Friday, November 14, 2014

Review -- The Balm Balmsai Eyeshadow and Brow Palette With Shaping Stencils

For anyone who's been reading this blog for a while, you know how much I love The Balm.

If you're new to the blog, The Balm is one of those brands that I just sort of "automatically" buy each new product that comes out regardless of whether I need it or not.

That's partly because they make some pretty fantastic products, but also because I cannot resist the adorable artwork on their packaging -- I just love the whole retro vibe of it.

So when I saw that they had a new eyeshadow palette coming out (they've actually had a few come out recently, so be on the lookout for some other reviews in the coming weeks), I ordered it as soon as it was available.

There is something unique about The Balm's Balmsai Palette, though -- it's actually being marketed as an eye shadow and brow palette, so it comes with shaping stencils to help create a perfect brow arch and a perfect winged liner.

Now, technically, any shadow palette that contains a matte shade that's close to your hair color could be considered a shadow and brow palette, but I like that The Balm specifically included three shadows that would work with many hair colors so you could have everything in one palette.

Of course, you can also use these shades as regular old eye shadows so they do double-duty, which is always nice.

Like all of The Balm's palettes, Balmsai features cardboard packaging. It's a surf-themed palette so the artwork depicts a retro pin-up girl in a bikini on the beach. There's a mid size mirror on the inside, and there's a small compartment with a separate flap closure to house the shaping stencils.

The Balm Balmsai Eyeshadow and Brow Palette
The Balm Balmsai Palette

The Balm Balmsai Palette's eye stencil compartment
The palette contains 18 shadows -- though I will point out that these aren't as large as the shadows in last year's Balm Voyage Palette -- which are broken into four categories:

In The Buff (Basics) --Wipe Out, a shimmery cream; High Tide, a shimmery golden ivory; Hang 10, a shimmery pale gold; Dream Boat, a shimmery light peachy pink; Sandbar, a shimmery light taupe; and Tubular, a shimmery golden tan.

The Balm Balmsai In the Buff shadows

The Balm Balmsai In the Buff shadows
Mavericks (Splash of Color) -- Epic, a shimmery cool light brown; Surf's Up, a shimmery blue gray; Big Kahuna, a shimmery light turquoise; Kawabunga, a shimmery greenish gold; Surfari, a shimmery purple; and Pipeline, a shimmery deep blue.

The Balm Balmsai Mavericks shadows

The Balm Balmsai Mavericks shadows
Curve & Angle (Brow/Shadows) -- Score, a matte ashy taupe (good for blonde hair); Dig It, a matte midtone brown (good for medium brown hair); and Woodie, a matte dark brown (good for dark brown hair).

Catch a Wave (Use Wet Or Dry) -- Stoked, a matte dark purple with bright purple micro-glitter; Ripper, a dark chocolate brown; and Righteous, a matte black with subtle silver micro-glitter.

The Balm Balmsai Curve & Angle and Catch a Wave shadows

The Balm Balmsai Curve & Angle and Catch a Wave shadows
In terms of formula, these shadows are as nice as The Balm's always are. They're smooth, creamy, and blend easily.

The shades in this palette are pigmented, but they're all somewhat subdued -- so if you're looking for bold, dramatic colors, this isn't the palette for you.

If you're looking for a palette that features good basic shades and a few brighter colors to punch up your look, then you'll like this palette for sure.

I dye my hair a reddish shade so I usually like to use a reddish tone on my brows. But when my color's starting to fade, that can look a little fake so I go with a blonde shade to match my natural hair color -- Score works well for those days and it applies well to the brows.

I don't usually use brow stencils unless I'm going for a really precise look, but the brow stencil here is interesting because it's really just to shape the arch -- it's not one of those "fill-in" ones, if you know what I mean -- so I feel like it's a little more natural.

I love the idea of the winged eyeliner stencil because I am terrible at winging at my liner, but I find that it's not actually that easy to use. It works well on my left eye, but I have trouble with the right  -- which is the eye I usually have trouble with when I'm free-handing too, so maybe it's just user error.

The Balm Balmsai Eye Stencils
The palette is $39.50 on The Balm website.

I have no qualms recommending this palette, but I will say that it's not my favorite one from The Balm. When it comes to these larger palettes, I'd probably recommend The Balm Voyage Palette over this one, but I'm very happy to have it my collection.

Are you interested in The Balm Balmsai Eyeshadow and Brow Palette? What's your favorite palette from The Balm?


  1. I´m surprised by the stencils! I did expect those really bad ones that really have the whole eyebrow cutout but this idea is really nice and I would definitely need some help with eyeliners too. xD Are you left-handed as well? Because for me the right eye is the tricky one too - left side is no problem at all. ^^

    1. I'm actually right handed, but for some reason, I always screw up my right eye. There's no reason for it,but there you go. :) The brow stencil is nice for a more subtle look; I always feel like the whole cutout ones are just too harsh.

  2. I just picked up this palette. I was going to grab the Nude Dude palette, but I started swatching this one, and I loved that a lot of the lid shades have subtle multi-colored shimmer to them. The top two rows also have great colors for my lid or at least the inner half of my lid. Most mid-tone shades just seem too dark to use over the whole lid area for me.

    1. It is a really pretty palette for sure -- and you're right about the multi-color shimmer. I actually picked up the Nude Dude also (I'm about to post a review on that) and I love it, but it might seem a little boring compared to this one, given that it's all natural shades.


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