The Balm Brand Review, Part Two: Eye Just Can’t Pick A Favorite

Published on June 19, 2017 by   ·   No Comments

Sorry for the bad pun – I’m not a practiced punsmith – but with a brand like The Balm I had to at least try!  Their entire brand is based on cute retro graphics and cheeky puns.

In the first half of the brand review, we covered several face products, the Balm Girls lipsticks (a clear favorite), and the Balm Voyage overall face palette.  You may recall that I wasn’t very fond of the shadows in that palette, and you may have been wondering if the other palettes were the same quality (which wasn’t bad per se, but somewhat inconsistent and not really all that extraordinary).  I’m happy to report that when The Balm focuses exclusively on shadows, the results turn out a lot better!

For this section, I’m going to be reviewing 3 palettes: Meet Matt(e) Nude, Meet Matt(e) Trimony, and Balm Appetit.

Balm Matte Nude

To be fair, I did already take a look at this particular palette in this earlier post, but I was on the road and I wasn’t able to get decent swatches…and let’s be real, that post was mostly an excuse to post nearly naked pictures of hot men!  Since I’m back home and my lighting, while still not perfect, is much improved so I figured I would swatch away and give you my thoughts!

Balm Nude Swatch 02(Left to Right: Matt Johnson, Matt Garcia, Matt Malloy, Matt Rosen, Matt Wood, Matt Singh, Matt Abdul, Matt Lombardi, and Matt Hung)

I think that The Balm does some really amazing matte shadows!  They are creamy and pigmented and they go on beautifully.  I often complain about matte shadows being inconsistent or patchy, and these are definitely not that.  But one thing that I did notice with these that I don’t always get with matte shadows is that the middle where I applied the most pressure is consistent and true but the edges are a little bit softer and more diffuse.  This is NOT a bad thing!  That indicates to me that these shades are giving me great color payoff, but they are also going to blend well with the shadows placed near them.  When the center part, where you focus all of your attention, is inconsistent thats’ when you need to be worried and while there are a couple that need a little finessing, they are overall really, really good.

Johnson and Garcia got things off to a great start, fully pigmented and creamy as fuck.  Malloy was also a treat – it was a little bit powdery, but overall the application was nice and matte white shadows are very hard to get right.  This one is almost all the way there, and I think you could easily get this one to do what you need it to do.  Rosen was a little messy when applied, but nice brown color.  Wood was deep and gorgeous.  Singh could have been a little more pink for my tastes, but it’s a nice transition shade.  Abdul was the only real disappointment in this group, andc ame out a little patchy and not nearly as pigmented as the others.  Lombardi was consistent and even but the lovely light mustard color in the palette all but disappears when it’s applied.  And Hung was gorgeous – you knew a size queen like me would love that shadow no matter what it looked like!  Luckily it’s a beautiful cool taupe/brown, and is legit my favorite color in the palette.

Balm Matte Trimony

Meet Matt(e) Trimony looked to be a nice addition to the brand’s collection of matte shadow collections, and I loved that it was organized with a cool-toned berry sort of vibe.  The colors were lovely and they swatched just as well as the previous palette:

Balm Trimony Swatch 01(Left to Right: Matt Lin, Matt Thomas, Matt Rossi, Matt Lopez, Matt Kumar, Matt Moskowitz, Matt Evans, Matt Reed, and Matt Ahmed)

Again I had the same buttery application experience and the edges were softer with consistent, solid color through the middle, indicating to me that these are going to blend well.  Lin could have used a little more pigmented, and it turned out more ivory than the peach-toned color it seems to be in the pan but I ain’t mad about it.  Thomas also could have been a little deeper pink and truert o the pan color.  But after that it’s pretty much all solid winners.  Rossi is a nice light taupe that looks really pretty next to that light pink.  Lopez warms things up a little and would be a great transition shade on lighter skintones.  And then Kumar…damn!  That’s a gorgeous berry red, and so smooth!Moskowitz was a little unever, but that plum color is absolutely stunning.  Evans is another solid transition if you want a lighter option, Reed isa  nice medium/dark chocolate brown, and Ahmed is a lovely almost black.  It’s actually more of a deep, deep charcoal gray, but you could use this in place of a black for some really beautiful looks!

Balm Apetit 01

The Balm Appetit palette is lovely, and you’re finally going to get to see some gorgeous shimmers – I think you’ll really like them!  I love the attitude on this palette: when you first open it, there is an overlay over the shadows that turns the shadows into letters saying “EAT UR <3 OUT”.  Flip that one up, and you can see the square pans beneath:

Balm Apetit 02There are three matte shades across the top that work for transitions on a variety of skintones, but then it leads into the stars of the palettes: the shimmery metallic shades!

Balm Apetite Swatch 01(Left to Right: Bruce Schetta, Mac Encheese, Ray Sinbread, Tate R. Tots, Rocky Road-Icecream, Chris P. Bacon, Hal Apeno-Poppers, Artie Chokedip, and Alfred O. Pasta)

The food-themed names are super cute and once again we get some great color payoff.  The three transition shades are all lovely, but when I got to that fourth swatch of Tate R. Tots, I was in heaven.  These are a great pigmented metallic shadow – almost on the level of Juvia’s place for one swipe color and coverage.  Bruce was like Matt Lin from the previous palette, but with the kinks worked out of the formula.  Mac is a great transition shade that has a cool-toned based that is really unique and lovely.  Ray is a nice medium brown.  Tate is a champagne with almost a light pink note to it.  Rocky takes taupe and makes it a metallic dream, and no one does copper realness like Chris.  This is an intense shade, so use with caution – this is nowhere near subtle!  Hal is more of a pearly shimmer, sort of a yellow-toned gold with hints of olive.  Artie is a gray that flirts a little with green but never quite follows through, and Alfred is a nice shimmering pearly deep gray.

My overall feelings about this band?  They may not be chasing trends or putting out the hottest colors of the moment, but they’ve got solid performance and their prices, while perhaps a little high, aren’t that far off from other competitor brands found in Sephora and Ulta.  I found most of my stock in either Kohls or the Walgreens in downtown Seattle, and I think the pricepoint might be a little high for the typical drugstore makeup shopper, but it shows how this brand is sort of straddling a couple of different worlds.  The only product I didn’t really care for was the Balm Voyage palette, and even that wasn’t terrible; I just think the brand does better and has better overall performance when they focus on one thing at a time.  If you see one of those face palettes at a deep discount or at a bargain store like Nordstrom Rack or TJ Maxx then think about giving it a try but otherwise I would suggest going for one of their strictly eyeshadow collections.

In case you need an introduction: Have you met Matt?  I hope you don’t mind that he’s nude…if you play your cards right, it might just lead to Matt-Trimony!

(Alright, alright – I promise, the puns can stop now!)

Now Go Forth & Get Painted!

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