Monday, November 28, 2016

What I'm Not Buying: Benefit Galifornia Blush

The latest boxed blush from Benefit—Galifornia—is set to be released in December. 

And I won't be buying. 

Benefit boxed blushes are nostalgic for me. They were the beginning of me buying products just because they were hyped without any knowledge of my skin tone or understanding of what would be flattering. The first one I heard about was Coralista:

This was "the" blush many years ago. I discovered YouTube and the beauty community while studying abroad in the United Kingdom, and I still remember the feeling that ran through my body when I first heard about this blush and that I had to have it. I think I probably even had dreams about Coralista because I thought about it so much. 

And when I was finally back in the US, I marched into an Ulta to buy my coveted blush and was astonished by the price tag: $30. That price was unheard of for me at the time, especially for a blush. Other than Coralista, the only blushes people talked about were from MAC, and those were about $10 cheaper. But I bought Coralista with no questions asked. I knew it was going to be the best blush in the world and I would look just amazing and somehow everything in my life would be okay because I finally had this blush. 

I took it home and swatched it. It looked like nothing on my skin. And even though I saw that, did I believe it? Nope. It's so beautiful! I told myself. I applied it on my cheeks the next day. It looked like nothing other than a pore-enhancer on me. It's so beautiful! I told myself still. I looked at my cheeks within an hour of having applied my makeup and saw that I had no blush on my cheeks. So the next time, I applied layer after layer and really "built" it up to the point where my pores were extra noticeable. And when people would ask for blush recommendations, I would always tell them about Coralista. It's so beautiful! I would tell them. 

And, yes. On my friend who has cool-toned, pale skin, this blush looks beautiful. On me, with warm, olive skin, this blush looks like nothing. It took me a long time to realize that the majority of people I was watching on YouTube who were hyping these blushes (along with NARS Deep Throat and MAC Well Dressed) had cool-toned skin. They also had light skin. I have light to medium skin, and the majority of Benefit boxed blushes look like nothing on me. So it's hard for me to imagine what they would look like on skin tones darker than mine. My assumption is that Benefit has created a line of blushes that heavily skew toward the fairest of skin. And that's disappointing, to say the least. 

So, my Coralista ended up with my aforementioned friend. And she loves it. 

While I was still in denial about Coralista, Benefit released Bella Bamba:

All anyone had to say about this blush was that the shade was "watermelon," and I was all over it. I made the rookie mistake of swatching this on the back of my hand instead of applying it onto my cheeks (which was actually a marked improvement over what I did with Coralista), thought the color was pretty, and bought it. This one actually showed up on my skin (again, a marked improvement over Coralista), but I could tell immediately upon first use that it wasn't a very high quality product, especially compared to my other blushes. Whenever I would tap my brush into it, the product would crumple in the pan and fly everywhere. I would always somehow apply too much, the application was patchy, and a few hours into my day, the product was totally gone. 

This never happened with my other blushes, which were from NARS, MAC, and Tarte. 

Other Benefit blushes I considered purchasing were Dandelion:

This looked even less like nothing when I swatched it, and I thankfully couldn't justify the price on something that was very much nothing


This also looked like a whole lot of nothing on me. 


Again, nothing.


Emphasized my pores terribly. 

And Dallas:

I looked at this one recently, actually. I had been on the hunt for a perfect rose bronze blush for a natural look. Many people recommended Dallas, but they were the same Benefit-loving crew: pale and cool-toned. I decided to try it on, and I laughed at the results. After all this time, I still hadn't learned. It looked like nothing on me. 

And now there's Galifornia, which, I have to admit, looks really cool in the pan:

This image of Galifornia was one of the first that surfaced:

And I wonder if the gold in the top photo is an overspray or it this picture just has exceptionally bad lighting. 

If it is an overspray, I find that really obnoxious. The only reason for overspray is decorative, and most people wipe it off immediately anyway because it taints the color and performance of the actual product. Oversprays are just another way that companies put more energy into the packaging to make a product look pretty so people will buy it than into the actual quality of the product. 

Like all Benefit boxed blushes, Galifornia is scented. This one is supposed to be "pink grapefruit vanilla." Personally, I hated the scents of Coralista and Bella Bamba. They felt cheap to me rather than sophisticated and luxurious. So for me, the scent isn't anything enticing or exciting. 

And as for color, it seems as though Galifornia will be a warm pink blush. And as far as blushes go, that's about as unique as a pink lipstick. And I think Benefit knows this (about all of their blush colors), which is why the blushes are scented and the packaging is really cute. It makes people want to collect them because they are pretty instead of high quality. 

Personally, I already have a perfect warm pink blush for my skin, theBalm Frat Boy:

I've mentioned this before, but the idea that shades of blush are nuanced enough to be noticed when applied sheerly onto the skin is ridiculous. Most blushes within a color family will look essentially the same when applied to the skin, so there is little need for more than a few colors in an entire collection. Personally, since cutting down my blush collection, I've been really happy. I can look at my eye look and think, "Should I wear pink, peach, rose, or mauve?" Once I've figured that out, I only have one blush to grab for. And I never find myself wanting more or feeling like I'm missing out. 

On the whole, Benefit doesn't impress me. I do like a couple of their mascaras, but that's it. The brand doesn't feel as though they accept and celebrate a myriad of skin tones, which is disappointing and makes me not interested in the brand. I have not tried a single blush from Benefit that worked for my skin tone or skin type, and I am frankly no longer interested in trying any further. 

I'm sure many people will enjoy Galifornia, like the packaging and scent, and think the color is pretty. But these same people will likely have several—dozens, even—blushes that look exactly the same as Galifornia and likely perform better. With blush especially I think it's important to really evaluate your collection and see what you already have. If you have a pink blush that looks killer on you in a formula that you love, you really don't need other pink blushes. I love my blush in Frat Boy and have zero desire or need for Galifornia. And I won't be buying. 


  1. This is the first time I have come across a beauty blog that is brutally honest to the point of waking people up. You have just successfully talked me out of buying any more when I had spent a couple of days dreaming about Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick pallette at 50 pounds which I am now sure i dont need because i can recreate the same effect with the haul of Mac Mineralise blushes I already have.

  2. i'm SO happy i ran into your blog! i'm facing a rehab from consumerism as well, and reading your posts helped me reinforce the notion that it isn't my fault i bought so much makeup in the last years. i mean, of course i need to strenghen my self esteem and control, but companies clearly are trying to creating a need in us to buy whatever they decide to release, with all that buzz ,with teasers and all that. thanks a lot, and i'll surely be reading your posts.

  3. The GALifornia indeed has an is only on the surface & does not go all the way into the product.

  4. Thank you for your review! I too am a beauty product impulse buyer and you successfully stopped me from buying yet another blush when I have 3 or 4 perfectly good ones to use!

  5. I love the idea of an anti-haul blog! Such a great idea. I agree that most of Benefit's blushes are very light and don't show up unless you have fair to light skin. But I just recently purchased GALifornia and it is by far the deepest and most pigmented of all the Benefit blushes. I think it'll show up great on medium skin tones...I have fair skin and I have to use a really light hand with it. It is very similar to The Balm's Frat Boy but it has a golden sheen to it that Frat Boy doesn't (even after the overspray comes off).

  6. I love benefit blushes, but like you pointed out, I have fair cool toned skin. Even then, they're pretty subtle, so I can't see them showing up at all on anyone deeper than an NW/C20 which sucks. My sister has light warm toned skin and Coralista looks gorgeous on her, interesting how different things work for different people :)