Hold the phone. I think I may have found my new favourite bronzer. Big claims there, I know, but Benefit's 'Hoola' has become my new 'can't live without' item in my makeup drawer and let me tell you it was love at first sweep. Bronzer is without a doubt one of my summer must-haves - I never feel quite complete without a dusting of it here and there and I always find my skin looks much healthier as soon as I've applied it. Let's delve straight in then, shall we? Firstly, I LOVE the colour of the powder. It has just the right amount of warmth without being at all orangey - it looks so natural - in fact, I'll throw it out there, Hoola is probably the most natural looking bronzer I've ever tried. It's completely matte - so there's no shimmer or un-natural sheen added to the skin. When dusted on top of your foundation it blends into the skin effortlessly whilst adding a gorgeous, sunkissed glow. Which brings me on to my next point...It's almost impossible to apply too much because it's so easily blended. Even though Hoola is very pigemented, it really does smooth out with ease. It looks like skin and doesn't have that typical powdery finish. I even love the little brush that comes in the package. I'll admit that I usually hate miniature brushes that come packaged with products and I often end up taking them out and never using them - however, Hoola's brush is so soft and is the perfect size if you're a contouring nutter like myself. The fact I actually use the brush only adds to the product's appeal for me - it makes for the perfect travel companion and I have no doubts that this will be jetting away with me on holiday in July - it will certainly save me some space in my brush roll! The packaging is also very lightweight and fairly strudy to say that it's cardboard - I have no worries about popping this in my suitcase.
To apply, I simply apply my foundation as normal and pop some powder on top to set, before sweeping the little brush across the pan and tapping off any excess. I'll then place the brush directly where my natural contour line is (if you aren't sure where - the trusty 'fish-face' trick should do it) Because the brush is so neat and compact it really does fit perfectly in that area - and the gentle, soft bristles help to prevent picking up too much product. I sweep a line downwards and use gentle upwards sweeping motions to blend the line out (which is incredibly easy due to how blendable the powder is - if you're scared of looking too chiselled then Hoola is certainly worth a shot!) It instantly makes my natural cheekbones stand out without looking like I've tried to fake it - honestly, I just can't get over just how natural it looks. Maybe it's just the shade that works perfectly with my skin tone - I'm not sure - but I'm intrigued to know if other girls find the exact same thing as I've been seriously wow'ed! To complete the look, I apply a little bit across the top of my forehead and along the jawline before using whatever is left on the brush to dust over the bridge of my nose and chin to give that much desired sunkissed effect. Sometimes, I'll brush a little on the sides of my nose if I'm going for a more defined look. I do all of this using the brush that comes in the box as it seems to work so well for me, but I've also used my Real Techniques Blush Brush if I'm going for a more subtle, all over coverage.
Overall, I think it's fair to say that Hoola is a winner for me. I wasn't expecting to love it half as much as I did. I genuinely thought it would just be a standard bronzer and it's the reason why I've never caved into it in the past, but it really is so much more than that. It's so versatile because it works when used as an all over bronzer or as a contour - usually, I use two different bronzers depending on what I'm going for but this one ticks all the boxes. The shade has just the right amount of warmth to awaken the complexion but it definitely has a touch of grey/cool brown to it that stops it from looking orange - it still provides that 'just stepped off a plane look' but the lack of orange means it works well for sculpting. If you're more of a shimmer fan, then Hoola might not be for you, but if you like a matte finish, a good bit of pigment and a more defined look then it's well worth having a swatch in store. The packaging is also perfect if you're after something to pop in your handbag or if you're travelling because it's so lightweight - another plus point for me. Of course, I've only had this a short while so I'm not sure how well the cardboard will fair if it takes a bit of a battering - but if you're mindful of it, I really can't see it being a problem and it's much sturdier than you might think. For £23.50, it isn't the cheapest of bronzers on the market but it's one that I'll definitely purchase again and I'd say it's well worth it's price tag. It's won so many awards and it's easy to see why. I've had a read through of the reviews on the website and so many girls hold the same opinion as me. Have a read for yourselves and have a nosey at the Hoola bronzer on the Benefit website here.
Have you tried Benefit's Hoola? Did you love it as much as me?