The Balm Cosmetics

Added to the list of things I have purchased in my life purely because of online hype, I can now add the Mary-Lou Maniser highlighter. Let me preface this post by saying this was most definitely the most successful purchase of the basket, and poor Mary-Lou is already showing signs of indentation nudging her closer to hitting pan from my daily use. When I saw The Balm display at Stuttafords I circled around at least 3 times admiring the packaging which is the first thing that sticks out to you when you see the stand. Every item has been curated to be quirky and retro, the eye-catching collection consists of a 40’s style sassy woman’s portrait on the front of most of the items (sometimes a dude takes front and centre). This works for me in the way that in my makeup bag, it’s pretty quick and easy to spot the distinctive packaging. However, if you are an individual who is a stickler for consistent packaging and a classic look for your goods, this won’t be up your street and will definitely jar with your zen.

That being said, I’m always after the quality of a product and don’t get perturbed by packaging so I don’t have any issues with it apart from the fact that on the often pastel-colored cardboard-y lids, product likes to stick around and make the item grubby (I makeupwiped these goodies before photographing them).


But onto the good stuff, the items I chose were:

  1. Bahama Mama Bronzer R299.95 A bog standard looking bronzer, I had heard whispers that this was far from ordinary and was definitely not disappointed. It has an almost perfectly matte finish and is neither orange or red undertoned to the point that you look like you have a mild case of sunburn, which is one of my pet peeves when I’m going somewhere in the daytime and all the effort I have gone through to match my foundation to my skin is twarted by a bronzer that is too warm and I end up looking like an oxidised hot mess. Trust me, there is warmth to this bronzer, but it has struck the perfect shade of poop to be in between a contour and a bronzer. So as a multi-dimensional product, this is a real all-rounder. On top of the perfect shade, you are guaranteed to have an effortless time working with this bronzer as it is so finely milled that it blends beautifully and doesn’t leave you looking streaky or patchy. I’d give it a 10/10 if only the pan was ever so slightly bigger to accommodate larger powder brushes that are favourite of mine to sweep across the decolletage.

  2. Nude Dude Vol 2 Pallet R550.00 An all rounder at first glance, this pallet I had very high expectations of. The price tag is decent for the fact that you get 12 shades, which equated to about R45.83 per shadow! But… While I have really been enjoying the lighter 6 shades in the pallet, the darker shades I find somewhat sticky and a bit harder to blend out than I would have liked. The pigmentation is really there and a little shadow goes a long way. You will see in the video I posted on Youtube, I struggled twice trying to film before clicking that maybe the issue with my attempted smokey eyes was the deeper shades and not my skill set with a blending brush.On the flip side, because these darker shades are so budge-proof, they make for awesome liner options, and I’ve been loving using an angled brush to wing out my top lash line with Fine, which is still there at the end of a long day with minimal fading. I still don’t think this is the worst pallet for your money and I still get lots of use out of it, but will definitely try the other pallet in due time to give feedback on how they work in comparison.

  3. Meet Matt(e) Hughes Long Lasting Liquid Lip in Committed R249.95

    Pepperminty freshness is what comes to mind when I think of this product. The smell is indistinguishable from that faithful Cadbury’s chocolate bar. This is an extremely light wearing liquid lipstick that is quite capable of being applied a couple of times over itself without pilling and cracking awkwardly. I chose a soft pink shade for day wear and have been getting a lot of use out of it at work. It takes a little while to dry down but is pretty comfortable to wear when set. It does have a tendency to settle into the fine line lips on my lips and look quite dry, but that is common with most liquid lips I own, and on the up side there is little to no transfer or cracking over time. The lips almost have a powdery finish and feeling to them, which I don’t mind because they still don’t feel overly dried out (although they look it – nothing a dab of juicy lipbalm can’t combat). All in all a pretty comfy lip product.

  4. Mary Lou Manizer R369.95

    Had to save the best for last! This doesn’t need much of a review, to be honest. It has solidified its spot in my makeup collection very quickly, and the main reason it’s my daily go-to is because it doesn’t try to settle into pores and emphasize lines or fluff on your cheek area. Also, you can give yourself a light sweep of this and end up with a nice subtle glow, or you can really pile it on and end up looking like a lighthouse (always my preferred option).

Anyway, if you want to see all these goodies in action, just watch the below video:

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