“Girls don’t sweat, they perspire.”
… Said no girl who lived in Hong Kong ever.
Hong Kong is not the place to come if you’re scared of a bit of sweat. Our summers basically read like the keywords for an x-rated video – hot, wet, sticky, sweaty – and there ain’t much you can do about it. However, there are a few secret weapons you can deploy to help you look a little more fresh-faced and fragrant even in the stickiest of summers, and one of my favourites is Benefit’s The POREfessional: Agent Zero Shine powder.
“Secret weapon” is a totally apt phrase for Agent Zero Shine. Not only is the packaging officially the cutest – adorned with Benefit’s cartoon Spy Gal, a secret agent “porefessional” whose mission (should you choose to accept it) is to combat the appearance of pores – but like many of the best cosmetics, when applied right, no one can even tell you’re using it… just that you look extra awesome instead.
Agent Zero Shine is basically the quirkiest little finishing powder you’ll ever find. This fine loose powder is perfect for instantly minimising shine and smoothing the appearance of pores – and your complexion in general, really – giving you gorgeously radiant, airbrushed-to-perfection skin that doesn’t melt away at the first sight of the sun. It mattes but without making you look a mannequin, a smoother-than-smooth finish that feels fresh-faced and real rather than an unmoveable mask… and all done so on the downlow that it’s basically invisible to anyone who dares ask. This really is your secret agent to combatting Hong Kong’s sweaty summers.
The packaging is also seriously clever stuff. It’s SO convenient – a pocket rocket that you can sling in your handbag for covert operation touch-ups throughout the day. The plastic tube contains an in-built brush at the base; simply tap some powder into Agent Zero Shine’s lid, dip your brush in and then sweep over your skin for a picture-perfect, shine-free complexion. A little goes a long way and this pro powder seems to have a way of seamlessly blending into your skin and becoming instantly invisible – it couldn’t be easier.
Agent Zero Shine also has a few more tricks up her secret agent sleeves. I find that the powder really evens out your complexion – it’s like someone used a super effective photo app filter on your face – and it essentially sets your cosmetics, meaning your make-up lasts much longer too. The evidence for that is when you take off your make-up at the end of the day: with Agent Zero Shine, there’s still plenty of base to come off with your cleanser and cotton wool even after eight hours; without and sweat has already done most of the removal job for you!
Sadly, there are a few downsides to Agent Zero Shine. One is that this powder is not transparent; it has a light honey-beige colour (see below), which means there are some complexion colours it simply won’t work on that have to miss out on its awesomeness. I feel your pain, sisters.
Secondly, although a little of this stuff does go a long way and its diminutive size makes it easier to tout around, Agent Zero Shine could do with being a few extra inches taller to fit in more product. There’s only 7g of this miracle powder in each tube and if you end up addicted to that glorious photo-ready finish, then that 7g might get used up rather too quickly for your wallet’s liking.
Finally, I do feel that when I use Agent Zero Shine too often, it contributes to the clogging of my pores and consequently, I suffer a few more breakouts. Due to this (and downside number two), I try and use Agent Zero Shine a little more sparingly than my vanity would like – so for long days out where I want to look good for as many hours as possible without melting and for those times where I really want to look my best and feel my most confident, as opposed to quick trips to the supermarket or for walking the dogs. Common sense really!
Overall though, Benefit’s Agent Zero Shine is a total summer lifesaver… And since we all know that Hong Kong’s heat isn’t exactly discriminating when it comes to the seasons, it’s basically a year-round lifesaver too. So for zapping away shine, saying sayonara to pesky pores and having a complexion even Bond girls would be jealous of, you know who to call. Mission accomplished!
Benefit The POREfessional Agent Zero Shine costs $295; see all Benefit Cosmetics locations in Hong Kong here
Note: this product was received for my consideration