Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Very Small Haul - thebalm Balmsai Palette

I keep on forgetting that Kohls is carrying more high end makeup these days, and since I had $20 in their Kohls Cash and $15 in their "Yes 2 You Rewards" (which allows you to earn $5 back for every $100 you spend with no required spend amount per trip and in addition to the Kohls Cash with any payment method), I wound up having a pretty substantial sum to play with. I didn't feel like rooting around their store for the next bargain (a favorite pastime) so I asked if they had this new palette in stock, and they did! And it was brand new so it wasn't played with (an issue at my local Kohls). What palette you ask? TheBalm's Balmsai Palette which is a joint eyeshadow and brow palette with stencils. Not sure I'll use the stencils, but the colors deemed brow powders will make great neutral looks and unlike other palettes where the colors may work for brows, these were selected to work as brow shades. Plus, as with most thebalm products, the palette is super cute and slim and has just enough neutrals and brights to probably be what comes with me on my travels in the future.

For the record, the palette retails for $39.50, but with all my Kohls perks, I paid just about $5.

"We like our boys like we like our brows... in shape!" ohhhhhh thebalm.

The back shows and lists the colors
Inside you can see that it categorizes the shades. The first two rows are collectively called "in the buff (basics), the second two rows are called "mavericks (splash of color"), the fifth row is called "curve & angle (brows/shadows) and the last row is called "catch a wave (use wet or dry)".

Since I was feeling curious myself, I decided to swatch them. At first, I was going to do just a few but then I was feeling adventurous and well, forgive me for not being up on swatching as I was before I took my hiatus! These are all swatched dry with no base.
Starting at the top left is the first row, so Wipe Out (a matte, maybe leaning satin cream), High Tide (a shimmery cream - perfect inner corner highlight), and Hang 10 (more of a golden shimmer). Then I got a little excited and decided to swatch the whole thing. Below that is the second row Dream Boat which honestly was a bit disappointing - I was kind of hoping it would be a slightly cooler version of Hang 10, but it is slightly more bronzey and less pigmented; same disappointment with Sandbar which is a very sheer shimmery silver. Tubular impressed me more, it's a nice shimmery taupe.
Then jump to the upper right where I started swatching the Mavericks. Epic is a slightly cooler bronze shimmer, Surf's Up is a wearable greyish blue/teal and Big Kahuna is bright shimmery aqua with a bit of a yellowish green shift. The row below it is gorgeous. Kawabunga is a beautiful khaki green shimmer, Surfari is a purple shimmer with a bit of a pink shift which is more evident in the actual finger swatch than when swatched on the hand, and Pipeline is a darker truer blue shimmer (than say Surf's Up).
Then I ran out of space (oops!) but the last row starts with the brow powders which are all quite nice. Score is a warmer light brown (likely perfect for blondes), Dig It is a cool taupe (perhaps for most brunettes) and Woodie is a warmer brown (for the rest of the brunettes) Since all of these are matte, they could also serve as crease colors depending on the look you were going for. The only brow product that is missing is one that would be perfect for redheads that like to use very warm reddish tinted brow products.
Aside from one product in the last row, this is where the palette really shines for me, because it makes it complete. The first shade (which you can't see on my hand at all - sorry!) is Stoked which is pretty much MAC Beauty Marked. I own the MAC version and never use it, but it's basically a black with purple glitter. The glitter shows up on my hand, but not to the intensity it shows up in the pan, and though thebalm says you can use this row wet or dry, I'm hesitant as the pans are so small. But as I said, this is the row for me. It's because of the next two colors. The first, Ripper is a very pigmented matte dark brown and the last, Righteous is a very pigmented matte black.

Honestly, I haven't really had the chance to play with this palette much yet, but if my swatching is any indication, I am mostly impressed. I wish they had gotten rid of the second row entirely and either chosen more pigmented shimmers or added some other matte options and ditched the Beauty Marked dupe. But otherwise, you have neutral shimmers - an inner corner highlight, a brow highlight. You have a matte neutral shadow for all over the lid or blending or a brow highlight depending. There are some fun colored shadows that aren't crazy bold but definitely show up (and would probably be even brighter over a regular or colored base), there are brow colors (and crease shades) and then there's a decent deep brown and black. These days, I find that getting all of this in something that fits in a hand or travel bag is quite unusual, so as I mentioned, even though I haven't really played with these properly, I'm happy with my purchase.