Thursday, July 21, 2011

theBalm Hot Mama Blush Review and Swatches

The first things I heard about theBalm were about their blushes, particularly Hot Mama, which was touted as being a good NARS Orgasm dupe with more product, less shimmer, and a lower price.  At $19 for 0.25 oz, it's $8 cheaper than the NARS, with 0.09 oz more product, but still well out of my comfort zone for a blush.  I was thrilled to see it included in the Balmbini, and thought it would be a fitting way to start off my series of reviews.
theBalm Hot Mama blush/eyeshadow on the right
Hot Mama is a peachy pink with gold shimmer, like Orgasm, but the shimmer is much less noticeable than in the latter (which I don't own, so I can't do comparison swatches, my apologies!).

Hot Mama in sunlight; heavily swatched with a q-tip (top) and sponge (bottom)

Same swatches, different angle

Same swatches, different angle/focus to show shimmer

When blended onto my cheeks, it gives a very subtle glow with a nice warm flush.  The color is basically what it looks like above, a true peachy pink (or pinky peach!).  It's pinker than E.L.F.'s Candid Coral, but peachier than Meow's Centerfold (review to come). It's quite pigmented, but not so much that it's easily overdone; a light swipe of my blush brush gives me plenty for one cheek.  It blends beautifully, and lasts all day over foundation.  In short, I can find no fault in it save its full-size price!

The full size, as mentioned above, is 0.25 oz for $19.  The palette comes with 0.13 oz, which works out to a worth of $9.88.  0.13 oz is pretty sizeable for a blush––Illamasqua's and Bobbi Brown's blushers are 0.14 oz, Make Up For Ever's are 0.08 oz, and Laura Mercier's and Smashbox's are 0.13 oz––so you are essentially getting what would be from other brands a full-sized blush in this palette.  I say this not to suggest that you are getting the full size in this palette, because Hot Mama is actually nearly twice the size, but you're not getting shorted in terms of amount, either.

I'll rate this as if I were reviewing the full-size product; for its value in the palette, see the Balmbini master post.

$19 for 0.25 oz, available from Sephora and theBalm
Quality: 10 (I'm assuming the quality of the palette is the same as the full-size)
Effectiveness: 5
Ease of Use: 5
Senses: 5 (no irritation)
Pigmentation: 5
Duration: 5
Consistency: 5
Price: 2.25 ($19 is steep, though compared to other high-end brands, it's not that bad)
Value: 4.75 (you get close to 2x as much as from other brands and is enough to last for many, many months with daily use; of course, if you don't like peachy pinks, the value would be significantly diminished)
Grade: A

What do you think of Hot Mama?
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