The last time I’d ordered Benefit Cosmetics from their website, I’d picked their Total Moisture as the sample product. It was wonderful on my skin. I had applied it to my face before going to bed, when I woke up, my skin felt super soft and fresh. I had made a #NoteToSelf to buy a jar of this the next time I placed an order with them. But of course, one can’t just order one thing from Benefit Beauty. ( Do see the end of this feature for my experience with delivery and customer support. )

Here’s my current #DreamTeam haul.

I already have a haul of They’re Real Mascara from my previous order. I also ended up ordering more of the They’re Real Push-Up liner that I had proclaimed to hate so much. It is still hard to apply but it stays. No matter what, it stays put. And even if it does rub off, it crumbles instead of spreading like a patch of black doom around my eyes. The more I use it, the better I get at applying it. Practice.

I’m also in love with Gimme Brow and ordered more of this as well. The Medium Brown suits my brows without making them look too bushy. I can always work up more volume if I like and even add a touch of They’re Real mascara to really pump up my eyebrows.

The new products I was trying for the first time as non-sample orders are below.

This is the sunscreen I’ve been looking for. Finally something that doesn’t make my face look like it’s suffered a greenish whitish oil slick. When going out during the day in bright sunlight, most sunscreens are not conducive to further applications of foundation, concealer and other makeup. The Indian Summer heat will melt everything right off. A heavy sunscreen only makes it worse. ( I’ve been hearing about a great, light sunscreen from La Roche Posay as well but I have yet to see it in India. ) I ordered Dream Screen from the Benefit Cosmetics website after combing through all the reviews and everything made it sound like just what I was looking for. The applicator nozzle also makes sure that I can directly apply it to my face and dab it in with my fingers without having to rub it all over my hands as well.

SPF 45, broad spectrum, for all skin types and oil free. Silky matte it says and it is. Sorted. Can barely feel I’m wearing sunscreen.

Smooth texture. This cream is not heavy at all, even for oily Indian skin. It is light and the skin absorbs it after a while. I tend to apply pure Vitamic C to my skin and then cover it up with this cream to hold in the Vitamin C slightly longer. My skin loves it. A little goes a long way.

I love the packaging. The cork-style lids and the green color on the branding. It isn’t real cork though. But it is beautiful and makes the products feel vintage, luscious, luxurious. It is important to note how simple things like these affect the brand’s perception. The Total Moisture jar is solid glass and the Dream Screen sunscreen bottle is plastic. The former feels like I’m pampering my skin and the latter feels more functional, practical, on-the-go.

This is such a simple and delightful product. One can use it over foundation of course but the real fun is using it on bare only sunscreened skin. The blush is fabulous on my skin at least and it stays. The bottle is small enough to carry in a handbag and no chances of the powder spreading in the bag like powder blushes. Or cream blushes melting in the insane Indian Summers. Can be applied on lips and on cheeks. This is one of those lip and cheek stains that just works.

I got two sets of my order because : “Indian Postal System”. The Benefit Cosmetics website does not have a trackable shipping option for India. This meant I had no idea where my order was. I had placed on order on the 19th of December 2014 and when the last arrival due date had passed, I wrote to their customer support to check if they knew anything. To my delight, they offered to either refund the money or send in a complimentary replacement. I obviously wanted the latter because I wanted the goodies.

Still, no trackable shipping. My first Benefit order that I had had shipped to my Gurgaon address had not only arrived much before expected due date, it was also in one piece.

The postman rang the doorbell last week ( 5th of March ) and he had two packages for me. One was the first order I had placed in December and the other was the complimentary replacement Benefit had sent me in mid-February. I asked the postman why the box looked like it had been opened and his response was, “Don’t worry Madam, nothing will be missing.” I told him I’d have to open the box in front of him, check the contents and if I was not satisfied, I’d have to return the box. To which he informed me that the Indian Postal System does not allow that and he could not accept any returns. I’m unaware whether this is correct information but he walked away after informing me.

When I opened the packages later, the older order’s box had been tampered with and each of the seals on each of the individual product boxes had been removed. I hope the post office employees merely sniffed the products but I’d rather not speculate what else they must’ve done with them.

I’ve use these products for the blog feature – which is why you see two of everything in the above photos. There’s no way the products with broken seals are going on my skin.

I wrote to Benefit offering to pay for the second complimentary order as well since I’d now received the first one too. Because it was the right thing to do. I asked them how I should go about it and I informed them about the state of the older order’s packaging. I also recommended that they must consider trackable shipping to India. Even if it adds another $25 to my bill, at least I will receive the same.

Not only did Benefit’s customer support first charge my credit card, then reverse the charge and then charged it again. They did this without acknowledging my email, without any communication. I had offered to pay, not authorized them to charge my card. I received an email from Benefit four hours after they had charged my card, informing me that they had “requested” my card to be charged. They also said that my feedback about shipping had been forwarded to their Shipping Department.

I expected better customer support from Benefit Cosmetics. Unfortunately, their dismal handling of this case means that unless they introduce trackable shipping to India, this above was my last order from their website. I wrote to them again explaining my disappointment, to which they responded saying they would reverse the charge again. I don’t know what’s going on on that front yet.

Benefit Cosmetics has a small presence in India now as well but the availability of their products is still tied in with Sephora’s physical stores and that is dismal at best. I really like some of their products and I hope there will be some changes in how orders are fulfilled for the Indian customer.

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