I would totally choose the Fresh set, too, to be honest :p This was a press sample, but I'm trading my actual set with my sister this year. (Her birthday is earlier, and our Sephora gave her the choice of receiving last year's gift instead. The benefits of overstocking!)

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