Saturday, July 12th, 2014

Next up, here are five blushes to consider if you have a medium skin tone. I tried to include different price points, finishes, and undertones, but there are so many blushes available, there are many more worth trying. I’m a firm believer that we can wear whatever we desire, whether or not it is supposedly “suitable” on us or not–there’s no harm in trying :) Please share any suggestions in the comments!

  1. theBalm Cabana Boy — a medium-dark, cool-toned plum with a satin finish
  2. Kevyn Aucoin Neolita — a rich, berry-red with a satin finish
  3. Makeup Geek Summer Fling — bright pop of orange with a matte finish
  4. Clinique Peach Pop — a pink-coral with warm undertones and a luminous sheen
  5. Tom Ford Love Lust — a brightened, coral with a frosted finish

>> See side-by-side swatches! <<

Saturday, June 14th, 2014

theBalm Read My Lips Lipgloss
theBalm Read My Lips Lipgloss

Read My Lips lip glosses feature a wide range of shades that make a statement without saying a word. “Smart-mouthed” takes on a new meaning with this unique formula fortified with ginseng, a powerful antioxidant known for its mentally stimulating properties. Features: Read My Lips have a non-tacky, medium to high pay off. They contain Ginseng and Green Tea extracts, known for their energizing properties. They are also formulated with Aloe, a powerful moisture-binding humectant.

Read My Lips Lipgloss ($15.00)

  • Boom!
  • Va Va Voom!
  • Ka-Bang!
  • Snap!
  • Pop!
  • Bam!
  • Grrr!
  • Zaap!
  • Pow!
  • Hubba Hubba!
  • Wow!

Availability: Now at theBalm

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

Do you go bolder or subtler during the summer for your blush? I find it just depends on whether I’ve reached for brighter lip colors or not; if I go bright on the lips, I usually go quite light on the cheeks and vice versa. Here are some of my current recommendations if you’re in the market for a fun, pink-hued blush this summer:

  1. YSL Fuchsia Desinvolte (01) — a fuchsia pink that can be applied as a light stain or as a deep blush (bonus: works well on lips, too!0)
  2. theBalm Down Boy — a cool-toned, light-medium pink with a mostly matte finish
  3. Clinique Berry Pop (03) — cool-toned, raspberry pink with a luminous finish
  4. MAC Lovecloud — a light-medium, warm-toned pink
  5. Milani Bella Rosa (11) — a vibrant, pink-red with a matte finish

>> See them all side-by-side! <<

What are your favorites?

Saturday, March 15th, 2014

theBalm Eyeshadow Pans
theBalm Eyeshadow Pans

If there’s anything to be learned from reviewing 44 eyeshadows individually, it is that even a “single” formula can vary! I wish theBalm Eyeshadows performed more consistently and consistently better, as when all the ratings were averaged, the overall rating was a B. I feel like the brand’s eyeshadows are better than that, particularly in some of their past palettes as well as the Shady Lady singles.  There were certainly high quality, high performing shades in the range, but there were far too many Cs and below.  Due to the very limited distribution (you can only purchase through their boutique, so while anyone can place an order via phone, it’s hard to test for yourself), it’s a real bummer that they weren’t better overall.  The majority of the range has a softer, more muted vibe to the colors–nothing really too bright or bold or rich–and a few of those more contrasting, richer shades would have been much welcomed. There were far too many variations on gold and beige that were just marginally different, so there was room for shades with bolder qualities.

By Rating:

theBalm has said that some of the shades are ones that have been released in palettes, but there’s no list of which number lines up with which shade, so here’s a list of the new singles and their closest matches within theBalm family (including a few within the 44 shades that are very similar)…

Coverage

Friday, March 14th, 2014

theBalm Eyeshadow Pans
theBalm Eyeshadow Pans

#37 is a dark, neutral-to-cool-toned brown with a soft, pearly sheen. It had fairly good color payoff, and the texture was really soft and easy to blend. It wore well for nine hours on me. MAC Phresh Out #5 (LE) is darker. Urban Decay Bewitch (LE, $18.00) is slightly warmer. MAC Smut (P, $15.00) is darker. See comparison swatches.

#38 is a pale, warm-toned yellow with a frosted finish. It had excellent pigmentation, and the texture was soft, buttery, and smooth. This shade lasted for eight and a half hours before fading. Tarina Tarantino Wonderful #1 (P) is similar. Makeup Geek Bling (P, $5.99) is darker. Dior Golden Flower #2 (LE) is less frosted. Disney by Sephora Charming (LE) is similar. MAC Short Shorts (LE, $15.00) is lighter. MAC Nylon (P, $15.00) is a smidgen yellower. See comparison swatches.

#39 is a medium-dark brown with warm, red undertones and a silver sparkle. It had good color payoff, and the texture was soft and blendable. I did have some minor fall out over time, but the color itself lasted for eight hours. Sleek MakeUP Flora (P, $9.99) is darker, browner. Makeup Geek Country Girl (P, $5.99) is lighter. NARS Naiade (P) is less sparkly. theBalm C4 (LE, $16.00) is less red. Inglot #122R Bottom (P, $6.00) is darker. Guerlain Turandot #2 (LE) is less sparkly. See comparison swatches.

#40 is a brightened, yellow gold with a metallic finish. It had so-so pigmentation, as the texture was a little stiffer to work with. This shade managed to wear for seven and a half hours before it started to fade. theBalm D1 (LE, $16.00) is similar. Disney by Sephora Gus Gus (LE) is darker. NARS Goldfinger (P, $24.00) is lighter. Chanel Topkapi #4 (LE) is darker. bareMinerals Rising Star (LE) is similar. Inglot #403 (P, $6.00) is brighter. See comparison swatches.

#41 is a golden beige with soft, warm undertones and a frost finish. It had good color payoff, and the texture was fairly smooth and easy to work with. This color wore well for almost eight hours. theBalm D3 (LE, $16.00) is a smidgen more gold. NARS Hollywoodland (P, $24.00) is a cream product. Dior Night Golds #5 (LE) is darker. bareMinerals Aspire (P) is yellower. See comparison swatches.

#42 is a dark green with gold shimmer and warm undertones paired with a soft, satin finish. It had really nice pigmentation, and the texture was soft and smooth. This shade wore well for eight and a half hours. Clarins Forest #3 (LE) is darker. theBalm D4 (LE, $16.00) is lighter. Dior Bonne Etoile (384) #1 (LE) is more shimmery. Make Up For Ever #84 (P, $20.00) is darker, cooler-toned. See comparison swatches.

#43 is a muted, medium-dark, blue-teal with a mostly matte finish–there is a little iridescent sparkle that sits on top. It had so-so pigmentation, as the texture was slightly dry and powdery. I had good wear for eight hours before it started to fade. theBalm C2 (LE, $16.00) is very similar. MAC Dynamic Duo 3 #2 (LE, $15.00) is darker. MAC Cool Heat (LE, $15.00) is brighter. Inglot #338 (P, $6.00) is brighter. See comparison swatches.

#44 is a light-medium, neutral-to-warm toned brown with a matte finish. It had semi-sheer color payoff, as the texture was a little powdery. The color managed to wear well for seven hours before fading became apparent. Tarina Tarantino Hollyhock (LE) is darker, more shimmery. theBalm C3 (LE, $16.00) is very similar. Urban Decay Rewind (LE, $18.00) is darker. NARS Yamal (LE, $24.00) is similar. MAC Omega (P, $15.00) is warmer, darker. See comparison swatches.

There are forty-four shades of eyeshadows available in pan-form from theBalm, which launched at the beginning of this year. They can be purchased at their San Francisco store or by calling 415-817-1800. Each eyeshadow pan is available for $6.50 and comes in a cardboard sleeve. The 9-pan palette is $8.00, while the 16-pan palette is $10. If you fill either the 9- or 16-pan palette up at the time of purchase, they will run you $44.00 (normally, $66.50) and $64.00 (normally, $114.00) respectively. Each palette is made out of thick cardboard–same as theBalm’s eyeshadow palettes have been in the past–and come with full-sized mirrors on the top flap. For more information about sizes, the palettes, and a general overview of the custom palette/eyeshadow pan system, please read this post. You can view swatches all of them in the Swatch Gallery here or view photos and swatches on theBalm’s Eyeshadow Single product page.

The Glossover

P
product

#37

A-

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

8.5/10

Texture

9/10

Longevity

9.5/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Dupes
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P
product

#38

A

Product

10/10

Pigmentation

10/10

Texture

10/10

Longevity

9/10

Application

5/5

Results
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Dupes
P
product

#39

B

Product

8.5/10

Pigmentation

9/10

Texture

8.5/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Dupes
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Saturday, March 8th, 2014

theBalm Eyeshadow Pans
theBalm Eyeshadow Pans

#31 is a light, cool-toned, silver-shot white with a frosted finish. It had so-so color payoff, while the texture was soft, it was also powdery and felt almost dry. It wore well for seven and a half hours on me. Tom Ford Beauty Ice Queen #1 (P) is lighter. MAC A Waft of Grey #1 (P, $21.00) is darker. Dior Lune (001) (P, $30.00) is a cream product. Disney by Sephora Midnight Hour #1 (LE) is brighter. theBalm Metal-ica (P, $16.00) is similar. NARS Self Portrait 2 #2 (LE, $24.00) is similar. See comparison swatches.

#32 is a cool-toned, medium pinky-mauve with a frosted, metallic finish. It had decent pigmentation, and the texture was on the powdery side. It lasted just over seven hours on me. theBalm A1 (LE, $16.00) is very similar. Urban Decay Bordello (P, $18.00) is darker. See comparison swatches.

#33 is a cool-toned, violet purple with an iridescent sheen. It had moderate color payoff, but it was not as intense as it looked in the pan when swatched. It wasn’t powdery, though, and the texture was smooth. It wore well for seven and a half hours without fading or creasing. theBalm A2 (LE, $16.00) is warmer-toned. Urban Decay Betrayal (LE, $18.00) is lighter. Urban Decay Omen (P, $18.00) is similar. See comparison swatches.

#34 is a cool-toned, silvery white with a frosted finish. It’s a little lighter and brighter than #31, but it has much, much better color payoff. The texture was soft, smooth, and buttery. This color managed eight hours on me. Tarina Tarantino Lovely #1 (P) is similar. theBalm A3 (LE, $16.00) is very similar (if not the same). theBalm Metal-ica (P, $16.00) is a smidgen darker. See comparison swatches.

#35 is a medium-dark black with soft, micro-shimmer. It had decent pigmentation, but the texture was on the powdery side, which gave it a more muted color when applied. It wore well for eight hours before fading. Ulta Night Sky (P, $10.00) has a stronger sheen. MAC A Waft of Grey #4 (P, $21.00) is very similar. See comparison swatches.

#36 is an iridescent, aqua green with hints of gold in its sheen. It was semi-sheer, and the texture was a little stiffer to work with. The color lasted for seven and a half hours on me. theBalm B2 (LE, $16.00) is very close but better quality. CoverGirl Turquoise Glow (325) (LE, $4.99) is more frosted. MAC Lucky in Love (LE, $21.00) is more frosted, darker. See comparison swatches.

There are forty-four shades of eyeshadows available in pan-form from theBalm, which launched at the beginning of this year. They can be purchased at their San Francisco store or by calling 415-817-1800. Each eyeshadow pan is available for $6.50 and comes in a cardboard sleeve. The 9-pan palette is $8.00, while the 16-pan palette is $10. If you fill either the 9- or 16-pan palette up at the time of purchase, they will run you $44.00 (normally, $66.50) and $64.00 (normally, $114.00) respectively. Each palette is made out of thick cardboard–same as theBalm’s eyeshadow palettes have been in the past–and come with full-sized mirrors on the top flap. For more information about sizes, the palettes, and a general overview of the custom palette/eyeshadow pan system, please read this post. You can view swatches all of them in the Swatch Gallery here or view photos and swatches on theBalm’s Eyeshadow Single product page.

The Glossover

P
product

#31

C

Product

7/10

Pigmentation

7.5/10

Texture

7/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Dupes
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P
product

#32

C+

Product

7.5/10

Pigmentation

8/10

Texture

7.5/10

Longevity

7.5/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Dupes
P
product

#33

C+

Product

7.5/10

Pigmentation

7.5/10

Texture

8/10

Longevity

8/10

Application

4.5/5

Results
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Dupes
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See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →