Benefit is one (mainstream/larger) brand that does not get a lot of love on my blog. Every experience I’ve had with their products in the past was either so-so (Erase Paste, POREfessional primer, the brow kits, benetint, high beam) or just horrible (You Rebel tinted moisturizer). To be fair, I have never tried what they are most known for: their box blushes. Neither have I had the chance to pick up any lip product or eyeshadow (the reformulations are supposedly amazing), so my knowledge of the brand is far from comprehensive. I’m also not particularly drawn in by their aesthetic. The only brand that can pull off retro or cartoonish packaging is theBalm—in my humble opinion, at least.
So, isn’t it funny that I’m sitting here about to write a pretty damn good review of a Benefit product? It’s a pleasant surprise to me and I’m quite happy to have given the brand another shot in spite of all of the blah and meh experiences I’ve had with it. The reason why I decided to give it another shot was, of course, other reviews on the internet. I feel like once you get sucked into the world of online makeup reviews, it just becomes a vicious cycle of see-research-ogle-obsess-buy-loveit and repeat. Not complaining here, promise! I mean, it’s what brought me to this:
Meet Agent Zero Shine (1,600 Php), Benefit’s shine-vanishing, pore-smoothing PRO powder. She’s obviously the POREfessional PRO balm‘s partner in crime: the ultimate mattifyng setting powder to match the ultimate smoothing primer. Benefit has been selling the pair in a set and offering a gift with purchase. Now I have tried the PRO balm (primer) and I thought it wasn’t all that great. My mom on the other hand really loves the stuff. My skin doesn’t need a wrinkle-filler just yet and the primer doesn’t control excess oil. This finishing powder on the other hand, does.
Funny packaging, eh? This loose powder comes in a shaker-type tube with a brush conveniently tucked into the bottom end. All you have to do is tap the powder into the cap, dip the brush in, and sweep or pat it softly onto the skin. The sifter at the top twists open and closed, so you don’t have to worry about wasting any product. It’s a fun concept and after taking this on nearly every night out I’ve been on since I got it, I gotta say that it was a pretty good one. I do wish it were a little smaller… pressed powder compacts are a lot more bag-friendly for sure. If Benefit figures out a way to make this into a pressed powder, then it will be absolute perfection!You get 7.0g of this smooth, soft, peachy toned powder in the tube. That’s a lot of powder and you don’t need very much to get it to work. The 1,600.00 Php price tag isn’t so bad when you consider that!
Now here’s proof of how well Agent Zero Shine works as a touch-up powder. I did my makeup as usual and set everything with a regular powder before I went out of the house to run some errands. Came home a few hours later with a slightly oily face, so I whipped out Agent Zero Shine. You can clearly see how much more matte my skin looks in the photo on the right. I didn’t even use a blotting sheet before the powder because I really wanted to put the product to the test. I would say it totally deserves top marks, don’t you agree? :)
On other days, I have used Agent Zero Shine as a setting powder right after applying my makeup–so that’s before I leave the house and go about my day. When I do that, excess oil remains in check for about 5 hours. That’s impressive for my skin type, but it doesn’t outperform my Clinique Stay Matte powder. It excels as a touch-up powder, meaning it absorbs oil that has already creeped out during the day. I also don’t use it to set my face every morning because it can tend to look a little unnatural.
Because Agent Zero Shine is an “invisible” (i.e. translucent) powder, it does not provide additional coverage. It does seems to blur lines and smooth out the skin, though. I also like that there’s no need to fuss over finding the right shade.
Close-up of my nose area, the only place on my face where my pores are ever-so-slightly enlarged and visible. I’m lucky to not have a huge pore problem so I don’t actively search for products that target that concern, but man my skin looks unnaturally smooth here! No one has absolutely zero pores (hello, how would your skin breathe?), but who doesn’t want to have skin that looks poreless? Instructions for usage both on the box and on a brochure that came inside the box. Note that when placing the brush back into the tube, you can push up the plastic sleeve thing to make sure the bristles don’t splay! Speaking of the brush, I’m already wondering if it will react well to washing. Will find out soon and get back to you!Sliiight overkill with the packaging, in my opinion. Still, I can appreciate how much effort goes into making the design and coming up with the concept. I’m just one of those girls who prefers classic, simple packaging (except when if comes to theBalm). Packaging woes aside, I think Agent Zero Shine is an incredible product. I mean, when having your skin look too perfect becomes a “problem,” you know you have a winner.
Girls with combo or oily skin, I highly recommend this product.
Benefit’s main store can be found in Greenbelt 5. They are also available at counters inside Rustan’s Department Store.