I am, for want of a better word, a bit of a tart when it comes to makeup products. Loyal to none, I flutter from one lusciously wrapped package to another, ever hopeful of finding the perfect mascara, lipstick, eyeshadow, *insert random product of your choice here*.
Even if I discover a product that knocks my socks off, I tend to still be drawn to its competitors. What can I say; the eyeliner is always blacker on the the other side of the beauty counter.
It used to be a bit of a problem – some women collect handbags, I collected lip liners. But after digging deep and realising that my makeup obsession was actually a result of my younger self being determined to ‘hide’ behind a ‘mask’ of makeup, I decided to give my makeup cupboard (yes, I had a whole, very large cupboard stuffed with products), a bit of a detox. I also banned myself from buying anymore products that I didn’t really, truly need until I had emptied every last scrape from every last tube.
This exercise in makeup deprivation made me realise two things:
1) I actually wear makeup less frequently than I used to. There was a time when I wouldn’t leave the house, or answer the door without a full face of makeup. Seriously, I have talked to the postman through the letterbox on more than one occasion. Over the years, with a fair amount of self help and soul searching, I have began to love myself. Not in a ‘I-am-so-great-look-at-me-everybody’ way, but I now appreciate the person I am and the gifts that I have to offer.
With this newfound self appreciation comes confidence, and with confidence comes ability – for me it is the ability to not live in fear of what people think of me and the way I look. Which in turn gives me the freedom to leave the house fresh-faced and makeup free. Well, makeup free at least 🙂
2) Wearing makeup is less time consuming. I used to stare at my makeup collection for eons before my face even saw a primer – I was simply overloaded with choice. A bit like trying to choose stock cubes in Tesco; confusing! I now know the products that work for me, so applying my makeup is a synch as far as choice is concerned. Of course, I still like to experiment and, now that my makeup obsession is under control, I allow myself to.
Despite my magpie-like approach to makeup, there are some products that I keep repurchasing again and again. Having mature skin brings its own problems, and not all products are suitable. Sorting through my makeup bag the other day, I was actually surprised at how many of my goto products that work and are great for mature skin are from Benefit. So I thought I’d share with you 5 Benefit products that I use regularly, and why I use them:
One of the main ingredients of this somewhat iconic primer is silicone – which had me more that a tad worried. I have had a couple of bad experiences with silicone, so to say I was wary is an understatement! Being a sensible lass and more than a little scrooge like, before shelling out my hard-earned cash I gave POREfessional a trial run. By smearing some tester product in the crook of my arm and behind my ear and leaving it overnight, I could rest assured that I would not morph into Freddy Kruger on application.
Being a bit of a germaphobe, I’m not a huge fan of testers. I certainly wouldn’t want any product that’s been mangled and mauled by the general public anywhere near my face! After a quick word with the Benefit consultant, I was allowed to open a brand new product for my trial – yay.
On first application I wasn’t really blown away by the results. Sure it made my skin feel silky soft, went on really easily and a little goes a long way – but I couldn’t see a huge difference to my pores or fine lines. However, it was when I applied foundation that this product really shone for me. My foundation slipped on as easy as pie! My skin texture looked more even, and my pores did look slightly less noticeable.
Verdict: If you’re looking for a wonder product to magically shrink your pores, you may be disappointed. If you’re looking for a great primer that helps diminish pores, albeit in a small way, you’ll love this. I’ve been using it now for two years; it’s my primer of choice.
This was purchased after recommendation by a Benefit consultant. I had actually intended to buy Benefit’s Lemon Aid, a colour correcting eyelid primer that I had been using for a few years. I have some discolouration to my upper lids, so my aim when applying the primer wasn’t necessarily to make my eyeshadow last longer; it was more to hide the imperfections in order to wear less eyeshadow. Lemon Aid had always worked well for me, but after listening to the consultant list the qualities of Stay Don’t Stray, I decided to give a go.
Stay Don’t Stray punts itself as a 360 degree primer. In other words, it can be used both above and below the eye. It claims to keep eyeshadow vibrant, and allows concealer to last longer without creasing. Was it a winner? Again it’s all according to your expectations. I find that it sat in the fine lines around my eyes, but as an alternative to Lemon Aid it was perfect!
It was easier to apply than Lemon Aid, lasted longer and (unlike Lemon Aid) application is via a wand or pump – you don’t have to dab your fingers into the product itself in order to apply.
Verdict: Stay Don’t Stray covers all discolouration on my upper lids, so much so that I sometimes wear it alone. This fact alone makes it the eye primer for me. Add to that the fact that my eyeshadow lasts all day without creasing and I’m sold.
Again this was purchased after a Benefit consultation. I was after a product that I could mix with my foundation in order to achieve a more dewy, luminescent glow. I have tried countless light-reflecting foundations and have always found them too ‘sparkly’. In fact, I was sick of hearing Mr Chic tell me that I had glitter on my face.
I now mix three products to achieve my desired look: Girl Meets Pearl, No 7 Protect And Perfect BB Sun Screen (factor 50) and Liz Earle Sheer Skin Tint. It sounds a bit of a faff but, once you get the hang of the amounts to use, it’s takes no time at all.
Verdict: I have used this both as a ‘mixer’ and a highlighter. I do find that the amount that is delivered by one pump is perfect for mixing, but more than sufficient for use as a highlighter. I actually find it too much – but I am by no means a highlighter aficionado.
4. Watts Up
I am not, as previously stated, brilliant at applying highlighter. I need something that is easy to apply, doesn’t sparkle and has some yellow in its tone. Due to my Italian heritage, my skin has more than a hint of mediterranean colouring. Now if you like to tan (without sunscreen I get a tan line in less than two minutes) this colouring is perfect. If you don’t (and you shouldn’t), it can have a somewhat shallowness about it. I call it Simpson-esque 🙂
Hence the need for a highlighter with a yellow tone – anything too peachy stands out like a sore thumb.
Watt’s Up is foolproof to use, has a great texture and lasts pretty much all day without reapplication. The only thing that didn’t work for me was the attached blending pad. The pad itself was fine, but you can’t remove it for cleaning, which made it unusable after a week or so.
Verdict: Watt’s Up certainly ticks all my rather fussy highlighter boxes. The formula goes on like a dream, blends easily and turns to a powdery finish. I have quite a few highlighters, but I always return to this one,.
After being persuaded by a friend to give Browzing a go, I cannot believe I steered clear of brow shaping kits for so long. I was always afraid I’d end up looking like Groucho Marx, and at first I did look kind of scary of brow! It takes a bit of practice but, once you master the art, you will never go naked in the brow department again – you have been warned.
There are two sections within this compact: one wax and one powder. The idea is to dip a brush into the wax, shape your brows then add the powder on top to fill and finish. I find that, for the majority of my brows, the wax is sufficient. My brows are not particularly sparse, so I simply fill in where needed. A little of this product goes an extremely long way, so a light touch is the way forward. The best advice I can give is to experiment.
Verdict: Apart from clear eyebrow gel, this it the only eyebrow product I have used. It would therefore be unfair to say it is my eyebrow product of choice. However, it will take a lot of beating!
There you have it; the 5 Benefit products I use regularly and why I love them. I hope you find it useful. If you have any makeup recommendations, or just want to say hi – hit the comments section.