Review: Benefit Watt’s Up! Highlighter

By Voxy  

OMG, you guys, I have picked up so many unexpectedly fabulous products lately that I can’t stop squeeing as I put on my makeup in the morning. If you hear a sound like a stuck pig coming from somewhere in the Midwest, that’s me.

I also feel a little bit guilty about it because I’ve bought a couple of things from brands I’ve previously decried — and what’s worse, I like them. Oh, bad Voxy. Hopefully you will be able to forgive me. And by the way, that doesn’t mean these brands are back in my good graces. It’s the “even a stopped clock is right twice a day” phenomenon. One of these is Benefit. I KNOW! I hate Benefit. Hate ’em. Except for a couple of products — and not their famous ones, either. Here is one of those stopped-clock products: their Watt’s Up! highlighter.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way: no matter how you slice it, this product name is improperly punctuated. It’s either a question (“What’s up?” -> “Watt’s up?”), in which case it should have a question mark, or it’s an exclamation (implying that “watts” may be used in the same way “volume” is used: turn up the volume -> turn up the watts -> watts up!), in which case it shouldn’t have an apostrophe. Of course, you don’t say “turn up the decibels,” which are units of loudness, so I don’t know why you would say “turn up the watts” either. I have a feeling that they were going for the first option, a play on “what’s up?”, but that their marketing people told them that exclamation! points! are! more! exciting! than! question! marks!!!!!! — and they probably figured no one would notice. Or care. Which is pretty much true, except for those of us here in this corner of the interwebz. Stay strong, ladies. Don’t let the haters bring you down.

Watt’s Up (I refuse to put in the exclamation point) is a cream highlighter, a type of product which up until now I have had zero use for. I couldn’t figure out why, if we spend money and energy on products that are supposed to make our faces less shiny, we would then want to turn around and buy another product to make them shiny again. And I don’t really understand the whole “it’s not shine, it’s GLOW” euphemism. There are plenty of celebrities whose skin in photos is described by the media as “glowy” and by me as “a giant sweaty oil slick.”

So why I ever picked this up in the store and tested it on my hand is kind of a mystery. But I did — and it was a lovely shade somewhere between peach and champagne, and not terribly shiny glowy. I am fair-skinned and highlighters have, in the past, given me something of a Tin Man look, which is frankly unappealing except as a Halloween getup. This looked like it actually might work on my skin. Maybe now I would be able to enter the Elysian Fields of highlighter love, in which lissome models scamper about with glowy skin, frolicking with butterflies. (I think this is also where they film perfume commercials.)

Alas, no Elysian Fields guest pass included. BUT this has turned out to be a really nice product, especially once I figured out how to apply it. Often, People Who Know About Makeup will say that highlighter should be applied last, but this inevitably leads to Shiny Tin Man Face for me. What has worked nicely for me with this product is to put it on over my foundation (cream/liquid/stick) but before my setting powder. This way I can blend it into the foundation, and then the setting powder takes the edge off the shine. One end of the applicator is a little round sponge, which you can use for blending. The other end of the applicator is the highlighter itself, which is a creamy stick of product the same diameter as the small/deluxe-sample Tarte cheek stains.

The other big problem with highlighter is where to apply. Conventional wisdom says some combination of the following: above the cheekbones, above the brows, below the brows, on the temple, on the forehead, on your nose, on your Cupid’s bow, and under the lip. I usually use it in only three of these places: above the cheekbone, below the brows, and either on my Cupid’s bow or below my lips. One or the other, not both. If my face were more angular, and my forehead and nose smaller, I might try it other places, but as it is, highlighting those areas doesn’t do much for me. But above the cheekbone at the end of the orbital socket, it’s very nice.

If you’ve been curious about highlighters, but don’t really know where or how to use them, this is a good product for experimenting with. I was really surprised by how much I liked it.


See? Subtle. Nice!


Benefit Watt’s Up! (!) highlighter: $30

Provenance: Purchased.

Price/Value Ratio (high-end: poor/fair/good/excellent): Fair. $30 is $30, and a highlighter is really an optional product. I wish it were cheaper.

Purchase again? Probably won’t need to.

(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Give a holler in the comments!)

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  1. avatar marigolds
    Posted January 18, 2012 at 11:54 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I looooooove highlighter. And also, this looks to be exactly the same color as Sleek’s liquid highlighter, which comes in a nail polish bottle with a little plastic paddle instead of a brush, and which doesn’t reach all the way to the bottom of the bottle (stupid packaging) but ANYWAY I love it. It’s the same goldy-peach shade, and is pretty cheap. I can’t remember the name if it because I decanted it into a little Yaby squeeze tube instanter, but if anybody wants a dupe in an annoying bottle for cheap, try Sleek! (Or ws it ELF? I’m pretty sure it was Sleek–I haven’t ordered from ELF in ages, I don’t think.)

    Uh, so THAT was helpful. Not.


    • avatar Voxy
      Posted January 19, 2012 at 8:11 am | Permalink | Reply

      I [heart] you, Marigolds.

      I also [heart] Sleek, although what I do not [heart] is their shipping to the US from the UK. Ouch. And, of course, the memory of the giant Facebook sale disaster is still quite fresh in my mind.


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