Earlier this year when theBalm were having a 50% Off sale, I managed to put an order through for one of the brand’s newest palettes.
How ‘Bout Them Apples is a super-cute lip and cheek cream palette by theBalm and also moonlights as a cheeky tribute to the male pin-up – wow, but more on that later!
Now, theBalm is one of those brands that doesn’t quite get the love it deserves here in Asia. I was guilty of this thinking too believing that theBalm was just a budget dupe of the more recognised Benefit Cosmetics but this is so, so wrong!
theBalm is very much a gorgeous and funky collection of some fun and innovative products with truly impressive colour payoff and value for money in its own right. It certainly deserves more attention and I only wish I had discovered the brand sooner.
I also own the Nude ‘Tude palette and The Shady Lady Vol. 3 and both palettes have not let me down in terms of pigmentation or price. They are awesome products with a quality that puts many other more expensive palettes to shame. True story, go swatch and see for yourself – the payoff from both these palettes will not let you down.
Sadly, however, while the theBalm is sold here thanks to SASA, what we are seeing on the shelves in this country is nowhere near the full range that’s available in the US.
In fact, when I purchased this palette it wasn’t available here yet but I’ve since spotted this locally on shelves at SASA and it’s Rm125, if I’m not mistaken.
This palette is one of those sets where all the pans contain multi-purpose pigments that are suitable for use as a lip or face product.
Now, multi-use versatility in a cosmetic product is an ambitious order for any brand so I guess you’re wondering if theBalm succeeds at passing off all their shades as both a lip colour and a blush. I’d have to say Yes and No.
In terms of the range of shades, I’d say YES because all the colours here are beautiful and wearable. The shades are bright but safe. I think theBalm has managed to curate a universally flattering palette with some gorgeous pops of colour and it is a refreshing departure from all the boring nudes and bronze sets that have ceaselessly flooded the market of late.
The formula is creamy but I personally don”t find it greasy and it works well with my normal-dry cheeks as a blush. It does result in a dewy-look that might not be suitable for you if your cheeks are on the oilier side but there’s nothing here that a light dusting of finishing powder can’t balance out.
As cheek shades, there is something that’s suitable for fair tones to darker toned skin because there is a good balance of sheer to medium shades in this set.
I really like how silky and emollient the formula is and how amazingly easy it is to sheer out the colour without any streaking. At the same time, it’s also simple enough to build these shades up if you have a darker skin tone or are just wanting to create final look that’s a little more dramatic.
The pan format makes these shades easy to use alone or mixed with another. Texture is smooth, foolproof and easy to manage even with a finger although I’d recommend using a brush in both cases for best results.
I especially hate applying lip colours with my fingers because I end up falling out of the lip line with these fat fingers of mine and creating an unsightly smudged lip that is less sexy and more like I did my makeup in a rocking boat on choppy seas.
As a lip shade, the colours are all very attractive and range from the demure nudish-peach of Cider to a very nice and flattering orangey-red in Cobbler – I can see myself wearing all of them and have enjoyed mixing the colours too. There’s nothing dark or brooding here – just happy pops of colour to brighten up my face and day.
The NO about this palette comes from the main issue that I find it falls short in terms of long-wear for the lips. Some bloggers have claimed it lasts hours on them as lip shades but maybe they don’t do anything with their mouths because I don’t see how it’s possible.
Through an average functional day of wear that involves drinking, eating, talking and lip-smacking I find that I need to keep reapplying this on my lips to maintain colour. Interestingly, this contrasts starkly with how nicely it stays on as a blush.
With all due credit, the pigments apply beautifully on the lips but the staying power of the pigment in this high traffic area of the face is lacking and I found the need to reapply much sooner than I like.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the shades here very much – I just wish they would look fresher on me for longer.
I should also mention that I get a powdery sensation from this product on my lips and that is something I’m not too happy with in a lip cosmetic but the saving grace is that there is no scent or taste to any of these shades.
I don’t usually like my lip products scented and find most fruit or floral-scented lip makeup distracting and artificial. I don’t know why cosmetic companies feel the need to add floral or fruity scents to lipsticks when most women I know despise scented lip products.
The only exception for me to this rule are in these three flavours – mint, chocolate or caramel. Everything else is overkill with floral scents being especially horrible.
The powdery sensation on the lips doesn’t do me any favours by way of lip conditioning and leaves my lips feeling dry so I need to slap on some clear balm over the lips for comfort.
I think this palette’s dual ambitions is ultimately its pitfall because I think theBalm had to hold back on making the colours in here too pigmented or colour-fast to ensure that they would be more adaptable for use as blushes. The result is that this particular pigment formula performs significantly better as a blush and is much less impressive as a lipstick.
Conclusively, I would recommend this palette as a blush palette over a lip set but I do hope theBalm consider releasing some if not all of these shades in a longer wear formula as separate lip bullets.
The shades here are too gorgeous as lip colours to be cast aside and I think theBalm would do well to reincarnate them as single lipsticks with a more suitable formulation for long wear.
Until they do that, I will still turn to this for my lip. The colours are just too nice to pass up and I think my swatches below show you that. At this point, I’m thinking of applying a top coat or sealant of some sort over them to help with long wear.
With the exception of the shimmery shade of Crisp all other shades are matte creams. Incidentally, Crisp is great for highlighting at the cupid’s bow over the other shades too. It’s rare I say this for any single palette but I don’t feel there is a bad apple among any of the colours in this set.
Of course, I can’t talk about this palette without mentioning the ‘sex sells’ aspect of the palette’s interior but you know what, it actually works for this brand.
There is a ‘calender boy’ next to each pan and it’s so deliberate and different that it ends up being cute and corny instead of shocking and will be a bonus for the ‘ab & pec’ fangirls out there.
Any other brand might have difficulty pulling off this tribute to Magic Mike but the signature style quirks of theBalm‘s branding makes this design cheeky but inoffensive. Here, I feel that it gets away with it because it’s a fun and natural extension of the brand’s funky and retro style.
I was a little surprised and annoyed that my palette arrived with a thick dark marker line scrawled across the barcode. I think this was to indicate that I got mine during a 50% Off sale. I don’t like it and wouldn’t appreciate this marking if I had purchased this as a gift for someone but so goes the sad tale of bargain shopping. No choice for the bargain hauler but you should be aware that you could find the same happen with your order.
The palette is made of stiff card and it’s definitely not my favourite style of cosmetic packaging but it is a format that’s standard to all of theBalm‘s sets.
The good thing is that it stands by itself if you need it to.
There is a mirror on the side opposite to the pans and I have to say this – How ‘Bout Them Apples comes with the biggest mirror I have ever seen on a palette! Really, it’s H-U-G-E and measures an astonishing 8x12cm.
It’s a full-face mirror that makes me wonder if it was necessary because a large mirror makes this a large palette and you’re going to find that this takes up some serious purse space – sleek it is not!
In fact, it’s almost a little book and is not clutch purse-friendly at all.
I guess, theBalm like their presence felt because all their palettes are on the larger side. Unfortunately, despite the need to touch-up your lips regularly if you wear this, it’s not the palette you will want to carry when your purse is small.
The RRP for this palette in the US is USD32 but with 50% Off, I only had to pay USD16. An absolute steal had it not been for the need to pay for international shipping.
theBalm does ship internationally and they ship free for orders over USD150 so if you can arrange a group purchase with friends you can save on the steep USD25 international shipping fee. The only catch is that the Free Shipping offer does not apply during sales or promotional events.
In my case, I combined this purchase with my other US hauls to save on shipping but in the end, shipping was still pretty high through the third-party forwarder, Borderlinx.
My advice is to buy what you need from theBalm locally at SASA unless you absolutely must have something before it’s available here. Let’s hope SASA sees fit to bring in as much of theBalm‘s range as possible so we don’t have to pay through our nose for delivery.
This brand is available locally in Malaysia at select SASA outlets nationwide…
[Notes: This product was purchased my me. This review is my personal experience and opinion of the product. Consider at your own risk. All links are non-affiliate and for information purposes only. Photos contained herein remain the property of me and may not be used without permission and a credit link back to this blog.]