Inside my make-up drawer: Benefit How To Look The Best At Everything in Light

Inside my make-up drawer

**Disclaimer – I’ve purchased these products for myself. All opinions are my own and 100% bluntly honest**

I know I’ve promised to continue with my product reviews for a couple of months and I’ve finally found the time to get around to it! I’ve fully moved back home and the unpacking is nearly all complete. The past fortnight has been pretty busy as I’ve had to integrate two bedrooms into one, pack for and attend the Isle of Wight Festival (amazing!) and completed another week of primary school placement. The next few weeks before I start my summer job are going to be spent revising for and sitting my skills tests, catching up with friends and family, and I fully intend to blog more frequently!

Benefit How to Look the Best at Everything

Benefit How To Look The Best At Everything in Light £25.50 – Flawless Complexion Makeup Kit

Benefit says: ‘We wrote the book on complexion perfection! Our custom perfectors give you a luminous complexion by blending away imperfections and minimising the appearance of pores. You’ll be the first to finish flawless.’

I bought this set back in January and I loved it immediately. At the time I wanted to try Benefit’s Boi-ing, which is £17.50 on its own, and I was intrigued by their primer. This kit seemed like the ideal buy as it contained two shades of Boi-ing, a primer, and both liquid and powder foundations, for an additional £7 instead of one concealer. It’s a handy size for travel and comes with a mirror in the lid, hidden behind the ‘Tips and Tricks’ information. For a make-up novice like myself, this was incredibly useful as I got use to the products. The packaging is really cute – the picture above shows the front of the box containing the products and the back of the packaging for the box. It might seem a tad excessive and wasteful but it stops them being sampled in store and looks adorable. I’m not going to lie, the fact that it looked like a book appealed to my bookworm nature and it isn’t too big for overnight trips etc as you don’t to lug around other products. I’m going to do a mini review for each of the products which feature in the kit and link each one to its full size version on the Benefit website.

Benefit How to Look the Best at Everything

Benefit How to Look the Best at Everything

The POREfessional PRO balm (Primer) – This retails at £24.50 in full size (22ml). The mini size featured in this kit is 7.5ml. I imagine you would still get a substantial amount of use out of this size given how little product you need to get full coverage. The website claims its translucent, but when you squeeze it out onto your fingertips or back of the hand to apply, it looks like tinted moisturiser. As it’s a small tube, I found it difficult to gauge the correct amount needed for full coverage. I did like this product and it did minimise the appearance of pores in my face. I would either wear this on its own if my skin was behaving itself, or underneath one of the foundations.

  • Coverage: 4/5
  • Application life: 4/5
  • Ease of application: 3/5

Hello Flawless Oxygen WOW! Ivory “I’m pure 4 sure” (liquid foundation) – The 30ml bottle retails at £26.50. The mini size is 7ml and like the POREfessional it would last long enough to justify the set as you don’t need a great deal to get decent coverage. It matches my pale skin tone nicely and the pump applicator makes it easier to get the right amount each time. I haven’t used this as much as other products in the kit, as I have been using my MAC foundation or the foundation powder in the set. However, this product is lovely with a primer underneath. Without the primer my skin felt dry, even if I moisturised etc beforehand. As I said, the coverage was good and it seemed to last all day.

  • Coverage: 5/5
  • Application life: 4/5
  • Ease of application: 5/5

Boi-ing 01 and 02 (concealer) – By far the best thing in the kit. They are half the size of the individual products. I have used 01 fairly regularly and I’ve barely made a dent in pot. 01 is light and 02 is light/medium. I did try using them together as described in the ‘Tips and Tricks’ but I didn’t feel the need to wear it like that all the time, only if I was starting to look haggled from stress (funnily enough it was used fairly often from the end of March through to the middle of May). I loved this concealer. Benefit describes it as ‘industrial-strength’ and at first I was a bit hesitant with it, as I had several bad experiences with Erase Paste back in high school. This product, however, is amazing. I use an eyeshadow brush to apply it (I try to avoid using my fingers) and it covers/blends beautifully. It’s subtle and does the job. I always recommend this product to my friends as it is worth the price, it will last ages! I will definitely repurchase Boi-ing 01.

  • Coverage: 5/5
  • Application life: 5/5
  • Ease of application: 5/5

“Hello Flawless!”Ivory “I love me” (foundation powder) – This is my second favourite product in the kit. It comes with a short brush which I think I used twice at most. Instead I use my own powder brush, which is slightly narrower and has a longer handle, as I find it easier to get an even coverage with it. As with the liquid foundation, I prefer to use a primer first and then apply the powder, purely because it then lasts all day. I’ve used it just about every day since I bought it and decided to buy the full-sized product (7g, £25.50) to replace the 4g product in the kit which I have nearly finished. The powder blends nicely into my skin and does not develop an orange tinge or make-up line, as some products can. I know part of that is down to application, but still it’s a positive thing to note.

  • Coverage: 5/5
  • Application life: 5/5
  • Ease of application: 5/5

So the overall verdict? It’s an excellent product for people who are either new to make-up or new to Benefit. It’s particularly useful if you travel as it is a handy size to pack (although getting it fit into your make-up bag is practically impossible) and contains the main essentials for daily wear. However, I did not like wearing all the products together. It might simply be that as I have never worn a great deal of make-up, particularly after one disastrous incident in high school of being plastered in make-up by a friend, that I’m super conscious of heavy make-up. That was how I felt when I wore the primer, liquid foundation, combined the concealers and sealed it with the powder. Regardless, I would still highly recommend this product as it has made me realise that I prefer powder foundations with a light primer underneath, or simply just the primer, as my skin fortunately does not need a great deal of covering. As I mentioned the concealer is the best product in the kit, although I only really used it for blemishes rather than under my eyes. It’s given me confidence in applying and wearing complexion make-up and whilst I was initially hesitant at the price, it was definitely worth the money. I know that I could have purchased a primer, concealer and foundation for under £25.50, but given the quality of the products and their application life, I’d say it was money well spent.

  • Practicality: 4/5
  • Value for money: 5/5
  • Overall: 5/5
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Fair Squared Lip Balm in Spearmint

**Disclaimer – I’ve purchased these products for myself. All opinions are my own and 100% bluntly honest**

Fair Squared Lip Balm in Spearmint 4g/£2.99   The link is for their webpage about the lip balms. From there you can locate the various global stores that stock their products. I bought mine in Oxfam a couple of weeks ago.

Fair Squared says: ‘Fairtrade certified ingredients are combined to bring you a natural, moisturising balm with a subtle spearmint taste. Your lips deserve to be protected and moisturised from the effects of the sun, wind and cold.’

This product appeared in the Oxfam store I volunteer in when I returned after Christmas. Now I’m a sucker for a good lip balm, but the only ones I’ve brought with me to Liverpool are pots, which are not the most practical for cold weather (removing gloves etc). I was sold by the twist application and it’s about on par, retail wise, with the likes of Chapstick. I was intrigued by this lip balm because I prefer to buy fair trade as often as possible, but living on a budget can make it difficult. I waited a couple of weeks until I had some budget left over and I bought the spearmint option. The other options were vanilla, citrus and pomegranate. It was a toss-up between spearmint and pomegranate, but I thought spearmint would be the most refreshing.

It’s quite a thick balm when you apply it, making it ideal for this bitter cold wind that keeps hitting Liverpool. I particularly like to apply it just before I go for a run as it stops my lips from chapping. However it doesn’t feel particularly oily or sticky, which is surprising given how thick it feels. The spearmint gives a pleasant tingle to my lips – without the numbing feeling – which I take as a sign that it is nurturing my lips into better condition. I’d say that the balm lasts at least two hours on my lips, but that’s just when I stop feeling that extra barrier, I’m sure it continues working for even longer. It’s a good one to put on before bed as well.

The scent isn’t overwhelming – the spearmint is sharp and refreshing – but once it’s on my lips, I can’t smell it, which is a blessing really. It doesn’t really have a taste, which was a bit disappointing. Instead I feel like it’s just a bit of oil that comes off when you lip your lips – maybe this is for the best as I then don’t chew my lips… It’s not unpleasant, a bit like if you accidentally catch your lips when moisturising your face then lick them. Might just be me who gets caught out with that, but it’s that kind of feeling. At least I know it’s nurturing my lips and as I say I don’t lick or chew my lips which is helping them straight away!

I really like this lip balm and I think I’ll buy the pomegranate one once spring truly appears. Given how often I’m outdoors, especially when I’m at home with the dogs, I know this will become a firm lip saver. It’s worth the three pounds I paid for it and I’m going to have a look around the other stores it lists for some of their others products. Their BB cream sounds good and I know a few of the girls at work rave about the moisturising cream (I think Mum might be getting a special treat on Mother’s Day!). I’d never heard about this company before working in Oxfam, and even then didn’t know the extent of products they produce until I checked their website. It’s worth a snoop for sure! I’m going to try to become a more ethical shopper from now on – it’s the best this carnivore can manage at the moment.

  • Ease of application: 5/5
  • Coverage: 5/5
  • Scent: 5/5
  • Application life: 4/5
  • Value for money: 5/5
  • Overall: 5/5

LUSH The Kiss

**Disclaimer – I’ve purchased these products for myself. All opinions are my own and 100% bluntly honest**

LUSH The Kiss 8g/£5.75

LUSH says: ‘A delightful, whipped up gloss made from luxurious and protective butters including Fair Trade shea and cupuaçu. This preservative free tinted lip gloss gives a touch of colour to the lips. It’s so easy to apply you won’t even need a mirror!’

I thought I’d do a Valentine’s themed review this week. I bought this product a couple of weeks ago and I love the slight colour it gives my lips. It’s not as sticky as I’ve found generic lip glosses – yes there’s a small initial stickiness, but that quickly disappears, leaving a slight shimmer on my lips. I was a little apprehensive about this product because I have used one of their lip tints, which was the most useless product going (see I can be harsh on LUSH when necessary, that review hasn’t gone up because it was a Christmas product and I ran out of time to post it). This on the other hand, is easy to apply, smells delicious (like raspberry milkshake) and the finish is delightfully subtle.

However, I am currently unable to use my product because the lid has jammed on the pot! I was distraught during lecture when it refused to open, despite the efforts of myself and three others. I’m going to take it into town during the week and see if anyone in the store can open it. Instead I’m back to Lip Service which is my go-to lip balm at the moment. It’s in the pile of stuff to be reviewed over the coming months but frankly life is hectic. Anyway, I think it makes an ideal little gift as it is dinky enough to fit in any bag and it nourishes your lips – making them soft and shimmery (not shiny) – perfect for kisses!

  • Coverage: 5/5
  • Application life: 3/5
  • Product life: 5/5
  • Value for money: 4/5
  • Overall: 4/5

LUSH Dream Cream Hand and Body Lotion

**Disclaimer – I received this product as a gift at Christmas. All opinions are my own and 100% bluntly honest**

LUSH Dream Cream Hand and Body Lotion 240g/£11.25

LUSH says: ‘A soothing and all-round dreamy hand and body lotion that’s suitable for everyone. This simple cream works like a dream on upset skin: cooling and soothing ingredients like oat milk, rose water and chamomile blue oil calm down hot and itchy skin. That’s why it’s our number one bestseller, with many of you telling us it gives great relief from eczema.’

This product officially started my love affair with LUSH. I know the first product I bought from LUSH was actually Lip Service lip balm, but this was the product that proved to me that my skin loved LUSH. I was given a sample pot by the Liverpool team and I received the big pot for Christmas. It’s become a firm favourite and skin saviour!

I suffer from eczema (blaming uni stress for that one) and my skin has always been picky about what it will accept. When I went into the Liverpool store for the first time back in October 2013 I was interested in their body lotions. When I explained my dilemma, the assistant offered me a sample of this cream because the majority of customer feedback they have received is that it works better on eczema than the prescribed stuff. It’s certainly kinder to my skin than my medical cream and smells nicer (it has a faint rose scent to it which I love – soft and feminine). It’s definitely one of my favourite moisturisers – I even refill the sample pot with it to take swimming and when I go home. As I’m swimming a lot more frequently, my skin is in severe need of TLC but this lotion is ideal for putting straight onto my skin after a swim. At the end of every week, I give it an extra drench with a thicker cream, but Dream Cream is fantastic for day-to-day wear.

I know it seems like an awful lot of money for this product, and I asked for it for Christmas, but in future I would not hesitate to repurchase this product. I honestly view this as an investment in healthier skin – my eczema only strikes my eyelids now, a sure sign that this product is working wonders for my skin! I’ve been using it regularly since I received it and I’ve only just gone below the screw top – it’s going to last ages! If it’s your birthday soon or even if you are struggling for a Valentine’s gift, I would strongly recommend this product for those who love to indulge their skin. It’s worth every penny.

  • Moisturising strength: 5/5
  • Application life: 5/5
  • Scent: 5/5
  • Value for money: 5/5
  • Overall: 5/5

LUSH Creamy Candy Bubble Bar

**Disclaimer – I’ve purchased these products for myself. All opinions are my own and 100% bluntly honest**

LUSH Creamy Candy Bubble Bar £2.50

LUSH says: ‘I want Candy! … But I don’t want the calories!! Bathe yourself in creamy sweetness without feeling like a sinner. A sweet creamy candy-floss pink bath that’s like a hug in a soft fluffy towel. This one is a girly night in. Makes you want to put on your cutest jammies, bounce on the bed and have a pillow fight. For those who know that youth and innocent glee are things never to be left behind.’

I received this from my House Secret Santa and I was over the moon to try it. As I’ve said in previous Bubble Bar reviews, they produce a ton of bubbles, so I cut this in half, but if you are only having a short bath (rather than a full-on forty-five minute/hour-long soak like I do) then you could even quarter this product. It is quite a substantial size, especially given the price of it.

The scent is very sweet, as the name would suggest. At first I thought it might be overpoweringly sweet, but once the bubbles were frothing about me and I settled down with my book, it was divine. I’d describe the scent more as a vanilla cake mix kind of sweet rather than candy, but then each person has a different idea of smells. It wasn’t as strong as the Christmas Snow Fairy range (which I did like the smell of) and it’s not quite as sweet as their Sweetie Pie shower jelly.

As with the other bath products, I didn’t need to moisturise afterwards because my skin felt dreamy. It didn’t dramatically change the colour of my bath either (once I could see water under the mountain of bubbles!), which is always a bonus. My bath felt that little bit more indulgent and I would definitely consider repurchasing this product in future as an alternative to my usual floral scents.

  • Scent: 4/5
  • Lasting scent: 4/5
  • Bubbles: 5/5
  • Value for money: 5/5
  • Overall: 5/5

Soap & Glory Smoulder Kohl

**Disclaimer – I’ve purchased these products for myself. All opinions are my own and 100% bluntly honest**

Soap & Glory Smoulder Kohl Waterproof Eyeliner with Built-In Sharpener in Superblack 1.2g/£5 (RRP)

Soap & Glory says: ‘Available in two intense colours. Includes jojoba oil to moisturise, nourish and protect the skin plus antioxidant vitamin E. Use Smoulder Kohl to create a dramatic, dark smokey eye by applying a thin line along your upper eyelind and instantly smudging, working upwards & outwards.’

I am always on the hunt for a decent eyeliner – I want one that’s dramatic, easy to use and stays where I’ve put it. I can do the style and all that fine, but within a couple of hours (if I’m lucky, sometimes it’s a soon as half an hour after application) my eyeliner has tattooed itself to my upper lid. I’ve tried using neutral eyeshadows and even concealer to get the line to stay where I want but the end result is still the same. I’m looking at getting an eyeshadow primer – so any recommendations there would be much appreciated! The last eyeliner I had that came the closest to my apparently difficult demands was the Soap & Glory Supercat. I was in Boots with my Mum and saw this product and decided to attempt kohl because I’d been so unsuccessful with replacement liquid eyeliners.

Let’s work down my list of requirements then. It is definitely dramatic! I don’t usually do flicks with this product, instead I tend to line both upper and lower lash lines – something that I haven’t done since high school – and it looks fantastic! My eyes certainly smoulder. When I team it with They’re Real! my eyes looks amazing. It’s an intense black, but it doesn’t look too much – some black kohl liners can be a bit too strong I find – there’s no panda eyes with this product.

It is incredibly easy to use. For a start, I can use it! I actually found it easier to line my eyes with this product than I have found with some liquid liners. It doesn’t tug at my eyelid, it simply glides over and I can darken the shade if I want to dress it up for a night out with several feathering strokes over it. I’ve only done that a couple of times though. My usual daytime look is actually to lightly define my lower lash line and let my mascara emphasise the upper lashes. That then leads us to my final requirement.

Once again this transfers to my eyelid crease. I was gutted when this happened! To give it credit, it did stay put for longer than any other product and the transfer was faint. But still a transfer is a transfer and it is most definitely not a good look. Apart from that little issue, the colour stays strong for the majority of the day. Given that I’m normally only out the house for a maximum of six hours at a time, it’s ideal for the amount of coverage that I require. If only it stayed put!

I’m still using this product because it trumps the other two requirements and for that I love it. If I keep an eye out for the transfer and carry a cotton bud, I can control the transfer line. I honestly believe that it’s just my bad luck as I do get eczema on both eyelids and this definitely affects the condition of my make up. I would recommend this product to those after a versatile eyeliner as it is easy to apply, has a relatively long application and can be used both subtly and for more dramatic looks. The fact that it comes with its own sharpener in the lid is an added bonus – no more rooting around for one that won’t ruin the liner! That’s also really easy to use – I’ve just checked, even though I didn’t actually need to sharpen it. A definite thumbs up.

  • Ease of use: 5/5
  • Definition: 5/5
  • Application life: 3/5 (when it stops transferring it’ll get a five)
  • Value for money: 5/5
  • Overall: 4/5

LUSH Sweetie Pie Shower Jelly

**Disclaimer – I’ve purchased these products for myself. All opinions are my own and 100% bluntly honest**

LUSH Sweetie Pie Shower Jelly 100g/£3.25

LUSH says: ‘A shower jelly with cherries, coconut and sparkles for bathtime fun. Even if it’s not your birthday, treat yourself to a bit of fun with this jelly baby. Its sweet and sparkliness is the perfect way to cheer yourself up, or to encourage reluctant little ones to enjoy bathtime.’

I ordered this when I was home over Christmas alongside a couple of sale items and a new moisturiser. The sale items were Christmas stock which are no longer listed on the website, so I’m not going to review them properly, but the two bath bombs were lovely. I also order the smallest bottle of Ponche – a Christmas shower gel – which is incredibly refreshing, but that’s staying at home for now as a little pick-me-up whenever I visit. I opted to take this product back to Liverpool with me because it seemed the most secure to put in my case alongside textbooks and clothes!

I’d been eyeing it  up for a while as the concept frankly amuses me. It does indeed wobble! I loved the scents of both jellies – the other being Whoosh – but I decided to go for the sweeter scent of Sweetie Pie (and it is 25p cheaper). I was bit unsure of it originally because I loathe the smell of coconut – to the point that it can make me gag – but I can’t detect it at all. Instead it smells predominantly of cherries (which I love) with hints of blackcurrants. It’s like a sweet autumnal fruit bouquet and it always perks my shower up.

It does produce a decent amount of bubbles and the scent is strong enough that I feel like I’m getting washed clean. The smell lingers on my skin for a couple of hours, and it is kind to my skin, but the jelly element of it can be a right pain. At first I could only wet my body puff and then scrub it over the top of the jelly to get some bubbles on, to then wash with, as I struggled to pull any of it out of the pot. In the end, I managed to poke my finger through some of the jelly towards the edge of the pot and pull it until a small blob came off. The stuff has a life of its own! If you try to wash with it using just your hands and that blob, you’re in for a treat – it has a habit of sliding out of my cupped hand. I now use it on a flannel and it’s much more manageable and just as enjoyable. Some people on the site have mentioned freezing it, which I may try later on.

I’ve been using it for nearly three weeks and still haven’t made a dent in it. I think I’ll be using this product for the rest of term without needing to replace it! However, I’m not sure if I will repurchase this – I do adore the smell, but I think I’d prefer it in a bottle like normal shower gel, purely because there are some mornings were I can’t be bothered with chasing the stuff around the bath tub! I’d love to try Whoosh, but purely because I again love the smell of it. If I had someone else to share it with, I imagine I’d enjoy it a bit more, but there’s not a great deal of fun when trying to pick it back up on your own for the fourth time in one shower…

  • Scent: 5/5
  • Lasting scent: 2/5
  • Bubbles: 4/5
  • Ease of application: 3/5
  • Value for money: 4/5
  • Overall: 4/5