Beauty editor Lucy Slight traveled to Las Vegas for the unveiling of Benefit’s brand new line of brow products – a range that’s guaranteed to be self-explanatory, high performing and all-round “goof proof.”
Why Las Vegas? “Las Vegas is the most magically transformative place on earth,” says Julie Bell, executive vice president of global marketing for Benefit Cosmetics, the company that has been “magically transforming brows since 1976”. I’m sitting in a dark theatre inside the Wynn hotel in Las Vegas for the unveiling of nine new Benefit eyebrow products launched as a result of three years dedicated to solving common brow dilemmas.
Dressed in an on-brand pink dress, Bell’s personality fills a relatively large stage in comparison to her petite stature. In the ever-enthusiastic and completely engaging American way, she has the room of 62 international beauty editors and Benefit staff mesmerised. No expense has been spared in the big brow reveal. The room we’re sitting in has been transformed into a pink palace, skinned top to toe in Benefit-theme; Benefit cushions on every seat, Benefit branding covering every table, and every supporting beam in the room is stickered to look like Benefit’s iconic girly, retro packaging.
After the launch party the previous night, I’ve come to expect nothing less than the best from the San Francisco-based company. Inside cocktail bar Rose. Rabbit. Lie in the Cosmopolitan Hotel, where all the press and Benefit staff have been put up for three nights, we were treated to a performance by legendary magician David Blaine before partying the night away in style with Las Vegas dancers, a live band, custom cocktails and pink champagne, dinner, a dessert bar, a lip-print reader and an iridologist (who told me to stop wearing my favourite deodorant and never eat wheat, corn or soy ever again, but that’s beside the point).
Celebrating all things brows is certainly nothing new for Benefit. In 1976, sisters Jean and Jane Ford, the founders of Benefit, started personalised brow waxing to pay the rent on their first store in San Francisco. Now, there are more than 1800 brow bars in 39 countries around the world. As Bell explains, Benefit is all about “empowering girls to feel confident” and this new line is based entirely around the needs and wants of customers, giving them the ability to “be your own brow expert”.
From their research, it seems women have become obsessed with their brows in much the same way as their hair. We look at them in terms of shape, colour and style, and perfecting our eyebrows has now become an integral part of our daily beauty routines. During her presentation, Bell raises some points I’ve never really thought about in eyebrow terms. Brows are multicultural and multigenerational, she says. In fact, brows have the broadest age range of any beauty category: “Brows know no borders. [Their] power to transform your face is universal.”
During the research phase, product developers implemented a simulated brow shopping experience for customers and concluded that 1) Girls want to play with products, 2) Brow novices advance quickly, and 3) We use multiple brow products at a time. Hence why Benefit’s new brow offering is so substantial.
Colour has been key for the launch, with cult brow products Gimme Brow and Brow Zings remaining in the stable, with the addition of warm and cool mid-tone shades. New innovations include Goof Proof Brow Pencil – a filling and shading pencil with an angled tip for creating perfect lines; Precisely, My Brow Pencil – a feathering pencil for precision gap-filling; Ka-Brow! – a gel colour in all six shades; and 3D Brow Tones, a water-resistant brush-on product that creates lighter or darker highlights in the brows to give them more natural dimension.
In our one-on-one interview later in the day, Bell tells me the launch of these products has been a “perfect storm.” Benefit’s brow aestheticians (of which there are more than 4000 globally) have been begging for new products, magazines have been writing about the face-framing benefits of brows for years now, younger girls are obsessed with celebrity brows and “older gals have always been worried about their brows because it’s the first thing they lose” in the ageing process.
Eager to keep the brand’s notoriety in terms of cult products (Bell tells me Benefit has the world’s number one and two mascaras and the number one primer) they’ve stepped up their game in terms of innovation with their new brow offering. “At Benefit we stay true to our DNA and we only do what we do, better and better,” says Bell. And after three days immersed in Benefit culture, I have to say, Benefit’s DNA is more than just skin deep.
Benefit’s brow range will be on counter in New Zealand on July 22.