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!

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