My Benefit stash- hits and misses

My journey with Benefit started in 2007 with just one product – BENETINT.

this photograph does not belong to me
this photograph does not belong to me

I wasn’t aware of the Benefit hype and only bought Benetint because a fashion/makeover show referenced it. I enjoyed it. Initially it was a bit hit and miss as stains go. Drying a bit too quick to an uneven tint. But technique, speed and trial & error, as we know, is key with stains. For the next few years Benetint was my only Benefit purchase till 2012 Christmas when my mother-in-law presented me with this Sampler set. benefit

This opened up the world of Benefit cosmetics for me. I didn’t know what half of these samples were supposed to do. 

Porefessional ? I have pores ? Stay Dont Stray ? what ? where ? That Gal, well that one. It continues to baffle me.

But I wanted to put them on my face. I wanted to use them. My dormant, makeup obsessed beast opened one eye and stretched.

I went on a ‘all engines go’ search on the net.

I discovered beauty vloggers, makeupalley.com, Paula Begoun and ofcourse Benefit cosmetic’s own delectable site ! I not only learnt what these samples were for, I learn’t about contouring, and concealing ,and ‘dewy’ makeup, and primers and much much more ! More products I could spend my money on. But makeup is trial and error too. I didn’t wait for that part of my education. I learnt the names and off I went to the Benefit counter in Sogo and bought Boing and Some Kind a Gorgeous in deep. A mistake ! Hong Kong MA at these counters are either untrained or dont know how to advise someone with a different skintone !

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She sold Boi-ing to me as an under-eye concealer. Its NOT. Its too dry for the under eye and it creases, ofcourse. Why on earth she didn’t push Erase Paste I will never know. Same with Some kinda Gorgeous. It not the perfect contour colour for me. Its darker than my skintone yes, but sits orange. She could have advised Hoola, but no. Hoola that came with my Sample set is the perfect contour for me !  It might be a bit muddy for some but I love it as a contour shade. I don’t use it as a bronzer because it IS muddy and has no shimmer. So it will dull your skin rather than warm it to a healthy sunkissed look.  IMGP2250 The other thing I discovered in my sample set and fell in love with was Cha Cha tint.The best ever colour for my NC40 skintone, but what a pain to apply. Its not simple like Benetint(!) and a ‘cat whisker’ application is not your best bet. Rather smear and smear. That would be your best technique. (my own application details in another post)

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The Bad Gal mascara in that same set, is sexy. You get big fat black lashes. Bad girl it is because it is more night than day, unless ofcourse you are a bad bad girl. I am impressed ! Benefit was now a contender in my ‘good’ mascara arena, atleast in my Chanel-mascara hallowed world.   Sunbeam was one of the highlighters in the set. I know people love Sunbeam,  but to me it was meh !I wont be re-purchasing it once the sample is done. I went and bought this one instead.

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Girl Meets Pearl . Nice champange shimmer and not disco ball glitter. Great as a highlighter and  sometimes apply it all over my face as an all over glow. NB: I would have repurchased this but since then I have discovered MAC’s strobe cream and also read rave reviews of Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector  so it’s safe to assume I will jump ship and move to Mac or Becca once I am done with this. Porefessional is GREAT. Those with large pores to hide would love this. I don’t have such a massive problem with pores so might not invest on this once I am done with the sample. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZ9FfZodB9k and Melissa Raymond’s Primers review are good sources for more info on this) The jury’s out on Stay Dont Stray and That Gal. I HATED them and for months they lay un-used in my vanity pouch. But I hate throwing makeup, so I am giving them another chance to see if they deliver what they are supposed to. I wonder if they might work on paler skintones and probably not designed to suit an NC42 (Indian skintone) like mine. Anyway will give them another chance. Oo La Lift ? does ZILCH. Doesn’t lift my tired eyes, anywhere. IMGP2231 This little bugger will sit in my vanity pouch till it goes bad and then I will throw it away. The sampler kit also comes with an eye cream.  WHATEVA. Spend your cash  on Clinique instead. nuff said.

But the Benefit bug had well and truly bitten me so I decided to extend my sampling a little more and acquired these two beauties. IMGP2354

Right now its safe to say I am having fun with my Benefit stash. But what’s my verdict ?

IMGP2356 Benefit mascara- HIT and would probably re-purchase, but I must finish the masacaras I currently own. 3 Benefit (all 3 gifts from MIL) 2 Chanels, 2 Arcancils, 1 Dior and 1 I Nouvi. Their powder blushes are OK. But it’s me. With my advancing years I am now veering to cream and stain formulations rather than powder. I haven’t tried all their Powders and wont be, but Bella Bamba was a sample and I like it. It has a subtle shimmer. I like shimmer ! If price point is not a consideration for a shimmer powder blush I would buy Bobbi Brown. The Coralista powder blush is a MISS. Hoola – HIT Cha Cha Tint – HIT Benetint – HIT Benefit eye shadows– HIT I got to sample just 3 in the Cobana Glama kit. If I were to purchase a eye shadow palette I would give Benefit another try , definitely ! The one thing I did absolutely adore was their Hello Flawless Foundation. I like it as much as Mac’s Face and Body ! I love the way it sits on my face, the way TOASTED matches my skintone perfectly and the way it feels- just like skin. HIT In short, Benefit cosmetics attracts people with their clever marketing and sassy packaging. Its like buying a piece of FUN ! For the what the products end up delivering. they are priced too high and should be ranged to mid range like a Soap and Glory or No.7. Maybelline is a close and respected contender here and if you like Maybelline then dont bother. Other than the FUN aspect of Benefit you aint missing much.

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The Kindle and death of (my) good taste

Accessibility and abundance must have a detrimental effect on good taste and good sense 

We no longer care what we buy/eat/choose/read. It’s easy and there is so much of it.

We don’t think ‘is this even worth it ?’ because the mere effort of weighing that decision is more trouble than the actual purchasing.

Shoes, makeup, t-shirts, toiletries, snacks, cds, dvds all part of this mindless acquisition.

The latest culprit to add to my mindless purchasing and bad taste is my Kindle. While the Kindle is relatively new in my life, the habit of reading is not.

As my intellectual mother’s first born I was deemed for perfection and over acheivement.

My earliest memory of my play area was a mural of Animal Alphabets (in a jungle) painted by my mother and being surrounded by books and educational toys, but mainly books. My mother requested books as birthday presents too.

From the traditional bedtime fairtytales I was introduced to classics by my mother.

Kidnapped (oh my god so dull!) , Treasure Island (never finished it) , A Christmas Carol, Jane Eyre (oo the romance), Little Women (my favourite. How I cried when Beth died).

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By then the love for reading was in. Once in school, I discovered the whole enchanting world of Enid Blyton and the Nancy Drew series. And then  when I was 16, disaster struck !

CapturedofficialRomance paperbacks. In that school year I must have read every single Mills and Boon and Harlequin romance that was published since 1974 !

From those that ended with the first and only kiss in the last chapter right up to the boldest ones where ” her body was a firework of emotion and every nerve took her to that final burst of fulfillment that he brought her to” 

My mother had no idea, I am not sure what the consequences of that discovery would be and I rather not speculate. My mother was rather prudish in that area of my education!

Thankfully that addiction passed and soon I went on to what I call a ‘100% Oprah‘ phase. Not her book club, but rather, I was all about self help and self discovery.

Anatomy of the Spirit, Honoring Menstruation, Angel Readings of Doreen Virtue, Deepak Chopra, Louise Hays and books on Yoga.

If I needed to read fiction I had to be sensible. There were too many books and I had to be efficient with my choices. So I would only read “good” books.

I would buy only those  that were awarded. Whitbread, Man Booker, Pultizer, Nobel Prize and the like. Books I wanted to keep on my shelf and were the effort of lugging it to and from work. 

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Years and years of great reads. My mind was expanding and I was having fun. And then the Kindle entered my life.

I LOVE MY KINDLE. I prefer it over my backlit iPad. More soothing for the eye.

Oh Kindle I love YOU  !

I was a paper lover one day, next day ,a screen lover. Just like that. Whats all this about ‘there is something about turning pages and the smell of paper’ , Twaddle!

Reading and turning pages with ONE HAND how can you beat that ? And no shoulder pain from carrying around a heavy book.

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Initially I was sensible with my purchases and made the decisions just like I would as if buying a paper back. Reading only prize winning books.

And then….appeared 50 SHADES OF GREY into everyone’s horizon.

As a book I would never bother. Terrible reviews coupled with occupying shelf space, plus me having to lug it around while I read on the go AND hide the title from people.

Too much trouble.

But on the kindle a whole different story, anonymity and ease.

Of purchase and reading. Best and best.

Don’t you love how ‘Whispernet’ grants you the book like a genie ? Even before you re-think your poor choice it’s appeared in your menu. And then you think ‘ah well its here, might as well’.

How anyone with a basic knowledge of English language, grammar and general common sense write such a terrible book I will never know but it triggered something.

I found pages of Kindle that were hidden from me before this. Pages and pages of erotica (I learnt my lesson with 50, so not going there) but also Free books !

Free books that were not Classics or public domain. Rather modern literature that was free ! They came with ratings of 5+ too.

Again ‘occupying shelf space, lugging a book and being constantly reminded of my silly decision’ was absent with a Kindle.

Its like your purchase never happened unless you turned your menu on !

And I started on this reading of these free books. There were OK, but my whole resistance to only buying and reading GOOD books was gone!

I was reading mediocre books. From that I moved to those less than 5 dollars. After all that’s like almost free. 5 dollars and with a 5+ rating. bargain…not

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Writing is awful. The plot is thin, the language weak, the dialogue is like a pre-teen essay  and the sex-romance scenes are laughable.

It’s time for me to learn my lesson.

But with repeat downloads of such rubbish I am not sure ?

But hope to God I am !

Look at all my good books lying, neglected, unread …

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The Humble Sponge

IMGP1983 IMGP1984 Beauty Gurus, vloggers and bloggers will all extol the virtues of the RIGHT makeup tools to give you the finish you need. Basically the right brush !

While I agree , its not the be all and end all of makeup application.

What I do agree with is if you want to buy a brush dont buy cheap ones.

Cheap ones (see below) have the SHAPE but don’t meet the function. Too hard, not fluffy enough, too fat, frayed hairs, shedding etc etc.

The flip side of that is the expensive brushes don’t always satisfy their functionality, and while rare its also a case of trial and error between one big name brand versus another.

We of course have our fingers. Anything  that requires an all over face application; foundation, tinted moisturisers, BB creams, even cream blushes and cheek stains, your fingers are a good ally.

However fingers are not so good for the  inner-eye concealer application or anything that needs a more precise application. While you cant fault a brush for applying and blending lip and eye makeup, lets not forget the makeup sponge for everything else.

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That old fashioned method before stipling brushes , foundation brushes , buffing brushes and concealer brushes came into our focus and distracted us.

Spray on a little bit of water, dab dab dab and smoothen your foundation and concealer to lovely non cakey finish.

The narrow edge of a damp sponge is great for concealers too. Gentler than your ring finger and precise. A damp sponge also helps with cream blushes. A natural flush like finish !

A damn sponge is awesome especially over the winter months when the skin is dry and you don’t want to buff things on with a brush. Dab. If you need to swipe, then use the narrow edge in a light feathery motion.

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I admit I don’t own the hallowed Beauty Blender. And I believe the BB has an effect that is enchanting and airbrushed. The internet is all ablaze with the Beauty Blender.

I however don’t feel the need to order it off Amazon. My humble generic makeup sponge is doing such a great job. Granted I have a normal to combination skin and use water based products.

Give it a try and let me know how it worked for you.

(checkout gossmakeupartist and Lisa Eldridge on Youtube for their take on Sponges)

My Pet Peeve…. (or Packing)

My pet peeve is PACKING. Other people’s lack of organisation that is !

People will ask “Why does it bother you so much ?” “how does it affect you ?” “its their life!”

Ya Ya I know all that, but that’s what a Peeve is. An irritant that is illogical.

Mine is when people tell me, or even if I over hear it : “I am leaving tonight….(or tomorrow)  and I haven’t packed

It’s rarely a ‘HAHAHAHA I haven’t packed and I dont give a s***’. It usually said with either mild panic in the tone or worse, a half-apologetic tone.

WHY ??? why haven’t you packed ? Was it a surprise trip ?  A sudden business trip ? An emergency ?

Other than that, its sheer incompetence.

Especially if it’s a holiday, You planned it you so you would know your dates, so why this last minute non-packing situation ? Also you didn’t have to come out drinking/to the movies/gym 12 hours before your flight ? Stay home and pack.

I used to pack 2 weeks in advance.

Lists made, calenders referred to, outfits and dates matched, underwear for each day then multiplied by 2, flight clothes IN and flight clothes OUT, call Hotels/host to check for hair dryers, if I am planning to meet other human beings then I usually take my Flat Iron, 3-4 shoes max.

I admit 2 weeks in advance is inefficient. Because I would usually spend the night before pulling everything out because I have forgotten what I put inside. So now I do it a weekend before and am most definitely, and efficiently,packed, 24 hours before my flight.

Last things in are phone chargers and toiletries.

Packing stresses me out. I don’t over-pack, prefer not to have carry on baggage and hate a heavy suitcase.

So I spend days, re-calibrating my packing decisions.

Items that can double up, economising on shoes, evaluating the kind of people I am going to meet. If I don’t know them I don’t pack my flat iron or hair dryer. They can see my Ronald McDonald frizzy hair I dont care !

Permutation & Combinations of thoughts and what-ifs. What if I get my period ? what if it hurts ? what if its very painful ?

Work -Holidays are bad.  Work clothes, work shoes, weekend clothes, weekend shoes. Work makeup. Weekend look. I need them ALL right till the last min.

But packing for Cold places is the WORST. I can never decided HOW many warm clothes will be enough ! What if I am colder than this ? what is my toes are cold ? what if the outside is really cold but the inside is really warm ? Are the evenings chilly or cold ? how many layers below my woollen coat ?

Loads of meltdowns later, I am packed.

If I can do it, surely you can ? You, who are so carefree and angst free. Pack in time and save me this one less stress of getting peeved.