Benefit Tri-Product Review: That Gal, High Beam and Dr. Feelgood!

Since buying and enjoying Benefit's Erase Paste concealer about five weeks ago, I've been itching to do a bit more exploring within the line, but have hesitated because of the high-end price points and small product sizes. Over the last two weeks, however, ULTA (my retailer of choice!) held promotions where Benefit purchases came with free samples, so I figured this would be the perfect time to try a whole range of products for a lower price (the three full-size items that I purchased -- That Gal, High Beam and Dr. Feelgood -- are the focus of this review; the four samples that I received -- Stay Don't Stray, Benetint, Bad Gal Lash and a cream shadow in RSVP -- will be reviewed soon!).

That Gal
According to the Benefit Web site, That Gal is a brightening face primer that creates the look of smoother skin. The product is supposed to be so versatile that you can use it alone, under foundation or throughout the day as a pick-me-up.

I'll start by saying that the packaging is adorable, but that seems to be one of Benefit's strengths as a whole! The tube comes in a beautiful hexagonal box with a New York City Central Park design, so coupled with the cutesy name "That Gal" it automatically reminds me of chic city style. The tube itself is a bit bigger than a lipstick tube (I'd compare it to the NYC Blushable Creamsticks) and has a windy bottom that you turn to bring the product to the top. The cream comes out almost like a gel deodorant and you're then supposed to use your fingers to swipe the product off the top and apply it in upward motions onto your face.

The first thing I noticed about the product is that it is pink (!!) and smells like candy. It's also very lightweight to the touch and absorbs quickly into the skin. The first day I tried this, I wanted to see what the product would do for my skin without the benefit of foundation or powder, since it is mentioned that it can be used alone. Here is where my disappointment began. After applying a decent amount all over my face, I stared at myself for a minute, waiting for the brightening, smoothing effects to begin. NOTHING HAPPENED! My skin looked EXACTLY the same -- no smoother, no brighter, and with absolutely no coverage at all.

The second day, I decided to try this as a primer since Benefit does refer to it as such, so I applied it underneath my foundation and periodically checked my face throughout the day to see if my makeup had more staying power. Zilch. Not only did I (again) not see a brightening or smoothing effect, but my makeup also wore off at the exact same rate as normal.

By now, I was getting disgusted. What does this product actually DO for $28? When I got home from work, I decided I would give it one last shot and apply it over my day's makeup to see if that had an effect. Lo and behold, it worked! That Gal did indeed restore a glow to my somewhat tired-looking face AND made my skin appear smoother. I found the magic to using this product! For a moment, I was excited, but then I got to thinking. Why is this product called a PRIMER if it doesn't PRIME anything? And do I really need a $28 product that only works AFTER I apply all of my makeup? Probably not. That same glowy look could easily be accomplished with any cream highlighter or tinted moisturizer. FAIL (and a swift return to ULTA)!

Dr. Feelgood
(My apologies for using a stock photo -- I returned this one before I had a chance to photograph it. So thanks to the Benefit web site for this pic!) I blame this fail on myself, because I should have spent more time looking at the sample before exchanging my That Gal for the Dr. Feelgood, but I was in a rush and I am so desperate to find a GOOD foundation primer/smoothing product (please share your recommendations if you have any!). According to Benefit, Dr. Feelgood is a velvety complexion balm that smooths the appearance of fine lines and mattifies shine. Now, I'll give Benefit the credit on this one because it did indeed make my skin feel and look smoother, but seriously guys, this stuff is glorified Vaseline minus a bit of the goop. It smells sorta like Vaseline, it looks exactly like Vaseline (a pale jelly) and feels almost exactly the same (as I said, just a little smoother and less goopy). Now, we all know how BAD it is to put Vaseline on your skin, despite the smoothing effects (it's known to close off and clog pores, plus some argue that the petroleum has cancer-causing effects [I don't have proof for or against this latter claim]), and for me Dr. Feelgood had similar stifling effects on my skin (I swiftly broke out on my cheeks where I placed the product)! This item, like That Gal, is also $28, and if I really wanted a smoothing effect and didn't mind the pore-clogging bit, I could head to my local drugstore and get the same benefits with a $3 jar of Vaseline. 

Third time's the charm with High Beam
So by now I was starting to doubt my affections for Benefit, but because I received free samples with my original purchase, I was forced to continue trading for new Benefit products (lest I wanted to return my free samples, which I was still itching to try). This time, I was determined to find something I liked because I think the ULTA staff were starting to recognize me as the girl who buys and promptly returns Benefit products. After spending some time playing with the samples, I was down to swapping for either the Hoola bronzer, Coralista blush or High Beam highlighter and I settled on the latter as I already have quite a few bronzers and blushers, but don't have any highlighting creams yet.

Finally, I've found a product that I like! The packaging on this one is quite a bit less creative than with That Gal or Dr. Feelgood -- as a matter of fact it looks almost exactly like a nail polish and I'd probably mistake it for one if I didn't know better. The top screws off and you even have a polish-like applicator -- what I like about this is it makes for very precise application. This morning I used this product on my cheekbones and down the middle of my nose, but you can also use it as a brow bone highlight, on your temples, or under your eyes to brighten up those spots. The tiny point of the wand makes it easy to dot either a teensy tiny amount or give a good swipe across your face, depending on how much product you want to use. My only suggestion is to start slow, because although it may not look like much in the bottle, this baby packs a LOT of shimmer once blended. You can always layer it on, but it's a bit of a hassle to wipe off since you are generally applying it over other makeup products. The full-size High Beam is only marginally cheaper than the other two products at $24, but will last you a long time since you use only a tiny bit each day. The other plus is that the Benefit Web site ( sells a sample size of this product for $10, so you can try before you buy!

Before and After Blending

I hope that you've enjoyed my Benefit Review-a-Thon! What is your favorite product from the Benefit line and why? I always love suggestions for new things to try!


  1. hey, I've discovered your blog tonight and I've been reading your reviews about Benefit products.
    I bought my first Benefit product today and I'm really excited because I do see the effect that it promises: is the "They're Real" mascara. So great, my favorite already!

    I was curious about the other produts of the mark but they're really expensive (I live in Portugal and I don't know if in here they're more expensive than in there) so I decided to go search for reviews and I found yours! I have to say that they were very helpfull and give me some kind of advice for the next time I start to think about buying one of the Benefit's produts.

    So I hope you continue doing that reviews (about Benefit produts or others), I'm now a follower of your blog :)

    kisses *



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