I remember swatching Benefit The Big Easy on the back of my hand in store and was impressed by the coverage and finish. I held off on purchasing it, though, because I knew it was only a matter of time before Benefit makes a mini version of it. And soon enough, last week I saw it listed as one of the Sephora 100 point perks! So of course, I snatched it right away. Now that I have used up the whole tube, I am here to report that The Big Easy is generally a good product, only under certain conditions.
The mini size that I have is in shade 03 Light/Medium. There are 6 shades available and while 03 seems to almost match my current skin, I have a feeling the perfect match for me would be between 03 and 04. This is a pretty limited range for a foundation product if you ask me. It would be nice to see Benefit extend the shade selection a little in the future. :)
Marketed as a “multibalancing complexion perfector with broad-spectrum SPF 35 sunscreen“, The Big Easy is basically a foundation with SPF. SPF 35 is quite high but I didn't detect any sunscreen scent, or any scent at all. I'd say it has a light to medium coverage. It covers pores and redness really well and I really like it for that. However, it will not cover active blemishes or serious dark spots.
To visualize the texture of The Big Easy, imagine mixing your foundation with sunscreen, then add powder. The product goes on a little thick and sets really fast so I recommend applying it in sections. I tried different application methods and found fingers to be the best. The warmth from fingers will help the product glide on and blend easier. Setting is not necessary because the product dries down to a very matte, and very powdery finish.
And here come the conditions.
- The product has good coverage, but it is not easily blendable. Layering makes my skin look “thick” and cakey.
- Since it gives a very powdery finish, your skin has to be extremely well moisturized prior to application. Without a good skin to begin with, the product will settle into pores, cake on dry patches and make your skin look flaky and blotchy.
- If you have extremely dry skin, this is probably not the product for you. It will only accentuate the dryness even more. If you are oily or combo? This may turn out to be a fantastic product for you because it controls oil like mad. It literally keeps excess oil at bay all day for me.
- Since the formula is not really buildable without looking too powdery, you will need help from a concealer to cover problem areas. So I think a decent skin is preferred for this product.
The Big Easy is oil-free and non-comedogenic. Throughout the week that I've been using it, I experienced zero breakout, so the claim is true. Even though it is jam packed with silicone and derivatives, it didn't bother my skin at all, which I am kind of surprised (in a good way of course).
The product also claims to “self-adjust to your exact shade to even out skin tone“. Usually I cough when I hear that but they are right! 03 definitely goes on a wee bit pasty on me but if I wait for about 10-15 minutes, it actually adjusts and blends in with my skin! It is also obvious that it makes my overall complexion look better, more even, and smooth (see before and after photos below).
Before and After
Fresh-faced makeup look
I can see why it is getting such mixed reviews. It's not a product that will work from the get-go. While the shade can be forgiving, your skin has to be just right, and the amount to use has to also be right. Right now my skin is dry and The Big Easy is a little too much work than I can afford at the moment. I'm not exactly a fan of the powdery finish, either, so it is hard for me to use this product on a day to day basis. Come Summer, though, when my skin gets oily, I might try it again and who knows? It might work much better then. :)