Every week, fashion and beauty editor Jolene Khor, makeup artist Fiona Bennett, hair guru Christian Maranion, and beauty connoisseur Monica Saranya Selva De Roy — collectively known as The Clubbers — test drive the latest (and with hopes, the greatest) makeup, skincare, hair care, fragrance, bath and body drops to land in Singapore. Tools and brushes too. You get the idea. To buy in bulk or to take a hard pass? We give you the 411 so you never have to second-guess again.
In the spotlight this week:
Benefit Hello Happy Flawless Brightening Liquid Foundation

Attaining — and maintaining — a healthy, radiant complexion is an ongoing, sometimes painful, pursuit that requires time, patience, and perseverance. Loads and loads of it. For those busy bees sorely lacking in all three (read: us) a speedier solution arises. Foundations. Sure, you can't make good skin happen at the snap of your fingers, but you can fake good skin with a darn good face paint that smooths, brightens, and conceals in equal measure. And looky here, that's what Benefit's latest foundation, the Hello Happy Flawless Brightening Foundation, claims to do. According to the brand, this is a lightweight, medium-coverage offering that contains highly-adaptable photochromic pigments to brighten skin; flower acids to boost radiance; as well as hyaluronic acid to moisturise that money maker of yours. A do-it-all foundation? Sure sounds like it… or is it nothing but hot air? The Buro. Beauty Club puts it to the test to see if it lives up to its stellar reputation.
Oh, Hello There!
I'll be perfectly honest: I didn't have very high hopes for the Hello Happy Flawless Brightening Foundation. Yes, yes, yes, Benefit is known for many a winner — their Hoola bronzer was my first contouring product, and still remains as one of my favourites; the Bo-ing Industrial Strength Concealer is legit; and there's no need to go on about their amazing brow products, the only brow products I restock (real talk) when I run out of samples to try. They're just not known as a foundation destination, branding Benefit clearly wants to change with the launch of the aforementioned Hello Happy liquid foundation, and the Hello Happy Velvet Powder foundation.

I'm sure I said this before. I'm old school and I usually apply foundations with my fingers — they warm the formulas to better melt onto my skin. Maybe this was why I wasn't so taken with the liquid foundation the first time around. The foundation was quite thick (not sure where the lightweight claims come from, TBH) so it was a pain to blend with my fingertips. A couple days later, I tested it with my Beauty Blender. And. It. Was. Magic. The slightly damp sponge was exactly what the creamy formula needed to be applied evenly and flawlessly on my face. I liked the mousse-like texture as I dabbed it on — without primer or setting spray to give it a chance to flex its muscles. I did use the powder foundation for additional coverage under my eyes and around the corners of my nose, before I puffed my favourite Clé De Peau Beauté Translucent Loose Powder on my face to set them in place.

Too busy to check (or touch up) my skin during my friend's birthday celebration, I braced myself as I approached the mirror when I got home. I was shook to find that not only was the foundation right where I left it, I wasn't even shining on my nose bridge . What sorcery! Only the corners of my nose needed some patting but that was quite alright. The foundation oxidised a tad, but not to the point where its colour was discernibly wrong for me. All in all, this was a Happy surprise. Good on you, Benefit! Though at only 12 shades, I can't imagine all my lighter and darker-skinned sisters and brothers enjoying the same luck I had.

Jolene Khor

Got That Good Feeling
As I approach my mid-thirties, I don't know whether I'm getting a bit lazy and don't care too much about what people think, or I'm just starting to feel really comfortable in my own skin. This brings me to the fact that you'll find me with only a little flick of brow gel and a bit of lip gloss on most days. Foundation in the mornings rarely happen for me anymore! Which was why when I was given the Benefit Hello Happy Flawless Brightening Liquid Foundation and the Hello Happy Velvet Powder Foundation, I was slightly reluctant to give them a go. But for the Buro. Beauty Club, I'll do it!

The first time I applied the liquid foundation, it was a super light layer and I went about my day forgetting I was even wearing it. There was none of that 'heavy foundation' feeling. I have normal skin and I didn't experience any transfer on a tissue or my baby's top! I thought, "Hmm… weird." The next day, I decided I would go a bit heavier with it in case I didn't apply enough on the first day. And nope! It still felt like naked skin. It also looked like my skin but better and it didn't cake up as the day went on.

By the third and fourth day, I was hooked — and I was starting to like foundation again. I dusted a little bit of the powder foundation, beautiful and velvety, to set my liquid foundation. On the fifth day, I wore it on its own. Not bad! The powder had a nice matte finish, and this is coming from a person who has never been a fan of powdered foundations as they look too heavy. So if you feel peer-pressured to wear foundation, I pressure you to get Happy.

Fiona Bennett

Only 12 Shades?
Benefit's Hello Happy Flawless Brightening Foundation is lightweight with a medium coverage. It has enough pigment to conceal redness but not enough for darker pigmentation spots. It's not very buildable, so anything more than a pump and a half would look like a cakey mess. Pairing it with certain primers would affect how well it could sit on my skin; silkier primers would simply make the foundation shift or break apart while heavier primers needed to be applied conservatively to ensure that the foundation sits in place. Unable to combat the combination of our climate and my oily skin, it transferred quite a bit unless I set this foundation with a good powder. Without it, I was left with very little coverage after two to three blotting sessions. However, it performed quite well in a controlled environment — stay in the air conditioning and don't perspire.

With only 12 shades to choose from, the shade most suited for me was very warm, which I suspected given how orange it was when dispensed. There are definitely big leaps in between shades and very little to choose from for deeper skin tones.

The product contains flower extracts, particularly hibiscus sabdariffa, which is a great skin conditioning agent to maintain skin elasticity, but considering how little there is in the product, it's hardly worth mentioning. On the other hand, hyaluronic acid helps to draw moisture to the skin, allowing for a velvety look even if you have some dry patches. Overall, Hello Happy has a natural and pleasant finish but there's still work to be done before it's perfect.

Christian Maranion

A Blissful Blur
Benefit launching a foundation line in itself is massive news! I was thrilled to try the Hello Happy Flawless Brightening Foundation. The product is slightly heavy and creamy… nothing about it was ultra-lightweight as marketed. It goes on well and has a 60 to 70% coverage range. Some of my pimple scars that I generally don't cover with a concealer could be seen with the Hello Happy foundation on. Hello Happy conceals laugh lines and open pores — it does indeed blur imperfections as promised!

The best thing about this medium-coverage foundation is the semi-natural, non-cakey finish. Its smooth formula hung on to my skin, making it look almost-flawless. No one talks about its durability, which is a huge plus. It stays on uncracked, non-oily for hours on end; I easily spend 10 hours in my office regularly, not including the 2-hour travel time, so you do the math. For an everyday look, I'd say yes to the Benefit Hello Happy Flawless Brightening Liquid Foundation, especially when accompanied with the Hello Happy Velvet Powder Foundation. The powder is high enough in coverage to mask everything the foundation can't. Big yes when coupled together!

I wish I was warned about the warmth of the shade and the extent to which it oxidises. I ended up looking rather orange after a few hours of application. When I went for a shade lighter, it oxidised but remained slightly lighter than my skin tone. Essentially, the brand needs more than 12 shades on the shelf. This is definitely the biggest downside to Hello Happy.

Monica Selva De Roy
Benefit Hello Happy Flawless Brightening Liquid Foundation is available online and at Sephora stores.
The Clubbers
a.k.a. the people who will never lie to you, the beauty enablers you never thought you'd have, the voices of reason when logic goes out the window on payday, and when Sephora goes on sale.
Jolene Khor
Beauty Editor of Buro. Singapore
The fashion and beauty editor at Buro. Singapore swiped on her first glitter lip gloss at age 12 and have never looked back since — except the rare (only not so rare) occasions when she wants to feel better about her makeup skills as an adult. That kohl eyeliner look wasn't working out despite the fact that she was listening to The Cure and quoting Oscar Wilde. Her mother is thankful that K-beauty happened though that means her glow isn't just genetic. These days, her worst crimes are knocking out with full makeup on and forgetting to apply sunscreen on her neck. Old habits die hard.
Christian Maranion
Hair Specialist & Makeup Artist
Nine years. That's how long Christian Maranion has been in the hair game. Having honed his craft, he then began dabbling in makeup, finding equal joy in killing it at both. He has worked with the likes of Vanessa Fernandez aka Vandetta, Tabitha Nauser, and Charlie Lim. He also frequently collaborates with names such as Sephora, Elizabeth Arden, and Kat Von D to up their beauty game. Don't be fooled by appearances — though he may love dark humour and even darker outfits, he is a pocketful of sunshine.
Fiona Bennett
Makeup Artist & Hairstylist
Fiona Bennett is a makeup artist and hairstylist by profession, and a wife, mother, and part-time Kardashian expert when she's not hustling. Hailing from Australia, she reluctantly came to Singapore with her husband almost six years ago but she's grown to love it so much she wouldn't want to be anywhere else. She began her journey (sometimes by force) pinning her friends down to make them up before going out — only now she gets paid for it! You might find the self-proclaimed beauty-obsessed Fiona snapping up the latest products in the department stores on weekends. You name it, she has probably tried it.
Monica Selva De Roy
Henna & Makeup Artist
Monica doesn't have enough heads for the hats she wants to wear. When the sun's out, she's selling ultra cool tech that makes logistics look sexier than ever. Then, she slaps on some face cake to moonlight as an actress on Vasantham; from nasty stepmother to varsity mean girl, she's seen them all in the realm of antagonism. Oh, her makeup and henna businesses keep her busy during the weekends too. Amidst all this, she's finding time to test and review makeup — if that's not true love, what is?