Benefit Holiday collections!

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Benefit Cosmetics always seem to have something that I want. It’s probably something to do with the retro-glam feel of their packaging. Benefit makes a girl time-travel back to 1962 when Sandra Dee sat at her makeup table in layers of white crinoline, powdering and primping for Bobby Darin.

All of Benefit’s products have some cheekiness about them. They also pay homage to a bygone era of feminine perfection either in their packaging or in the product itself. I love the concept.

For a company dedicated to whimsy, it’s a natural to do something special for the holidays. All-in-one kits make a big splash at gift-giving time. Who isn’t seduced by lots of makeup miniatures, especially with that cute packaging? I’m no exception and was thrilled to try Celebutante the “Personal Stylist Makeup Kit.”

Now, Celebutante doesn’t quite bow to Sandra Dee so much as it tips its hat to Paris Hilton. The sturdy hinged cardboard box with magnetic closure (that holds the goodies) is printed to resemble a quilted, gold chain-strung clutch (a la Chanel). Ms. Hilton notwithstanding, who doesn’t like Chanel?

We will dive into all the details of the all-in-one Celebutante in a moment. First, I want to mention a few other Benefit Holiday Sets that the we heart this received for review. You can check the comments for our thoughts on the following:

First off, there’s Bright Lights Big City!, a limited edition brightening kit sold exclusively through Sephora. Now, brightening is something that Benefit does best so I can’t wait to see how the That Gal face Primer, BADgal Blue Mascara (hey, why didn’t Celebutante get a mascara…it was the only thing missing from that package!), and Eye Bright pencil measured up.

Then there’s Sexy Starlet, which contains Some Kind-of gorgeous, an oil-free foundation faker, CORALista coral-pink blush (oh, what a blush! ~wht) and BADgal mascara, all enclosed in a funky box/clutch.

And finally, there is Glam Idol, a package of Benefit faves that some lucky girl out there is going to win in the latest wht giveaway! This package also includes That Gal, Posietint, a pinker version of the fabulotastic Benetint, and California kissin’, a smile-brightening lipshine to gloss up those posie-tinted lips, packaged in a cute designer-inspired clutch box.

Now, let’s get into the all the details of Celebutante…

Upon opening the case you find what every Celebutante-wannabe needs: a REALLY big mirror to admire yourself. The mirror is as big as the box (3”X6”) and makes applying on-the-go easy. The size of the kit makes it awesome in its portability and the content is nearly all-inclusive.

What’s inside Celebutante is definitely Paris (Hilton again, not the city). Lips are the star attraction in this kit with two mini-lipsticks and a gloss. The silky-smooth lipstick colors are Lady’s Choice, a nude and No Competition, a brownish pink-red. As with all kits, there are things you’ll use, and things…not so much. My personal throwaway here is Lady’s Choice because the color makes my lips blend right into my skin—not my shade. No Competition is, however, perfect. The color is a slightly deeper version of my own lip color, and I would wear this day or night.

Also included for lips is the mini-gloss in I’m With The Band, a pure gold gloss with pink undertones. A word of advice: if you haven’t had your teeth whitened (like, yesterday) this may not work for you. I found a good use for this one, though: a single dot in the center of a No Competition lip brings some sparkle and dimension to your lip for evening glam.

Two of the best beauty products ever made come from Benefit, and both are included (again, in miniature) in this kit. One is Benetint, the cheek and lip stain that has garnered fans for years. Benetint works well with any skin tone or color. A dot on the apples of your cheeks makes you look like you just came in from building a snowman. A swipe on your lips makes them look as ripe as a Red Delicious. Add clear gloss or not, it’s a great product to take ten years off your face and give you a youthful flush…and after the flush, how about some glow?

The second, Highbeam, is a white-pink shimmer gloss-highlighter with a sponge applicator. Apply this any place light hits your face (cheekbones, top of your forehead) or swipe some under your eyes (especially the corners near your tear ducts) for a quick wide-awake-and-happy-to-be-alive look. Benetint and Highbeam are priceless (but check out Moonbeam if you have darker skin or yellow/olive skin tones).

Rounding out the Celebutante Lesson are an eyeshadow duo in Leggy and Dandy Brandy, and a matte bronze cheek color in Dallas. The eyeshadows are requisite neutrals in shimmery champagne and slightly shimmery brown. The two-sided shadow brush included is probably the best applicator included in a kit that I’ve ever come across. At one end of the brush is a soft fluff shadow brush that holds and deposits color on the lid amazingly well. The opposite side of the brush is the talent brush: a smaller, stiffer (though still silky and comfortable) brush for lining. The Dallas cheek color is more of an all-over bronzer. Use it along with the Benetint (on your apples) to keep from looking too muddy (‘cause only Donatella Versace can use bronzer to excess and have us believe it’s high fashion). The brush included for Dallas is underwhelming in it’s small-ness; be careful or you’ll be streaky. On the plus side of the blush brush, it’s as good as a small brush gets in that it’s skinny but rather wide, and the bristles are super-soft and splay well.

Final summary for Celebutante: it’s as good as the all-in-one kits get with some true essentials that no woman should be without. All colors would probably look great on fair-skinned blondes, but most are neutral enough for all (I’m a fairly fair brunette).

So what say you all? Are all the chicks on your list going to Benefit from these gift packages this season?

wht contributor Sherri is co-author of What Would You Do With This Room? My 10 Foolproof Commandments to Great Interior Design and part of the team behind the iPhone app, Mark On Call.


  • sherrishera

    Sherri is a writer, dog lover, old movie fanatic, history detective, political junkie, fashion pundit and social media consumer advocate. “A fancy dinner and expensive champagne are better than writing a rent check any day of the week.” skin tone: NC 25 skin type: oily/sensitive favorite beauty product: anti-aging anything

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  1. I am the lucky owner of Bright Lights, Big City! which I could not pass up because I’ve been dying to try That Gal ever since Karen at MBB talked about mixing it with CORALista to make your own cream blush.

    And while I haven’t done that yet, let me just say- I LOVE this primer!!! I have never found a primer I like, as I have oily skin and any bit of the silicone type products that they put in most primers to make them feel silky, makes my skin revolt. This is more creamy than silky and works perfectly with my skin. Best of all, it really brightens your skin! You look at it, this bright pink and think “what?” but let me tell you, it’s fabulous. And under your eyes, forget about it! It’s sheer perfection.

    BAD Gal Blue mascara has been in my arsenal before, so I’m glad to have it again. Blue mascara really brightens the whites of your eyes. Which makes you look really fresh and awake. You really don’t even notice it’s blue, except when you catch yourself sideways in a mirror (and I’m assuming, anyone who looks at you from the side). Then you get this flash of blue that is really just so pretty. I love it with a smokey purple eye.

    Rounding out the fabulous trio, Eye Bright. A little pink miracle stick. A quick swipe of this on the lower rim of my eye and I look like I am not nearly as tired as I really am. The pink shade looks more natural than white too.

    So yeah, this kit is fabulous! I highly recommend it if you’re feeling/looking a little dull lately. And above all, I will never be without That Gal again!
    .-= stef´s last blog ..Benefit’s Glam Idol Giveaway! =-.

  2. I love Benefit. I don’t own a lot of it, but I always gravitate to the displays in Sephora because they’re just so pretty…

    These all sound great! They’re also great examples of why I LOVE holiday packaging; you can buy all sorts of fun kits to try and not feel like you’re making a major commitment. Plus, everything is just so much cuter when it’s tiny-sized…

    I’ve always been curious about That Gal, but I’m fairly dark skinned and have been burned before by products that swear they work for all skin tones. (I posted in the forums about my most recent beauty FAIL….)
    Has anyone with darker skin tried That Gal?

  3. I was overjoyed when I found the Sexy Starlet collection in my box to test. I’m a huge fan of Benefit…adore their packaging and love their products! My box contained the BADgal Lash mascara in black, the most beautiful blush ever…Coralista, and the faker foundation Some Kinda Gorgeous.

    My heart jumped when I saw the Coralista blush. It’s the perfect coral pink color ever and I think I’m in love. It comes with a cute little brush and it’s packaged in an adorable little square box. My next item I tried was the foundation faker. At first I thought this would be too dark a color for me, but once applied it blended right in. It has a nice consistency and reminded me a lot of a tinted moisturizer. I really love that there is a place to store the sponge it comes with under the foundation. A++ for packaging once again. Lastly, I tried the BADgal Lash Mascara. First off, the tube is huge and the brush is quite large also. I’ve tried this mascara before and was more than happy to get a new tube to add to my arsenal. It’s one of my favorites because it plumps without clumping.

    I would buy this collection again in a heartbeat. I’m even thinking of getting a few of these for my teenage nieces for Christmas presents. These would make wonderful gifts or stocking stuffers.

  4. Oh, I totally forgot to mention the great mirror that come with Bright Lights, Big City! White faux leather, snaps close and inside is a regular and a magnifying mirror. Genius! I took this on vacation with me and it’s the perfect thing to pull out of your purse for a quick vanity look in a restaurant (much prettier than a compact). And great for plucking in the car (the best light, if you haven’t tried it; do!)
    .-= stef´s last blog ..McBride Beauty – review =-.

  5. Really the gift sets from Benefit are amazing. Who wouldn’t want to get one? Even if you don’t use everything, I guarantee that you will find somethings that you’ll have to go get in full size. In these sets, there are more to covet than most.

  6. Know what I realized? I am a fan of Benefit cosmetics. Of the “department store” brand of cosmetics I’ve tried, bought, and loved the most, Benefit has been at the top of my list. Badgirl Mascara, Bad girl black eyeliner, and Erase Paste are my top 3 benefit products. I wish I had a chance to try a whole gift set! :-)

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