Benefit Hello Flawless Face Powder

As much as I love my Benefit Porefessional, my last foray into Benefit was with their infamous ‘They’re Real’ mascara, and I wasn’t overly impressed. I felt it was overpriced for what it was, and didn’t exactly deliver on its promises. Foreshadowing…

So anyway, the reason I ended up buying this was that I had heard about the Bare Minerals pressed powder, and I was intrigued. From what I read, nobody was overly impressed, but the idea of having a pressed powder version of my favourite foundation captured me enough to consider looking around for a similar, high coverage, portable powder. A little research led me to this.

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Far from being just any old pressed powder, this product calls itself ‘a custom powder cover up’. How fancy! The idea is that you can build up the coverage, which was pretty much what I was looking for. Something I could keep in my bag in case of skin emergencies that would also control oil. This one seemed pretty decent, and also the box is adooooorable.

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I went with the shade “I Love Me” Ivory, which I believe is the palest. It was a good colour match generally, but building it up made it ever so slightly more orange.

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Did I mention that I love the packaging? The little square, mirrored box is just so cute I want to cry. It also comes with some fabulous applicators; a thick, soft, square sponge and a brush.

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The sales girl told me that the brush is for sheer, light coverage, and the sponge is for layering it on for full coverage. The words ‘full coverage’ convinced me, and I squirreled it on home, thinking that this could be the powder I was looking for.

My friends, it was not.

I’m not trying to be mean here, but I think that Benefit are seriously deluded when it comes to what their products can do. This was nowhere near full coverage. Not even close. In the below pictures I pasted on a few layers with the sponge, and as you can see, the difference was negligible.

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My biggest skin complaint is always red skin, so I was hoping to cover up the pinkness in my cheeks as well as getting rid of shine. One out of two aint bad. As you can see, the powder definitely covered up shine, but that is honestly all it did. My skin looks exactly the same in both pictures. If anything, I would say it looked better in the first one; the powder succeeded in flattening me out somewhat.

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Good points? Ummm…well, it gets rid of shine. But then, so do all powders. It has an SPF of 15, but to me that is so irrelevant they may as well have not bothered; I think that everyone needs a 30 on their face, and no less. Oh, and the adorable packaging I mentioned? Turns out that having a square pressed powder becomes a mite less awesome when it comes to trying to get it out the corners. As you can see below, it’s a hell of a lot less easy to evenly use a palette when it isn’t circular. Not only that, but this is barely a months worth of gentle daily usage. So it runs out fast too! What fun!

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I am very disappointed. It doesn’t do what it says it does, and it doesn’t do it for the bargain price of £25.50. Eye watering is right. Back in the day, when I used pressed powder religiously, I used to be a big fan of the L’oreal true match one, and it is definitely vastly better-and much cheaper- than this one. If you are looking for a decent, buildable powder, I suggest you give the L’oreal one a go, and give Benefit a massively wide berth.

Once again, I find myself in the position of finding Benefit to be overpriced and under truthful. That aint a good mix. A small part of me blames myself; I didn’t take my time to check it out, just taking the brand on faith. A very stupid thing to do, really, given that I had already been burned once. Fool me once, shame on Benefit, but fool me twice…

Magazine Freebies Roundup: November 2014

After a few quiet months, UK magazines have finally got their act together and given us some decent freebies! As per usual, I’m starting with the least interesting.

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In Style: Murad Cleanser

A mini Murad cleanser from In Style this month. It’s a nice travel size, and it calls itself ‘luxury’ which is always good. Can’t speak for the brand, as I’ve never tried it, but it sounds decent enough! It describes itself as an AHA/BHA exfoliating cleanser, which in my opinion is a great thing; can’t get enough of those fruit exfoliants! It also calls itself ‘age reform’ though, and since I don’t quite feel old enough for age reform yet, that combined with my lack of affection for the magazine put me off buying it.

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 Cosmopolitan: Nip + Fab Body Cream

Can we take a second to appreciate the fact that Queen Taylor of Swift is on the cover? Looking particularly fabulous and wintery in purple, no less! Yes, I totally love Taylor. So should we all. End of.

Anyway, Cosmo are offering a Nip  + Fab ‘Slim Fix’ moisturiser, which describes itself as a  2 in one toning gel. Which is great, I guess, but I just don’t believe you can buy skinny in a tube. I don’t have to find out, either, as unfortunately I bought my copy at WHSmith before I spotted this freebie in Tesco. So If you fancy it, looks like it’s a Tesco exclusive!

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 Glamour: Nails Inc Nail Polish

This one I bought without hesitation, since I am A) a HUGE fan of Glamour (best mag ever) and B) a big Nails Inc fan. I chose a lovely dark purple shade, but there was also a warm, shimmery red, a maroon brown and a gold beige.

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 Elle: Benefit They’re Real Eyeliner

Reasons I haven’t bought this yet:

  • I don’t really care for Elle magazine
  • I was very disappointed by the “They’re Real” mascara
  • I have about 20 eyeliners already

Reasons I will probably go and buy it before the end of the month:

  • I kinda want to try out this new eyeliner, as it’s been getting great reviews.
  • £4, while expensive for a magazine, is a delightful price to pay for a handbag size Benefit eyeliner
  • I can’t resist a mini

So, whilst I imagine I will end up with this, I haven’t yet indulged. The reasons that it’s worth getting are undeniable, though, so do let me know if you go for it!

November Magazine Freebies Roundup

This month has been truly brilliant for freebies, with everything on offer coming from a fantastic brand. First up are the ones I didn’t buy!

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With Marie Claire this month you can get a free shower scrub by Rituals. Their stuff is always nice, so a great buy if you need a new shower gel and you fancy a free magazine!

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Rather excitingly, this month with Tatler magazine you can land a free clutch bag! It’s designed by Markus Lupfer, and is a snakeskin design in either orange or cream. I have sooo many bags, so I didn’t indulge, but boy was I tempted.

So onto the things I did buy, starting with Cosmopolitan, who were offering a free Orly nail polish.

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You could choose from 4 colours; bright red, gold, deep plum and nude. I already have the first three in spades, so I chose the nude. Can never have enough nudes!

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It was the first Orly nail polish I’d tried, and I was impressed. The formula was very light and smooth, and went on well. This is two coats;

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I really liked the shade as well, although honestly it’s so similar to a massive portion of my nail polish collection. Still, for a freebie I was a happy Cat!

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Now onto my favourite magazine, Glamour, who were this month offering a free Nails Inc polish, as designed by Kate Spade. Fabulous!

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Unfortunately, as with Cosmo I have pretty much all of the shades on offer; it was a choice of red, silver, gold and black, and since it’s a failsafe I went with Black.

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There’s not really a huge amount to say here. It’s Nails Inc, so it’s good. This is one coat;

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It’s a solid black, but not as good as the Essie one. Nothing ever could be! Another black to add to the collection!

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Definitely the most exciting giveaway this month was Elle, who were offering a Benefit lipgloss.

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You could choose from Coralista (a bright orangy red), Dandelion (a nude/pink) and Hoola (a beuge brown). Since the brown was the least offensive shade, I went with Hoola.

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Regular readers will know I’m really not a lipgloss fan, but I have to say Benefit have totally sold me on this. It’s soft, smooth and not at all sticky, with a lovely shiny finish.

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I honestly will consider buying this again when it’s used up, and I think that’s the first time I’ve said that about a lipgloss. Just goes to show that magazine freebies work!

So that’s everything I picked up this month. How about you? Let me know! x

Why I Love…..Bare Minerals Foundation

My favourite posts to do are the ones where I am just totally nuts about a product , especially one I’ve been using for long enough to have really developed a passion for it. By that ruling, this is gonna be my favourite post ever, as there is a good chance this is my favourite product ever . Actually, not just a chance, it definitely is; if I were only allowed one makeup product for the rest of my life, this would be it. This, my friends, is The World’s Greatest Foundation©.

Throughout my life I’ve swung through phases of having great skin and not so great skin, seemingly at random, and during a not so great time about 3 years ago I came across this foundation on a Google search. I think someone had responded to a yahoo answers question enquiring as to a good foundation by mentioning Bare Minerals, and I had never heard of them. A quick search later and I was intrigued, but not sold. Like I said, I needed good coverage, and I wasn’t sure that powder could provide that. Back then I was still clueless about mineral foundation, and all the experience I had was pressed powder or loose powder- neither of which provided the coverage I needed. Still, I was interested enough to know more, and that weekend I wandered around Debenhams beauty hall checking out everything on my list.

I had pretty much decided I wanted a MAC foundation, and only headed over to the Bare Minerals counter because I happened to spot it and figured, why not? Words will never describe how glad I am that I did. I explained my doubts to the super friendly sales woman (to this day the nicest staff member I have ever dealt with) and she immediately ran me through the sales pitch.

Despite what I had thought, Bare Minerals are nothing like other powders. They are a mineral  based creamy powder which is actually good for your skin- a foundation you can literally sleep in. I was liking the idea of a foundation being good for you, but still dubious on the coverage level- until she put it on me. Just wow. Straight away I knew this was like no powder I had even seen before. For a start, the texture is not that of a powder at all- once you start applying it  you can feel how different it is, slightly balmy, and with the ability to really sink into your skin.

In order to use it you have to empty a small amount into the lid and then swirl your brush in it. I have used a few kabuki brushes to do this, but the one I’ve landed on is the buffer brush by Real Techniques. This brush is literally amazing- it can turn my pressed powder into a foundation- and when combined with Bare Minerals leaves you looking nothing less than perfect. So if you can, I highly recommend getting the buffer brush- mine came with the core collection set, priced at £21.99, and all of the brushes are great so you won’t regret it.

Once you’ve loaded the brush with powder you then apply it in circular buffing motions. Feel free to take your time over this, really sink it into your skin, and press firmly but not hard enough to splay the bristles. This will again help it to get right into your skin. This foundation really gets into every crevice, which is the reason for the great finish but can also make your pores look a little enlarged. As a result, I would highly recommend using a primer. I swear by Porefessional by Benefit, £23.50, but there are plenty of good ones for less cash, so make sure you get one; with a primer, this will make your skin utterly seamless, not a pore in sight.

The coverage of this powder is so great that it will eliminate any little marks, but it is also capable of doing on point spot coverage if need be. In order to do this I actually use the smokey eye brush from Boots No7 range.

This brush is small, pointed and thick with dense, solid bristles- perfect for applying a little dot of powder in a precise manner and blending it perfectly. Just dab a little on the end, tap off the excess and swirl it over the mark to see it magically vanish.

You really have to try it to believe it. In a matter of seconds my skin went from slightly blotchy and uneven to flawless, perfect and the best it has ever been. I was speechless. I picked up my first tub right there and never looked back, and even now every time I use this product I’m struck with how great it is. It’s £24, so not cheap, but it lasts for ages and it’s completely worth the cost. I’m so ingratiated into it now that using a cream foundation- which I do every now and again- feels sick and wrong, and my skin feels clogged and horrible.

Not so with Bare Minerals. It’s light and magical, and makes your skin look like it’s been airbrushed. If you take a look at the picture below, you can see what I mean!

I mentioned before the spot- hiding prowess of this stuff, and you can see here that the unsightly red marks on my face completely vanish. This is a particularly good comparison shot, as I had just washed my face so it was pinker than usual- the perfect demonstration of just how good this foundation is. 100% no photoshop of any kind- just Bare Minerals! I seriously don’t think I can express how much you need to get this stuff.

Another great thing about this range is the huge range of shades. I have very pale skin, and even the palest shades in most ranges are too orange for me, but I use the lightest in this range and it’s perfect- you’ll definitely be able to find the shade for you!

I know I’ve given you a big list of things here; primer, foundation and 2 brushes, but trust me when I say it’s worth it; that picture doesnt really do justice to this stuff, or give an impression of how weightless and ‘make-up free’ you’ll actually look in real life. A great base is the most important starting point for cosmetics, no matter how much you may love statement lips or eyes, and with these four items you’ll never want for good skin again. I use the fairest shade, being super pale and ginger, but there are so many shades that you’re bound to find the one for you. At the very least, make sure you swing by to your nearest Bare Minerals counter and get them to give you a demonstration- seeing is believing…

*UPDATE: 29/11/13*

Just wanted to add a little note; posted a before/after selfie of myself today, here> https://twitter.com/CathyATBAB/status/406362968268349440/photo/1

1 year on and Bare Minerals is still amazing!! ♥

Benefit: ‘They’re Real’ Mascara Review

I’m a total mascara junkie, and in the back of my mind have always had a list of mascaras I need to try. Not surprisingly, this total cult product from Benefit has always been number one. Ever since this mascara and it’s very convincing advertising campaign were launched, I’ve been wanting to try it- it’s been on my Lust List since I started it- but I haven’t for two reasons; the fact that I have a thousand other mascaras to use up and the £18.50 price tag. My resolve was lost, however, when by chance I spotted a miniature version in Boots yesterday. My lust for this product combined with a love for mini’s in general AND the lower price tag meant there was no way I was leaving without it.

 

The first thing that surprised me about this mascara was the brush. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it was a typical rubber bristle brush, only with the added weirdness of a ball on the end to catch little lashes. I don’t know if someone has told the cosmetic industry that everyone loves these circular brushes, and maybe they do, but I really don’t, so that threw me a little.

The second thing that surprised me was how much of an anti climax it was. I’d been expecting great things, amazing things, and I got….. normal things. It’s a perfectly fine mascara. Good, even. But in my opinion it is not worth the hefty price tag, no siree.

I’m struggling to grasp what everyone loves about this mascara, since I can name at least ten off the top of my head that are far superior. I want my mascara to volumise and lengthen whilst still looking subtle, and whilst this did make them darker and thicker it did not lengthen them excessively, and there was definite ‘spider’ action here and there. Sigh.

As it turned out, the thing I liked best about this was the teeny tiny sweetness of it, which wouldn’t even be the case if I had bought the full size! Since it was only £9.50 for this size I’m glad I tried it and satisfied my curiosity, but I won’t be repurchasing. I’ve tried another Benefit mascara, Bad Gal Lash, and I totally prefer it, so if you’re looking to invest in a Benefit mascara that’s the one to go for- I really didn’t feel the love for this one. Nothing for than a lukewarm ‘like’ from me, I’m afraid.

 

Magazine Freebies Roundup: November 2012

Like any good fashion and beauty lover I buy pretty much every magazine going. I tend to download them onto my iPad, as it’s more convenient for creating my ‘lust list’- screen shots are much easier to manage than torn out scraps of paper! Despite this, I can never resist a freebie, and as a result I only download the newest issue once I’ve checked in store if there’s a free gift with the paper copy.  By that ruling, this month looks set to be quiet on the iPad front as pretty much every magazine out there is offering a freebie! Here’s my stash of everything you can land this month:

Lots of gorgeous beauty goodness! My personal favourite is probably the hand cream that came with this month’s Marie Claire, which had the added bonus of Taylor Swift being on the cover (LOVE her). The cream is a perfectly handbag sized 30ml tube from L’Occitane and you can choose from one of three scents. Being a fruity floral girl at heart I went for Mango flower, and I just adore it; it’s fresh and sweet, pretty similar to The Body Shop’s mango body butter, and makes your hands soooo soft. I used to use a Soap and Glory hand cream, but I think I might have been converted!

Cosmopolitan were offering a missguided lipgloss in one of three shades; a dark purple, light pink or a nude cream colour. I went with the pink and didn’t get on with it at all- the packaging felt cheap and the gloss was really sticky, with no discernible shade at all. Maybe I’m biased as I’m not a big fan of gloss, but this is just not my product.  (You also get a free tube of Oral B’s new 3D white toothpaste, if anyone’s interested! I’m intrigued to see if it works, and as a result am happier with it than the lipgloss!)

In Style had arguably the best gift- a 4ml trial size of one of three of Benefit’s most popular highlighters and stains. You can choose from Cha Cha Tint, a bright mango orange lip and cheek stain, Sun Beam, a pale gold highlighter, or the classic Bene Tint dark red/pink cheek and lip stain. I have Bene Tint already (don’t we all!) and I’m far too fair to pull of mango orange, so I landed on Sun Beam, a gorgeous, light gold highlighter. I’m a recent convert into bronzing and trying to ease myself in, so this very pale, subtle highlighter is perfect and I’m really psyched to give it a proper try.

So that’s this month’s freebie round up! A choice of three in each case, let me know which combinations you choose!