Touches of Coral with a little help from my friends – the Balm’s Frat Boy Blush and Benefit’s Coralista Ultra Plush Lip Gloss
Feeling peachy keen today my friends. And I can thank the Balm’s Frat Boy blush and Benefit’s Coralista gloss for brightening my day. What started out to be a sunny day turned grey and it all happened during an episode from season 10 of Project Runway. Speaking of which, is Andrea gone for good and why is everyone else cracking under the pressure? We’re only four episodes in – Tim Gunn & Co. can’t be that tough, yet!
Where was I? Oh yes, coral. Warm hued pinks which inject thoughts of soft sand, azure blue water and a Pina Colada – but hold the pineapple, please!
Quite frankly I’m over this lamb of a winter, because I can’t wait to be able to wear the sandals I purchased on sale from Witchery a few weeks ago. Until then, a little bronzer and this coral look will have to tide me over.
Let’s get to the goods.
the Balm is a label I’m not too familiar with, although I’ve read a few reviews here and there. As of yesterday we were strangers at best, but we’ve since become well acquainted. On my weekly stroll through David Jones, I noticed a new addition in the cosmetics’ area and it just so happened to be the Balm. David Jones, thank you for bringing this line to Australia.
If you feel like spending at least $27.95 on any of the Balm products available, you end up getting a decent gift with purchase.
Not willing to commit to a new brand, then I think this gift is the best way to be formally introduced.
Frat Boy is super pigmented, so go in with a light hand when grabbing for this product. I recommend tapping your brush in order to nix the excess; I swirled my skunk brush and wound up dusting up more than I needed. Target the apples of your cheeks by smiling and alternate between your left and right cheek. For me, this helped to diffuse the rest of the excess which failed to shake out. A little really went a long way.
As for my eyes, I applied Frat Boy atop the caramel and coffee shades from CK One’s Heat eye quad. Then I added a little sparkle by brushing and blending out Urban Decay’s Half Baked down the centre of my lid.
The packaging is cute while managing to give a naughty throw back to the 1950′s. There are no external boxes to worry about and most of the items clasp shut with an industrial strength magnet. I couldn’t help but think this is what the offspring of Benefit and Soap & Glory would look like, if they had a baby.
Total amount for the Balm’s Frat Boy:
- $29.00 AUS / $21.00 USD
Value for money spent (performance and quality):
- 9 out of 10 bags – packs a colourful punch, but doesn’t say, “whoa, I’m wearing blush!”
Likelihood to purchase again:
- I’ll give my gift with purchase a go first and possibly go back for more.
Now for the lips, we can’t forget them.
Last week Benefit rushed their new Ultra Plush Gloss over to us (we only had to wait a month or two – not too shabby). Gloss is usually not my thing, but I really wanted to give these a whirl. Upon setting my eyes on all six shades, I narrowed the final contenders down to Coralista and Sugarbomb. Under the harsh fluorescent lights of Myer, Coralista reigned supreme.
The formula is non-sticky, moisturising, slick and sticks around for three hours or so on me. In lieu of oiling the Tin Man’s lips, I would suggest applying a touch of Coralista – he won’t mind, because it smells a bit fruity, something like peaches. Applying Coralista is easy; you can either apply it straight from the tube or go in with a lip brush for a more defined look. Also, if you have highly pigmented lips like me and you want Coralista to show her true colours; it might be worth neutralising your natural hue with a bit of foundation or powder and then apply Coralista.
My foray into the world of coral and peach has been so wonderful I think I might come back for a few more helpings. What better way to delude myself – wake me up when September ends.
Total amount for Benefit’s Coralista:
- $29.00 AUS / $16.00 USD
Value for money spent (performance and quality):
- 7 out of 10 bags – Wish Coralista was a bit more pigmented and retailed for a lot less.
Likelihood to purchase again:
- I’ll stock up on the remainder of the colours during my visit back to the States.
Yep, that’s right I’ll be visiting my parents just before this holiday season.
My angel wings may’ve been clipped ages ago. I might not swear, but I drink the occassional adult beverage and I am judgemental as can be. I believe there’s a place in hell reserved for me; until then, I’ll pretend and wear a bit of Hervana for good measure. Cotton candy and swirled to perfection – this sugary confection concocted by Benefit was first released in the US (online only at first) in December 2011 and finally graced the land of Oz in early February. I went as far as pre-ordering Hervana from Benefit’s site, but my Mom still has yet to send it to me; my impatience won out and I ended up buying it again last week. P-Cakes can keep the other one or she can exchange it for something else I can’t really get cross with her, she’s a very busy and hardworking lady.
I had a heck of a time trying to swatch Hervana and when I tried capturing it with my camera, it just wouldn’t translate that well. For my cheeks, I had to apply several layers before I started to see anything. If you look really close, you’ll notice the lightest shade (lucky shell) is a perfect colour match for my skin tone.
I love the subtlety of Hervana, but I fear I will go through this quickly just from having to go in for so many helpings (maybe I should tell Mom to send the extra one my way after all). However, the scent doesn’t disappoint; it’s a combination of fruity and floral, but not so fragrant it makes you turn your nose up. In order to give this quad a fair shot, definitely factor in your skin’s colour and test it before you buy it. I think if I had a tan, Hervana would really shine.
The Bagful breakdown:
Total amount for Benefit’s Hervana:
- $51.00 AUS / $28.00 USD – brush included, per usual.
Value for money spent (performance and quality):
- 7 out of 10 bags – it’s good, but not great. I’ll still wear it.
Likelihood to purchase:
- I’ve had a thing for Benefit for quite sometime; they’ll always hold a special place in my heart, but I really can’t stand their customer service!
I figure I can use the power of my words to convey a very important message to my readers and fellow shoppers. I love to go shopping in stores and see things in person; reading reviews is sometimes never enough. Opinions are shared and some of those opinions just might be marred by a good/bad in-store experience. Should I or should I not buy the product(s)?
When I was old enough to purchase my own makeup, I chose to buy things my mom never used (my own form of rebellion). We both, sadly, have very sensitive skin and for years we purchased Clinique due to it being “non-comedogenic”, etc., etc. If my hard earned money was to be used for cosmetics, I made sure I bought what I wanted from wherever I wanted. I remember walking past one of Benefit’s boutique-like counters in Boston with my mom and thought, ooh, pretty! I was hooked.
Visually, Benefits’ packaging is rather cute and their customer service was fantastic. During my college years, I purchased a lot of Benefit – loose powder eye shadows, Benetint, 10, assorted lip glosses and F.Y.eye. I didn’t really have a dedicated place from where I would purchase their goods, but I always went back to buy more. Over the years Benefit has consistently evolved to stay on trend, while still holding onto their pin-upesque bevy of beauties adorning their products. Benefit really is like a time capsule bringing forward potions from the 30′s, 40′s, 50′s and 60′s.
And that’s where my love ends for Benefit. I am not too sure where the disconnect lies, but I have been turned off by the customer service offered at Benefits’ counters in Australia and even back in Massachusetts. The sales associates are too forceful with their sales tactics; I am often left feeling battered and abused after walking away with nothing in hand. I refuse to purchase anything when I believe the seller doesn’t know how to read their customer. The retail world is something I have a bit too much knowledge on, because that world supported my education and life from 2002-2010. The Gap, Vera Bradley, FYE, Pottery Barn – I’ve been an employee of all of these companies and I’ve been taught how to treat the average customer.
- Greet upon arrival
- Offer help upon being approached
- Be as knowledgable as possible about the products you are selling
- Always treat someone the way you would like to be treated
Very simple, transferrable ways to support the customer during their shopping experience. I’ve had a few hits and a few misses (hey, everyone can have a bad day); but repeated bad days, come on now. Case in point, I visited the Benefit counter in Myer hoping to try Cha Cha Tint when it first came out; one hello later I found myself sitting in a chair getting judged about the condition of my skin. I didn’t want or need an opinion and it didn’t end there. Eventually, the sales person began to paint Cha Cha Tint on one of my cheeks and then she left me hanging! Another customer walked up to our general vacinity, asked a question of the girl (totally acceptable) and before I knew it half of my face was sporting makeup and the girl was wandering elsewhere with the customer in order to show off Benefit’s full range. I waited a few minutes to see if she would come back to help, but she didn’t.
In this instance, the sales girl should’ve excused herself, found additional assistance for the other customer and then come back to me. I snuck off without being noticed and again, left without purchasing a single item. Since then I have tried to revisit the same location, but I always run away from the staff feeling scared, irked and bewildered. I think I might have to start shopping online and forgo visiting some stores in person.
If retail shops really want their consumers to keep coming back instead of shopping online, then providing great customer service should be their key focus.
For the past few years I have been an avid reader of several beauty websites; mainly makeupandbeautyblog.com. I enjoyed Karen’s writing style, honest reviews and ability to convey her witty personality. Often, I would spy adverts and invitations to guest blog, but would never really think twice. That was until I moved almost all the way around the world from the US to Australia!
Comparisons have been made, shopping has been had and my wallet’s been hit hard. This life changing event is what inspired me to share my personal experiences with Karen’s readers; I thought, maybe, everyone could compare notes and perhaps empathize with me.
I apologize for posting this story twice (once here and on Karen’s site), however, the feedback was incredible and made me feel like I should start my own blog.
Late last year my husband and I became American expats living abroad when we made the move to Australia from the U.S. for his new job. I knew about our big journey months in advance, so I did the best I could to prepare and studied anything and everything I could about the land down unda’ before we arrived; however, I made two fatal mistakes.
First, I never fully realized just how expensive things would be down here, and second, I was unprepared for how long I’d have to wait for makeup collections to make their big debuts here after being released in the States.
As a woman of substance, I have my needs. Among them: facial moisturizer, hair products (loads of ‘em), perfume, nail polish, and anything pertaining to MAC, Benefit, Clinique and Philosophy. Not long after moving, I was already hitting the bottom of my assorted elixirs and potions, wondering what I was going to do.
I realized that I could either A.) Skype my mom and ask her to send a care package my way, or B.) venture out into the city of Melbourne to find more permanent beauty solutions. Gone were the days of Cheese-Itz and Dunks’, so I figured it was also time to broaden my horizons and revamp my beauty artillery.
The first thing to go was my coveted container of Origins GinZing Eye Cream; I needed to find something just as good at combating my puffy under-eye circles. In the States, the cream sells for $29.50 USD, but here it sells for a whopping $64.00 AUS! With the US dollar on par with the Australian dollar, I just couldn’t justify paying more than double for the same thing.
I searched high and low for hours in Mecca Cosmetica (heaven), The Body Shop, L’Occitane and several other local pharmacies and department stores. During my quest, I kept happening upon a brand by the name of Jurlique, which I’d seen before in Sephora but never really gave much thought.
It’s a homegrown brand here in Australia, and the company prides itself on using organic ingredients. The price for a tube of Jurlique’s Herbal Recovery Eye Cream ($52.00 AUS/$40.00 US) wasn’t as bad as GinZing’s, and I also figured I should start using things I’d be able to find anywhere in Oz.
Arnica, the active ingredient used in Jurlique’s Herbal Recovery Eye Cream, claimed to fight my tired, puffy eyes, and I was up for the battle. I have to say, I’ve been happy with the results.
I’ve been using the cream since last November and like it just as much as GinZing. Both products contain the same amount of cream — 15ml — but the one from Jurlique has a much longer shelf life. We’re talking 24 months versus 6. You be the judge.
I, like Karen, have wavy hair that can go as mad as Medusa in mere seconds when exposed to humidity. I don’t even attempt to blow dry it when the forecast calls for more than 55% humidity; it’s just not worth the time or the arm strength.
My former hairdresser, Laura, knew the texture and wicked ways of my hair, so she introduced me to Moroccan Oil back in 2008. Not only did I fall in love with the scent, but I also fell in love with the fact that it kept my frizz in check on those really humid days. Alas, I ran out of the travel-size bottle I brought with me here and didn’t bring any spares, but equipped with the lessons learned from my previous adventure, I went out to my local hair supplier and plunked down $34.95 AUS for a 100ml bottle of One n’ Only’s Argan Oil.
It has a similar consistency, color and scent as Moroccan Oil and comes in a travel-friendly plastic bottle, instead of a glass one. It was another win-win — the price was right, and I’ve been very happy with the resulting smooth, shiny hair.
The next thing to go, unexpectedly, was my trusty eyelash/eyebrow comb from Sephora. I purchased it ages ago, but it eventually crumbled somewhere between Boston, Vegas, Miami, Amsterdam, Singapore and Melbourne. With as much as we’d been traveling lately, I’m truly surprised I didn’t have even more casualties inside my makeup bag.
This time I decided to head over to Myer (a local department store), a mere walk away, and perused their assorted high-to-low-end options. Restless and weary, I wandered past Benefit’s Brow Bar and was stopped in my tracks when I spotted this little beauty.
Tweezerman teamed up with Benefit to create this retractable eyebrow tool — the mascara-type wand keeps my brows in line, and it’s handy for separating my lashes before curling. It sells for $12.00 in stores and online in the US, but it costs twice the price here. I was willing to splurge, though, because I take my brow grooming seriously, thanks to my old friend Diana and her insistence on keeping the caterpillars at bay.
Not long after that, wouldn’t you know it, the pump in my Aveeno bottle stopped extracting its precious cargo. I removed the cap to tap out as much as I could, a ritual that went on for a few more weeks, but eventually the bottle was well and truly empty. I sort of felt like that crazy lady in Love Potion No. 9, trying to coerce every last drop from the bottle (you know you’ve seen it; don’t lie).
The stress of moving had done a number on my skin; I’m talking breakouts aplenty. What I really wanted to find was something I could afford here that would moisturize my now unpredictable combination skin and protect it from UV rays, while keeping the shine from seeping through.
My Aveeno moisturizer wasn’t quite hacking it anymore, so I returned to the heavenly Mecca Maxima (Mecca Cosmetica’s big sister) in search of something new. The store carries Clinique, Mario Badescu, Clarins, DDF, Philosphy and many others, but what really caught my attention was Dermalogica’s new baby, Clean Start.
It’s a facial care range targeted at teens and young twenties, but I figured, what’s age got to do with it? Maybe it’ll work for my 27-year-old mug. The 60ml bottle cost me $45 AUS ($24 back in the 50).
I incorporated Welcome Matte (with SPF 15) into my morning regime, but, unfortunately, it didn’t work any miracles on me. The back of the bottle advises you to “Say goodbye to shine without drying skin with this extraordinary, lightweight lotion that won’t clog pores.”
Meh, I wouldn’t call it extraordinary. Sure, it moisturizes with SPF, but that’s about it. I guess I’ll have to find something perhaps a little more age appropriate.
No matter where you find yourself in this world, make sure you’re ready for what awaits you before you arrive. Melbourne has been lovely thus far, but the American in me keeps screaming, “you know you can get that a lot cheaper at Macy’s, Target or Nordstom’s!” Case in point, that KitchenAid Mixer? Let’s just say I’ll be lusting after it a little while longer.
Please visit Karen’s site and read the original post here.