February 15, 2011

Review: theBalm

theBalm is the latest cosmetics line that uber-popular high-street retailer A|Wear has added to their stores. Born by Marissa Shipman out of a desire to have a few simple products to make her feel fabulous, theBalm is touted to rival high-end cosmetics line Benefit- at a fraction of the price. No arguments there, right?

It has become an internationally bestselling brand and has been used by make-up artists on the sets of popular TV shows Gossip Girl and The X Factor as well as the Sex and the City 2 movie.

The lovely folks over at A|Wear sent us over some products from the line to try out and we both took the chance to play around with the products so we could both give you our verdicts!

Balmbini Palette


The Balmbini palette contains the "Babies of The Balm" face range. In other words,you get to try out the brands most popular products in a compact, full-face palette. It contains their Downboy and Hot Mama shadow/blush All-in-One, Mary-Lou Manizer luminiser, two of their ShadyLady eyeshadow/liners in Insane Jane and Jealous Jordana as well as Read My Lips lipstick and Special Edition tinted gloss. This palette retails for €28.00.

L-R: Downboy, Hot Mama, Mary-Lou Manizer, Insane Jane, Jealous Jordana,
Read My Lips, Limited Edition.
Sinead: The quality of the products in this palette are really excellent and it was great to be able to try so much of the range out. While Hot Mama is marketed as a blush, it can definitely be used as a bronzer on paler skin tones like mine. Downboy is an extremely bright pink and super pigmented so very little is needed to achieve a rosy glow. 

The ShadyLady Eyeshadows impressed me the most out of the palette. They resembled Urban Decay shadows both in texture and pigmentation i.e. extremely buttery and very good colour pay-off. There was no obvious fall-out with these. I don't usually like or tend to use any lip products that are potted in a palette just because they are not so easy to carry around, however, I tried these for my face look (below) and I really liked them, especially the tinted lipgloss.

Dee: Like Sinead, I adored the eyeshadows the most for their ease of application and general great quality. The blushes also impressed me, but they were hardly groundbreaking in terms of shade either as I already own both Dandelion and Coralista by Benefit. However, that's not to say that they weren't good quality! The lip products were also nice for a natural, glossy daytime look and they also smell really nice!

I'm also impressed with the palette as a whole - once you've used the products you realise how well thought out it is. The shades are fairly universal in that they would suit most people's skin tone, especially us Irish girls. It is also great value for money seeing as you are getting seven products for less than the price of one Benefit blusher! It's nice and compact and would be great for a weekend away as you wouldn't need to bring many more products with you. 

Full Face Looks Using the Balmbini Palette:

Hot Mama as bronzer, Downboy as blush on cheeks and temples, Mary-Lou Manizer as highlight
and Tinted Lipgloss on lips.

Insane Jane all over the lid, Jealous
Jordana in the crease, Mary-Lou Manizer as highlight,


Downboy and Stainiac on cheeks, Mary-Lou Manizer as highlight,
Read My Lips lipstick and Plump My Pucker lipgloss
Insane Jane on lid with Jealous Jordana in the crease and outer corner, and Mary-Lou
Manizer as a highlight

Plump Your Pucker Lipgloss 

We also tried one of the range's Plump Your Pucker lipglosses in Razz My Berry. The names of all of the products are really clever and definitely elicit a giggle every now and then. The packaging is also notable as it's fun and eye-catching. These retail for €11.00.

Sinead: If you've been reading the blog for awhile now, you'll know that myself and lipgloss are taking a break from each other. However, this particular gloss has made me want to start that love affair all over again. The colour is gorgeous first of all and, while there is glitter, it's fine enough that your lips don't feel grainy. But, best of all, it is not remotely sticky which I detest in lipglosses. I absolutely love this product and am definitely interested in checking out more colours from the line.

Dee: I'm also much more of a lipstick that a lipgloss kind of girl, and I have been for a few years now. I've been put off lipgloss for ages due to the stickiness. I really like the colour because it goes so well with my natural lip shade as well as many of my favourite lipsticks. The texture is lovely and it applies really nicely - overall this is a total winner that I really wasn't expecting to like!

Stainiac Cheek and Lip Stain

On first glance, Stainiac definitely resembles cult-favourites, Benefit Benetint and Posie Tint. However, there are two extreme selling points to this products; (1) there are a range of shades like Beauty Queen, Homecoming Queen and Prom Queen, and (2) it is priced favourably at €11.50, decidedly less than Benefit's offering which is €33.50 (although you do get more product for that price).

Sinead: Dee absolutely loves Benefit Benetint while I have never used it so, I thought it would be best to let the Master herself try this out for comparison! 

Dee: As a big fan of Benetint, I wasn't expecting much from this product but I have to admit that it it just as good if not better than the original. I found it easier to blend and it didn't sink into my pores quite as easily as Benetint, because the formula seems to be more of a gel than a liquid. If you're new to makeup this is a foolproof product to use. It gave me a fantastic natural flush - 10/10!

Dupes and Comparisons

The obvious comparison to make is that this line resembles Benefit in terms of its fun and quirky packaging. Product-wise there are some correlations that are hard to ignore, so we decided to pit the products directly against each other and show you the results. See for yourself!

The Balm's Hot Mama (Top) V Benefit's Coralista (Bottom)

The Balm's Down Boy (L) V Benefit Dandelion (R)

Overall we were super impressed with this new cosmetics range. There is nothing to fault per say and any criticisms are based entirely on personal preference as opposed to the nature and quality of the products (which is great!). You are definitely getting the quality of a high-end-esque brand here for the price of a drugstore brand like Revlon or Loreal (which may even be a touch more expensive). There are also a number of natural, goat hair brushes in the line (Retailing for between €6.25 and €17.50) that we are really interested to try out. 

So, we say a unanimous, "Get yourself down to A|Wear and try out The Balm!"


D&S x



  1. i think i shall pop into a|wear soon and get me some of that liptint!

  2. You should! Dee was really impressed! That one is Beauty Queen I think but one of the other shades looks absolutely gorgeous as well! xx

  3. Any idea whether it's available in A|Wear up north? That palette looks like it has pretty much everything you could want, I need. Haha

    Sarah x

  4. Not entirely sure Sarah. The press release just stated Grafton St, Henry St, Dundrum and Newbridge as the stores selling it at the moment! It might be worth giving your A|Wear a call and asking?

    Yeah the palette has literally every possible thing you could need and loads of the products double up as other things so you'd never be stuck!



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