Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Matte Bronzer - review and swatches


I've just reviewed my Marc Jacobs Tan-Tastic bronzer (see here), and since Hoola is quite similar in colour to that one, I've been testing them alongside each other over the past couple of weeks - so I thought I may as well review Hoola now while it's front of mind.

Note that I've owned Hoola for over a year now so I already knew how I felt about it, it's just been good to compare it to another popular matte bronzer that's a similar shade. And I prefer the Marc Jacobs, I must say. Why? Because it blends better. Hoola will only blend if I've powdered myself down completely, which isn't what I want to do because I have dry skin.

Note that I have five of these Hoola minis (long story) and I've put four of them into one of my custom palettes beside each other, so they operate like a full-size and I can easily run a large bronzing brush across all of them.

This is my fifth one, and since I don't need five, I'll be gifting it to a friend over Christmas. She's a makeup lover so I know she'll be excited.

Benefit claims/product details:

  • Dust this award-winning bronzing powder over your chin, cheeks and forehead for a healthy, natural-looking 'tan' year-round
  • It's pure matte colour, no sparkle or shine
  • Comes in full size and mini
  • Offers a sun-kissed glow
  • Great for contouring
  • RRP $28 AUD for 4g or $52 AUD for 8g, but do wait for sales

There's the pan, indirect sunlight:

Direct sunlight:

Light and heavy swatches, direct sunlight:

Below I've done comparison swatches alongside some other popular bronzers, being Marc Jacob's Tan-Tastic, theBalm's Bahama Mama and Kevyn Aucoin's Desert Nights.

Direct sunlight:

* L-R: MJ Tan-Tastic, Benefit Hoola, theBalm Bahama Mama and KA Desert Nights


This is one of those bronzers that I love in theory because it's such a great colour, but in practice it's not as foolproof as my other bronzers so I'm looking forward to panning it.

The texture is smooth, creamy and finely milled - although I don't think it's as finely milled as my other bronzers, which may partly be why it can start to look powdery on my skin when I need to build it (as I do in summer when I'm darker or when I'm using it on the eyes).

I really like the colour: it's a neutral brown that's a touch warm in the pan, although it pulls cooler on me and it has slight yellow undertones. Many neutral bronzers look muddy on me but this one doesn't, so that's a plus.

While this blends and applies well when I've powdered my face right down, it doesn't blend properly if my base is still a tiny bit tacky. While I suspect that this won't bother people with oily skin who need to powder a lot anyway, it does bother my dry skin. First, I don't like to look too matte because my dry skin looks better with a radiant finish; and second, powdering myself down that much makes my face look and feel dry, and it feels uncomfortable all day to boot. 

What this means is that Hoola is essentially unusable for me, except during the warmer months when I need to powder myself more because I know that the heat will make me produce more moisture and oil throughout the day. This means that now is an excellent time to start panning this bronzer, since we're just heading into warmer weather. Indeed, this is the first bronzer I plan to pan next year.

In other news I love the colour of this shade on my skin and it's a really versatile shade that works with any look. I can certainly see why a lot of people love this bronzer, and why it works for so many skintones. I also like that it lasts well on me throughout the day.

Overall I think this is a good bronzer in theory and it's such a great shade, but I would be careful with this if like me you have dry skin and don't like to coat yourself in setting powder. Yes I always set my face lightly anyway to help with longevity, but that's not enough for this bronzer: I really need to chalk myself so it will blend on my skin. Not ideal.

A great colour but not my favourite formula.

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