I watched one Youtube review (by Beauty Broadcast) on theBalm INSTAIN blushes and was immediately convinced that I wanted to buy a few. These beautiful babies made their debut last year, but around that time my local Sephora stopped carrying theBalm brand and I am not much of an online shopper. I tried to purchase these blushes during theBalm's 50% off flash sale in the Fall of 2013, but the website crashed and I received an error page whenever I attempted to checkout.
Out of the blue, Kohl's remodeled and expanded its beauty department, and theBalm is one of the brands it began selling. I think I have a beautiful "material girl in a material world" angel up in heaven, who listens to all my girly whims, and grants my wishes. I am by no means joking. I firmly believe this is true.
Availability / Price
TheBalm INSTAIN blushes are sold at Kohl's, Kohls.com, and theBalm.com; $22 each as sold separately; $34 for a set of three blushes (the amount of product of each blush in the set is equal to the amount of product of each blush sold separately, so do not assume that the amount in the set is less because of the excellent bargain price - $11.33/blush-in-set).
I lucked out because the three colors I wanted to buy were the exact three available as a set. However, the sets change. The first time I saw this set at Kohl's (around Thanksgiving), I did not buy it because I had only liked one of the shades in the selection of shades available at that time. Recently, I was on the Kohl's website and noted that the selection of colors had changed. I rushed to Kohl's the following day and exchanged the single blush I had bought (in the shade Toile) for the set of three blushes, which included Toile in addition to the two other colors I had wanted, Argyle and Houndstooth.
The pictures below clearly demonstrate the creative, vintage, adorable packaging. The blushes open up like a miniature book and close securely because of a magnet between the top (lid) and bottom (product pan). The book-shaped packaging has an additional sleeve like cover than slides on top and it displays the same artwork in the front and back as the book-shaped blush that slides inside. I like the addition of a mirror and appreciate the lack of an applicator, which would have made the packaging unnecessarily bulky. The mirror has a little saying on top of it, which adds charm as well. "Wear it well... Vous va bien..."
Toile... is a coral peachy-pink.
Although leaning more warm-toned than neutral-to-cool, I appreciate that this blush does not have a yellowish undertone. It suits my beige/olive complexion beautifully. I cannot wear blushes that lean red, orange, amber, or bronze because it emphasizes the yellow undertones in my skin, which I dislike. Mauve-pink, plum-pink, and berry-pink shades are ideal for my skin-tone. So, Toile is a nice change from the boring same old shades because it has the right balance of warm coral and peach. It looks so natural and adds a healthy flush of color, which in turn brightens my complexion.
Argyle... is a soft, neutral-toned, baby pink.
I absolutely adore this color as much as Toile. Toile and Argyle are my favorites! Argyle is another unique addition to my collection because it is a pure pink, unlike the plummy, mauve, and berry pinks I own. It is a young, refreshing, and brightening shade.
Houndstooth... is a subtle mauve-pink.
This color did not show up on me very well, which is so surprising because it is second to the deepest shade in the entire collection of six shades. I swiped (not dabbed) my brush a few times to grab enough pigment to show up on my face. The color looks so beautiful in the pan, but I wish it had shown up on me.
Formula / Texture / Application / Longevity
TheBalm describes the INSTAIN blushes as a staining powder. I did not notice a "staining" effect. After watching the Beauty Broadcast review on these blushes, I was expecting intense pigmentation and a staining effect. So, when I first applied the Toile blush, I lightly dabbed my brush into the product. The light dabbing was not enough. I liberally swipe my brush twice or thrice across the pan and only then am able to pick up enough color to show up. Toile and Argyle show up beautifully and perhaps I might have overdone it so I could capture the shades for photographing purposes. I still remain unsatisfied with Houndstooth.
These blushes feel velvety smooth to the touch and on the face. I really the like the texture, which I would describe as a buttery soft powder. The product blends out very nicely; not at all patchy or difficult to control and spread like NARS. Oh, the irony! I was surprised by the subtlety of the pigmentation, yet I appreciate the shade selections, application, and texture. Lastly, like I mentioned I did not notice "staining" and the wear-time was the typically four to five hours for me. Most of the blushes I own require touching up after a few hours. Please keep in mind that I do not wear base makeup, so the blush does not have anything other than my moisturizer to adhere to. Overall, my cons are that I was expecting wild pigmentation and "staining" effect. I thought a light dab of the brush would be enough. So, I have struggled with properly applying this blush because either the color is not showing up enough or I am applying too much. The pros are the color selection, texture, and blending capacity. I do not regret purchasing Toile and Argyle, but my experience with these blushes was definitely different from Emily's experience (Beauty Broadcast).
Toile / Houndstooth / Argyle
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