Sunday, 20 December 2015

Holiday Palette Review: In theBalm of Your Hand

Kia ora koutou!

Well, the holidays are almost upon us! I have finished work and will be on leave for three whole weeks, which I'm super excited about. After working shift jobs for years, it's nice to finally get some time off around the Christmas break - working checkout on Christmas Eve is something I never want to repeat ever again.

Christmas is a time for makeup brands to bring out special edition products, and today I have a very special item to show you: the In theBalm of Your Hand palette by theBalm!

In theBalm of Your Hand - Holiday Palette

I'm not too familiar with theBalm as it's not very easily accessible in New Zealand, but what I've seen, I like. I have the NUDE 'tude palette (the naughty version, of course), and have lusted over their packaging for a long time. That retro look really appeals to me (even though I know that it's the product itself that counts). I've heard that their Meet Matt(e) Hughes liquid lipsticks are really great for dry lips, although the colour range hasn't enticed me to buy one yet.

When I went to the Beauty Bliss store opening in Wellington a few months ago, I bought on a whim theBalm's newest holiday palette, In theBalm of Your Hand. I was initially attracted to it because it is a travel-sized collection of already popular theBalm products, rather than being a limited edition collection of holiday products. I thought that it would be a great introduction to theBalm's line, as well as being a really cute, travel-friendly addition to my makeup collection.

So let's get into a review and some swatches!

The palette comes in a cardboard sleeve that matches the inner product, which I really appreciate as it stops the palette itself from getting dirty.

The cardboard sleeve is the same as the palette itself

The packaging is covered in the promotional images from the individual products themselves, but with a white background. It's got a magnetic flap and a good-sized mirror, and the cream products have their own flap so that there isn't any cross-contamination between the powders and the creams; a thoughtful addition that I really appreciate. It's this kind of intelligent design that sets this apart from other standard palettes.

I've noticed that it's titled Vol. 1, rather than just Greatest Hits, which makes me think that they might bring out a Vol. 2 sometime next year!

Who says you can't have it all?

These products are all very popular and have been reviewed hundreds of times. However my skin tone is very very pale with pink undertones and isn't represented that much in swatches, so I thought that it would be helpful for other ghostly people out there to see what these look like swatched on pale skin!

Top Row (Left to Right): How 'Bout Them Apples? Lip and Cheek Cream in Caramel; theBalm Girls Lipstick in Mia Moore
Bottom Row (Left to Right): Hot Mama Blush; InStain Blush in Argyle; CabanaBoy Blush; Bahama Mama Bronzer; Shady Lady Eyeshadow in Insane Jane; Shady Lady Eyeshadow in Mischevious Marissa; NUDE 'tude Eyeshadow in Sexy; Balm Jovi Eyeshadow in Lead Zeppelin; Mary-Lou Manizer


Hot Mama Blush

This is a quite shimmery, peachy pink blush with a subtle gold glimmer. It looks darker in the pan, but comes out more pink than peach. It's very pretty on my skin tone, and the subtle sheen complements my skin, which is very dry and has a tendency to look flat and flaky. It falls slightly on the sheer side, which I actually like because if it was more pigmented then it would be easy to overdo it and end up like a pink disco ball! The texture is very soft and smooth, which makes it easy to apply and wear. theBalm says that it can be used as a shadow and a highlighter as well. While I can see myself using it as a shadow, this is too pink to be used as a highlight on my skin tone. It could be a nice blush topper, though, if you layered a matte blush underneath.

InStain Blush in Argyle

This is a blue-based, slightly darker than baby pink blush with a matte finish. It's what I would think of as a doll pink, which I'm not much of a fan of on my skin tone as it can easily end up looking clownish. It's very pigmented - this is one swipe on my arm! I would definitely recommend using a light hand with this. It lasts a good amount of time, although most blushes last on me due to my dry skin. I thought that it would be chalky, being a matte blush with a lot of pigment, but it's just as smooth and easy to blend as Hot Mama. Overall it's very pretty, but not my favourite colour. I can still wear it, but it's not what I would reach for first.

CabanaBoy Blush

Pros: beautiful berry/plum shade with gold sheen, very pigmented. Con: doesn't look too great on my skin if I use too much of it! I have to apply this with a very light hand, otherwise I can come off looking bruised. I do wear this when I go out at night, as it stands out more than lighter blushes, and it fades down to a very pretty raspberry shade after a couple of hours. So it's more of a night time blush for me. I can see why this is so popular, particularly for people with darker skin tones! Like all the others in the palette, the texture is silky and smooth. theBalm really has great quality cheek products from what I've seen.

Bahama Mama Bronzer

This is the only product that I really don't like in the palette. It's so orange on me! It is marketed as a cool-toned brown that can double as a contouring product, and maybe it is that on a darker skin tone, but on me it just looks awful. I really struggle with bronzer - I have never found one that looked natural on me because I'm so pale. So unfortunately, this is a big no for me. I also found that it is a bit chalky and streaky: this swatch took a bit more effort than the other blushes, which smoothed on beautifully.


Shady Lady Eyeshadow in Insane Jane

Insane Jane is a shimmery taupe from the Shady Lady Vol. 2 palette. It's a medium-tone taupe with a brown base. It's actually really nice on the eyes, despite its quite boring description! I like it layered on the outer corners of my eyes with a light shimmery colour on the inside corners, but it also stands up well on its own. It has a bit of fall out, but it's not too drastic. I particularly love the buttery, smooth texture of the powder.

Shady Lady Eyeshadow in Mischevious Marissa 

Mischevious Marissa is also from the Shady Lady Vol. 2 palette. It's an orange-copper shade with a metallic finish. It's also sold individually. I do love the shade, but it doesn't work that well with my skin tone or eye colour (blue-green). If it were perhaps a shade deeper, then I think it would work better. But it's nice to add in the centre of the eyelid to add some brightness, and I've had success with it as a bold inner highlight with a shimmery brown lid. Like Insane Jane, it's very buttery and applies gorgeously to the lid.

NUDE 'tude Eyeshadow in Sexy

This shade has me more confused every time I use it. When I apply it, I'm reminded of how chalky and hard to apply it is, but at the end of the day I always end up admiring the colour on my lids. The swatch on the right is one swipe of the finger; the swatch on the left is three swipes. I have to build it up not only to get the colour, but also to get an even application. The colour is a deep plum/burgundy with a matte finish, and it's utterly gorgeous when layered well. It plays off my skin tone so nicely! It's just a difficult shade. I have the NUDE 'tude palette and this shade does the same thing in that palette, so it's not that I got a bad batch. But I do love it, so I persevere!

Balm Jovi Eyeshadow in Lead Zeppelin 

This photo isn't picking up the green in the shadow, but rest assured, there is green in there! It's a dark, blackened green with a frosted finish. It's been described as an olive green, but it comes off a lot darker on my skin tone. For some reason I couldn't get a photo that showed the green that it comes off as on my lids, which is frustrating. It's not overly special, but it is something a bit different to use instead of a dark grey or black in a smokey eye look. Like Sexy, it applies unevenly: the swatch on the right is one swipe of the finger, while the swatch on the left is two swipes. But it's not as patchy as Sexy, and it doesn't have any fallout, so this isn't a big deal.


Mary-Lou Manizer

I was so excited to try this, as I'd been wanting to get my hands on it for months! Mary-Lou Manizer is a champagne highlighter that reflects gold on my skin. It's shimmery rather than glittery, and it gives an absolutely gorgeous glow to the skin with just the tiniest amount of product. What I've found is a light dusting imparts a glow but no colour; while a heavier application gives a golden appearance to my cheekbones. I prefer the lighter look on my face, as I'm not a huge fan of gold, but I pack it on as a golden inner highlight all the time. This is also absolutely stunning on the cupid's bow and on the collarbones and shoulders. It's smooth and buttery and blends out so easily - I don't have a single complaint about the formula! I seriously love this product and will be buying the full size.


How 'Bout Them Apples? Cheek and Lip Cream in Caramel 

I thought that I wouldn't get much use out of this cream, but it's actually one of the quiet stars of the palette. It's a kind of orange-brown, which doesn't sound special, but it's such a flattering shade! It's very muted and doesn't have any glitter or shimmer, although it does have a dewy finish due to being a cream formula. I love it on my cheeks, applied very lightly and further back than I would usually apply it. It gives me a bit of colour to my skin that could almost be interpreted as a tan (as much of a tan as I can get). It's a pretty orange-nude on my lips: when I'm feeling lazy I put on a very thin layer and it adds a pop of colour and sheen to my lips that doesn't look overdone. It lasts a good amount of time and applies evenly without streaks. Overall I really like this cream, and I might look into getting the Apples palette.

theBalm Girls Lipstick in Mia Moore

Mia Moore is a bright, cheerful red. To me it is more of a raspberry red than a cherry red, which I like as straight reds often look too jarring against my skin. This lets me wear a red lip and look pretty without being too out-there, which I really like. I usually apply this with my finger, and then use a lip brush to carve out my lip line, and find that it lasts a couple of hours even when I don't blot and add a second layer. It's very smooth and doesn't bleed, which is a rare treat for me as almost all lip colours bleed on me, even with a lip liner. It has a slight minty scent, but it's not overpowering. I find that this makes my teeth look whiter, which is a nice plus!

So those are my my swatches and first impressions of the products in the In theBalm of Your Hand palette! Apart from the bronzer, I can use all of these products in one way or another. The standout stars for me were the Hot Mama Blush, the Mary-Lou Manizer, and the How 'Bout Them Apples? Cheek and Lip Cream in Caramel. The only real disappointment was the Bahama Mama Bronzer, but I think this is the fault of my skin tone, rather than the fault of the bronzer.

Other reviewers who are more familiar with theBalm's products have said that the quality is the same as in the full-size items, so if you buy this palette and then choose to buy one of the products from it, you won't have any nasty surprises. It actually amazes me that some brands do this - that they make compilation palettes with watered down product formulas. It just makes no sense to me! Thankfully theBalm doesn't take this route.

This is a really useful, balanced palette in my opinion. It's so varied that you could use five products from the palette on different parts of the face without doubling up: blush, bronzer, eye shadow, highlight, and lipstick! There are all sorts of shades and finishes, increasing its versatility, especially considering that there will be people of all sorts of skin colours and tones that might want to try this out.

I really think that this will be perfect for travel, as it reduces the amount of items that you need to pack into your makeup bag. The cardboard wrapper stops the palette itself from getting dirty, and it's small enough to slip into a bag without much trouble. This is why I see it as more of a holiday palette than a Christmas one - it's special enough to gift, but it comes into its own when you travel around on holiday.

So I'm really impressed with In theBalm of Your Hand and will be purchasing some of the full-size products in the new year. This was a perfect introduction to theBalm's products!

Have you tried this palette? What are your favourite theBalm products? Let me know so I can try them!

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