EXCLUSIVE: The Original Benetint: Look, But Don’t Touch
When news first broke last month that after 35 years in the business of creating cult-favorite products with a sense of humor Benefit Cosmetics would be opening its first New York flagship, we commenced celebratory fist-pumping. As anyone who has ever been to one of the San Francisco-based company’s free-standing concept stores knows, the experience of buying classics like its Badgal Lash mascara and Highbeam luminescent complexion enhancer there is vastly different then going the department store route. First there’s the upbeat, signature pink glam furnishings that lull you into the brand’s kitschy, feel-good ethos; then there’s the signature services, which include everything from brow shaping and lash tinting to waxing and airbrush tanning. The new Soho outpost at 454 West Broadway will be similarly equipped, boasting 2,000 square feet and two levels of makeup mayhem—with crystal chandeliers and Cabriolet leg tables to boot—but it will also feature a very special element that’s exclusive to the New York location. To properly celebrate its best-selling Benetint lip and cheek stain, Benefit founders Jean and Jane Ford have created a museum installation, on view for the first time here, to house the original bottle that catapulted them to fame back in 1977.
Created for an exotic dancer who was on the hunt for a product to make her nipples more rosy and perky, the long-lasting scarlet fluid made from a secret concoction that includes steamed rose petals quickly transcended the strip club scene and hit the fashion scene hard when renowned makeup artist, Kevyn Aucoin, stocked it in his makeup bag circa 1986. Ever since, it’s been well-loved by a coterie of celebrities, designers and models—not to mention regular paying customers; one bottle of Benetint is sold every sixty seconds amounting to over a half a million units each year. Needless to say, the first-ever bottle is an incredibly important piece of Benefit history—which is why it was driven via armored car from San Francisco to New York this week (no joke) in time for the store’s official opening on September 27. As an added security measure, two armored guards will be posted up alongside it next Tuesday as it sits in the window for all to see. Just keep you paws off.
Photo: Courtesy of Benefit