Konglish Beauty

REVIEW: Banila Co. The Secret Highlighter, Starlight and Moonlight

Posted in Banila Co, Benefit, highlighter, review by konglishbeauty on March 18, 2009

I previously mentioned in my review of the Gossip Girl palette, that Banila Co. “borrows” heavily from Benefit. Nowhere is this more evident than in their “The Secret” Starlight and Moonlight highlighters.

Any Benefit fans, please take a look at these and tell me what you see:
Yes. The Secret highlighters bear more than a passing resemblance to Benefit’s High Beam and Moon Beam highlighters. Hmmm. Tricksy.

When I first came across these in a Banila Co store, my friend and I had to do a double take to make sure that we were in fact not looking at the Benefit cream highlighters.

Benefit’s High Beam is one of their most well-known cult items and a consistent top seller. Essentially a shimmery silver / pale pink liquid cream product, Benefit markets it as “luminescent complexion enhancer” and has sold bottles and bottles of the stuff.

I love creamy liquid highlighters for their multi purpose capabilities. Used straight they are gorgeous applied to cheekbones, browbones and cupid’s bow for a highlight. They can be mixed into foundations to give a shimmer or dewy finish, mixed with lipglosses and lipsticks or patted on top of them to give a pout plumping sheen. Also they are great to mix with body lotions for body sheens as well. A flash of shimmer along the collar bone is beautiful.

On first glance the Banila Co. and Benefit products appear to be complete dupes but never fear, BeautyBitch is here to reveal the differences.

The most obvious thing is the packaging. Benefit’s two cream highlighters are housed in nail polish style glass bottles at 13ml. Banila Co. has metallic coloured caps and come in whopping 35ml bottles. That’s a LOT of highlighting bang for your buck, more than twice Benefit’s. To give you a comparison, most foundations are around 30ml in size and you tend to you use more foundation in one application than you would highlighter.
Benefit’s products have a slim brush style applicator, again like a nail varnish bottle. Banila Co’s pair have a spatula built into the cap. Personally, I don’t have a preference for either, both do the job and as I usually blend out a cream highlighter with either my finger or a synthetic brush, the original applicator’s in both have only a minor role in application for me.

As regards to the product, the biggest difference is in the colour. Banila Co’s Starlight is a pale pink shimmer whereas Benefit High Beam is a pale pink / silver shimmer. In terms of highlighting I think High Beam has the slight edge. Starlight’s pale pink is very pretty and works well on me and medium to dark skintones as highlight but I’m sure High Beam works better on most people.

Banila Co’s Moonlight is a warm yellow gold shimmer, whereas Moon Beam is a duochrome gold/pink shimmer. Unfortunately I don’t have swatches of the Benefit products to compare as I don’t own either of them at the moment.


Blended out:

In terms of texture, the Banila Co’s creams are thicker but when it comes to application that doesn’t make much difference as both blend out easily and dry to a similar satin finish: no tacky or sticky drydown. The shimmer particles are fine and not glittery in all four products making for a flattering finish.

The Banila Co creams are definitely NOT a dupe of the Benefit creams in terms of colour. I haven’t done skin tests on anyone else, but I suspect that the Banila Co Starlight will not be as suitable for ultra pale cool toned skins (below NC20 or NW20)as Benefit High Beam due to the pink colour. However for the majority of people, both Banila Co product’s will make beautiful cream highlighters at a great price and huge volume. It would be worth doing a bottle split with a friend for this, as a little goes a long way and the bottles will last aaaaaages especially if you only use these on your face.

My only complaint with these is the bottles themselves: why oh why couldn’t we have had pump bottles? So much more hygeinic for a cream product which will be around for ages and less messy.

Overall: recommended products and really pretty highlighters. 4 out of 5.

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