Vanilla Oil-Absorbing Face Moisturizer

by TheBalm  TimeBalm
Price:
$20 - 1.52 fl. oz.
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Category:
Skin Care > Moisturizers (Daytime and Nighttime) > Moisturizer without Sunscreen
Last Updated:
5/1/2014
Jar Packaging:
No
Tested On Animals:
No

This is an OK, extremely out-of-date lightweight moisturizer for normal to combination skin; for a bit more money you can get a superior formula that offers so much more for your skin, especially if you also want anti-aging benefits (and really, who doesn't?).

The lotion texture hydrates while a crosspolymer ingredient absorbs excess oil. The problem is that the oil-absorbing ingredient works against the emollient ingredients that, despite this product's thin texture, aren't the best if your goal is to control breakthrough shine on oily skin.

Because it's so shockingly low on beneficial ingredients, we are almost loathe to let this pass in the "AVERAGE" category. It does contain a tiny amount of vanilla and green tea—both good antioxidants—but they're not that effective when present in the token amounts found in this product, and there's nothing else worthwhile for your skin!

Although this moisturizer isn't likely to make good on its claim of controlling shine "for hours on end," it does feel light, sets to a soft matte finish, and works well under makeup. If only it contained a range of state-of-the-art ingredients, too!

Pros:
  • Lightweight hydrating texture and matte finish are suitable for oily skin.
  • Works well under makeup.
Cons:
  • Highly unlikely to control oily shine for hours as claimed.
  • The absorbent ingredient is paired with emollients, which can diminish the absorbent effect.
  • Formula lacks an exciting range of beneficial anti-aging ingredients. (Only a dusting of the vanilla and green tea antioxidants is present.)

Vanilla Oil-Absorbing Face Moisturizer is a lightweight, oil-free formula with special oil absorbing properties that will help to control shine for hours on end.

Water, Isocetyl Stearate, Glycerin, Steareth 21, Styrene/DVB Crosspolymer, Cetyl Alcohol, Ceteareth 20, Cetearyl Alcohol, Squalane, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Allantoin, Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Extract, Fragrance (Parfum)

Today, most cosmetics companies seem to be launched for one of three distinct reasons: they come about as the extension of a high-end fashion house's brand (like Burberry, Tom Ford, Dolce & Gabbana, Marc Jacobs, or Armani); they're created by some corporation under the endorsement of a celebrity (Drew Barrymore's Flower Beauty or Kat Von D's line); or, as is the case for theBalm Cosmetics, an entrepreneur saw an "unfilled niche" in the cosmetics market and decided to get to work.

theBalm was founded in San Francisco by Marissa Shipman, who spent years trying to break into the cosmetics industry before forming her own company in 2004. As the story goes, she crafted her own products in her kitchen by consulting makeup books she bought from Amazon.com. (We hoped that one of them was Paula's Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me, but given many of the formulations, we don't think so.) Eventually she was able to hire a chemist, get a lab (Bye-bye, kitchen workshop!), and secure distribution through cosmetics retailer Sephora. theBalm's products have (pardon the pun) exploded and are now sold in dozens of countries worldwide.

It's interesting to note that theBalm is quite reminiscent of the Benefit brand; the similarity of the packaging, marketing, colors, product selection, and even the place of origin - San Francisco – is blatant. Featuring recyclable cardboard packaging with retro pinup-style artwork and cutesy names, theBalm line includes both makeup and skin care products, and is reasonably priced, although it's definitely more expensive than what you'll find at the drugstore.

The company's makeup is definitely its stronger suit, with some good options, such as a couple eyeshadow palettes, the mascara, and its pressed-powder blushes. It has one true blockbuster product: Balm Shelter tinted moisturizer. This standout product performs amazingly well and is deserving of its many accolades.

Unfortunately, theBalm also has some problematic makeup, in particular, and ironically, their lip products. The inclusion of irritants in two of its lip products is disappointing, and an otherwise excellent lip gloss (with SPF, no less) is marred by a fragrance that's downright overwhelming initially and potentially irritating if used every day.

As far as skin-care, the company's collection, called TimeBalm, is surprisingly larger than you might think. It includes cleansers, toners, moisturizers, AHA exfoliants, masks, eye-area products, and a handful of ancillary items that are questionable in terms of their benefit—though some of them, like the foundation primer, are indeed worth checking out.

Overall, based on the formulas, there’s little reason to give the majority of these skin-care products a second thought, as most of them are laced with one or more problematic ingredients or, in the case of most of the moisturizers, suffer due to jar packaging, which compromises the product’s stability. The prices are good, but there’s not much value in saving money on average-to-problematic products, especially when spending just a bit more can get you far better formulas.

theBalm boasts that TimeBalm skin-care products are free of parabens, synthetic dyes, and phthalates, and many consumers seem to be seeking such products. However, parabens are not a problem, and phthalates aren’t usually included in skin-care products—they’re more often seen in nail polish and in some fragrances. Not including synthetic dyes is helpful, but it would have been even better for your skin if theBalm had avoided fragrant oils and other plant-based irritants. Lots of theBalm products contain great natural ingredients, but they’re often commingled with potentially irritating natural ingredients, and that doesn’t add up to great skin care—it’s more of a ticking time bomb than anything else.

For more information, call 510-522-3610, or visit www.thebalm.com. And yes, we're aware that "it's thebalm.com" is an expression used to indicate something that's totally cool. Coincidence? We'll let the reviews speak for themselves!

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula herself.

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