Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Bronzing tale: Benefit Hoola and NARS Laguna

With the snow outside finally starting to melt I thought it fit for me to do a post about the two bronzers that I have been using for the past year. As you can probably tell from the title, they're Benefit's "Hoola" and NARS "Laguna".

They are both rather weak from a packaging aspect - Hoola is in a cardboard box and Laguna's black casing attracts all the scratches and marks in the world... but it's what's inside that counts... so let's take a closer look:

Since I've been using both for over a year now, it is no surprise that I have hit pan on them. Hoola is on the left, Laguna on the right.

up close shot of Benefit Hoola

Benefit Hoola is definitely my favourite of the two. It has a matte finish but it's not a dull, bland matte. It is very finely milled and incredibly easy to blend in and build up.
I would love to repurchase this and I would do it in an instant - if I didn't hate the packaging so much.
The cardboard is just so cheap and ugly... it comes with a useless brush, and the deep square shape of the container is very impractical. Larger bronzer brushes might have trouble fitting in there properly.
Such a shame because I really do love the powder. This costs $28 at Sephora, or $35 if you like to get ripped off and purchase it from the Shoppers Drug Mart beauty boutique (that's where I got mine, but only because I could redeem my rewards points for it haha).

NARS Laguna is also a good bronzer, but I wasn't wowed by it so much that I would justify a repurchase. It retails for $33 at Sephora. It does give a nice bronzy glow, but the application isn't as smooth as Benefit Hoola's. It's quite easy to mess up and get it looking patchy and uneven. Also, it's also not as easy to build up.
It has a fine shimmer in it which I don't mind - it is very subdued and doesn't make you look like a glitterball by all means. It gives a nice glow to the cheekbones. If you're like me and have some acne scarring on your cheek area, be careful with this since the shimmer particles in it do tend to accentuate any uneven skin texture. Use a good primer/foundation beforehand.

from left to right: Benefit Hoola, NARS Laguna

When swatched, they are very similar colour-wise. Hoola shows up a hint deeper because of its matte texture. There's also a hint less orange in Hoola than in Laguna.
On me, they show up very similar when applied, but I just personally prefer the texture and application of Benefit Hoola.

I hear good things about the Dior matte bronzers, so I am keen on giving them a try - unless by some miracle Benefit gets rid of the cardboard box (highly unlikely). I don't mind the boxes for the blushes, but since I like to carry bronzer around with me, I like a bronzer compact that's resistant, accessible with different kinds of brushes and with a nice big mirror on it.

What bronzers are you using at the moment and would you repurchase them?
Have you tried the Dior matte bronzers?

- Sandra


  1. I have Laguna(hit pan) and Casino. You are right Laguna has a slight orange tint to it. I'm still thinking what bronzer to purchase next after I hit pan Casino. Thanks Sandra have a lovely day :)


  2. I love Hoola and the Guerlain ones. But right now I'm waiting to check out the new Chanel one called Soleil Tan de Chanel Bronzer, that comes out with the Summer collection and will be limited.

  3. Wow the Benefit products are cheap where you live, in Montreal Hoola is $35 in Sephora :(

  4. I have Casino by Nars and Hoola. I agree with you , Nars bronzers are harder to blend and easier to get messed up, don't know why! I love hoola ( the color and formula)and also hate the package:)I don't think they would change it though;) I had Dior bronzer, loved it great product and I think you would too, but I lost mine somewhere and I don't know if I want to buy another one yet :)

  5. Laguna and Chanel soleil tan de chanel, love both, Laguna will not be repurchased, chanel maybe when it's finish, so it's like in 10 years? haha ;)

  6. My Laguna has finally gone from hitting the pan to being completely shattered but like you I wasn't completely wow-ed. I do prefer matte bronzers but again I also hate Benefit's packaging so I have MUFE mat bronze. MUFE one applies very nicely and is worth a swatch to see if it matches you (I know some ppl say its too orange on them). It's also very matte but perhaps a bit too matte for my liking so the search continues. Next up... Soleil Tan de Chanel

  7. I don't have Hoola but I love Laguna! I only use it to contour, so for me, it's worth the price. I've had mine since last summer and I haven't even hit pan yet. I contour everyday so I'm happy with it.

  8. If Hoola came in the newer Benefit packaging i.e. Bella Bamba would you carry it more?

  9. Hi Sandra,
    Love your blog and videos so much. By far the best bronzers I've tried is Faux Tan by Bare Escentuals and Chocolate by Too Faced. Chocolate like Hoola is matte, finely milled, builable and better packing. I've been a bronzer junkie for yrs and tried many from Mac, Nars, Bobbie Brown etc....Thanks Maria M

  10. I don't use a bronzer, I have so much makeup but a bronzer is just not something I've ever been bothered about... I wonder if i'll ever change!
    excellent blog, i'm a new follower! x

  11. I'm not sure on the name, but I think it's the shiseido Makeup Multi-Shade Enhancer $25.00. you have to buy container separately and it has a prety usable brush with a nice mirror. I think you would like it.

  12. I hate the packaging of Hoola Bronzer too. You should check out my blog on depoting Benefit Boxed Powders: http://ppinkrroses.blogspot.com/2011/01/depot-benefit-boxed-powders.html
    Hope that helps!

  13. Great post.. I have had my eye on Hoola for a while as I love benefit so I may give it a go, :)

    check out my blog.. http://just-faye.blogspot.com/

    I'm a new follower of yours x

  14. I like CHANEL Bronze Universel ( not very compact though) but it's a bit hard to find "the perfect brush" to use it with! I also like Guerlain bronzers! I have the mosaic one so it's a mix of matte and shimmer, I really like it though.

    I totally agree with you on Laguna, i was disappointed by it, considering all the hype it gets. It's pretty hard to use and not fool proof at all.

    I really want to try the DIOR Matte too. Sometime maybe :)


  15. Hi Sandra, thanks for this review.
    Do you have olive skin? I have fair to medium skin, some would say olive. Which do you think would be better - laguna or hoola as a bronzer?


  16. I love the dark brownish tone to the cosmetic though yes packaging plays a very important role in selling the product because after all we store it in that box for few months long at least.organic lipstick

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