This is specifically for the Balmbini palette volume 2.
This a palette with so much potential- it has some amazing qualities, but it also has some very noticeable flaws. On the one hand, the product quality, pigmentation, packaging and design is just amazing. On the other hand, it's the colour choices that let it down.
Same as the Balmbini vol 1, the palette lid has the double flapped design, one side covers the powders, the other the cream products, so there's no issue with powdery residue or possible breakages ruining the cream products, and a strong magnet holds each side in place, so they're not going to fall open unexpectedly. It also comes with a cardboard sleeve to go over the palette, which is added protection for a palette that's obviously designed for portability. It's a sturdy number I'm always confident to throw into my overflowing handbag. The back of the palette and the sleeve has a suggested look for the products, a full ingredients list, and the whole thing is decorated in a collage of the labels of some of The Balms most popular products.
The top half of the palette opens the reveal a generous sized mirror, under which is a large rectangle of a shimmery pearl highlighter/shadow called Promiscuous Pearl. I'd say it is much more suited to highlighting the eye area than using as a general luminizer, as it has a reasonably opaque base pigment for a highlighter (though used sparingly, you could get away with it to highlight the face, it really depends on how subtle or shimmery you like your highlighters). Next to that is another large rectangle of a deep, intense matte black shadow/liner, called Jinxy Jasmine. This is the first of those flaws I mentioned. The product itself is great, It's a nice matte black with the merest suggestion of light shimmer underneath, with intense pigment and smooth, blendable texture. In the pan, it looks like the deepest most intense black you'll ever meet, though when it's on the skin, it is a little more subtle, like a lighter charcoal colour, but it does give you buildable coverage, so you can go from a charcoal sweep, to a heavier full coverage black by applying more coats as needed. Also, if you wanted super intense black for liner or such, using wet will give you a very similar colour to what you see in the pan, spectacularly black and completely full coverage. But honestly, there's just so much of it. It's quite disproportionate to the rest of the palette. I think another shadow, or maybe a powder blush or bronzer may have taken that place a little better. I seldom use black liner, and never really use black shadow, so that spot is basically going unused.
Under those are three powder shadows, Manic Mabel, a shimmery coolish copper with slight pink undertones, Open to Offers Olwen, shimmery teal green on the light to mid side, and Lavish Latoya, a blue leaning shimmery mid tone purple (not quite as shimmery as the other two). The shadow quality is great, but the colour combination is on the unusual side. I'm sure there's people who could rock the combination quite well, and it is nice to see palettes that set out from the usual, but it just doesn't seem as versatile as it could be, and to me, it's an odd combination. The purple and green don't seem to have the right contrast, it is close though, but something just looks off to me, and they do sort of look a bit muddy blended together. I do find myself reaching for the antique copper of Manic Mabel more than the others, but that's usually in combination with products outside this palette.
The bottom flap opens to reveal the cream products. I really like the consideration they've taken to keep these cream products separate from the rest of the palette. First cream colour is Strawberry, a bright pink and coral lip and cheek cream. It's a very bright colour on cheeks, so a little goes a very long way. It's a smooth, weightless texture, but a little hard to get the colour coverage just right if you only want to use a a very small amount. It's got that silicone smoothness to it, and it applies reasonably matte, but not powdery, and applies similarly to lips as well, though you can get away with a heavier application when using on the lips. The second cream product is Nude lip gloss. Unlike most lip glosses I find in palettes, this isn't a goopy, sticky, tacky solid gloss, the texture is more like a creme finish lipstick, not high sheen at all. It has a nice level of pigment too, and an opaque finish. It's a nice light nude/neutral with pink undertones, not overly brown, not overly pale. Though the best thing I find with the two lip colours is you can adjust the colour you want by using varying amounts of each cream. For a bright coral pink, the Strawberry can be worn alone, but to tone it down some, add a little Nude. Or to jazz up the neutral Nude to make it slightly more of a muted pale pink, add a smidge of Strawberry. You can play with the quantities of each to get different but very wearable colours, while still maintaining a soft cream texture.
I got this as a GWP, and I don't think I'd buy this one, though I will give definitely give consideration to the vol 1. This still gets a high mark for quality, both in product and packaging, plus the versatility of the lip colours, but loses a little for the odd choices of colour and quantities of product.
The other reviews describes this palette in detail so I will add only a few very personal notes - which may be useful if you have colouring similar to mine. The lip products have a coconut scent, so if you are sensitive of that - beware. The lipstick in colour "Wanted" is very, very sheer and I would rather describe it as a very goopy lipgloss. The taupe eyeshadow works well on my warm colouring. The blushes are GREAT and the luminizer is FANTASTIC (I have this on its own as well). I use this palette in my handbag as it is almost "all in one" so to speak). I will probably not buy again though as I need less stuff in my handbag :-)....
I got this palette with a giftcard. It's a great introduction to theBalm, it got me completely hooked on that brand! 2 good-size blushes in universally flattering colors, 2 very pigmented shadows, the best highlighter I've ever used, and two lip products which are protected from the rest of the palette by the simple, yet genius design. The clear gloss is nothing special but the rest of the palette is incredible! I wouldn't buy this again, only because I want to buy the full-size versions of everything!
I got this last year at Sephora for $28.00 and I love it. I love the blushes though out of the two, Hot Mama's my favourite because it is a warm tone blush, but I like Down Boy too. I usually layer them, Down Boy first then Hot Mama on top, and it just gives my cheeks a really nice glow, not to mention made it last longer (longer than my other favourite blushes from BeneFit). Insane Jane is a really unique eyeshadow but it is cool tone and does not really look flattering on me as an all-over-the-lid colour but looks really nice on the crease or even sometimes as a liner. I also really like the highlighter Mary-Lou Manizer on my cheekbones. But my most favourite are the lippies because not only that they are very moisturizing, the lip colour "Wanted" is very flattering on me. This is actually my go-to lip colour. It is currently on sale at selected Rexall-Pharmasave, for $19.99 Canadian and Im seriously thinking of grabbing one as a back up even though I hardly scratched the surface of the current palette that I have. Highly recommended if you don't have any products from theBalm yet. You will be addicted!
I bought this at Aveyou.com using the $50 GC I bought from kgbdeals.com... I absolutely love this palette because I love every single product within this palette.
I created the most glowy soft smokey eye with the two colors, insane jane and jealous jordana. mary-lou manizer highlighter is also great for both browbone and cheekbones. the blushes are fab and really suit my skintone, which is nc25-30.
overall, definitely worth the $28 price tag.
I too found this little gem @ Marshall's for $16.99. I had wanted to sample TheBalm products but never found them except online. First off I love the size of the palette; as stated before it is almost the size of a CD. The products are all great. The blushes-one cool, one warm; the highlighter a nice neutral shimmer, the shadows- insane jane is a unique gray-taupe, jealous jordana a lovely dark green. The lippies- Wanted - a sheer berry red and the other a clear gloss for shine. All the powder products are soft and easy to blend and I love the Wanted lipstick. A true value and a great find.
I think this palette is being discontinued because they are in constant soldout status on thebalm website. I came across mine at tj maxx for 16.99! Love how all the blushes could be used as shadow as well. All the products in this palette have excellent color payoff. The product is housed in a sleek cardboard palette that could pretty much fit anywhere. I also love that the lg are separated by a flap so the powder from the shadow or blush wouldn't get into them. I don't know why there aren't more reviews on this palette. Will definitely pick up a backup if I come across another.
This product is a great way to introduce yourself/other with theBalm's products. The pallet contains 7 products and a mirror in a cardboard pallet which closes magnetically. Balmbini includes two blushers in DOWNBOY and HOT MAMA, one luminizer in MARY-LOU MANIZER, two shadyLady shadows in insane jane and jealous jordana, and two tinted glosses in Read MyLips and special edition.
PROS: The pallet is sturdy and compact which is perfect for purse or luggage travel. The makeup is high quality, easily blendable, long lasting and in colours that would suit all complections. The products also smell great, which is a nice touch. I LOVE<3 Insane Jane, beautiful colour that looks fantastic on its own or with most colours.
CONS: I also like that the products don't seem to powder out too much however when they do they tend to get into the gloss. So it is a good idea to keep the flap that goes over the lip products closed when applying the powdered makeup. Personally, I don't like panned lip products so that was another con for me.
This nifty, compact palette is billed as "Balmbini Babies of The Balm Face Palette". And this baby packs a real PUNCH!
Compare this to something like the eyeshadow palettes from TooFaced (Natural, Naked, etc.) which are SO bulky for no discernible reason and you see what good packaging is all about in terms of eliminating needless boxiness! No thicker than a DVD case and measuring about the size of a cocktail napkin (11 by 13 cm), this palette contains just about everything and then some to do your entire face: not one but TWO blushes (Down Boy which is a lovely clear pink and Hot Mama, which some say is a dupe for Nars Orgasm or Benefit Coralista), a small Mary Lou Manizer highlighter (which can also be used as eyeshadow), TWO of TheBalm's amazing eyeshadows (Insane Jane and Jealous Jordana) AND TWO lip products (a natural colour gloss and "Read My Lips" in the colour "Wanted" - this latter is billed as a lipstick but it's more like a very pigmented not very slippy lipgloss; the colour is a lovely clear berry/cherry red and very wearable, hence my statement that it's more like a gloss). The palette also holds a pretty decent sized mirror. The packaging is cardboard (not my favourite because of water issues) but it's sturdy and the magnets holding it closed seem very sturdy. This palette is so thin and so packed with good stuff that I am really surprised there are NO reviews of this product here on MUA.
I've been very impressed with the products I've purchased so far from TheBalm. In fact, I already have 3 of the products contained in this palette but wasn't averse to having dupes of them in smaller sizes for travelling. But the reason I really wanted this was to get the eyeshadow Insane Jane, which isn't available individually, alas. It is a beautiful sort of mushroomy taupe (or taupey mushroom?) with a flattering sheen - not harsh glitter but definitely a glow. I imagine it might be a good dupe for UD's Mushroom, which I've never owned but do covet (why don't they release this on its own? Darned if I know!) There is virtually NO fallout with this eyeshadow and it works wonderfully all on its own, as a lid colour and worked right up into the crease - no need for any other eyeshadow unless you want a highlight. Put on some dark liner and you are SET and look gorgeous and sophisticated! I already own Jealous Jordana and love it too (it's a slightly blackened teal - very much like UD's Loaded) and it can easily do double duty as a liner, but it's not quite so quick and easy to wear as Insane Jane, which is just BLISSFUL in terms of ease and payoff.
Everything else in this palette is equally first rate and the whole thing has been co-ordinated really well. You could toss this palette, a few brushes, some foundation (if you wear it), a liner and mascara into your travel bag and not need a single other makeup item. I plan to buy a 2nd one of these, partly to get another Insane Jane and also because it would be great to have in my gym bag/weekend bag, especially now that cottage time has arrived. If this is available where you are, do yourself a favour and at least have a look at it (bonus...I got a free full sized Bahama Mama bronzer when I bought this - had my choice of several free, full sized products from this line - how good is that?)
UPDATE: June 4, 2011, I went back to get another one of these great, compactly jam packed palettes and found they're now on sale (the SA said she thinks they're being discontinued). I came so close to getting 2 more of them but realized that was probably silly and having one for home and one that can travel between my gym bag, purse, desk and weekend bag was sufficient. Glad to get a deal on this, in addition to the freebie items they're giving away.