I wanted to separate the swatches and reviews by category so you could see the side-by-side swatches of related products.
Left to right, you will see the Mary-Lou Manizer shadow/highlighter/shimmer, Betty-Lou Manizer bronzer/shimmer, Bahama Mama matte shadow/bronzer, Hot Mama! shadow/blush, and FratBoy shadow/blush.
|Mary-Lou Manizer, Betty-Lou Manizer, Bahama Mama, Hot Mama!, FratBoy|
As you can tell by the descriptions, The Balm is known for making products that can serve multiple purposes, such as an eye shadow and a blush (although can't every blush be used as an eye shadow?). I guess The Balm just reminds you that you can be creative with your make-up. The Balm has adorable, unique packing with cute names to go along with it. I do love is how compact the packaging is. The face products don't include space for a cheap brush that I will never use, and I appreciate that. Plus, the shape and size make these products easy to stack and store.
First up, one of my favorite items and a YouTube favorite. Ever since people started finding these The Balm Kits at TJ Maxx and Marshalls about a year ago, this product has been all over YouTube. It has also been featured on HauteLook (definitely a website to check out if you like daily fashion/beauty deals). The Mary-Lou Manizer is a beautiful vanilla, honey shade highlight. When applied at the top of your cheeks and down your nose, it gives the perfect natural glow! It is a soft, rich formula that isn't too powdery. I also have the Hard Candy bronzer in Tiki, which some claim is a dupe, but it doesn't compare to the smoothness of the Mary-Lou Manizer powder. The retail price for this product is $24, but if you can't find it at Marshalls or TJ Maxx, I recommend that you wait until The Balm is featured on HauteLook again. I actually picked one up on HauteLook for $12 before I found the gift set at Marshalls.
The Betty-Lou Manizer bronzer comes in the same little tin as the Mary-Lou Manizer highlight. This is The Balm's shimmer bronzer. It looks metallic in the swatch above, but when applied lightly all over the face, it gives a nice bronzy glow. I have also used it as a contour, and the shimmer isn't too noticeable (although if you hate shimmer, you should skip ahead to the next product!).
The Bahama Mama bronzer is a matte bronzer that makes the perfect contour. I have to use a VERY light hand to use it to contour on my fair skin. I wanted to pick up this bronzer as cheaper alternative to Benefit's Hoola or Two Faced's Chocolate Soleil.
The packaging is a little cardboard book that flips open and has a magnet to hold it closed. My only complaint about the packaging is that the product seems to stain the sides, and it isn't as easy to wipe off as most plastic packaging. However, the price and quality of Bahama Mama definitely outweigh this complaint, as I have already purchased a back-up of this product!
The Hot Mama! blush is definitely my favorite item from The Balm! It is a beautiful shade with just a hint of shimmer, and it blends so nicely. It's said to be a dupe for NARS Orgasm, but then again, people say that about a lot of colors. I don't own NARS Orgasm, but I do own plenty of products considered dupes. I'll swatch them all in a separate post.
The FratBoy blush is a pretty, light pink blush without shimmer. I used it a lot when I first got it, but now I tend to grab my Hot Mama! blush much more often. Same soft, creamy powder as the rest of The Balm products. The Balm doesn't make a ton of blush shades, but the ones they do have are definitely good quality.
There isn't much to say about this mini Kabuki brush. It must have been something they added to fill up the kit. I find the bristles to be rough and harsh, and it's too small and dense to evenly distribute product over your face. Needless to say, this is sitting in a drawer and never gets used.