Hello Happy Flawless Brightening Foundation SPF 15
Benefit’s Hello Happy Flawless Brightening Foundation has a few winning qualities – but not nearly enough to categorize it as truly flawless.
This fragrance-free foundation has a creamy-fluid texture that’s satiny and glides across skin, making it easy to apply and blend. Though described as a medium coverage product, a little goes a long way, and it doesn’t take much to get truly full coverage. It sets to a semi-matte finish that’s best for those with normal to combination skin.
We found this wore well without fading throughout a standard work day, and it comes in a good range of natural-looking shades for fair to medium-deep skin tones. The brand claims this makeup’s pigments make it look good in any light, and it did look about the same both in natural light and artificial light (there were no obvious differences).
Benefit points out brightening flower acids present in the formula, but there’s one lone flower extract – hibiscus – which, while it has antioxidant benefits, is the last ingredient present here. There’s also not a lot of the touted skin-plumping hyaluronic acid that’s advertised in this formula, though both are good ingredients to have (we just wish there were more of them).
But that’s where the positives end. While we appreciate this has sunscreen in it, it’s only SPF 15, which is below globally-accepted standards for optimal sun protection (SPF 30 or greater is recommended). If you wear this, you must have an additional sun protection underneath to ensure your skin is adequately protected.
Worse, this emphasizes pores during its wear time, making them readily apparent, even if you don’t usually have enlarged pores. It also contains a high amount of drying alcohol (it’s the third inactive ingredient and you can definitely smell it), which compromises skin health (see More Info below for details) and is definitely not good if you plan to apply this foundation around your eyes.
In the end, because of its flaws, we suggest trying out one of the superior options you’ll find on our list of best foundations with sunscreen.
- Creamy-fluid texture is easy to apply and blend.
- Sets to an attractive semi-matte finish.
- Wears well without fading.
- Comes in a good range of shades.
- Fragrance free.
- SPF 15 is below global standards for optimal sun protection.
- Emphasizes pores during its wear time.
- Contains a high amount of drying alcohol.
Alcohol-Based Products: Research makes it clear that alcohol, as a main ingredient in any skin care product, especially one you use frequently and repeatedly, is a problem.
When we express concern about the presence of alcohol in skincare or makeup products, we’re referring to denatured ethanol, which most often is listed as SD alcohol, alcohol denat., denatured alcohol, or (less often) isopropyl alcohol.
When you see these types of alcohol listed among the first six ingredients on an ingredient label, without question the product will irritate and cause other problems for skin. There’s no way around it—these volatile alcohols are simply bad for all skin types.
The reason they’re included in products is because they provide a quick-drying finish, immediately degrease skin, and feel weightless, so it’s easy to see their appeal, especially for those with oily skin. If only those short-term benefits didn’t lead to negative long-term outcomes!
Using products that contain these alcohols will cause dryness, erosion of skin’s protective barrier, and a strain on how skin replenishes, renews, and rejuvenates itself. Alcohol just weakens everything about skin.
The irony of using alcohol-based products to control oily skin is that the damage from the alcohol can actually lead to an increase in breakouts and enlarged pores. As we said, the alcohol does have an immediate de-greasing effect on skin, but it causes irritation, which eventually will counteract the de-greasing effect and make your oily skin look even more shiny.
There are people who challenge us on the information we’ve presented about alcohol’s effects. They often base their argument on a study in the British Journal of Dermatology (July 2007, pages 74–81) that concluded “alcohol-based hand rubs cause less irritation than hand washing….” But, the only thing this study showed was that alcohol was not as irritating as an even more irritating hand wash, which contained sodium lauryl sulfate. So, the study is actually just telling you that one irritant, sodium lauryl sulfate, is worse than another irritant, alcohol.
Not all alcohols are bad. For example, there are fatty alcohols, which are absolutely non-irritating and can be beneficial for skin. Examples that you’ll see on ingredient labels include cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, and cetearyl alcohol, all of which are good ingredients for skin. It’s important to differentiate between these skin-friendly alcohols and the problematic alcohols.
References for this information:
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80
Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175
Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology, November 2008, pages 1–16
Dermato-Endocrinology, January 2011, pages 41–49
Experimental Dermatology, June 2008, pages 542–551
Clinical Dermatology, September-October 2004, pages 360–366
Alcohol Journal, April 2002, pages 179–190
Happiness is a brighter, hydrated, flawless-looking complexion. This medium coverage liquid foundation feels lightweight, looks natural and is virtually undetectable on skin. Contains photochromic pigments that instantly adapt to brighten skin in any lighting, natural or artificial,* flower acids to help boost radiance* and hyaluronic acid to attract moisture to the skin’s surface and help maintain hydration.
Benefit was developed by twins Jean Danielson and Jane Blackford, whose initial claim to fame was a stint as the Calgon twins back in 1960s television commercials. They opened their first cosmetics store, The Face Place, in San Francisco, circa 1976, and then, perhaps recognizing the need for a name with more impact, The Face Place became Benefit in 1990. From there the line took off and expanded its presence beyond the Bay Area to include national department stores and, eventually, Sephora boutiques.
Benefit's makeup philosophy is outrageously fun and its product arsenal is centered on impossibly cute names and a lexicon that aims to make beauty enjoyable. Benefit single-handedly started the trend of selling makeup and skincare products with ultra-cute appellations for less than ultra-fancy prices. As with most lines, there are enough missteps and problem products to shop carefully, but Benefit shines in several categories, including foundation, bronzing powder, blush, and shimmer products.
Unfortunately, some of the products simply can't live up to their promises. This is mostly true of their skincare formulas, where the showcased ingredients are either present in itsy-bitsy amounts or the claims attributed to them are very exaggerated. Despite this, if you're in the mood for a fun experience and can manage to choose products wisely while enjoying the whimsy, Benefit deserves a look.
For more information about Benefit, visit www.Benefitcosmetics.com.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.