theBalm Eyeshadow Singles & Custom Palettes Reviews, Photos, Swatches (Overview)

theBalm Eyeshadow Pans
theBalm Eyeshadow Pans

Just in time for the new year, theBalm Eyeshadow Pans ($6.50 for 0.12 oz. each) launched so that you can customize your own palettes. It also coincided with the opening of their store in San Francisco. Right now, these can only be purchased through their store, though you can place phone orders (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. I love the concept, and it’s very affordable, whether you fill at the time of purchase or as you go over time. There are five different designs to choose from for the 9-pan palettes and five for the 16-pan palettes. 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.

Aside from availability/distribution being limited, these are all numbered–none of them have names–and there is overlap with previously released shades (I asked and this was confirmed), but there is no chart or information regarding which shades are from what previous palettes. It would have been nice to know, so if there was a shade you really had your eye on from a palette, whether to replenish or purchase for the first time, it would be easy to do so. It would also help anyone avoid duplicates if they’re a regular theBalm palette buyer. theBalm is also a brand that seems to use names everywhere else in their range, so I would have liked to see these also have names. When I was opening each of these, the majority of the original labels were lifted off by the exterior packaging, so I had to add my own labels and handwrite the numbers on the back of each–the label just has the number, but it’s not something the customer should have to deal with when purchasing a product.

I’ve been testing these since late December, and I’ve now finished testing every single shade for wear, so you’ll see reviews moving forward. This is the first of several posts–there are forty-four shades!–and can be considered the overview. The eyeshadow pans contain 0.12 oz. (I’m not entirely sure how they crammed so much product in the pan), but the pan itself is not oversized–it is the same size as brands like MAC, Urban Decay, Makeup Geek, etc. They fit into MAC palettes (old and new), but they don’t seem to stick; I can turn my new MAC palette upside down, give it a tap, and the eyeshadow will pop out. However, they work well in Z Palettes and do not require additional magnets.

It will take me some time to actually write-up and post individual reviews, so I have gone ahead and added all of the photos and swatches for the forty-four shades in the meanwhile. You can view swatches of all of them in the Swatch Gallery here or view photos and swatches on theBalm’s Eyeshadow Single product page. In general, I like them, but some shades are powdery so they perform best over an eyeshadow primer and/or need to be patted, rather than swept, on to minimize excessive powdery fall out during application. Pigmentation and texture were also good with there being a few misses, and the texture was typically soft, slightly powdery, and occasionally, a few shades had a drier texture that was powdery but not stiff. Individual reviews (along with dupes and all that good stuff) to come! 🙂

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theBalm Eyeshadow Pans
theBalm Eyeshadow Pans

theBalm Eyeshadow Pans
theBalm Eyeshadow Pans

theBalm Eyeshadow Pans
theBalm Eyeshadow Pans

theBalm Eyeshadow Pans
theBalm Eyeshadow Pans

theBalm Eyeshadow Pans
theBalm Eyeshadow Pans

theBalm Eyeshadow Pans
theBalm Eyeshadow Pans

theBalm Eyeshadow Pans
theBalm Eyeshadow Pans

theBalm Eyeshadow Pans
theBalm Eyeshadow Pans

theBalm Eyeshadow Pans
theBalm Eyeshadow Pans

theBalm Eyeshadow Pans
theBalm Eyeshadow Pans

theBalm Eyeshadow Pans
theBalm Eyeshadow Pans

theBalm Eyeshadow Pans
theBalm Eyeshadow Pans

theBalm Eyeshadow Pans
theBalm Eyeshadow Pans — #1 through #16 (left to right, top to bottom)

theBalm Eyeshadow Pans
theBalm Eyeshadow Pans — #1 through #16 (left to right, top to bottom)

theBalm Eyeshadow Pans
theBalm Eyeshadow Pans — #17 through #25 (left to right, top to bottom)

theBalm Eyeshadow Pans
theBalm Eyeshadow Pans — #25 through #44 (left to right, top to bottom)

About the Reviewer

Reviewer

Christine has normal-to-dry skin with areas of dryness (cheeks, nose, and under the eyes). She has a light-medium skintone with subtle, warmer yellow undertones. Her best foundation matches include: Tarte Rainforest of the Sea in Light-Medium Neutral (best match), Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup in Desert Beige 2N1, Giorgio Armani Maestro Glow in 4.0, Hourglass Warm Ivory Vanish Seamless Finish, Laura Mercier Candleglow Soft Luminous in Dusk, MAC NC20/NC25, Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Liquid in Y305 (140). For more matches, please read our full Foundation FAQ. For more information on our review process, please read our Review FAQ.

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66 Comments

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Definitely. Now, all I have to do is wait for your thoughts on these. 🙂 It’ll probably take at least a month for two for these to hit the counters in my country anyway. We don’t even have Cindy-Lou yet. 🙁

The Balm will not get another cent of my money until and unless they find put one or two brown, beige, yellow, black faces on their products. And, yes, I have told them the same thing. It’s 2014, multicultural is not a dirty word, and the vintage look applies to everyone.

Hi Angela,

I thought they addressed this before? I distinctly remember someone saying this previously and thought theBalm took note. I went to their site just to see on some of their products, and I did see these:

http://www.thebalm.com/schwing.html
http://www.thebalm.com/how-bout-them-apples.html
http://www.thebalm.com/instain.html

(Totally understand if that’s not enough – diversity is a good thing and something I’m sure we’d all like to see more often in advertising – but thought I’d share since I do remember this!)

They clearly have responded and made an effort to include diversity in their packaging. Totally up to you if it’s not enough but I feel that they’ve addressed the issue. I also feel like stating “brown, beige, yellow, black faces” is not appropriate.
Just my feelings. No offense meant.

Whenever people seek inclusion or diversity, someone manages to find a way to say they are wrong or, in this case, “inappropriate” for asking. The Balm has hundreds of items, and so, no, I don’t think there is enough diversity or faces of color (is that better?). Offense taken as intended.

I agree that it’s disheartening that they choose to use people on their packaging and almost all of them are white. I hope they seek opportunities to be much more diverse in the future.

I’ve definitely seen more representation on newly released products, and I know there’s an Asian model that they’ve used a lot for “real” swatches, so I’m hopeful they continue on this path!

I agree completely. Their packaging would just remind me every day that I don’t fit into their standard of beauty. And tokenisation really wouldn’t help things. They’d have to do better than that.

I find the Balm Eyeshadows’ texture a little bit dry, especially the glittery shades.. Probably I’ve been unlucky.. But when i was swatching some glittery shades at the store, they felt horrible..howewer i appreciate their packaging and their ideas!

I love the idea of these being available (though not where I live) individually and in lightweight palettes and all but the whole numbering system (shades of Inglot!) would give me pause, even if I could get them because I would need to KNOW what I’m buying (by name). I’d love to buy a full size or a single of Insane Jane, for example, but since they’re not providing any info about which # corresponds to any existing/overlapping shades, this just seems like frustration unless you’re totally new to the brand.

I’m hoping I can line some of them up, but obviously I’m going by sight and I could be wrong (they could just be REALLY similar), so it won’t be official, but it’s definitely something I’ll be trying to do for some of the shades.

Hi Keisha,

I haven’t written up my reviews for the products yet and it will take me awhile to do so, and when I do, that’s when I’ll be able to mention dupes and the like! 🙂

So excited! I personally LOVE theBalm eyeshadows, so I’m sure I’ll end up with every single one that I don’t already have. I have no idea which palettes to order, though, the design is so pretty that I want them all. There’s even a chance that I’ll order dupes of shades I already have just so that I can fill up more palettes, lol!

I really like some of their eyeshadows, but some of the more recent iterations have felt a little more powdery to me? at times. Not all but some.

So excited about the singles! Do you know if any of those colors are the same as Standoffish from the Nude Tude palette? I see a few that could be similar from the swatches, but I’m not sure.

Love this! Limited availability will probably be the death of any of my custom palette ideas unless this line of shadows is picked up and carried by Sephora or available on-line.

Take note other companies!!! This is how its done! (I’m looking at you, UD)

But really, this is the ideal setup for me. Palettes are sleek and compact, pans are cheaper than pots, and they even lowered the price even more for full palette purchases. OK, so the names are numbers which always leave me feeling less ‘acquainted’ with the colors (ie, I never remember numbers!) but that is the ONLY downside here that I can see.

Kudos to theBalm!

Yes – I love that you get a discount for filling the palette all at once! I think this is something companies should do in particular if they’re going to charge full price (or near full price) for their eyeshadow pans (like Urban Decay).

I trucked to the store. I got two of them.
I did not the cases. Too large for my taste…had it been smaller, I would had bought one.
Nifty ideas. Love both of them. Placed it in Mac compact.

I don’t get hung up on the race thing. Don’t like it. Don’t buy it. Life is too too short.
I am Asian and this doesn’t offend me. These pics are just part of history is my interpretation.

35 and 32. The light color is not pink, more violet sheen.
The dark color had bluish glimmer. You describe better than I can.
Not a easy part of town to get to. But Valencia Street is getting to be hip.
And many of those colors above can be found in Bon Voyage collection like the two I have. I like the pale blue one too. Good quality for the price. They are not all new colors. I am done with Chanel

Fun shades you picked, Stacey!

I’m pretty horrible at navigating SF, period, so if you say it’s not easy to get to, it’ll probably be stress inducing for me! Just not used to driving that area or those streets.

I wish theBalm would have released a chart of what shades were from previous palettes – think that would be easier to avoid duplicates or to obtain a shade one wanted in a palette (but wasn’t willing to buy the whole palette for).

Stacey, totally agree with you! I do not see theBalm packaging as something offensive, for me they just illustrate pinup art that was popular in the 60s (I guess), like other brands, say, Benefit.

You honestly don’t see how your comment is problematic, considering you’re someone the company is idealizing and catering to? I mean, you’re telling people of color this “isn’t offensive” when you don’t have to worry about not being represented. I don’t get how white people don’t see how this kind of detailment of a legitimate concern is harmful, and I say that as a white person…

I appreciate companies that use biodegradable palettes like the Balm here. cute ones too! Good thing they’ll soon be available here in the Philippines. the colors are pretty (as we say it here, Ganda!) i would have loved them if they were all more pigmented though.

Oh darn! I’ve been in SF for a week, but I didn’t know that theBalm had a store! Boo hoo! I would’ve loved to swatch some of these, and definitely pick up a palette and a few pans. Oh well. Hope I’ll get back here one of these days…or buy ’em online eventually.

I can’t wait for your swatches and reviews on these, Christine! I think The Balm is one of the underrated beauty brands. Love their blushes and OMG Mary Lou Manizer~ so I can’t wait to see what you think of the eyeshadows.

Would deported MAC shadows fit into these (with glue or magnets or something)? I’m sick of searching through my big bag o’ MAC singles, but I don’t want to pay for a MAC palette.

Not mad about the pin ups though, I wish they had more clothes on… Oh we’ll.

You’ll probably need magnets, but I don’t think you need glue! They will fit since theBalm eyeshadows fit into MAC palettes.

I’m excited about this! Hopefully customers will be able to purchase online soon! I don’t mind making a phone order, but I’d really like to see what the other palettes look like. Christine, you mentioned that theBalm pans are similar in size to Mac pans, so will Mac pans fit — and not shift around — in theBalm palette?

If you add a magnet, they should be fine! My pro pan eyeshadow fits and stays, doesn’t really move (there’s maybe a 1mm gap around the edge of the pan – fits more like old MAC palettes vs. new MAC palettes, as the latter is very tight), and it doesn’t fall out.

Looking forward to seeing these eyeshadows online, since we do not have theBalm in Russia. I am particularly drawn to #19 which reminds me of Burberry Pale Barley which I could not wear due to severe allergy to their eye products’ formula and #25.

Since I live in San Francisco, I have had the chance to check out the magnetic palette builder bar in person, and I’m so glad they’ve started doing custom! I’d love to go for big shopping trip at theBalm sometime, the people in the store are so friendly, all of the packaging is adorable, the quality is awesome and you get a ton of product for what you pay for… just… wow. It’s such a lovely brand, I’m lucky they’re so close to me. I’ve definitely got a wishlist going! 😀 Can’t wait to see more of your eyeshadow reviews!

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