The Balm Hot Mama blush.
The Balm Cabana Boy blush.
Balm Shelter tinted moisturizer.
The Balm Shady Lady eyeshadows in Jealous Jordana (dark green), Luscious Lani (champagne) and Risque Renee (dark blue).
There was a sale of The Balm products last month on Brand Alley. I had never tried the brand, and unlike with the Stila sales they have on there which I have so far passed up (even though I have also never tried Stila), I decided to buy some schtuff. It just looked too pretty, and I wanted to know what all the fuss was about from American bloggers/vloggers/makeup peoples.
Now let me say this first - I had read terrible things about Brand Alley on review sites before signing up - products not showing up, things badly packaged/broken, general bad customer service etc but as the reviews were all around Christmas time and last winter brought such bad weather to the UK (ie the deepest snow I have ever witnessed) I risked it. And as it turns out, I have been really, really happy with every single little bit.
This is why. The first thing I ordered was two shirts, one of which I was wearing in my Boy George-esque look. They are cute fifties style tie-waist blouses, and I thought they'd go well with my high waisted jeans. At £15 each knocked down from £45 I thought - why not? They took four weeks to be posted but came by courier. Once they actually get around to sending it, you receive it quickly. It took exactly the same time period for these The Balm goodies to arrive. And they were packaged wonderfully. AND they were up to 50% off RRP... yay!
I have since placed another order - three dresses and some gloves. For orders that particular day over £60 you could have free postage. I didn't realise that and had already paid when I saw the code on their main page. I emailed customer service and they instantly refunded the standard £4.95 posting charge. If I was nit-picking, I'd say a little email reply to tell me they'd refunded would've been nice, but I got an automated email from paypal and my money back and that's good enough. If these don't arrive in the time frame stated, I'll break their knee caps. Hee!
Now onto the make-up products. I have tried each blush and shadow once on my face and the blushes last and blend really well (7 hours at work each), the shadows too are creamy and soft and very blendable. So far so good. I tried to swatch them but I failed because I am new to this and there was very little natural light. That being said, I decided to do little comparisons of the products in pan with the closest products I already own. This might help give an idea of colour if not texture/pay off.
Hey, I'll be using them in FOTD/EOTD posts soon, mark my words, so how about letting me off this time? :)
MAC Wonder Woman blush in Mighty Aphrodite, The Balm Hot Mama(!), NARS Taj Mahal
The lighter half of Mighty A. is quite similar in colour, very slightly deeper and glittery whilst Hot Mama is shimmery - it has a golden sheen. Taj Mahal is WAY darker and more orange. Apparently Hot Mama is like NARS Orgasm which is like Sleek Rose Gold, but as I do not have them, I can't compare.
NARS Oasis, The Balm Cabana Boy, MAC Wonder Woman Amazon Princess and Sleek Flushed.
Oasis is a similar shade, slightly darker and with glitter. Amazon Princess is more of an opaque dolly pink on my cheeks. Flushed is a lot redder and more intense. Overall, I'm glad to say I don't have any dupes here.
Urban Decay Virgin and Sin, The Balm Luscious Lani
Luscious Lani is halfway between Virgin and Sin... in shade. That's kind of a creepy sentence, but true. The Balm shadow is more glittery, where the Urban Decay ones have a more shimmering metallic sheen.
The Balm Risque Renee and Jealous Jordana, MAC Motorhead (Jeanius) and She Who Dares (Venomous Villains).
The MAC mineralize eyeshadows I have are clearly full of chunky glitter whereas The Balm's shadows have much more subtle sheen. Next to Motorhead, Risque Renee looks purple!
The tinted moisturizer - I swatched a little on the back of my hand and it smells a little like talc so I'm not sure it's going to be my favourite face product. We'll see. I'm getting through my Laura Mercier oil-free at a rate of knots (or feels like it) and given that this is twice the product for less than a third of the price (holy cow!) I think i'll just have to suck it up and like it.
In order to choose good products, I studied blog reviews (and mostly went on temptalias recommendations, lets be honest). I resisted more shadows simply because I have so many and these ones had the best reviews. They had Mary Lou-Manizer (the highlighter) and a contour powder but considering that I rarely use my Sleek contour/highlight or my NARS Albatross highlighter I thought those would be wasteful purchases. I hope they have another sale - next time I'd like to try their lip products and more blushes.
Wow. This was a long post. Now to attempt adding tags to my sidebar and putting most of this under a cut. Wish me luck!