Is Bench makeup worth a second look? Let's test these under P300 finds!

by Angeli Garcia, contributor

Before international retailers like H&M and Forever 21 even opened in the PH, home-grown brand Bench was already offering beauty products alongside fast fashion choices. If you grew up in the 90s, you probably had the Pretty When Pinched Cheek & Lip Tint in your teenage kikay kit (mainly because you couldn't afford The Body Shop lol)! The brand has since expanded their makeup collection, and I was recently surprised to see that the Bench Paintbox line now has a lot of interesting options.

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We've already tested their powder for setting our makeup; now it's time to try their cosmetics! I picked out five items from the line to create a full FOTD. Honestly, the wallet-friendly prices made ma a bit wary of their quality but hey, not everything can be that bad, right? Let’s find out!

I was glad to find this Skin Perfecting BB Cream with anti-aging properties and SPF 20 for only P229. It claims to be a 3-in-1 product, functioning as moisturizer, foundation, and concealer. It feels like a light lotion, and smells like sunscreen. Once blended, the coverage is very similar to a foundation with light to medium coverage. I got the shade Light but it's also available in Fair and Natural.

The Auto-Brow Pencil also looked very promising at just P159. The retractable pencil has a triangular tip and it comes with a spoolie on the other end. At 0.25 grams, it has about as much product as the Etude House Drawing My Brow Pencil (P179). The formula feels very creamy formula and the tip's shape does help in creating an outline and filling in sparse areas of the brows.

I almost squealed when I saw the Brow Lasting Mascara in Dark Brown was just P139. The brush wand is small - perfect for shading the brows, I thought (Editor: It looks like Benefit's brow mascara - Liz)! It claims to be natural-looking, smudge-proof, and long-lasting. At 7ml, it has slightly more product than Maybelline’s Brow Precise Fiber Volumizer but the formula doesn't appear to contain any fibers. It has fine micro shimmers though that I found very similar to the MAC Brow Gels. 

I'm currently obsessed with cream blushes so this Lip and Cheek Crème (P129) was something that really excited me. such a delight to behold. I picked Dusty Rose from the four available shades. The doe-foot applicator and moussey consistency reminds me of the NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream. It claims to deliver a natural-looking flush all day.

Finally, I couldn't resist picking up an Eyeshadow Stick in Goldstone, which was just P199. The cream pencil has a sponge applicator on the other end , and promises smooth, blendable application and a non-creasing formula. I fell in love with the pigmentation upon swatching, and it didn't budge when I tried to rub it off. Sadly, this is not retractable and will need a jumbo pencil sharpener when the point wears down. 

Freshly applied

Freshly applied

Closeup of the eyeshadow

Closeup of the eyeshadow

Here is my FOTD wearing all the five products! As expected, the BB cream could not cover my blemishes but I loved how light it felt on my skin. It was very easy to apply using fingers and dried down to a demi-matte finish. I still recommend setting it with powder because of it has tacky texture. I would recommend this if you're looking for something like a tinted sunscreen but not as an everyday makeup base as this does not last long on the skin. By the 8th hour, it looked very patchy in some areas.

The Auto Brow Pencil and Brow Mascara were a pleasant surprise as both really stayed on my brows with minimal fading! The Brow Pencil was very creamy and pigmented while the Brow Mascara kept my brows intact. However, the mascara made my brows look very crunchy! You can probably wear the brow mascara alone if you have naturally thick brows but mine are sparse so some areas looked patchy at the end of the day.

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Despite swatching as budge-proof, the Eyeshadow Stick was a no-go for me. It creased on my oily, hooded eyelid almost instantly and seemed to disappear into the folds. That said, my lids are very oily and I didn't use an eyeshadow beforehand so I'll try that next time! The sponge that it came with was very helpful for blending the cream shadow but you have to blend fast because it sets right away.

My winner will definitely be the Lip and Cheek Crème, as I was able to easily blend it just by tapping it onto my cheeks. I didn't like using it as a lip crème though because Dusty Rose looked neon fluorescent pink on my lips and was very unflattering for my skin tone. As a blush though, the product really stayed in place even after eight hours! It's perfect for using as a cream base then setting with a powder blush if you want extreme long wear.

Overall, my experience with Bench makeup was much better than I thought it would be. I mean, it's no MAC, but the price is right for a teenage girl who needs a quick boost of pretty.

Have you tried anything from the Bench Paintbox makeup line? What do you think about the products?

Angeli is a reports analyst who blogs at Hey It's Angeli G. She is based in Cebu.