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Benebabe Forever

photo 4-7The first time I ever visited the United States as an adult was when I went to Las Vegas in the early 2000’s. I had never seen Benefit Cosmetics products in real life, but I took my Allure magazine with the ear marked pages that raved about Benefit products and hauled that baby cross border and into a Sephora (also marking my first Sephora visit ever). Like a beacon in the night, the Benefit wall was calling my name as soon as I stepped foot in that store. Here. It. Was. I was looking at of the Benefit products I had read about and longed to see in person and now I could even touch them!

Within the first hour, my travel companions abandoned me as they did not share my marathon interest for beauty products (I know, right???). I played for hours and shopped the whole store, decided on products and then put some back, then picked up more…you get the picture.  I was in serious danger of maxing out my credit card! As far as Benefit goes, I decided on 4 items – Hoola Bronzer, Dandelion Face Powder (as a gift), Ooh La Lift Instant Under Eye Brightening Boost and the iconic Benetint. I was in heaven with my treasures and so pleased to finally have my hands on my very own Benefit!

When I think back to that trip to Vegas I often refer to it as the first time I bought Benefit. I am not sure why this adorable product line resonates with me so much, but I have a strange and sometimes all consuming attraction to it. I have since visited their stores in San Fransisco and New York City, their counters in multiple Macy’s and Ulta stores around America, and even had the honour of my own Benefit counter when I was managing a store. I feel a little like a cult member, and if you are like me or know anyone like me, you will know that people have fierce and unapologetic allegiance to the Benefit brand.

photo 1-7Well, tonight (June 4th, 2015 for the record), something really awesome happened to me. I went to the grand opening of the Benefit Boutique in Toronto. CANADA’S FIRST BENEFIT BOUTIQUE!!!! Take a moment to let that sink in. That’s like introducing me to sunshine after living in darkness for years (uhhh – kind of like when I lived in the Arctic in the winter actually).

Now one thing I adore about this brand is that they take everything they do to the next level and weave their brand DNA into everything. I have yet to catch a miss on their behalf. For example, I have visited their Toronto offices and it is a delightful and airy space that has pristine white desks and pink accents. Their pens, file folders, post-it notes all incorporate the prettiness and cuteness that we have come to expect from the brand. Their workspace is an inspiration and true reflection of what they do and what they create. Kind of makes grey cubicle walls seem like a prison setting… just sayin’!

OK- now back to the Benefit Boutique… Walking up the “pink carpet” to the store, I notice that even the handle on the door is personalized with their branding (of course). There is a lot of activity going on and the space is filled with people here for this monumental event, The Benebabes are busily performing services  and other Benefit Canada team members are dressed up as Benefit characters and giving us tours of this beautiful girl cave (take THAT man caves!) and offering us sparkling bevvies.

photo 1-5At the front of the store you see the whole brand on display with testers. This is all presented on beautiful furnishings that of course are in line with their brand DNA. It is a total play area that makes me feel like a kid in a candy store (or even like myself in a candy store). The product packaging in beautifully designed and they are like little pieces or artwork themselves. I do not ever feel as though my Benefit products need to be put away in the drawers and cupboards with everything else – they deserve to be seen!

photo 2-10Chairs and work stations line one side of the boutique and this is where aestheticians perform waxing services and makeup applications. Brows are being tweezed, waxed and designed at all the stations and it’s humming with activity. Once again, from the wall paper to the hand held mirrors, storage units and lighting, not an opportunity is missed to convey the Benefit brand identity.

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Heading to the rear of the store, we discover their special rooms for services. First, the “Pretty Room” is where they take you for any non-face waxing services or other things that may require some privacy. I am certain with summer upon us that this room will be very well used! Next door is the “Bronzing Room” where you can step in for a perfectly applied airbrush tan using Vita Liberata Luxury Tan products. The  Bronzing room walls and floor are well protected with a tent set up for you to step in and get your bronze on.

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A little into the night they have a ribbon cutting ceremony and a food truck outside with specialty teas and coffees as well the most delectable little doughnuts! One of my favourite things was watching people who just happened to be walking down the busy street take in this scene and observing the delight on their faces as they take in this excitement along with the rest of us. Benefit draws you even if you don’t know what it is! photo 4-6photo 3-7

 

So something to be noted: they also offer a “Beauty Bash” for clients. You can get a group together and have the run of the place to yourselves for an after-hours private party which includes bubbly, small bites, make-uppers, brow shaping, lash or brow tint, and some serious one-on-one pampering These bashes come in a customizable theme, size and time. Hello wedding parties and general girly celebrations! Oh, what fun!

You can find the Benefit Boutique in  Toronto at 2614 Yonge Street (Yonge and Ellington area). It’s a definite must-see whether you are a GTA resident or planning a trip to the city. photo 5-4

So Foxes – are you also a Benebabe? What is YOUR go-to product from Benefit?

 

 

 

 

 


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Product Review: Anastasia Brow Dip Pomade Blonde

In case you did not already know this about me, I am pretty obsessed with finding a perfect brow product. I have  invisi-brows and require some sort of product to make me feel like I am part of the human race. Last  year, one of my most popular posts was when I wrote about how I loved Benefit’s Gimme Brow for a more natural look. That still stands and I continue to use it on my no make-up days (which are really light make-up days), but I have totally bought into the hype of the Anastasia Brow Dip!

Let me back up a little…. I first heard about Anastasia Soare years ago when she was on the Oprah Winfrey show. She was the brow guru to the stars and commanded all things brow even before brows were a big thing. She came to the US from Romania and did not speak English, but through perseverance and a laser-focus on success, she built her brand from plucking brows to a beauty empire known as Anastasia Beverly Hills. Check out this article to learn more about her story.

Anastasia products are probably the ones I see the most on my Instagram feed. Bloggers, makeup artists and beauty junkies all love these products and the results shown look absolutely beautiful. I figure a lady who started out as an aesthetician plucking brows who went on to build such formidable brand would really know a thing or two about the perfect brow products. Her selection of brow products is unparalleled in the industry in both formulations and shade selection. There is literally something for everyone in this line up and nobody has to compromise a thing.

photo 2-4I picked up the Brow Dip Pomade in Blonde well over a month ago. It comes in a little glass jar with a screw on lid, presumably to keep it airtight as these types of products can dry out quickly if not protected from air. I will admit there was a bit of a learning curve with the Brow Dip and I had to revisit some YouTube tutorials several times over to get the hang of it. But now that I get it, I am never turning back to a brow powder! Nothing compares to this product for look, wearability and longevity. There are many shades and I have noticed that some prominent makeup artist bloggers even use two at a time to create a natural graduated look. Brow Dip stays on… and on…. and on. This stuff just does not dissipate or rub off easily, and if you are brow challenged like me you will appreciate still having them where they should be by day’s end.

Application

I had to play with several different brushes before I found the one that worked well with this product. At first I tried a natural hair angle brush, but found that the pomade would clump up on it rather quickly, even with cleaning it in between uses. I ended up using a synthetic angle brush, and wipe it clean with an eye makeup remover every 2-3 uses to keep it working well. After dipping the brush in the pomade, I wipe some of it off on the inside of the lid to keep as little product as possible on the brush. You do not need a lot of this stuff to do the job!

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Step 1

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Steps 2 and 3 completed

Step 1 – With my brush I apply a very light feathery touch of the Brow Dip to about 3/4 of my brow, leaving the very inside for last. I sketch a light line to form a guideline, and then Step 2– move the product around with the brush and feathery strokes to create the fullness. At the end, Step 3– I go back in with my brush to fill in the inner part of my brow closer to my nose. If I require more pomade, I simply work off of the lid rather than re-dipping into the pomade itself. I have to say that I think I will end up buying the Brow Wiz by Anastasia also to help do this part as Brow Wiz allows for a more precise application.

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Completed brows (and mascara added too)

A final step is to create a clean line under and over your brow by applying a thin line of concealer with a tiny brush. Gently blend the concealer and voila- brows that frame the face beautifully! I can see this product in my life for a long time, and will likely change it up by trying out slightly darker shades when my hair has it’s seasonal darkening in the fall. I really would love to try all of the products that Anastasia Beverly Hills has to offer and hope that the entire line-up will become more readily available in Canada.

Can anyone out there confirm that I am not the only one faking my brows? Please Foxy Friends…. let me know!