Balm Jovi Face Palette
Last Updated:04.16.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:No
Review Overview

Balm Jovi Face Palette is a strange cosmetic for what seems to be paying homage to the band Bon Jovi, and the two included lip creams - named Milly and Vanilly - only add to the quirkiness of the name. This tries to be all sorts of things at once; unfortunately, it's not quite able to pull all of them off very well!

This palette definitely offers a lot: There are nine pressed-powder eyeshadows, a powder blush, a powder highlighter, and two lip and cheek creams.

The eyeshadows include matte, shimmer, and glitter shades, and the colors are mostly workable (white-silver, matte cream, shimmering soft pink, and dark mossy green). They are well pigmented, and they blend and wear well, but most of them are very powdery. Even a soft swipe of your brush across the surface leads to powder going all over the palette. This also leads to some fallout when you apply them.

The highlighter is a shimmery gold that looks, in the package, like it might not work on most skin tones, but it applies sheer enough that it isn't overpowering - it's just a nice illuminator that doesn't emphasize pores or wrinkles. The peachy pink blush goes on with amazing color - you really need very little of it - and it wears well throughout the day. Regrettably, it's also plagued with the same powdery/flaky texture the eyeshadows have.

The lip and cheek creams work much better on cheeks than on lips (where they wear off in about two hours), but their performance is average at best (and the creamy, almost greasy, texture means they're not for those with oily skin). All in all, this palette is more opening act than main event - and, unlike Bon Jovi's classic 80's album Slippery When Wet, definitely not a must-have!

  • Eyeshadows come in mostly workable shades.
  • Shadows are well-pigmented and blend and wear well.
  • Highlighter doesn't emphasize pores or wrinkles.
  • Blush has a strong color impact, and wears well throughout the day.
  • Powder products (eyeshadows and blush) are too powdery, meaning they get everywhere.
  • Lip and cheek creams are too creamy for those with oily skin.
  • Lip and cheek creams last only a couple of hours on lips.
Brand Overview

Strengths: An excellent tinted moisturizer and lip and cheek stain; good powder blushes and highlighters; mascaras and the cream concealer perform well; effective AHA exfoliants; a very good foundation primer; the eye-makeup remover.

Weaknesses: Lip products that contain irritants such as menthol; some of the brand’s eyeshadows are overly powdery and tend to flake/migrate onto other areas of the face; unnecessary fragrance in an otherwise good lip balm; mostly average to irritating cleansers, toners, eye-area products, and moisturizers; no products to treat breakouts or dark spots; several products contain fragrant plant extracts or oils that pose a risk of irritation; jar packaging.

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!

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!

The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

Member Comments
Summary of Member Comments
Sort by:
Great travel palette!

This review has a lot of fair points about the weaknesses of this palette, but its conclusion that this palette is not worth doesn't take into account how absolutely useful this palette is. This all-face palette is so versatile, tiny, and sturdy. It's perfect for travel. Yes, there's a lot of fall-out from the powder products, but this is easily solved if you tap your brush. It's worth it for the impressive pigmentation. Buy it off of Hautelook or Amazon and it'll only run you ~$25 - a steal!

Reviewed by
Nhu L.
Enter a title for your review
First Name, Last Initial
Email Address
How would you rate this product on the following:
500 characters left

Terms of Use

585631-IIS3 v1.0.0.431 10/13/2015 4:17:04 AM