Sunday, November 27, 2011

theBalm You're Giving Me a Complexion Kit Review and Swatches

You know how sometimes you purchase something, and you're just so excited that you can hardly bear it, and then you use the products, and you realize with a sinking feeling that they're just not going to work for you? Yeah, that happened. Now I'm going to grouse about it on here (the real reason I started a blog!).

I posted a few days ago about the awesome theBalm sets at TJ Maxx. Before I go any further, let me tell you that this review is in no way a condemnation of theBalm or TJ Maxx. I love them both super lots, but sometimes love is not enough (I feel like that should be accompanied by a really sad guitar).
I had a dickens of a time deciding what besides the You're Giving Me a Complexion kit to get, but I knew from the moment I saw the "Light" box that I had to have at least that (and, ultimately, only that). Included were the Balmshelter Tinted Moisturizer SPF 18, TimeBalm Concealer in Light, Liquid TimeBalm in Fair (more on that in a moment), and Sexy Mama finishing powder. I shall address each in turn. Ready, set, go!

First up, the tinted moisturizer.
theBalm BalmShelter Tinted Moisturizer SPF 18 in Light
I'm so used to indie MMU foundation now that I foolishly assumed the Light shade would be light enough for me (since I'm not the lightest shade in either Alima or Meow), but alas, such was not the case. My Holika Holika BB cream is a smidge too dark on me, but it tends to meld with my skin and get better after 10 or 15 minutes; compared to that, this is significantly darker (see pic), and unlike the BB cream, it doesn't equalize to my skin, so it continues to look really muddy and terribly unflattering.
Medium-heavy swatches of BalmShelter Tinted Moisturizer in Light (left) and Holika Holika Clearing Petite BB Cream (right), a couple minutes after application
The texture is very pleasant, smooth and creamy, and on my oily skin, it provides plenty of moisture (and a fair bit of dewiness, so I definitely suggest setting with powder; it lasts ~5 hours with setting powder before it's worn off significantly, but if your skin is less extremely oily than mine, that time would be longer). Sadly, there's just no getting around the fact that it's too dark for my skin; I considered trying to mix it with Revlon ColorStay in Ivory, but due to some other issues I had with this set, decided it wasn't worth the hassle. If you're not pale/light like me, though, the Light might be perfect. There's only 2 other shades, Light-Medium and Medium; Christine from Temptalia said that Light-Medium was just a hair too light for her, so hopefully between the two of us, you can get an idea of what shade might work for you. When bought on its own, it is $25 for 2.15 oz, available from theBalm and Sephora. Grade: B

I was really excited for the Liquid TimeBalm Spot Concealer, because I have lots of acne stuff I'd like to conceal, and what better to do that with than a concealer with tea tree oil?
Liquid TimeBalm Spot Concealer with Tea Tree Oil in Nude
The outer package of the kit said the shade was Fair, but the actual product contained within said Nude, which is the shade for Light-Medium complexions. Needless to say, it was far too dark on me. It did blend nicely, though, and smelled of tea tree oil, though that's such a potent scent that I'm not sure it really attests to the level of active ingredient in the product. Like the tinted moisturizer, it's very creamy, though more pigmented, and has a doe-foot applicator. It's $20 for 0.35 oz, available from theBalm and Sephora. I don't feel comfortable giving a grade to this product because I wasn't able to get any use out of it (simply too dark, and unlike tinted moisturizer, you really can't try and sheer out concealer), but if you've used it yourself, let me know in the comments!

The timeBalm concealer was something I'd heard inklings of before as being a good undereye concealer option, but it wasn't something I'd ever pursued myself (in part because I don't really wear undereye concealer!).
timeBalm concealer in Light
The shade was Light, but this product has a wider range than the others, with 6 shades, including a Lighter than Light, which would be a better match for me. The texture is really, really firm; I was puzzled and a bit miffed by this, but after using it a few times, I'm completely sold. It's extremely pigmented, which, combined with the firm texture, means you need only a finger lightly tapped on the product to cover all around an eye. It's great. There's a sponge included as well, but I found that using my finger wasted less product, and since I only apply my makeup after taking a shower and washing my hands, I'm not too worried about the unsanitariness of it. It evens out my skintone wonderfully, and best of all, barely creases over the course of the day on my very oily lids. I've never before really felt the need for eye concealer, but this stuff really does make a difference in making me look more awake, alive, and healthy. I ordered this in Lighter than Light during theBalm's Black Friday 40% off sale, and I will do a complete review of that once I have it. timeBalm concealer is $18 for 0.25 oz, available from theBalm and Sephora. Grade: A-

Here are arm swatches of (from left to right) BalmShelter tinted moisturizer, Liquid timeBalm spot concealer, and timeBalm concealer:
My face is a teeny bit darker than my arm, but not by nearly enough to make a difference.

Lastly, the Sexy Mama translucent powder.
Sexy Mama Anti-Shine Translucent Powder
It's not quite as translucent as I would like; it definitely has some tint to it, which may mean it will work better on darker skintones than white powder does (which can make dark skin look ashy), but it didn't quite look right on me. It did help control my oil for a few hours, though not as much as Mattify!, and I prefer the finish of my Meow Top Cat powder. I think Sexy Mama would be a good powder for light-medium to medium-dark skin tones, but it's just not right for me. The powder is $19 for 0.25 oz, available (can you guess?) from theBalm and Sephora. Grade: B

If all the products had been paler, I would be completely sold on this set, but as it is, they don't work for me. Back to TJ Maxx they must go, *sob*. I'm definitely glad I tried it out, though, because otherwise I would be regretting it like mad, and at least this way I better know what to purchase in the future.

Have you used any of these products? What did you think of them? Have you checked out the other TJ Maxx sets?
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