getting the full benefit

I am lucky enough to visit San Francisco every couple of years to see my sister and her family. We spend as much time together prattling on about the mundane as we can as we don’t get to do that in our everyday. Our aim is to the talk until we have nothing left to share with each other.  Of course it never works out that way. There is always too much to talk about!  The added bonus of my visits is that both my sister Amy and her wife Delia are passionate shoppers. Of anything and everything.  They always have an eye on a bargain and know all the right places to visit and the right places to shop. And to eat – my sister is a professional cook of all things sweet. So I always have a fantastic time.  This time (I am going in November) though, I am going to be taking them somewhere they don’t know the products probably half as well as I do!

Earlier this year that amazing cosmetic brand from the US, Benefit (which was started by two sisters in the 70’s in San Francisco) came to our fair shores and I got to come and try out the store, its services and some of its many, many products. Their first stores are in Smith and Caughey in Queen Street Auckland, and also out at the Auckland Airport. Their newest store has just opened in Newmarket in Smith and Caughey on Broadway.

I got to have my much forgotten brows ‘done’ and it reminded me how important a well shaped brow is, especially for someone like me who doesn’t like to wear a lot of makeup.  The older I get, the more effort I need to put into looking like I am wearing less makeup! So the look for me is neutral, simple and light on my day-to-day.  But I always do wear makeup. Their Hello Flawless Oxygen WOW brightening makeup ($68) is now my daily foundation. It goes on easily with a brush, which makes sure it has good coverage, stays on and lasts. I actually have quite light skin and often find it hard to match my skin tone, but the “I’m so Money Honey” is a perfect match.  As my skin darkens over the summer I may need to darken the shade slightly. It is SPF 25 so that is a bonus in a foundation so light. That said, I do like to put an SPF under my makeup just to make sure I am getting all the coverage from UV that I need.

The other product I use almost daily is the PORE-fessional Balm ($57) which minimizes the appearance of pores and helps your makeup to stay put (we always like that). You can use it both under AND over your makeup which is interesting and useful if you forget. The IT’S POTENT eye cream ($64) helps with brightening dark circles under the eyes.  Again, this is a useful product that does what it says. The Benefit mascara ‘they’re REAL!’ ($43) is one of the world’s biggest selling mascaras and we now have access to it.  It is long-lasting which we also love.

Their little BROWS a-go-go brow & eye shaping kit is a whole lot of fabulous in one small box. I have a small problem with the thinning of my eyebrows (not uncommon) and the Zings coloured wax added to my brows helps make them look thicker than they are (nice) and the Eye Bright cream brightener is always a nice pick-me-up to open my eyes up a bit when I am feeling a bit tired. It also includes an eye pencil so you can get a total look from this one small box. The other major ‘benefit’ of the Benefit Browbar is of course their great brow service.  It is easy to make an appointment but they also always try to make room for drop-ins.  So if you have a spare 30 mins you can drop in and have your brows expertly done. The waxing services start at $29 for a brow arch wax, to $59 for a full wax (brow, lip, chin & sides).

My favourite product is the beautifully smelling Bene-tint rose-tinted lip & cheek stain.  Made from rose petals it is it a perfect, naturally sheer deep red that leaves your lips coloured all day. I just put a gloss over to pep it up. I have had several comments from friends, and I have even had to send some to a friend who lives outside Auckland because she loved it so much.  It is long-lasting (I know I have already said that) as in you will get a year out of a bottle, and I am happy to let my 16-year-old Daughter use that hint of colour for a special occasion.  It is makeup you can wear when you don’t want to look like you have too much makeup on!

All in all I can safely say I am a Benefit convert, and for those of you living in Wellington, I hear through the proverbial grapevine that you may be getting a Benefit of your own in the future. Lucky you!

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