Forget that first grey hair—nothing makes you so aware of the passage of time like TikTok rediscovering trends from your childhood. I'm still in my 20s, and I've witnessed the resurrection of everything from gauchos to bump-its, often with some sort of hip new twist that makes the throwback version seem even more dated. Occasionally, though, TikTok won't just reanimate a trend—it'll rediscover an all-time treasure.
Benefit's Benetint Cheek and Lip Stain ($18), the original multiuse powerhouse, has been a beloved staple for no-makeup-makeup lovers since its original debut in the 1970s. While the product has enjoyed steady popularity since becoming commercially available, it feels like every few years, a new generation of beauty fans find it for the first time and latch on in a big way. Right now, TikTok is absolutely enamored of the multipurpose tint, pouring millions (and millions) of views into Benetint demos and discussions. Below, Byrdie is exploring the surprisingly sultry origin of the Benefit Benetint, TikTok's newfound obsession with it, and why it'll continue to stay in makeup bags for years to come.
Benetint's Origin Story
To fully appreciate the power of Benetint, you have to know how it began. The Benefit brand was founded on principles of fearless fun, self-expression, and clever beauty hacks by twin sisters, Jean and Jane Ford, in 1970s San Francisco. As it happens, the ultra-natural look of the Benetint was developed in 1976 when an exotic dancer came by the shop looking for help making her nipples stand out on stage, explains Maggie Ford Danielson, Brand Ambassador and Director of Brand Outreach at Benefit. Jean and Jane boiled rose petals to yield a soft red stain that worked perfectly on the nipples and word quickly spread.
"The dancer shared the stain with her fellow dancers, and it quickly became a beauty must-have," Danielson says. Though the shade range has since expanded, that original Benetint shade continues to be the brand's most popular to this day thanks to a universally flattering, nearly sheer color and skin-like finish.
Where You've Seen It
Not to totally date myself, but the first time I ever saw Benetint was in a catalog. I was helping an older friend pick out makeup for prom and was utterly transfixed by the cheeky Benefit names and perceptible glow of the models. These days, if you're just learning about Benetint, chances are it's through TikTok. Really, it makes perfect sense—so many of today's hottest TikTok trends (sunburnt blush, "clean girl" aesthetic, etc.) all put natural-finish products like Benetint front and center. TikToks about Benetint seem to focus on how convenient and visually pleasing the lips-cheeks-eyes-nips tint is, showing off different shades, finishes, and application techniques.
How To Use It
Regardless of if you're a Benetint veteran or just now trying it out, there are tricks and tips that can maximize its staying power and color payoff. For application on the lips, prep is always key—do some gentle exfoliation before slicking on Benetint on its own, under a lip, gloss, or lipstick. "If you’re looking for fuller-looking lips," Danielson suggests, "I recommend outlining your lips and filling them in, then layering on Benetint to your desired intensity." She adds that when using Benetint as a blush, it's always best to layer it on over any cream-based foundation or tinted moisturizer you might be using, but under powder foundation. To suit different tones and vibes, the brand currently offers six distinct iterations of Benetint in assorted shades and finishes.
Really, though, it's virtually impossible to use Benetint the wrong way—its versatility and ease of application are a huge part of why it's reigned for so long. Danielson shares that Benetint was the first real makeup she was allowed to use as a teenager and it's still a staple in her routine today. It has literally stood the test of time throughout the decades," she says, "and through all sorts of beauty trends." Signs point to it staying that way for a long, long time. Benetint may actually outlive us all.