Bougie vs. Broke: Benefit Cheek Stars Face Palette vs. Catrice California In A Box Face Palette Review

Face palettes do soooo much. They warm the skin, define bone structure, and even provide a simplistic eye look.

But, do they need to be so…expensive? Sure, you get more than one product, but some brands are out here being crazy (cough Anastasia Beverly Hills cough).

In Bougie vs. Broke, I compare two similar products at different price points. In this edition, the Benefit Cheek Stars is the bougie face palette, Catrice California In A Box the broke.

Let’s see if price affects the quality of these two popular face palettes.

portrait of Ish Mom wearing Catrice California In A Box face palette
Do you think I’m wearing the Benefit or Catrice face palette?

What Is A Face Palette Used For?

A face palette is a wonderfully versatile large compact that contains different face makeup products; usually bronzer, blush, and highlighter.

But there are all kinds of face palettes out here. Some have only one product; blush, for example, but many different tones and finishes. Some have different concealers and flesh-toned powders.

A few have tried to include everything, throwing eye shadow in there, too.

The Benefit Cheek Stars and Catrice California In A Box face palettes both contain powder bronzer, blush, and highlighter.

The Benefit face palette has three different blushes, one bronzer, and one highlighter. The Catrice one has two different blushes and bronzers and one highlighter.

Face Palettes for Beginners

Face palettes are great for beginners! They take the guesswork out of choosing product shades and finishes.

You can have the vague idea that pink blush looks good on you, find the palette with your favorite blush, and feel confident that the accompanying products go with that pink blush.

Makeup beginners appreciate the ease of getting out one product and completing several steps.

How To Use A Face Palette

A face palette can be used to build and create practically any makeup look. Drama can be added by layering tons of product. Natural looks are achieved by using less product or skipping some steps altogether.

Don’t be afraid to use face palette products outside their prescribed uses. I use my face palettes for simple eye looks all the time: a bit of bronzer in the crease, highlighter swiped with a finger over the lid, and voila! A carefree daytime eye look.

When rushed (though it’s not best practice), bronzer can be used for contouring.

Blush can double as eye shadow, or be mixed with gloss in a pinch for a low-key lip look.

How To Use A 3-in-1 Face Palette

Use a bigger, fluffier makeup brush to sweep the bronzer in a “backward 3” on the outer edges of your face. Start in the middle of your forehead, get to the cheekbones through the temples, sweep back up the cheekbone and down the outer edges of your jaw.

Then, use a smaller, pointier brush to apply highlighter. Dip the pointy in of the brush into product and apply on the tops of cheekbones, cupid’s bow (top middle of upper lip), inner corners of eyes, tip of the chin, down the middle of the nose (sparingly), and right above the middle of eyebrows (trust me).

Finally, swirl a medium sized, pointier makeup brush in the blush and pat on tops of cheekbones (don’t be afraid to smudge the highlighter) and up into the temple.

Review of Benefit Cheek Stars Face Palette

Benefit cheek stars reunion tour face palette

The Benefit Cheek Stars Reunion Tour face palette is made up of their best-selling powder face products.

This palette has a lot of product: five full size powders. The wildly popular blushes, Dallas, Sugarbomb, and Georgia take center stage.

Of course, we can’t forget the Hoola bronzer. This bronzer is one of the highest rated bronzers on the Sephora website (check out my review here) and is also full sized.

Including the golden pearl highlighter Cookie, the Benefit Cheek Stars Face Palette is a relative value when the sheer amount of product is considered.


Because these products are so creamy and pigmented, they’re easy to apply.

In that sense, the Benefit Cheek Stars face palette is great for beginners.


The Hoola bronzer seems to melt into skin, blending seamlessly.

I have no complaints about the other products, but nothing particularly stands out.


Overall, the pigmentation of these products is above board. A little bit goes a long way.

The Cookie highlighter can be blinding if applied haphazardly. This highlighter plays nicely on lids, providing an easy shine.

Color Choices

Who can argue with these color choices? Numbers don’t lie. These blushes, bronzer and highlight are best-sellers for a reason.

(Benefit has come out with a pink version of this palette that’s really pretty, too.)


The Benefit face product powders in this face palette are soft and creamy with very little fall-out.

It’s so creamy, in fact, one would think it was created swatching was in mind.

Swatching is the practice of getting product on the fingers and dragging them down inner forearm (typically) to test the product, usually on camera, specifically on beauty guru YouTube channels.

I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, necessarily. But extra cost and effort were put into this face palette to make sure it looked good on a forearm.


The Benefit Cheek Reunion Cheek Stars face palette lasts all day with little rub-off or transfer, even with an afternoon nap.

Verity of Product Claims

Benefit doesn’t try too hard here, folks. They know they’re including best-sellers in their face palette.

The products are indeed creamy and popular, Benefit, thank you.

Review of Catrice California In A Box Face Palette

Catrice California In A Box face palette bronzers blushes and highlighter

The Catrice California In A Box may be the best drugstore face palette. Ever. For the price, this product is stupendous.

This gift to mankind in the form of a face palette features two different toned matte bronzers, a shimmering and matte blush, and a golden highlighter.

These products aren’t full-sized, but they’re not skimpy, either.


The products in the California In A Box face palette blend easily, but aren’t as pigmented as the Benefit products.

So this is a face palette that needs to be worked with. Product should be built up and layered to get the most color payoff.

But I’m not so sure I would have even noticed this about the Catrice face palette if I hadn’t been so recently comparing it to the Benefit one.

Ish Mom wearing full face of California In A Box face palette
Catrice California In A Box face palette in action


The Catrice face makeup products blend easily without settling into fine lines.

There’s almost no fall-out or dustiness upon application.

It’s good that this product is so blendable, because again, it will need to be layered.


The Catrice product pigmentation is good, don’t get me wrong. It’s just not quite as good as the Benefit face palette.

The highlighter is my least favorite product in California In A Box. It has the least pigmentation. It’s wonderfully subtle in the inner eye corners, though.

Color Choices

I added this category just so I could talk about the shimmery peach blush in the Catrice face palette. It’s amazing.

A great dupe for Nars Orgasm blush, this blush provides a perfectly toned flush with a hint of sparkle. I’d bathe in it if I could.

California in A Box bronzers and blushes palette
That one on the top left, man…


The texture of the Catrice face products are soft. They’re more powdery than the Benefit products.

My theory is that Catrice didn’t dump a bunch of money into their product in order for it to swatch well. And that’s fine by me, it still looks good on my face. You know, where it’s supposed to go.


The Catrice California In A Box face palette lasts throughout the day, but not as strongly as the Benefit face palette.

However, the Catrice products fade perfectly, without creasing or patching.

Verity of Product Claims

Catrice leans on the ease and convenience of this face palette.

Pulling off a carefree glow is easy with the perfectly coordinated shades in this palette.

And The Winner Is…

The Catrice California In A Box face palette is walking away with the trophy today.

I know I bought up areas in which the Benefit Cheek Stars face palette out-performed the Catrice California In A Box face palette, but overall, product for product, the Catrice isn’t that much worse.

Especially for the price. It’s true that the Benefit Cheek Stars face palette has more product. But just not so much more to warrant the price difference between the two palettes.

The products in the Catrice palette perform very well, downright amazing if you consider its price. In fact, I’d pay that price just to get my hands on the blush.

Therefore, I gotta call it for the Catrice California In A Box face palette.

what does benefit hoola bronzer look like

A face palette is a great basic component of any makeup collection. Throw out all those little compacts, and rejoice in having everything you need to glow in one place.

And don’t pay highway robbery for it.

Do you love face palettes? How do you use them? What are your favorite brands? Let me know in the comments.

Happy glowing!


megan imhoff
Picture of Megan


Megan writes everything on Ish Mom. She possesses a bachelor's degree in psychology, a flair for theatrics, and a whole lotta nerve. She lives in the Midwest (and loves it) with her wonderful husband and three young boys.

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