theBalm history is a simple one. Marissa Shipman (founder of the brand) worked in TV and lived in New York. She decided there's more to makeup than what meets the eye back in 2003. She wanted affordable, quality product that make every women glamorous in 5 minutes. With that philosophy in mind, she bought several "how to make my own makeup" books off Amazon and in her kitchen her first lip balm was made and company name theBalm arrived. 13 years forward and theBalm is a synonym of pin up beauty with Marissa inspirations behind every product taken from the real need, filling the gap in the market.
I like theBalm as a brand. The packaging is something that is important to me. When I first started in beauty, the idea was: the more, the better. I, now look for the originality, for that something extra that catches the eye and fills the need. I look at my vast collection and slowly realise it is too much, so when shopping for makeup I look for innovation, something to crab my attention. Enter theBalm.
Packaging wise it's hard to find something cute, travel friendly and attention catching. theBalm does it in a very special way. Forget luxurious brand packaging, the pin up design, hardened cardboard is of great quality and fun at the same time. They're light and travel friendly without compromising on quality. There's always a mirror hidden inside. This is the product you are supposed to stuff in your makeup bag. It's your five minute miracle. During my time in the beauty world I accommodated several products in my collection. Some I love, some I like. There's no denying the beauty of them.
When it comes to theBalm, I mainly think face products. I fell in love with Mary-Lou Manizer the moment I laid eyes on it. It's a finely milled, champagne coloured highlight that's a beauty must have for any makeup enthusiast. You've seen it everywhere. It's this one highlight shade that suits all. I've seen it on palest on skins as well as medium tones - it gives the most beautiful shine to all. There's no glitter to it, it gives you the finish any highlighter should, the effect of wet skin. It stays put all day and it's super pigmented so if you're after a delicate daytime highlight, make sure you practice the application, as light hand is needed. Best brushes are either fan or duo fibres, however I use it with a dense brush. I don't mind the shine, in fact, the more the better. A year, year and a half ago the Mary-Lou Manizer taken the crown in the highlight world, as there were little to none products that worked quite like it and were on that medium price scale. Now a little forgotten in the world of strobing, it's still one I love and go for a lot. BUY IT HERE.
Contouring hit and there were only few matte bronzers at the time to fill the need for it. Bahama Mama has quickly became a staple for it's olive toned shade, not too warm and matte. You've seen it everywhere and for the good reason. It is still one of the best contouring products in the beauty industry. I don't use it nearly enough anymore as I discovered lighter and more cool toned shades now, that suit my super pale complexion better than Bahama Mama, but there's no denying, she was my first 'official' contouring goddess and still holds a spot near my heart. It's another super pigmented product and I can't stress it enough - you need a light hand using it, as if applied too generously, it's really hard to blend. I find fluffy and duo fiber brushes the best to tame the Bahama Mama. BUY IT HERE.
|Swatches natural light no flash, from left: Mr Write Now Brian, Balm Desert, |
Frat Boy, Bahama Mama, Mary-Lou Manizer
For a while Bahama Mama was the only bronzer in theBalm family, until early last year when Balm Desert was released. It is a satin finish bronzer of warm tones, but also lighter in tone to it's precedor. I only have a sample, but I really loved it in the summer. It's a great product, f you're pale and looking to warm up the complexion. It really gives that tan finish to the skin. BUY IT HERE.
theBalm blushes taken the makeup world by storm and most shades became cult must haves really quickly. The quirky packaging, funny names as with other products help with marketing surely, but the quality of the product is what I'm here to talk about. I own many blushes and Frat Boy is one I seem to go for more often than others. It's a beautiful coral shade, super pigmented, but if applied with large duo fiber brush it gives only the flush of colour to my cheeks. The shade is just perfect for my everyday needs. BUY IT HERE.
I picked up Mr Write Now in the shade Brian on a recommendation by one of the beauty bloggers. I was on a look out for a quality beige waterline liner forever and having had no luck in drugstore I decided it was the time to spend just a little extra on a product that's beige, matte and has an actual staying power. I've never looked back. I've had it for a year now and I still use it. It has a creamy formula and applies evenly on the waterline. It sets pretty quickly, so couple of strokes is all you need to really open the eye with it. It's to date the most natural looking beige waterline liner I own. I'm sure to test more over the years, but until I'm done with Brian, I just don't see a need to try any others. I see mixed reviews of this liner and yes I agree to some extent. It's not the most creamy formula on the market, but it just works and stays put. I have quite sensitive and watery eyes so for me the longevity is the key with any waterline products and Brian has been the one for a year now. BUY IT HERE.
I saved probably the most disappointing product for last, as I tend to digress from negativity here, unless I really have to. theBalm Nude'tude was the first of the kind palette on the market and it's still a staple for many. I can see the allure. The packaging is to die for, it's super quirky with it's Naughty and Nice versions. I'm a grown ass woman - I went for naughty lol. I'm glad this palette was part of one of the beauty boxes I subscribe to, as I would probably skip on testing it otherwise. It's not a bad palette. All shades are pigmented and blend beautifully. However the lack of matte shades, as there's only couple here, does put a dent in it for me. I experienced a lot of fall out with all darker shades, mattes included and all shimmers. For that, I rarely go for Nude'tude. There are few special shades that I adore in there though with Sassy (white shimmer), Sultry (medium matte, warm camel brown) and Sexy (burgundy matte) leading the way. These are the only shades I go for in this palette, therefore I can't honestly recommend it as a whole. It's still a great palette, just not fully worth the investment in my eyes. BUY IT HERE.
theBalm will always have a special place close to my heart for it's innovative and fun products. I still love and use them all. It's now widely available in UK, be that in Superdrug on Feel Unique to name just a few. Is it still the brand to go for innovation? Not anymore. Beauty industry have caught up and many drugstore and luxury brands offer what theBalm used to offer. Don't get me wrong, there are still great quality, pigmented formulas and real pleasure to work with, so if you're looking for good quality at reasonable price, theBalm fills that void nicely. It's cheaper than MAC and slightly more expensive than your usual drugstore. If I could choose my personal heroes, it would be Mary-Lou Manizer, my first real highlighter love and Mr Write Brian - still the only beige waterline pencil I go for.