The Complete Benefits Cosmetics Review

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Ooh this is gonna be a fun one! Benefit is a super light hearted cosmetic company that believes “laughter is the best cosmetic”. With ridiculous product names like “They’re Real!” and “The PORE-fessional”, their whole cosmetic line reflects the attitude that makeup should be entertaining and fun.

Probably the craziest thing I’ve ever seen from Benefit was a holiday special kit that came packaged inside a plastic doll, and seeing this from the company didn’t surprise me one bit, it made perfect sense for them. Anyways, let me tell you a little bit about their story, which is just as quirky as their stores.

History And Background Of Benefit Cosmetics

Benefit cosmetics was founded in 1976 by twin sisters Jean and Jane Ford. I know Jean and Jane sound like nursery rhyme characters, but I promise I’m not making them up. So in 1976, after a successful modeling campaign for Calgon bath products, the sisters quit modeling and decided to invest their modeling earnings into a business. Their two loves and strengths were cosmetics and casseroles, and the flip of a coin on a San Francisco street corner made the decision for them, telling them to go into cosmetics (I’m not making that part up either I promise).

Shortly after the lucky coin landed, the Ford twins opened up The Face Place in San Francisco, and since then that coin toss has only been proving luckier and luckier. I’m not sure what the average casserole cafe brings in, but it’s probably not close to the 500 million dollar cosmetic company the twins now have.

The Face Place was a makeup shop that specialized in providing quick fixes and solutions to specific beauty dilemmas for the average woman. Over the next 15 years they developed many quirky and innovative products that gained them enough popularity to launch their own full product catalog in 1990. Shortly after, they renamed the company Benefit Cosmetics and started making their way into mainstream department stores.

Today, Benefit Cosmetics if owned by the legendary LVMH, and is sold in over 2,000 locations in 45 different countries. They also have over 1,400 “Brow Bars”, which are fun and girly makeup counters that specialize in absolutely perfect eyebrows.

Benefit Cosmetics Products Overview

Benefit Cosmetics products.

Benefit Cosmetics products.

Benefit is sort of like any other cosmetic company, they have a full range of lipsticks, mascaras, eyeshadows, foundations, and blushes, as well as accessories and makeup bags – anything you would expect from a normal makeup brand. But since benefit is not quite normal, they of course have a whole range of whimsical specialty products, which is what they are known for.

Benefit creates products for regular girls and regular girl problems, so they have best selling products like The PORE-fessional, which is designed to minimize the appearance of large pores, Erase Paste, which is a fun take on a concealer, and the award winning Goof Proof Eyebrow Pencil, a super easy to use pencil for filling and shaping eyebrows with no talent necessary.

Benefit also never fails to deliver on their girly vintage looking packaging, which often feature comic-book style female superheroes or dolls modeling their looks.

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Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Collection Review

Benefit Cosmetics Hoola collection products.

Benefit Cosmetics Hoola collection.

The Benefit Hoola Collection is an assortment of bronzers aimed at helping girls with super pasty skin get some natural color. For your average girl it’s not too much of a challenge, but for the whitest of the white, it’s hard to find a bronzer that doesn’t look like they just drew with some brown marker on their face, or something that won’t look like they came straight out of snow white and decided that instead of looking tan they would prefer to look orange.

The original Hoola Matte Bronzing Powder has been a bestselling bronzer in america for 16 years, giving the perfect natural color to even the fairest of skin.

Recently, they added several new products to the Hoola Collection, like the Hoola Zero Tanlines Body Bronzer, “the believable allover body bronzer”, for girls who want to tan but don’t want skin cancer and wrinkles, or girls who go straight from being white to burnt. They also have a Dew The Hoola liquid face bronzer, the Hoola Quickie Contour Stick, and a few other bronzing options, all of which would be approved even by the elves as the best bronzers for fair skin.

Benefit Cosmetics Watt’s Up Highlighter Review

(Changed this from justs “Benefit Highlighter” since they have too many diverse kinds of highlighters to cover in a few sentences, this one seems to be the most popular.)

Benefit Watt's Up Highlighter product.

The Benefit Watt’s Up Highlighter gives your face few extra “watts” of glow. I told you their names were ridiculous, didn’t I? But this is really a wonderful highlighter, it goes on with a cream stick from one end of the tube, and on the other end features a little sponge to blend it in. It’s a pretty natural glow, although it does add a little bit of gold to it.

With that being said, this can be used for anything from highlighting extra light skin to giving some healthy life to extra dark skin, and can go on plain or over makeup. I have found the best results tend to come when applied at least over a foundation, due to the creamy but powdery texture. It does come with a sponge, although you may want to scratch that and just use your fingers.

Benefit Cosmetics High Beam Review

Benefit Cosmetics High Beam highlighter product next to woman.

Benefit Cosmetics High Beam.

Benefit does have a nice selection of incredible highlighters in different styles and forms, but the other most popular highlighter along with the Watt’s Up is definitely the High Beam. Benefit Cosmetics High Beam has a liquid-cream texture that is perfect for giving a little extra pink pop to your cheekbones and brow bones.

A little goes a long way with this one, so you don’t need to apply a whole streak, just a few dots to the places where the light naturally hits your face, and then pat it in gently with your ring finger.

Some people report this not blending well, but that’s probably just because they are applying over a powder makeup or foundation, which doesn’t blend well with this cream. So make sure that you use liquid or cream makeup with this highlighter, and apply sparingly.

Of course it is called High Beam, so if you’re going out tonight and want to look like you’re walking around with your brights on, be my guest! I’m sure benefit would applaud your attitude and courageousness!

Benefit Cosmetics Brow Bar Review

Benefit Cosmetics brow bar in department store.

Benefit Cosmetics brow bar.

The Benefit Brow Bar is where girls in-the-know get brows on-the-go. No of course I didn’t make that up, that what the “namers” at Benefit say about them. I actually read somewhere that before a new product is launched, the executives at Benefit spend a week eating candy together and throwing around names until they decide on a unanimous name and slogan. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if that was actually true.

Anyways, a Brow Bar is a makeup counter where extra perky Benefit specialists will tweeze, wax, thread, tint, love, or do whatever your eyebrows need to make them look fabulous. You can find them in Macy’s, Ulta, and many other boutique shops. This little Benefit service shows their commitment to the values of the original Face Place, and they specialize in helping girls with thick, sparse, or shapeless brows, walk out of there feeling like movie stars.

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Is Benefit Cosmetics Cruelty Free?

Although Benefit’s fun-loving carefree vibe makes people assume that they are obviously cruelty free, this is not quite the case. While the company does not test their new products on animals, neither in the development stages nor before going out to market, they do test on animals in countries where it is required by law.

Currently, one of the only countries still requiring this is China, where foreign products must be tested on animals before being approved for the Chinese market. Since Sephora in China sells Benefit, that means that Benefit does test products on animals to be allowed into the Chinese market.

While they do support the Fund for Alternatives to Animal Testing, it seems to me that if they really cared about animal testing, they would simply not sell in China, instead of just supporting an organization that is fighting it. There has been some progress on changing the laws in China, so we will see what happens in the future. For now though, Benefit does indeed test a small number of products on animals.


Benefit is a truly unique brand. They have created a quirky and wonderful cult-like following of girls who don’t look like barbies and don’t want to. Focused on giving real girls makeup for real needs, they’ve filled a glaring void in the cosmetic company. Benefit is also doing an amazing job at helping girls take makeup a little less seriously, while prioritizing smiles!

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