Over the years, Benefit has put out some products that have quickly become cult-faves and it’s not hard to figure out why; apart from a universal appeal and the fact that they deliver, there’s also that retro-cute factor that’s pretty much irresistible. The brand’s Hoola range has just received new additions, while sunny Cali was the inspiration behind a new blush shade. Speaking of blush, there’s even a entire posse of them on parade in a palette. And who knew that dandelions can twinkle?
Cheek Parade Beauty & The Beat Blush Kit, limited edition (CAN $78.00) | A face palette that comes in sturdy cardboard casing with a vintage-y marching band image on the cover plus a magnetic closure for security & one brush, there are 5 full-sized cheek products inside — with 2 of them brand new to the lineup.
- Hoola – (made in the US) medium tan bronzer, matte
- Galifornia – (made in Italy) golden pink/peach blush
- Rockateur – (made in Italy) rosewood with fine shimmer
- Hoola Lite – (made in the US) ultra pale tan bronzer, matte
- Dandelion – (made in the US) baby pink blush, satin finish
First of all, at CAN $78.00 this palette is a veritable steal; to buy each product individually would set you back CAN $190.00 (or CAN $15.60 per product in this palette) – and bear in mind that they’re all full-sized. There’s a good mix of shades too, enough that will not only suit a fairly broad range of skin tones but are useful in creating a variety of looks. These powders are all fine-milled and while you will see some kickback when swirling your brush through them, it doesn’t translate as fall down during application. Another thing to note is that all are scented, although that appears to dissipate fairly quickly once applied.
GALifornia (CAN $38.00, made in Italy) | Channeling California’s sunny clime and free-spirited vibe, this blush is a gorgeous pink/peach/coral hue with a fine golden shimmer and bears a light grapefruit/vanilla fragrance. The outer packaging was inspired by 70’s Cali surfer girls and is totally display-worthy too. The surface of the powder bears an intricate solar design with gold decorating the rays, although that is an overspray that get wiped off pretty much at first swipe — but the powder itself has an ultrafine golden shimmer running through it to make up for that. Interestingly, while this is more traditionally warm-leaning, there’s enough pink in the base shade as to make GALifornia wearable even by those with cooler complexions. Excellent pigmentation and wear time, especially over primer and/or foundation.
Hoola Lite (CAN $38.00, made in the US) | PS: Pay no attention to the gouge mark; me and my clumsy fingers (ugh). Now that that’s out of the way (but it drives my OCD-ness about keeping things pristine, totally crazy just the same), this is for all you fair-skinned folks: rejoice! Finally a bronzer that won’t make you look like an Oompa-Loompa (or Donald Trump)! The original Hoola has been a staple in most makeup artists’ kits for over a decade now and here’s its lighter sister to keep it company. On my light-medium skin tone, this can still be made to work not necessarily as a bronzer but more as an overall face powder to add a touch of warmth all over, albeit applied with a light hand. That said, my preferred way of using Hoola Lite is as a base eyeshadow shade; it evens out my lids and preps them for any layering & also makes for the most natural-looking crease shade (on me) as well.
For convenience, the swatch below shows how the two Hoola’s compare; note that Hoola Lite had to be applied rather heavily to have it show up on my skin (hence the excess powder)
Dandelion Twinkle (CAN $38.00, made in Italy) | Sigh. Yes, another gouge mark. Oy. Moving on … this is a highlighter and/or luminizer (I guess it really depends on which term you prefer and where it’s going to be applied) that might not be as baby pink in tone as the original Dandelion, but falls in the same family group. Personally, I find Dandelion Twinkle (don’t you just love that name?) to be much more user friendly as it will suit all skin tones across the spectrum. Formulated with a special baked technology for a whisper-light texture, you can apply this as a veil of colour (a fan or duo-fibre brush works best for this), or layered over your fave blush to not only add a pop of shimmer, but to create an entirely new shade as well. Finally: twinkle — enough said.
The swatch below shows it in comparison to the original Dandelion (which needed to be applied with a heavy hand to show up against my skin), where you can just see the matching hints of pink in Dandelion Twinkle.
Hoola Quickie Contour Stick (CAN $38.00, made in Canada) | A bronze coloured contour stick in a cream-to-powder formula that’s housed in a retractible metal case which looks like faux bamboo – love touches like that! The texture is ultra creamy and smooth, making blending totally effortless. As well, this shade is one that has universal appeal since it leans neither too warm nor cool, and thus wearable by all. The beauty of Hoola Quickie — apart from provocative name and convenient portability factor — is that you’re in totally control of placement and intensity; applying a light swipe can then be sheered out even further for a wash of colour, while a more intense pass will give tons more depth — all up to you. Wear time over foundation is great too, lasting easily until removed with minimal fading.
Whenever I’m in front of a Benefit counter I can’t help but have this goofy look plastered all over my face as I look at everything and I’m pretty sure that anyone looking at me must think I’m a little nuts. These latest launches will have you looking the same way too … trust me. As stated earlier, Cheek Parade is a standout and I have a feeling it’ll sell out lightning fast. Dandelion Twinkle and GALifornia have become instant hits on my end, and I’ve been really loving the easy-peasy looks I can create with Hoola Quickie; it’s definitely well named, that’s for sure. Hoola Lite was initially a challenge for me to use, but I’m nothing if not persistent and now it’s become my new fave eyeshadow layering shade; not its intended use, but there you have it.
Available April 2017 at Sephora
Media samples kindly provided, all opinions are my own