Benefit, Benefit, Benefit… Where do I start? I have a long running, well documented of my feelings towards their products, overpriced, falsely vintage looking, pastel overload and generally bad performing in my experience has meant whilst I’ve tried to find the product in the range that was going to be the one product I wanted to scream from the rooftops, “I’ve found the benefit product for me!”.
I’ve been a massive fan over the past year of ModelCo’s More Brows – a product I still love and would still be using if I hadn’t run out of my stash of three tubes. It’s not the easiest brand to get hold of in the UK, so I sought out something easier. When the re-launch of Benefit’s brow line bombarded the blogosphere, I was intrigued to see whether there would be a product, which would be “the one”.
ModelCo is slightly cheaper at (£14) then Benefit’s Gimme Brow (£18.50)– but the vanity in me is 100% sold because of the repacked pretty chrome like packaging. In my experience these kind of products tend to last me 6-8 months of use (about 5 days a week). So divide that over the number of months (7 on average) and ModelCo is 2 per month, and £2.60 for Benefit’s so the difference between the two is negligible anyway.
I like these fibre building brow gels, I have a lot of definition to my brows already, I like to fill them in and build volume and fill in the few sparse areas with these. I find brow pencils and pomades difficult for me, one brow for me is naturally about half a centimetre higher than the other, and I find if I draw them on, whilst they’ll be the same shape, that very defined look tends to enhance how noticeable the difference in position I have between my left and right.
I’ve been sold by this from the first use, it’s cool toned brown has been a perfect match for the one from Model Co which I really liked. I like the dinkiness of the brush on these too, I haven’t got really thin brows, but very thick brushes also . I actually prefer this brush over ModelCo’s as it’s tapered towards the end meaning it’s very easy to angle and get into every tiny area.
When I hauled Gimme Brow I was bombarded with comments saying to try cheaper ones, and that they were just as good. So I went on the hunt for 3 cheaper alternatives to find if there were any that came close to how much I’d fallen for Benefit’s. All of these collectively come to a third of the price of Gimme Brow, so my purse was also hoping for a product that could rival it.
First: Essence Make Me Brow (£1.99)
Definitely the closest out of the three I tried for coming closest to Benefit’s. The packaging in particular reminds me of the old style Gimme Brow packaging. The colour and the amount of fibres seems close enough to Benefit’s. The thing I don’t like about it is the brush, whilst it’s larger than Benefit’s it’s definitely workable – I need to take slightly more time to make sure I don’t apply it clumsily. But it’s so uncomfortable to use and I don’t know why, I find the bristles in this really rigid and scratchy – it makes my eyebrows sore from using. I don’t know whether it’s the type of bristles or whether it’s because they’re longer. Lastly the performance of this isn’t bad, but I don’t think it holds in place as long as Benefit’s which stays until I remove it – I find at the end of a work day this has pretty much gone.
Second: Natural Collection Brow Gel (£1.99)
Natural Collection has recently added a couple of new products into it’s brow game which I’d seen a few positive comments on from bloggers so I decided to go and take a look for myself. There was a limited colour selection (3 colours) and the tubes were sealed with no testers so I was unable to see what the brush and formula was actually like pre purchasing. First off the colour – this was the darkest, definitely way too warm toned for me, there’s not a cool toned deep brown that comes close to Benefit’s in this range – and all of their offerings looked on the warmer side. This is a pure gel formula and doesn’t have any fibres in to build on sparse areas. The brush is giant, like actually huge I was staggered anyone could do something with a brush this big on their brows. It’s also so, so wet – the formula of this makes for a super messy application despite having a steady hand and really taking my time. In terms of wear this smudges so easily, a few weeks ago I tweeted that I wore a new brow gel that had smudged everywhere at work and no one had mentioned it, it was this. In an office that’s closer to feeling like a fridge than a normal room temperature that’s quite a feat. Overall this is a big fat skip for me. Don’t do it.
Third: MUA Brow Define (£2.00)
MUA’s Brow Gel is a much better colour than Natural Collections, and like Natural Collections this was sealed so I couldn’t see what it’s like pre-buying. This again had no extra fibres and is instead a smoother gel, but it’s much drier and easier to work with. The brush is slightly smaller than Natural Collection’s, but still too big for my liking . It takes a little bit of clean-up but is passable once on, and it doesn’t smudge all day. This is passable for me but I prefer a product which has fibres in to build the sparser areas.
None of these outbeat Benefit for me, Essence could come close but the slightly oversized – but most importantly, scratchy brush is too off putting for me to use it every day. I’d rather personally pay out more for a product I enjoy using and doesn’t make my brows feel traumatised by harsh bristles.