The Balm Nude Tude

The Balm Nude Tude

The Balm just released their third and newest eyeshadow palette: Nude Beach and I am way behind and hadn’t even gotten round to reviewing the first one. In a moment of, well better late than never, I decided to still post about this palette that most people are on the fence about. With so many neutral eyeshadow palettes on the market, does this add anything different?

the balm nude tude eyeshadow palette review swatch

The Balm Nude Tude

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The Balm Hot Mama

The Balm Hot Mama

So you want to be a Hot Mama? You have to hand it to make up brand The Balm: there product names are about as witty as it gets. Pair that off with some retro looking packaging and you have a combination that sells. I had tried a few of their products before, but not that many. So when I spotted this classic blush when I was in Italy, I decided to snatch it up.

thebalmhotmama1

The Balm Hot Mama blush

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Italy beauty haul: Sephora, Kiko & more

Italy beauty haul: Sephora, Kiko & more

Haul time! Last week I showed you what I packed when I went to Rome, today I’m showing you the bits I brought home. Be aware: I shopped to my heart’s content. Why? Because Italy has Sephora, which means instant access to brands I can only dream of getting my hands on. So that is where my focus lies. I also shopped at Kiko and at an Italian beauty store where I bumped into The Balm, which makes this a make up laden video. Hope you enjoy!

I came. I saw. I shopped.

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The Balm Time Balm Skin Clarifier

The Balm Time Balm Skin Clarifier

You will probably know The Balm from their make up. Some of their eyeshadow palettes and also their Mary Lou-Manizer highlighter are some cult products in the beauty community. But did you know they do skincare too? I didn’t. Until I found this Time Balm White Tea Sunflower Skin Clarifier. An interesting product that I didn’t know anything about and that took some time for me to figure out how to use this properly. But once I figured that out, it became an important part of my make up routine.

The Balm Time Balm White Tea Sunflower Skin Clarifier with Witch Hazel extract

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The Balm Balm Voyage eyeshadow, lip & cheek palette

The Balm Balm Voyage eyeshadow, lip & cheek palette

I’m feeling summer is a great way of catching up on long overdue reviews. Where I posted a mascara review last week, today I’m bringing you a review of The Balm’s Balm Voyage palette. I picked up this palette in Barcelona. I walked into Primor, which is the Spanish version of a high end drugstore and lo and behold: they sold The Balm. The stand had been picked over, but they still had this and I still wanted to try some The Balm products. So I went to the register, paid for the palette and then lugged around with it for the next two weeks until I got home and was able to take pictures of it.

The Balm Balm Voyage eye, cheek & lip palette

I love make up palettes, eyeshadow ones in particular. They are very collectible and I love using them as well. I like palettes that allow me to use my creativity like the Urban Decay Vice palettes, but I also like a good neutral. This palette has both some fun colors to play with, as well as some neutral for a more every day look. It retails for €42,95 and contains 16 different eye shadows and 3 lip/ cheek products.

The palette comes in a sturdy cardboard packaging with a slip overlay that secures the palette and keeps it closed. A bit of a hassle, but I am a tad afraid of throwing away the slip as I feel the palette might just pop open. I just found out that there is a Vol. 2 of this, which features 9 eyeshadows, a highlight, a bronzer, 2 powder brushes and 2 cream products. That is a tad more complete than this, which focuses on just eyes and a few cream products.

The Balm calls this the Holiday Face palette and I think the idea, apart from the traveling theme that has been used, is that you can take this with you on vacation and have a versatile palette for on the go. I find the palette a tad too bulky for that. It’s rather large, but slim and lightweight, but the fact that the packaging could pop open or the slip tear at any given moment makes me reluctant to chuck this in a bag and take along. It does come with a mirror and a few ideas of how to use the shadows together.

On the back you’ll find a complete overview of the palette. The shadows can be used wet or dry and the lip/ cheek products are a rich cream. The ingredients are listed on the back too, which is a pro. Many make up products ingredients can only be found online, but not on the product itself. So good job to The Balm.

Let’s have a look at the cream products first. Like I said, I took this half way round Europe in a backpack before taking these pictures. And you can see that the cream products have started to bubble. They melted due to the heat in hotel rooms and that’s why I’m afraid their texture or conservation has been compromised. When I bought this, I really bought it for the shadows. I hardly ever used cream products on my cheeks and when I want to wear a lipstick, I’ll take this that as this requires a brush if you want to apply it nicely. So despite the pretty colors and great pigmentation I’ve never used these, and I don’t think I ever will.

No, the reason why I bought this palette was because of the eyeshadows. There are some random pops of color in here such as mint green, a blue toned purple a nice petrol and a mustard yellow. The neutrals in this palette are also not your bog standard neutrals. There is a dark mauve and a stunning looking khaki shade, as well as some rose toned. This, to me, looked like a very versatile palette at first glance, which is why I picked it up.

Because that is what The Balm gets: making products that aren’t just pretty and high quality but also less predictable. The shade range in this is phenomenal and I love how you are not stuck with the everlasting matte black and creamy whites. There is a mixture of cool and warm toned shadows which again helps it to be more versatile. However, I do find this palette hard to work with. Precisely because of the fun color combinations. I just don’t know where to start!

A3 – B3 – C3 – D3 – A4 – B4 – C4 – D4

A3: a frosted silver
B3: a matte taupe that leans more brown than grey
C3: a matte milk chocolate brown
D3: a shimmery champagny gold
A4: a dark shimmery grey with a brown undertone
B4: a satin matte dark brown
C4: a shiny reddish dark brown
D4: a shiny dark khaki/ olive green with a hint of gold

These are the swatches of the top 2 rows, which includes the more neutral and darkest shades. There are 2 mattes, one almost matte and everything else has a bit of shine, shimmer or straight up frost to it. Pigmentation is great: these shadows are buttery soft and apply well. Even the matte shades, thought C3 is a tad harder to work with as it has a rougher texture.

A1 – B1 – C1 – D1 – A2 – B2 – C2 – D2

A1: a shimmery dusty rose
B1: a matte flesh/ peach toned color that pulls more beige against my skin
C1: a shimmery vanilla shade
D1: a shimmery mustard yellow
A2: a shimmery duochrome bluetoned purple
B2: a shiny mint green
C2: a matte teal/ petrol color
D2: a shimmery dusty pink

Like the first set of swatches, the pigmentation here is bang on. Again a matte (C2)  has a bit of difficulty and C1 isn’t all that intense, but since that is pretty much the only highlight shade in this palette I feel that is not too much of a problem. The colors are quite random though and that’s what makes this palette harder to work with. However, I did come up with two different looks.

Eye shadows used: A2, C3, C1, C2

Because the reason why I bought this palette is for one that stunning purple as well as the teal color, I knew I had to feature them in a look together. I used the purple all over the lid and on the eye it doesn’t appear as vibrant as in the pan or on the swatch. I found it very easily blends away and thus you need to go back in and really build up the color after every step you take. The pop of teal is a fun touch, but again, it could have been more vibrant.

Eye shadows used: A4, D4, B3, D3, D2, B1, C1

A much more successful look was this one, which focuses on the champagne gold and the stunning olive shade. As you can see 8 different eye shadows went into this look and that’s why I don’t think this palette is a great every day one, but more a special occasion one. This look is intense and smoky and I love that for a party or special occasion but this is not a great every day look for work.

Despite the fact that you can get some stunning looks with this palette, I do not find myself reaching for it as much as I had thought when I bought this. The colors are stunning, pigmentation is great and the selection is unique. However, the shadows blend away very easily, making shades less vibrant on the eye than on a swatch or in the palette. To get an intense eye look, requires work and going back and forth between shades and reapplying them.

The buttery softness of these shadows is exactly what is plays up when you use them on the eye. This is not a throw in your purse, every day make up palette, nor is it fit for traveling. But, if you are looking for a palette that has great pigmentation, an unexpected color selection and you don’t mind putting some time and effort into your make up look than this is for you.

Have you ever used The Balm make up products? What is your experience?

30 Day Make Up Challenge #18: Extreme

30 Day Make Up Challenge #18: Extreme

For this rendition of the 30 Day Make Up Challenge, I decided to think outside of my comfort zone. I decided to pile on the make up and even though this may not be very extreme for some people, it is for me. I often only have 15 minutes, if that, when I do my make up when I go to work. So to submerge myself into make up for an afternoon is always a nice and welcome change. To create this look I decided to combine a few make up techniques I see many youtubers and instagrammers use, but which it just way too much for me on the daily. So this is my ‘extreme’ make up look.

The first thing I needed was a good dose of color. I mostly opt for ‘safe’ neutral make up looks when I go to work. I sometimes add a pop of color by adding a bit of colored liner or color on my lid, but I usually leave it at that. I also stick by the rule of not pairing bold lips with bold eyes when I go to work. No need to overstimulate my students and having them spend the first 10 minutes of a lesson deciding where to look. I used blue and purples on the eyes and reddish tints on the cheeks and lipst. I feel they sort of go together, but then again, not really at the same time. I had a reason for this pairing though and that mostly had to do with the make up techniques I wanted to try out.

On to the make up techniques I used. I tried to do a 5 in one here: flawless glowy skin, that is contoured and bronzed up, with a strong brow and ombre lips. Pfff that is quite a lot to work with. I also used a chuckload of products to create it and spend over 30 minutes, maybe even close to 45 minutes to create this make up look. That is at least double the amount of time I get to spend on my make up on a regular basis. When I do my make up in the mornings, I do create a full face of make up, but it’s not as ‘perfect’ and full on as this. I apply foundation, concealer and powder. I also try to create some sort of eyelook, but I usually keep that fairly simple and use no more that 2 – 3 shadows, but mostly I go for 1 shade looks. I apply just blush to my cheeks and a lipstick to my lips and that’s about it. I also do my brows, but I just fill them in a bit. You can see my more every day make up look in this video.

For the eyes I mostly went with some bold colors, but I didn’t go int with any crazy techniques. I don’t have that much eyelid space, so I have limited room to work with. If I make looks like these, a winged liner is also no option for me as I need to draw such a thick line to make that work that it would mostly cover up the amazing colors of the eye shadows. So I kept it simple: a bright purple all over the lid, a darker purple shade in the crease, highlight on the browbone and a bright ocean blue in the inner corner. I personally love this combination and feel it truly makes my eyes pop. Read below for a complete low down of how I created this entire make up look.

I used a blend of both drugstore as well as high end make up. Basically I ransacked my make up collection to put this look together.

Products used:

Face:

  • Primer: Bourjois Happy Light Luminous Serum Primer
  • Foundation: Catrice Velvet Finish foundation in 010 Light Velvet
  • Concealer: Catrice Velvet Finish concealer in 020 Velvet Rose
  • Powder: Catrice All Matt Plus powder in 01 transparent.
  • Blush: Rival de Loop Young Mono Rouge 03 Pink Grapefruit
  • Bronzer: L’Oreal Glam Bronze Sun Radiance Trio in 201 Blonde Harmony
  • Contour: Too Faced Milk Chocolate Soleil
  • Highlight: The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer & Dermacol Sheer Face Illuminator in Fresh Rose

Eyes:

  • Base: Kat Von D High Voltage Eye Primer in Skin  & MAC Painterly paint pot
  • All over lid: Urban Decay 15th anniversary palette Omen & MUA shade 9 pearl
  • Crease: Urban Decay 15th anniversary palette Half Truth
  • Inner corner:  Urban Decay 15th anniversary palette Deep End
  • Outer V: Astor Eye Artist eyeshadow palette in 320 Shopping Guerilla in New York (purple shade)
  • Brow bone: Astor Eye Artist eyeshadow palette in 320 Shopping Guerilla in New York (highlight shade)
  • Waterline: Essence Highlight it Nude eye pencils
  • Tight line: Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-In Place Eye Pencil in Onyx
  • Mascara: L’Oreal Butterfly Effect mascara

Brows:

  • Pen: Catrice Longlasting Brow Definer 020 flASHy Brows
  • Powder: Catrice eyebrow set
  • Gel: Catrice Eyebrow Filler – Perfecting & Shaping Gel in 020 Make A Bow Wow

Lips:

  • Pencil: LA Girl lipliner in Currant & MAC lipliner in Cherry
  • Lipstick: Dior Rouge Dior lipstick in 999

How did I use all these? I started with my brows. I first ‘drew’ my brows with Catrice’s brow definer. I focused mainly on the first part of my brows with this. Then, I evened it all out with some brow powder and set it with a brow gel. Secondly, I did skin. I primed my face with a glowing primer, and primed my lids using the Kat von D eyeshadow base. I then used a matte and high coverage foundation and concealer and set all that into place with a matte powder. Finally I added Painterly by MAC, to even out my eyelid color.

For cheeks I first applied a contour and blush. Then I bronzed up my face with a shimmering bronzer and I also took that down my neck. However, I did forget to take in the sides of my neck, so you can see that in these pics I’m about 2 shades darker than I normally am. I went in with blush and a liquid highlight and for extra effect, I topped that up with some powder highlight as well.

For the eyes I didn’t go crazy with techinques. I applied a darker shade in my crease first. Then I originally added Omen by Urban Decay, but once everything was done I topped that off with the purple eyeshadow by MUA. It brightened everything up and really amped up the look. For a fun detail I added a bright blue in my inner corners. I used a darker purple shade on my lower lashline and also defined my Outer V with this. I used a highlighter on my brow bone, a nude eyeliner on my waterline and I tightlined with a black eyeliner. As a final touch I topped up my lashes with mascara.

Lips wise I decided to try an ombre lip. I applied a dark red lip liner on the outer edges of my lips and then filled in my lip with a brighter red. I topped it up with a bright red, glossy lipstick which I applied with a lipliner to not get a very full on effect, but that still nicely covered the liner and evened everything out.

Yep, this, in my book, is an extreme make up look. So much make up, so full on is great for a shoot or when you’re being filmed I’m sure. It is not suitable for an every day make up look, but it was definitely fun to do and to play around with my make up again.

What would you do for an extreme make up look?

The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer highlighter

The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer highlighter

Highlighter. Never a make up product I cared for much. Until last year. I bought a pretty one from Dior in spring, and a little bit later I bought a stunning highlight by MUA. But both products were trumped the minute I placed my brush in The Balm’s Mary-Lou Manizer. I had heard many good things about this highlighter on Youtube. And when I found it at a bargain price, I knew I had to pick it up and try it.

The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer highlighter

This product comes with a bit of a story. I was traveling round Europe last summer and my last stop on that trip was Copenhagen, Denmark. There I found some great Scandanavian stores, one of them & Other Stories (by H&M). I knew & Other Stories sells make up too so I browsed the store at length and came across a table with The Balm products. And they were on sale. For 15 DKK a piece. That is roughly €2 each. Normally The Balm isn’t a cheap brand so I checked with the lady at the register and indeed, all The Balm products cost a mere €2. I made a quick decision and bought this highlighter among 2 other things. The original price of this product is €15.

The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer

And would it be worth €15? I also have one by Dior which was €50 euros, and till I bought this that was my go-to highlight shade. Packaging wise this product doesn’t seem like much. The compact is simple and fuss free. There is a large mirror in the lid and the box and cover have an identical cheek-in-tongue picture with a hint of retro.

In total the product contains 8.5 grams which is a decent amount of product. The ingredient list isn’t too long but doesn’t contain much that I truly understand. Other than mica (it’s a powder) and dimethcone (a silicone), the entire ingredient list is nothing but abracadabra to me.

But it’s not the packaging or ingredient list that truly count. What counts is the product inside and how it performs. At first glance this powder looks like nothing special. When exposed to neutral light this just looks like any old champagne/ beige colored powder. So what’s all the fuss about? Well you need to look a little bit close for that.

The Balm’s Mary-Lou Manizer is supposed to be a highlight that is non glittery and gives that ‘glow-from-within’ look. When tilting the product towards the light a hint of sheen can be detected, but this doesn’t show its true nature until you swatch it. As you can see in the picture below, the shine is truly there and a light hand is needed in other to not look like a grease ball.

Swatched this product barely looks like a powder. If you hadn’t seen this compact, I’m sure you’d have believed me if I’d have told you this is a cream. But nothing is further from the truth. This is a powder highlight that goes on like a cream. The texture is buttery soft and you barely notice this is a powder. And it does what a good highlighter is supposed to do: intensify that cheek bone glow.

Above: no highlight
Below: highlight

In the close up the difference or the effect of this product is not as noticeable. Above I applied no highlight. Below I did and you can see some sheen (and I also feel like the bumps and lumps are less noticeable) but not as strong as in a more full face picture like this one:

Here you can see the product in full swing on my cheek bone. BAM! Highlight. Here I may have even applied a little bit too much. Because this product isn’t glittery it only needs a little bit to create a natural glowy look. Apply too much and your face can look shiny to the point where it may come across as looking greasy. It is therefore a very full on highlight, but still very pretty.

The color of this highlighter is spot on for my skin tone. The Dior one I have is quite a bit too gold on the daily (but very pretty in summer) and the MUA one is a tad too pink to go with many different looks. This is the perfect champagne/ beige shade that allows it to go with anything and everything I wear. Whether I’m wearing neutrals or something a lot more heavy: this always works.

I have taken to not only wearing this on my cheeks, but I have applied it to many other parts of my face. The bridge of my nose, my cupid’s bow, brow bone and inner corner are all places where this highlight can work its magic quite wonderfully. To show you the effect of the highlight, you can see the pictures above, but I am also wearing it in these looks: look one, look two, look three.

Yes, this product has definitely become one of my favorites and is now a staple in my make up routine. Every day when I do my make up I whip this out. The fact that I got it at such a bargain makes it even better, but even at €15 euros this product is well worth its price point. If you can get your hands on this and you’re fair skinned like me, this is one of the best highlighters to have.

What’s your perfect highlighter?