I had been wanting to try this product, but full price was a bit steep; however, it was on hautelook.com for 50% off so I bought it in the shade Light.
In the pan, the product is very hard and thick. If you swirl your finger around to warm it up, it becomes easy to work with.
I wouldn't advise trying to apply this with anything other than a beautyblender. I tested application using both my fingers and a brush, and it doesn't blend or look natural this way. I finally used a damp beautyblender and that was the trick - when applied that way, this product is gorgeous. It comes out so naturally, beautiful coverage, layers very well, and only requires a small amount of the product to be used.
The product does accentuate dry skin, so make sure that you've exfoliated and primed (I used Too Faced Primed and Poreless under this) before applying it - if not, it will not go on smoothly. I have combination skin - very oil on forehead/nose/chin, dry on cheeks - and this works very well for me. I applied it at 8am and it's now almost 3pm and my nose is just a tiny bit shiny - it's held up very, very well so far.
Really happy with this product and would give a 4/5. Not sure if I would buy it again at full price, but I would definitely buy again at half price.
PROS: Medium buildable coverage. Slightly dewy finish. Pretty good in my wrinkles. Gets a "good" rating on Paula's Choice beautypedia thingy on their site for good ingredients, etc. Good in my giant pores (see application tips.)
Not tested on animals.
COLORS: I would think quite pale people would be able to wear the "lighter than light."
I'm NC15-20 (neutral, leaning warm/yellow) and "light" was a good match. When I'm more tan, I can mix in just a bit of the light/medium. By the way, Pinterest has great swatches for the foundation and TM version of this.
CONS: Harder to find than some brands (see purchasing tips.) Not the best for my wrinkles.
APPLICATION TIPS: When I want lighter coverage, I dampen my beauty blender sponge to apply. For heavier coverage, I apply with my fingers, pat it in pores, and then lightly pat with barely damp beauty blender sponge to blend this even more beautifully. I always pat L'Oreal's Studio Secrets Magic Primer into pores first (blurs pores and makes it last longer).
To make it last even longer and disguise my pores, I can first use L'oreal magic perfecting primer patted into pores. I let it sit for at least a minute and I then apply it. OR for a very similar effect, you may want to set this with powder (or even use the makeup artist Wayne Goss's little trick of applying moisturizer, then powder, then TM or foundation. He describes it on his youtube channel. It sounds bizarre, but it works.)
I've seen bloggers say they like to use the TM version (Balmshelter) as sort of a primer for this.
PURCHASING TIPS: You can buy it online at Nordstrom.com, thebalm.com, dermstore.com, blush.com, overstock.com, and amazon. My local Kohl's carry TheBalm products, so I get to try out products using the testers. But I know Nordstrom is great about online returns with free shipping both ways (not sure about thebalm's policies on that.)
ALTERNATES: For a SLIGHTLY dewy and barely glowy finish, I also love TheBalm's tinted moisturizer, BalmShelter. It is beautiful in my wrinkles and pores. But the coverage is lighter, of course. (You can see my review of that to see what color choices I go with in the TM version. It's not exactly the same as this one. By the way, Pinterest has some great swatches for both the foundation and TM.) L'oreal Visible Lift Serum Absolute Advanced Age-Reversing Makeup provides a semimatte/satin finish that is pretty good in wrinkles/pores.
This product has many pros and a few cons.
You get quite a bit of product for the price. Since so little of the product is needed for coverage (and the product is quite pigmented to begin with), you get a great deal in terms of longevity.
The coverage is very pigmented so that you do not need to pack on the product to make it worth it.
This blends so well without leaving streaks all over your face.
Want to save money? Instead of buying the TheBalm Concealer, just buy this product (with the same formula) and now you have yourself a portable, 2-in-1 product.
This products tends to look greasy quickly, so blotting is required throughout the day.
The product can cling to dry spots and exacerbate them.
This product can also build up inside your pores and make it look like they are filled with foundation (major pitfall in my opinion).
I would actually rate this foundation a 3.5 because I do think that it is more awesome than not.
I love this. I apply it with a foundation brush (not the flat type) and blend till I'm running late. It provides a polished look superior to anything else I've tried. Sometimes I'll do a light application after I've put on the rest of my face in the T-zone just to tighten the look without too much coverage. It travels easily and can be used as a concealer or shadow primer in a pinch. I also got lucky because the fair matches my complexion really well. So if one of the shades is a good match for you, I recommend!
I absolutely love my TimeBalm concealer, so of course, I had to try this! I was a bit leary after reading some of the reviews here, but I purchased anyway and I am not sorry.
I can see how it can be too much if applied with a heavy hand, but I use a foundation brush (e.l.f. powder brush w/flat top) with a light touch and minimal product and it's beautiful. I gently tap the tip of the brush in the pan, and that's all I need for my entire face.
The finish is flawless and feels light on my skin. The color (medium) looks darker in the pan, but the actual product goes on lighter in color and turns out to be a great color match for me.
The price is a bit steep, but when you consider how little product you need with each application, this will go far - so the price is justified in that way.
I wrote a similar review of the accompanying concealer - one tiny pot of that lasted me a year! - so, I expect this will be similar.
If I had to compare this to another product, I would compare it to MAC's full coverage foundation. That lasted a very, very long time for me and I like it - but this stuff is much better in my opinion. It's a lighter weight and it's better for your skin.
I haven't had any issues with breakouts, drying, etc. Love, love, love!
I would buy again cause I feel like it doesn't bother my skin after 10 hours since applying and its price is good. The color choices are nice. I have dry skin if I don't put any moisturize just right before my foundation, my skin has some flakes in some areas. Its covering is beautifully and naturally, doesn't look cakey.
I keep coming back to this foundation over and over again. When I first tried it 3 years ago it took a little adjusting to use properly but once you have the trick it is amazing! The foundation is quite thick and creamy, almost greasy looking. I use Medium and Medium/Light throughout the year mixing as my skin warms and pales with the seasons. I always apply a primer first. Light application is crucial with blending to desired coverage. I use a Shiseido foundation brush and lightly tap the brush head to apply color. I lightly tap product all over my face and let it warm for a few seconds. Then I blend, blend, blend, blend. If I desire additional coverage I just repeat the previous process. Product covers my hyperpigmentation without additional concealer, leaving me with a dewy complexion. Coverage does not look mask like or feel heavy. I have no time for touch ups during the day (I'm a nurse on the floor). I can apply at 7 am and still look great at 7 pm to go out to dinner!
Love this foundation for the Winter it's amazing on my skin and very easy to apply. I purchased this in lightest light because in the colder months I'm ghostly and I want it to match my neck I'm about an NW20 or N1 so this works very well for me. With this product I do use a makeup refresher like Fix+ to help sheer it out this otherwise it's way to heavy and thick on my skin. I usually don't need medium to full coverage but I wanted something where it multitasked. This does for me it covers my under eyes well and any spot if there is one that needs covering.
What I do it I warm it up in the pan and spray my brush with the Fix+ then I apply some to my areas that need the most coverage. Like my forehead, nose, lip area, and chin. Then I just sheer it out with a 190 foundation brush in short strokes and set with powder. Once set it does not budge till I remove it. Its like it sinks into my skin it's fantastic for the cold weather. I have combo skin and this lasts all day on me without touchups. If I need a touch up it's usually just a dot of concealer and that's it. The packaging could be better I would love a compact where I could purchase refiles but I think because I am oily in the summer this will be better suited for the colder months.
I love this because it works so well and you don't need a lot at all to get a great finish. I would most definitely buy this again.
EDIT:Started to find clogs, then cysts. Darn.
Really nice foundation for silicone sensitive gals. And the finish is wonderful! I have combo skin, with occasional dry patches, super prone to clogs and breakouts. This stuff just evens everything out and looks like I have no foundation on.
After being very happy about the balmshelter TM I decided to pick up this foundation for days I need more coverage. Wow, it gives me a flawless finish on my very dry skin. All the other foundation I've used before easily make me look cakey no matter how sheer I apply them, but this foundation actually makes my skin look hydrated and glowing. I just wet the sponge and gently press the product all over my face. I can easily get a flawless finish by using very little product (my bobbi brown foundation stick ran out in 3 month if I use it daily as foundation). I also use it as a concealer, I don't know why the timebalm concealer is so expansive because the ingredients are exactly the same as the foundation (maybe it's more concentrated or something), so if you need a concealer, pick up the foundation instead, it works as well as the concealer and it definitely offers better value for money.
Also I do like the packaging, I know many others don't because of the plastic container, but it doesn't feel like cheap light plastic, more like a glass container to me. I know thebalm never use fancy materials on packaging like HE brands anyway, just like their signature cardboard packagings. The quality of their products are as good as the HE brands (some are even better), so I know the cheaper prices means saving money on packagings.
This is the best foundation I've found for my dry skin so far, and it's harsh chemical free. Definitely will repurchase if this one ever runs out.