Benefit Cosmetics: Brow pros and more

By Leah A. Zeldes

Are your eyebrows too full or too thin? Got some features you need to cover up? Should your face be bolder and brighter? Indulge in a Benefit makeup kit this season. Benefit can give you the face that nature never did.

Benefit Cosmetics is known for its "Brow Bars" at standalone stores and retail cosmetic counters across the country, which they say are "staffed with licensed professionals, highly trained in the art of brow shaping, so they’re always ready to wax and tweeze, primp and please."  

"Famous for brows, Benefit has been arching brows for over 35 years," says company spokeswoman Carla Nacinopa. "With over 800 Brow Bars worldwide, the Benefit Brow Bar is the brow authority, where girls in-the-know get brows on-the-go."

Benefit Brow Zings Brow Kit

The eyebrows have it

A bevy of Benefit products concentrate on eyebrows, including pencils, powders, brushes, tweezers and more. One of the newest releases is Benefit Gimme Brow, a brow-volumizing fiber gel, which is a kind of eyebrow mascara that makes your brows look thicker. There's another brow mascara, Speed Brow Tinted that comes in a universal color shade. High Brow, a pink eye pencil, is supposed to highlight your brow bone to give your eyebrows a "lift." The Benefit Brow Zings and Brows a Go Go kits contain a selection of brow colorants and tools intended to transform the look of your eyebrows.

Benefit, Nacinopa says, is "known for fun, instant beauty solutions." They improve on what nature gave you with products such as POREfessional primer, which Nacinopa says, "quickly minimizes the appearance of pores." Concealers like Erase Paste, Boi-ing and Fakeup cover other facial flaws, while other products add to what you've got.

"One of our best-selling products is Benefit They're Real! mascara,” Nacinopa says. ”It adds tons of length and volume."

The company's popular product Benetint resulted from an exotic dancer's request for heightened color on professional assets below the neck.

"It's a rose-tinted lip and cheek stain that lasts for hours," Nacinopa says.

Benefit lip and check tint collection

How Benefit got its start in San Francisco

Benefit Cosmetics got its start in San Francisco in 1976, when identical twins Jean and Jane Ford, models and makeup artists, opened a boutique called The Face Place. The company website quotes Jane: "One day we literally stood on a street corner in San Francisco and flipped a coin...heads we'd open a casserole cafe...tails we'd open a makeup boutique. Tales it was!" 

The Face Place was renamed Benefit Cosmetics in 1990. In 1998, Jean's daughters, Maggie and Annie Ford Danielson joined the firm as "Global Beauty Authorities." In 1999, the Ford family sold Benefit to Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy, the suitcase and booze company.

Since then, according to Nacinopa, "The action-packed beauty brand has swept the world with one-of-a-kind cult favorite products like Benetint, Dr. Feelgood, They're Real mascara and the POREfessional."

For those who have concerns about makeup beyond looking good, Benefit Cosmetics does not test its products on animals, the company says, instead requiring its raw material suppliers to provide safety information based on "scientifically accepted alternative testing methods."

They are also working to remove wheat protein hydrolysates from their products, so as to make them gluten-free, but a few cosmetics might still contain wheat germ.

Despite the scores of premium-priced makeup products the company markets, Nacinopa says the brand "believes laughter is the best cosmetic." Benefit, she says, "provides women with a playful, interactive experience that is truly unique, bold and girly."