Tuesday, January 3, 2017

TheBalm/The Balm Cosmetics Review

The Balm Cosmetics has been a brand that I've heard loads about but just never got around to trying because it wasn't in available at Sephora, Ulta, or any drugstores. However, some time ago, there was a site wide 50% off sale on their online website so my sister and I jumped on it and picked up a few goodies we'd been eyeing for ages. So now that I've gotten to try out the products and put them to the test, I thought I'd do a little review and give you my thoughts on them!
I think it's only appropriate to start with Mary-Lou Manizer ($24 off the Balm site) because this was the first the Balm product I heard of. It's definitely a cult favorite and has been tested by many others and I have to say, I agree with the hype. It's a really beautiful light beige highlighter (not too warm and not too cool) with a beautiful fine shimmer that doesn't make you look like a disco ball but definitely makes you stand out. The packaging is quality and the mirror is huge so it's perfect for travel or on-the go makeup. You can double it for eyeshadow or highlighter too which is awesome. Definitely no complaints here. If you want to try out their other shades of highlighters though, they have a trio package with all 3 shades that they have in a mini/deluxe size which I semi wish I got because I bet they all would have looked really nice!
Next up is Bahama Mama ($20), a warm bronzer that hits the spot. I've been using it daily since I got it and absolutely love it. It has ZERO orange tones to it so it won't make you look like an oompa loompa (is that how you spell that..?) and blends in so easily. It's not SO pigmented that you get too much pigment when you swipe your brush into it (which is a good thing, I dislike products that are so soft that you get way too much product even with the lightest touch) but it definitely has color so don't be too hard with it. Like the highlighter, you can double this as an eyeshadow as well and it'll contour your eyes flawlessly. It is a bit small for $20 but since I got it half off, I'd say $10 is a good deal. I have Hoola by Benefit and the NYC Sunny Bronzer (really amazing for the price) so I'd say the NYC Sunny has a bit more orange than Hoola or Bahama Mama and Hoola is just a touch lighter than Bahama Mama. I love both my Hoola and Bahama Mama though so can't really say which I'd choose if I had to choose one. Maybe Hoola since it does come with a brush that is excellent for contouring but I think Bahama Mama's color is just SLIGHTLY better for my skin tone. Also keep in mind Hoola by Benefit is $29 so if price is a deciding factor, think on that (NYC's bronzer is like.. less than $5 by the way).
When picking out which products I was going to get, I had the hardest time choosing between Nude Tude (the original neutral palette) and Nude Dude (released after Nude Tude with more pinky tones). I ended up choosing Nude Dude ($36) because I wanted the rosy-dusty shades it had while Nude Tude had other warmer golden shades that I already had with my Naked by Urban Decay palette. I'm completely satisfied with my Nude Tude palette and have been using it basically daily since I got it. I love the wide range of colors it has and they're all really well pigmented and blend so easily. I don't get any patchiness with them and there's a really good amount of shimmery shades and matte shades. Beware that the dark colors are very pigmented so you don't want to be heavy handed (whereas the lighter shades you can get away with being heavy handed because they'll blend in more easily). The highlight shade is so good for the inner corners and underneath the brow bone and even all over the lid if you're doing a look that calls for that. I love the two dusty rose shades though because those are totally my style right now (one is shimmery and one isn't, 3rd column from the right) and they pair so well  with the darker browns next to them (2nd column from the right). While $36 isn't exactly cheap, it IS cheaper than the many other neutral palettes out there (ie. the Naked palettes are $54, Smashbox Full Exposure is $52, Too Faced The Chocolate Bar is $49) and I would say the shadow shades and quality are on par with all of those other brands so don't be afraid to try it even if Sephora doesn't stock it!

My sister wanted to try Meet Matt(e) Hughes ($17) in the shade Honest so we picked that up and lemme say it is super pigmented, matte, and creamy. The color is a bit more peachy that it appears in my photos and is described as a warm coral. It seems like it would be good on all skin tones and is very wearable. I think it lasts for a reasonable amount of time and fades well when you eat/drink/do stuff that would make it come off. The applicator is standard like most others though to be honest I prefer the heart shaped applicator tips with a pointed tip which really helps you get the edges of your lip without mistake. Definitely make sure you use a lip liner with this because mistakes are not easily forgiven. I think $17 is a bit up there in price especially since I've recently discovered the wonders of ColourPop (I know I'm late to the bandwagon) which has amazing liquid lipsticks for only $4-5 (they have sales a lot so you can usually get it discounted) and they're just as good, if not better, than this TheBalm liquid lipsticks.

How 'Bout Them Apples ($32) is a cream blush (well technically cheeks and lips) palette that is so pigmented and the color range is super wearable and versatile for all occasions. The packaging is cute (as are all of The Balm products, and as you can see in the photo below, the palette opens up vertically and on the top half, there's a HUGE mirror. Super great when you're traveling, on the go, or just not in a location where a full mirror is at easy access. Application works well with a beauty blender or dense brush but a normal powder brush would do as well. Gotta say this is a big hit and would definitely recommend it if you can pick it up on sale since full price is edging it a bit if you're like me and don't use blush that often.
I don't have a close up shot of the Time Balm ($28) foundation (my apologies) but it was definitely super orange-y/oxidized when my sister tried it out. I got the shade Medium (for my sister's Asian skin tone which I would say is about a Mac NC30 but maybe a little darker) and it just had a strong orange undertone that wasn't super flattering for the neutral undertone Asian skins generally carry; I'd say this foundation is better suited for Caucasian individuals. The puff that comes with the foundation isn't the greatest but that's expected so not a huge deal breaker really. This is one of the downsides of not having TheBalm stocked at Sephora or Ulta because you can't try out the foundations to make sure the shade fits you. So if you're not 100% sure if the shade will match you, I'd say save your money and spend a bit more for one you know matches you (aka one you can sample in store) since you can't return used/open items to TheBalm (understandably so).

All in all, I'd say I'm pretty pleased with this The Balm haul. I've wanted to try out their products for so long so I was really excited when I saw they had a 50% off sale! At full price, they're definitely a bit on the pricier range but they do go on sales periodically and some products can be found on sites like HauteLook for discount so look out for those if you're interested. The only product I'm iffy/so-so about is the Time Balm foundation but everything else I'd definitely recommend!

IWEARSIN ClothingReview

I bought two bralettes from IWEARSIN, a small online company, a while back ago and have just gotten around now to writing a review on the things I got. I only know of the company because my sister bought two flowy crop tops from them and gave one to me because it was too big for her. I still haven't figure out how to pull it off though but that's more because I'm not skinny at the waist so cropped things don't always look good on me. ANYWAYS, that aside, I was a little nervous about buying from the site and didn't know it had reviews until after I purchased the items. I do wish they would display the review rating like under the product near the price so that it's easily view-able (right now the reviews are at the bottom of the page so you'll only see them if you scroll down..not sure how I missed them tbh). Unfortunately most of their bralettes were out of stock/only the medium-large size is available (they only have two sizes: XS-S and M-L) so I could only get their two basic cross bralettes in black and white. All their bralettes are currently $10 (well actually the whole site is $10 which it also was when I last bought the bralettes so I don't know if they kept the sale going since then cause that''s a very long time!) but most of the sizes are sold out so sorry don't get your hopes up. I'm not sure when they'll restock either.
I'll start off by saying I do like both the bralettes. I was a little concerned about the white bralette being see-through/not being thick enough to cover my nips properly (lol real girl talk here okay) but I tried it on and it wasn't super bad and I just wear nipple stickers or a sticky backless bra and it ends up being fine. I've worn these with skirts that I wear up to my waist (aka high-waisted) so I'm not exposing too much skin and it looks nice. I'm like a US size 2-3 (in dresses and jeans) and usually a size S for Forever 21 and most other places so I got the XS-S size and they fit perfectly. My sister, who is way skinnier than me and has to get like XXS everywhere and wears like jeans that are 000 (-_-), tried on the bralette and said it was okay, a little bit big but still fit alright. My only issue with these is that they are both a little low. I guess the photo they post on there website with a real person wearing them is pretty accurate on where the bralette will sit on your chest/body but it's not like very obvious in the photos that its quite low (or at least to me it wasn't). I actually was wearing this under a normal T-shirt like a as a bra one day and when I went to change and took off my shirt, the bralette had totally slipped down and my boobies were a bit exposed. It wasn't like my whole boobs were popping out but the fact that the bralette can slip down a little low and expose certain things that you wouldn't want exposed is something to keep in mind. I find myself constantly pulling up the straps when I wear this just because I get scared of a nip slip or something.
Here's two ways I've styled both tops. You can find more style and fashion pictures on my fashion instagram!

The fact that it sits low on the chest is also an issue if you want to wear these under something and have like the criss-cross top part showing because it's so low that whatever you're wearing over needs to be significantly oversized/low/big/slouchy to show the criss-cross lines or else you won't see anything (if that makes sense).
Anyways for $10, I think these bralette's are a great bargain. The quality is good (it's not basic cotton it's kind of a shiny-ish material) and they're very comfortable (the tag isn't super itchy) and versatile. Plus the fact that shipping is free in the US for anything over $15 is like a MAJOR plus for me (I never buy anything unless I get free shipping haha).

More into the purchasing and shipping process, I felt like purchasing the clothes was convenient and secure. The shipping was (surprisingly) pretty quick; I don't remember exactly how long it took but definitely within like 2-4 days I would say. I've gotten a comment before on Instagram by someone who was saying not to support the brand because of poor communication/other things that apparently make the company bad? But my personal experience was fine and I had no issues so I personally can't comment against the company and all in all, I'd give a thumbs up to IWEARSIN. They actually have a very nice program where if you buy their fleece leggings (which have very interesting and unique patterns), they will donate some for Vietnamese children in need. (Per the site: "With every two pairs of adult-sized fleece leggings produced, one pair of mini-sized fleece leggings would be made for a child.") The company/site is affordable and easy to use, and come on, free shipping over $15? They had me there.

(P.S. If it wasn't already obvious, I wasn't sponsored/asked to write this review but wanted to do this myself just to talk about my opinion on the products I got!)