Ethical Beauty: TheBalm Brand Overview

I’m finally reviewing one of my favorite discoveries since focusing on ethical beauty products. I’ve heard of TheBalm for years but since it isn’t carried in the stores I usually go to, I’d never actually played with any of the products. Like Benefit, theBalm’s products are often packaged in cardboard packaging (which is great for the environment since they’re biodegradeable) and also like Benefit the packaging is very cutesy and the product names are pun-y. I admit, the packaging is not to my taste but once I started using the products, I could care less because TheBalm has a great line of products at a very affordable price. (Especially if you stock up during their 50% off flash sales on TheBalm.com and Hautelook!)

Face Makeup

  • timeBalm Foundation is a medium to full coverage creme foundation. It has a sticky, thick texture very similar to concealer. The coverage is great but I found it somewhat challenging to blend out to a natural finish. It’s not a great choice for someone who is a foundation novice since it can easily look quite heavy-handed. However, if you are a fan of MAC’s Full Coverage Foundation and are used to blending it out with a wet BeautyBlender type sponge, then this would be a really good cruelty-free alternative.
  • BalmShelter SPF 18 Tinted Moisturizer gives sheer to light coverage. Not quite enough for me (I prefer medium coverage) so I ended up using this as a base and then blending the creme foundation over areas that needed extra coverage. This tinted moisturizer actually has a broad spectrum sunscreen which means it actually can replace your sunscreen (although personally I prefer SPF 30). It comes in a generous 2.15 fl oz tube so it’s actually a great deal at $25 when you consider that most tinted moisturizers come in 1 oz tubes and at 50% off it’s a steal that rivals drugstore prices with department store quality.
  • Sexy Mama is a translucent pressed powder suitable for setting your foundation and touching up through out the day. Unfortunately, it only comes in one color so I’m not sure how well it would work on darker complexions but it gave me a weightless and invisible mattifying effect. Since the packaging is cardboard, this compact was actually really lightweight to carry around in my purse.

Eye Products

  • Meet Matt(e) Nude Palette – This is easily my favorite TheBalm product. As the name suggests, it contains a selection of 9 neutral colored, matte eye shadows. Each pan contains a full-sized eyeshadow – a 0.1 oz size, which is double the size of MAC’s full-sized eyeshadow pans. The colors are buttery soft, super pigmented and a dream to blend. Really a gorgeous, gorgeous palette.
  • Nude ‘tude Palette – This palette is theBalm’s answer to Urban Decay’s bestselling Naked palette. It contains 12 neutral tone shades – 8 shimmery, 4 matte. It’s not quite as generous as Meet Matt(e) nude – each pan is 0.03 oz – but it’s still a really good deal, especially compared to the price per ounce of Urban Decay’s Naked palettes. I actually prefer this palette to UD because it has a gorgeous aubergine shade and a burgundy-gold smokey eye is one of my favorite looks. (If you’re eyeing Charlotte Tilbury’s Vintage Vamp palette, you can create a similar look with this palette for a fraction of the price). Like the Meet Matt(e) Nude palette, the shadows here are highly pigmented and a breeze to blend. There IS some fallout from the shimmery shades but still the quality of theBalm’s shadow formula is definitely up there with the best of the high end brands.
  • Mr. Write (Now) eyeliner pencils are retractable pencils with a sharpener included in the base. They’re quite soft which means they’re easy to blend and smudge BUT it also means that the tips break off quite easily, which is annoying. I don’t find them much of an improvement over Jordana’s similar eyeliners, which are a fraction of the price.
  • Put A Lid On It eye primer – I’ve never really used eye primer before so I can’t speak to this primer’s performance compared to other brands but I can say that my eye shadows definitely lasted longer when I used this as a base. I only wish that it had some pigment as I have some visible blood vessels on my eyelid that I’d love to cover with primer rather than using both primer and concealer or foundation on my lids.

Cheek Products

Along with the Meet Matt(e) Nude palette, TheBalm’s cheek products are my favorite. They come in an array of beautiful colors and finishes and blend beautifully.

  • HotMama! is theBalm’s answer to NARS’s iconic Orgasm blush – it’s a gold infused peachy pink that gives you a gorgeous glow. I actually prefer the formula to Orgasm, which I find somewhat chalky and unflattering on my skin tone.
  • FratBoy blush is a matte peachy color. It gives a gorgeous, natural look to my cheeks.
  • CabanaBoy is a pinky plum with just a touch of shimmer to give it dimensionality (you don’t see the shimmer on the skin). You can wear it sheerly for a natural flush or build it up to give that just in from the cold glow.
  • DownBoy is a matte, neutral pink color. If you only buy two blushes for a natural every day look, I would go with FratBoy and DownBoy as between them they will go with the majority of your lip products (I pair DownBoy with the cooler toned colors like berries and cool-toned reds and FratBoy with warmer toned colors like corals and warm-toned reds.)
  • BahamaMama is a matte bronzer. In the pan it looks scary dark but if you apply it with a really loose brush (like a fan brush) with a very light hand, it can work for even fairer complexions.
  • Betty-Lou Manizer is a shimmery bronzer/highlighter for that golden, sun-kissed look.
  • Cindy-Lou Manizer is a champagne-pink highlighter and it looks lovely when you’re going for a slightly cooler toned look.
  • Mary-Lou Manizer is my favorite of the highlighters – it’s a champagne gold color that works beautifully in the corner of your eyes as well as on your cheekbones. Apply it with a damp BeautyBlender style sponge for a truly luminous, strobing effect.
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