I've been eyeing this product ever since I incorporated bronzer into my makeup routine, and now that I finally got a hold of my first full-sized Benefit item, I'll be sharing my thoughts on it so read more if you're interested!
Ladies, we all know why we love Benefit so much -- they never fail to design the most eye-candy packaging! This one is in a secure little box with cute bamboo details inside. The mirror is not very functional, but the box is quite tiny in the first place. It also comes with a small flat brush that I actually like to use (more on my application process later).
What I really love about this bronzer is that it's perfect for contouring. It's completely matte, and the color is a lot more brown than orange. It has a bit of a powdery consistency so some fallout might occur, but it's not too bad. The finish itself is very smooth and natural, so don't worry about looking cakey or anything. The color is also quite pigmented which is always something I can appreciate. It's very buildable as well and a little goes a long way, so this will definitely last me more than several months!
I like to use the Hoola brush for applying the bulk of the product beneath my cheekbones and then blending it out with an angled face brush as shown above. It gives an airbrushed and contoured effect because the Hoola brush is so dense that it picks up a great amount of the bronzer while the soft angled brush blends out the rough edges very smoothly. I always make sure to use a light hand to avoid applying an excessive amount. On another note, I haven't quite mastered the art of contouring yet, so I've been applying it very subtly.
As I said, this isn't orangey or shimmery like typical bronzers at the drugstore. It's more like a dusty brown color that looks very flattering on light medium to olive skin tones. Keep in mind that most people who aren't too impressed with this product have very light skin and they claim that it appears "dirty" on their complexion. I'm not sure if it's a personal preference or a popular opinion among porcelain skin tones, but for me, I consider it to be a holy grail bronzer because it looks quite natural on my light medium skin tone.
If you're more interested in achieving a bronzed effect rather than a sculpted look, NYC's bronzing powder (which many consider as a dupe for Hoola) is a super inexpensive alternative that has slightly orange undertones. It also has a matte finish, but I think it "bronzes" more than it contours. If you really want a sun-kissed glow under the sun, go for a shimmery bronzer like Wet n Wild's. I honestly didn't like that one because it was a bit too Jersey Shore for my taste, but there are a lot more like that in the drugstore. I believe Physician's Formula has a wide variety of shimmery bronzers, so check them out!
It's a lot more long-lasting than all the other bronzers I've used, but it might be because of the new foundation I've been wearing (Rimmel Stay Matte liquid mousse foundation). The lasting power of cheek products is largely determined by how well your foundation holds up, so you might want to make sure that your foundation lasts for a good several hours. I wear foundation every time I have makeup on, so I unfortunately have no input as to how the Hoola bronzer lasts on its own.
It's safe to say that this is an absolute staple in my makeup bag. It's definitely a splurge ($28 for .28 oz) , but I personally think it's worth it because it's the perfect contouring product that leaves a natural sculpted look. If you're contemplating on getting this, try it out at Sephora first to see how flattering it looks on your skin tone. Otherwise, I highly recommend it!
I hope this helped!