Benefit’s new collection of blushes in the full-size and minis launched in May of 2022, and I bought them as soon as they were released on Benefit’s website, with the exception of Starlaa. Starlaa was the shade I wanted the most, so I planned to wait until it was available for purchase before posting this review. I figured it was delayed in shipping and would be ready in a few weeks, but rumor has it that Starlaa was pressed too softly and was shattering in transit, so Benefit had to remake them, which caused a four month delay! These powder blushes are on the softer side, so even my original mini of the Terra blush arrived broken. Granted, Benefit’s packaging of it was abysmal in the flimsiest recycled paper envelope in the world’s thinnest padding I’ve ever seen. It’s a miracle the other two didn’t break with it! The customer service exchange was tedious and required my email to be forwarded and to wait for the initial response back before trading multiple additional exchanges of information including photos, providing the lot number (only found by peeling back the sticker off the bottom), etc. The customer service rep(s) were polite, but the hassle of this instance and knowing what kind of horrible packaging such a delicate product was put in, makes me not want to order from Benefit’s website again. I opted for a replacement instead of a refund, and feel lucky that the second one made it safely.
In September, I saw Starlaa first available in the UK in one of Benefit’s holiday sets called the, “Blushin Benetint Bundle,” but in the mini size. I decided that since I waited so many months already, it couldn’t hurt to wait to get the full-size when it would eventually come to the US. I ended up buying it from QVC and got a discount with a promo code.
The holiday set called “Beauty Mail Blush n Brush gift set” (or “Blush ‘n Brush Delivery” later in the US), with the limited edition blush called Terra Spark, was also available in the UK first. I loved the original Terra blush, so I grew too impatient to wait for Terra Spark to come to the US and immediately ordered it from Selfridges. Imagine my surprise when I found out the shimmery red-gold blush I planned to use as a highlighter was basically Terra with a gold overspray!
Terra is a “golden brick-red blush,” listed as having a shimmer finish, though the gold shimmer running through it isn’t nearly as obvious as other shimmer blushes I own. The only difference between Terra and Terra Spark (when the overspray is gone) is that Terra Spark has a stronger golden sheen, which alters the tone from brick-red to a slightly orange hue. They essentially look the same on my cheeks, though perhaps on someone with a lighter skin tone, the differences may be more significant. Those two blushes are so close that I had to double-check my files to make sure I didn’t get them confused in the cropping and labeling process because Terra can still look a bit terracotta if the light hits that shimmer a certain way too.
I put a photo with no blush next to Starlaa to emphasize how subtle the color is on me, but that it does show up.
Photos of Crystah, Terra, and Java (while I’m wearing a ponytail in the section further down) were taken on the same day in June. The photo of Starlaa in the grey shirt was from October. The photos in this section were taken in November. I had to resort to using my ring light to get consistency in showing the way the blushes look on me. Previous attempts to retake these photos without it resulted in vast differences due to foundation choices, problems with my camera, and lighting issues. The highlighter and bronzer I’m wearing in this batch of photos above is the R.E.M Beauty Interstellar Highlighter Topper in Miss Mars and Huda Glowish Lightweight Blurring Pressed Powder (as bronzer) in Deep Tan.
Though they are technically different, I feel that the promo images for Terra Spark are misleading in representing how much of an impact the gold shimmer will have on the look of the blush.
I bought this primarily for Terra Spark, though the set also came in a cute tin with a sheet of stickers and a retractable synthetic fiber blush brush. The tin can be reused for anything like storing pens, makeup brushes, liners, candy, holiday treats, and more. I haven’t decided yet how I will be repurposing mine.
I didn’t expect to get much use out of the Benefit Multitasking Brush, and most of its value to me was the fact that it’s a limited edition version (same brush with painted white dots). However, it’s quite a bit handier than I expected because of the adjustable aspect! When the bristles are fully out, it’s the most floppy and least dense. To me, it’s almost unusable with the blushes in that state, but it’s perfect for something like a face powder that I’d want applied in a sheer layer and to be able to blend without needing to buff. With the head retracted a little further (about a third down) is the sweet spot for using this brush with the blushes. I get the amount of density I like for buffing them in. With most of the bristles pushed below, the brush is at its densest and strongest buffing power, suitable for something I want extra blended like sculpting powder products.
I have also used this brush with the Rare Beauty Soft Pinch Liquid Blushes, Glossier Solar Paint Bronzer, and the Nars Laguna Bronzing Cream in order to test out how this brush works with cream and liquid products. It works beautifully with them because of that ability to control how tightly or loosely the bristles are compacted, and therefore adjust to what each individual product requires. It stays in the position I set it, for the mostpart, but if I apply too much pressure it does start to slide down. However, I’m still very pleased with this brush and the fact that it came in this set for $30, which is the same price the non-limited edition brush retails for anyway.
I’ll get back to the blushes now.
There are three different finishes among the permanent blushes: Crystah and Terra are shimmers, Starlaa is a satin, and Java is a matte. The shimmery affect in Terra is on the subtle side, though the base color is pigmented. I only need one dip in the pan to get the amount of blush I would normally want; two dips makes the blush prominent, but not garish. I would not exceed two dips into the pan with the brush. With Crystah, the gold shimmer is more abundant and brighter. It’s like Benefit’s version of Nars Orgasm X, but better in my eyes. One layer of blush is all I need to give me a vibrant flush of pink. I can see it straight on, but when I turn my head to the side, the gold reflects brightly and literally makes the pink less visible wherever the light is hitting it. So, at certain angles, it looks like I just have a golden cheek with the barest amount of pink tinge underneath. A lot of coral blushes with gold shimmer that I’ve used in the past have ended up looking silly on me because of the way light reflects off the shimmer, but in the case of Crystah, Benefit made the base color so pigmented that it still ends up looking pretty to me, especially since the shimmer is so fine in size. If I add a second layer, I can definitely see more of the pink color even when light hits it, but that means it’s also very intense when looking at it head on. I prefer to just stick to a light layer when using it alone, or it looks fantastic on top of Benefit’s blushes and as a topper for other blushes in my collection.
When it comes to Terra Spark, just like Crystah, the base color also pulls a disappearing act wherever a certain intensity of light hits the shimmer, but because the surrounding blush area is a much darker color than Crystah, it makes those camouflaged sections look patchy or poorly blended. So, I prefer to now use Terra Spark as a blush topper instead. That isn’t to say the Benefit shimmer formula isn’t opaque enough to be standalone blushes, it’s just the reflection issue that makes me prefer to mix them with other blushes.
Starlaa, in my eyes, is like a sheerer and slightly lighter version of Terra. This “rosy bronze” satin blush is mattifying, but it does have a sheen to it that keeps it from looking flat and adds a pretty finish to the skin without detectable shimmer. I have to build up this color a lot as the brown in it blends in so much with my skin tone. However, I love the slightest whisper of rosy pink that’s visible on my cheeks in person. It’s especially great for no-makeup makeup days. For that reason, I get a fair amount of use out of Starlaa, which is my second most used blush, while Terra reigns as the favorite.
Lastly is Java, which is thankfully not the kind of matte that will look powdery or heavy on my dry skin. In fact, it doesn’t look like a flat matte to me, but I wear mostly natural/dewy/glowy foundations, so that could be a factor. Java is described as a “rosy mocha” and one layer is more than enough product for each cheek since it, like most of the others, is so pigmented.
All of these blushes, no matter the finish, are long lasting on the cheeks. I love the fact that there are options to buy a decent amount of these in mini sizes. It makes it easier to afford owning multiple shades and is less wasteful, since I would be surprised if I used up all of even the mini sizes. Although I’m over Benefit putting their pressed powder products in the box packaging, this launch is when they introduced the slimmed down packaging that no longer included those mini brushes that a lot of us never used anyway. Also, I was glad to see that although the mini size is quite small for the $17 retail price, the pans are wide enough that I don’t have an issue fitting the blush brushes I want to use with them into those boxes.
Those who don’t like fragrance may not like these as they have an orange blossom or some other kind of sweet floral scent. Because I like this formula so much, I overlook the fragrance, and thankfully I am able to stop smelling it on my face after a few minutes. I thought I would post some comparison swatches of these to other brands that don’t include fragrance in their blushes.
Starting with MAC, Ambering Rose is nearly identical to Terra, but with a little more gold shimmer. Ambering Rose is in my top three favorite blush shades from MAC, so I understand now why I love Terra so much. Unfortunately, Ambering Rose is discontinued, but at least Terra is a good alternative. Peachtwist from MAC is also still available. It’s not an exact dupe, as it leans more peachy-pink, but it’s quite close.
I’m sure I could find more dupes for Java, since I have quite a few pink and red leaning brown blushes now in my collection, but since MAC makes my favorite blushes, a dupe for it would be my top recommendation. MAC’s Format has the same base color as Java, but it’s like the shimmer version with fine golden specks. MAC’s Raizin is matte and quite similar, but with a stronger red tone to it. Raizin had too much red in it for my liking, and I always thought it would be perfect if the brown was stronger in that shade, so I’m happy to have gotten my wish in the form of Java.
The closest dupe I have for Starlaa is MAC’s Sunbasque. I never use it because it’s too light for me to work as a blush. Starlaa is just barely dark enough with just enough of a deeper pink for it to show on my skin.
Swatching Crystah and Nars’ Orgasm X side by side, I now see why Crystah is a better fit for me. It’s more coral leaning in the base color rather than pink. With my undertone, I find corals to be more flattering.
So, those are all the new Benefit Blushes in my collection! When I love a blush formula, I tend to want to buy all the shades that work for me (or appear as though they would work), so I’m still tempted by Butterfly and PomPom, but those are currently only available in the full-sizes, which is why I haven’t taken the plunge. And when it comes to which finish I prefer, I’m so thoroughly impressed by how smooth and blendable Java is and how natural it looks on my face, so the mattes are my favorite. Then, when it comes to the satins or shimmers, the satin is the safer bet, because it doesn’t have as reflective of shimmer in it, but at the same time I can’t help but wish it was either firmly in the matte or shimmer categories. The slight shimmer effect in the satin feels almost pointless. I prefer the look of the shimmers over the satin, but Terra Spark and Crystah had that reflective issue while Terra did not. So, it would be riskier for me to blindly purchase another shimmer blush in the hopes that it will perform more like Terra.
Also, regarding the formulas, Benefit Powder products tend to get hard-pan easily if swatched too much. I was surprised to see that I don’t have this issue with the matte and shimmer blushes, but for some reason Starlaa does have that problem. So, I scraped off the top layer lightly and began using brushes for the remainder of the swatches I needed to do.
Well, I believe that’s everything I have to say about the Wanderful World Blushes! I love them and recommend them (but I personally would wait for at least 20% off which is easy to find between all the retailers that carry Benefit products).
Thank you for reading!
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