theBalm is one of my favourite brands, due to their high-quality products with retro-inspired packaging. The brand can be a bit tricky to get hold of if you're Canadian, due to their website's high international shipping costs. But fret no more! Nail Polish Canada has started carrying theBalm, and they currently have free shipping on all orders for Canadians! They kindly offered to send me one of the new Instain Long-Wearing Staining Powder Blush to review.
The Instain Blushes come in six shades, and I chose the strawberry/coral shade, Toile. The packaging is extremely cute, resembling a vintage fashion magazine. It's made of sturdy cardboard, flips open to reveal a toile design and a small mirror on the opposite side. It has a magnetic closure and there is also a matching slipcover for extra security.
|theBalm Instain Blush in Toile, slipcover + packaging|
Toile is a matte coral shade, and it is very, very pigmented. Do use a light hand when applying! The texture is a dream -- so smooth and creamy; perhaps the creamiest powder blush I own. I don't find it kicks up a lot of "dust" when putting my brush in the pan, and I also don't detect any fragrance to the powder.
|theBalm Instain Blush in Toile, open|
Now, what about this whole "staining blush" thing? When I swatch the blush on my arm and then rub it off, it does leave a stain. I think that is why blending it can be tricky -- if you've ever tried a liquid stain like Benefit's Benetint, you've probably found you have to work fast or else you'll leave brush streaks where you applied the product. It's a similar deal with Toile, so I find the best way to avoid clown cheeks is to use a light amount in the beginning, blend, and then repeat as needed. On my very fair combination skin, I only need one light layer which lasts all day (8+ hours) over primer and foundation. I have also had it last that long on bare skin (no primer or foundation), although it does fade towards the end of the day in both cases. I don't get many hours of wear out of most of my other powder blushes though, so Toile is definitely a step-up in longevity.
|theBalm Instain Blush in Toile, swatched heavily on left, blended out on right. Swatched with fingers under daylight bulb.|
I tried to get the swatches as colour-accurate as possible. You can get super pigment out of this shade! theBalm claims the Instain blushes are "perfect for all skintones" (x), and with the beautiful shade and level of pigmentation that Toile has, they may be right.
At $22 CAD for 0.2oz of product, it's on what I consider the mid-range for pricing, but the product itself could contend with higher-end blushes. If you can work with highly-pigmented blushes and don't mind spending $22, you should definitely give Toile a try. I can't speak for the other five shades, but I have my eye on them!
|theBalm Instain Blush in Toile, ingredients|
Nail Polish Canada currently has a giveaway where one lucky Canadian (excluding Quebec) can win a $75 gift card for theBalm! (Ends September 15th.) Whoever wins will be a lucky, lucky cat!
theBalm has yet to disappoint me with their products! Have you tried any Instain blushes? Got your eye on any? Let me know!
Product provided for review. No monetary compensation was given. All opinions are my own.