Beauty, Betsy Loves

Faking It (a healthy look)

I am lucky enough that every month a new batch of lovely beauty products lands on our doormat at work, and every month they get handed out around the office to review. For our January issue (we’re already working on the February and March issues now, sigh…), we were reviewing those make-up and skin lifesavers that stop you looking like the walking dead in the few weeks post-Xmas. I chose Benefit’s Fake Up to review, and I can honestly say I think it’s great.

I only ever review things on the blog that I actually legitimately like and think are great products, and this is one of them. Most people are aware of Benefit with its kitsch branding, and some of their products are cult status (Hoola bronzer, Highbeam highlighter etc.), but at the same time, they’re not necessarily known as being the go-to brand for make-up (or certainly not for me!), however, I’m beginning to be won around.

So, on to the concealer. This is definitely one for under the eyes, rather than blemishes. It’s a very creamy formula with a stick of colour running through the centre, and a moisturising complex surrounding that. The lipstick-esque tube makes for very easy application, and after I’d mastered my initial panic that it looked too rich and creamy, I was very impressed with the results. I’ve recently learnt (via one of legendary make-up artist, Mary Greenwell’s, YouTube vidoes) that you need a lot more under-eye concealer than you might think – I mean, she layers on the stuff – back and forth and back and forth – and then, you don’t try to rub it into your skin, you simply pat it to make sure all the edges are blended and voila! If you have the right shade, your eyebags will look lighter, if you have the wrong shade, you’ll look like an idiot.

There are three Benefit shades to choose from – light, medium and dark – I went for light because I always do, and instinct proved right (saving me any ‘idiot’ moments). I applied the concealer after my foundation, and followed it with a dusting of powder (I LOVE POWDER), and after the end of the day, well, yeah, I looked a little tired, but on the whole, it had held up remarkably well. The only thing I will say is that its richness means that if some of your mascara moults then the black specks tend to stay under your eye, rather than drop away, however, a little swipe of the finger sorts that out!

Considering I’d only just bought a new concealer – Bobbi Brown’s Face Touch Up Stick in Cool Beige (£20) – that was meant to be my under-eye and blemish saviour, I’m now remarkably disloyal to it. I still use it for spots and marks, but the old under-eyes now get the Benefit Fake Up treatment, and maybe yours should too?…

Beauty, Betsy Loves

Beautiful Brows

Brows are big news. Praise (or blame) Cara Delevingne. I’m naturally fair, unnaturally blonde-headed, with naturally dark eyebrows. Phew! Blonde eye pencils just don’t cut it for me. And if they have even a hint of red in, I look ridiculous. So I need dark, but not too dark. I’m lucky that my day job means I get to try lots of beauty freebies out, and this little lot landed on my desk late last month. So what do I think?

First up, the cheapest: Liz Earle – this only comes in two options ‘fair’ and ‘dark’, and neither really work on me. Next!

Origins – there’s something about the texture of this pencil/cream that I can’t get to grips with; and once more, I only have two options to work with.

Clinique – this is a little different in that it combines a highlighter as well, and joy of joys, there are three shades. ‘Soft Blonde’ is still too light, but we’re getting there with ‘Soft Brown’, while ‘Deep Brown’ is frankly scary.

Lancome – a similar product in that it also has a highlighter attached. For reasons unknown, I was excited to try this, but found that the eyebrow pencil needed sharpening much more often than the highlighter meaning that I have no doubt I’d end up with no brow pencil and all highlighter!

Clarins – first, their eyebrow pencil. I have to admit, I’m a big Clarins fan. They might not be incredibly creative but what they do, they do well. Again, there were three shades to choose from. I found ‘Light Brown’ perfect, but there were still two more products to try…

Benefit – this is the product on everyone’s lips (or brows!) at the moment, and I was dubious about the hype. With only two shades to choose from – light/medium and medium/dark – I thought they might be missing a trick, but I am happy to be proven wrong. Innovatively the gel actually creates brows where there are none as well as shaping. What can I say? I’m a convert.

Clarins – finally, and the most expensive product, was Clarins’ Pro Palette. It’s called that for a reason – if you’re not a make up artist (or someone who regularly changes the colour of their hair) you don’t really need this compact, however good it is. When you can get a great effect using a small tube or pencil, why carry round this?


There’s not much to choose between my two faves – Clarins Eyebrow Pencil, and Benefit Gimme Brow – the former gives a slightly more structured and defined look, while the latter is perfect for sweeping on when you’re in a rush. If I had to pick one, I guess I’d go for Gimme Brow. You’re welcome!