The Balm – Mary-Lou Manizer review and swatches!

Until pretty recently I’ve never really understood the need/desire for a luminizing product. Maybe it’s because for most of my life I’ve had very oily skin — and the last thing I wanted was to add any shimmer or shine!  But as I’ve gotten older and my skin has become quite dry (thanks, Rosacea!) I’ve really started to steer clear of a too-matte look and begun to embrace finishes and textures that I otherwise had thought of as off-limits to me.

And that brings us to the Balm’s Mary-Lou Manizer, which has to be the most ridonkulas name for a product, like ever.  I’d first heard about it on some beauty message boards as well as from Wayne Goss on youtube.  With such rave reviews I figured I couldn’t go far wrong and decided to give it a whirl.

Can we say ADORABLE PACKAGING?? describes this product thusly:

What it is:A silky smooth pressed powder that can be used as a highlighter, shimmer, and shadow.

What it does:This highlighter, shadow, and shimmer diffuses light so your skin looks softer and younger while adding a subtle glow. Layer this paraben- and talc-free formula on your lids for luxe-looking lashes, sweep it on your cheeks for a sexy sheen, or use it as an all-over finishing touch before hitting the town.

What else you need to know:It comes in a sleek mirrored compact for easy transport.

And I’d say they’re right on the money.  Before I bought this I worried that it might be too warm and gold for my neutral-to-cool skin tone but honestly? It’s perfect.  It’s more of a shimmering champagne than gold and close enough to neutral to work on anyone. I think this shade would work for a huge variety of skin tones from nosferatu-pale like me to much deeper tones.

Top, applied heavily
Bottom, sheered out

I wish pictures would do this magical stuff justice.  And it is magic!  I’ve used it across the tops of my cheekbones to highlight them and it adds the perfect amount of shimmer without looking disco-ball at all.  I’ve applied it on my cupid’s bow to accentuate my lips and it works fabulous there.  But where it really shines (har har) for me is using it on the inner corners of my eyes, around the tear duct area. AMAZEBALLS.  It instantly lights up the eye area, making me look refreshed and more awake — which, let’s face it, is quite a task.

But for all of that, it can be incredibly subtle and soft.  You’ll just look a bit better but there won’t be obvious streaks of glitter or shine alerting anyone to your secret. It’s one of those products that doesn’t seem exciting at all but once you use it, you’ll be in awe and wonder how you ever got along without it.

One of the best things about this is that you get a LOT of product for the price.  At about $25 for 8.5 grams of product, this stuff is a bargain because you’ll use only the tiniest bit of it at a time.  When I use a brush to apply this, I barely press the brush against the product — that is enough for my whole face.  It’s gonna last me forever, folks.  Talk about value.

Seriously, if you’ve ever thought about trying a lumanizing product, I don’t think you can go wrong with this one.  Oddly enough I can’t find this product on the Sephora website, so I bought mine from

Another great thing? the Balm’s products are cruelty-free and without:
– Parabens
– Sulfates
– Synthetic Fragrances
– Synthetic Dyes
– Petrochemicals
– Phthalates
– GMOs
– Triclosan

3 responses to “The Balm – Mary-Lou Manizer review and swatches!

  1. Sounds amazing!! I’ve always wondered if this would work on us pale pinky tones. Every time I swatched it I thought nope. Good to know it will! I’ll keep this one in mind.

  2. Is theBalm still cruelty-free? I can’t find them on PETA or leaping bunny’s lists of cruelty-free companies, and I can’t find a statement on their website either. I only see that bloggers are still calling them cruelty-free. Do you know something I don’t? Thanks!

    • Hello! I’m sorry for taking ages to reply but I wanted to get in touch with The Balm and get some clarification! I was under the impression that they were cruelty-free and wanted more info so I emailed them and here’s their reply to me:
      Thank you so much for your interest in theBalm Cosmetics! Suppliers of raw materials used in our products certified that they have not been tested on animals since December 31, 1990 and our products have not been tested on animals.

      We do not test our products on animals, and all of our makeup except the below are made in the USA:

      Schwing – Germany (not tested on animals)

      What’s Your Type Mascaras- Germany (not tested on animals)

      Makeup Brushes (cruelty –free) Made in China

      Anyway, i hope that clears it up for us all as I think they are a great brand!

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