I actually stayed up late last night (I’ve been averaging about 5–6 hours of sleep a night, not good) swatching a polish for today, but then in my morning stupor, I accidentally deleted the pictures. Hooray for me. It was Zoya Temperance, which is awesome so I have to reswatch it for you guys soon. But anyway, this morning, I decided to do something different.
theBalm is not a brand I normally associate with nail polish—I think of blush and maybe eyeshadow. It’s also not a brand I run into very often, mostly since in Canada, the only brick-and-mortar retailer I know of is Rexall pharmacy, which until recently was not one I went to very often. (I’m a Shoppers Drug Mart girl, OK?) But in the last couple of years, Rexall have opened up bigger stores downtown that are more convenient for me to visit, so I’ve been popping in occasionally to check out the brands they carry that aren’t available at Shoppers.
Some Rexall locations carry theBalm, and last week, I finally visited a location that had a display, at Queen & University in Toronto. Luckily, this display stocked around twelve to fifteen shades of theBalm’s Hot Ticket Nail Polish and they were about half off! Or perhaps not so luckily, since it probably means they’re getting rid of them.
I picked one up last week for $4.96—they’re normally $10 (US and CA, for some reason)—then returned this week when Rexall was running a “Buy 2 Get 1 Free” sale on nail polish. So, I managed to get three more theBalm polishes for a tidy sum of $9.92!
theBalm actually produces 31 shades of polish (not quite Baskin-Robbins) and unfortunately, the Rexall I went to mostly carried tame shades of red, pink, and brown. Gah! No pretty blues, yellows or greens.
But here’s what I got, anyway:
- Strawberry Fields Forevah
- Girls Just Wanna Have Plum
- All You Ever Do Is Taupe
- You’re So Hot and Gold
The names are on the wordier side, aren’t they?
My initial impression of the polish in store was that…well, they just didn’t look like $10 polishes. The bottles reminded me of dollar store brands (particularly with the font and pinup girl printed on the front), and the formula looked on the thinner side when I tipped the bottles back and forth. The shimmer and glitter finishes didn’t blow my mind, either—but I am a major sucker for trying out new brands, so I went ahead and bought ’em.
I mean, theBalm usually has super cute, retro-inspired packaging—so how come the polish is seemingly cheaply packaged?
To be fair, the bottle itself is actually reasonably hefty, and the cap and brush are solid and function well. I’m really only talking about aesthetics, here.
Anyway, if the polish performs well, I’m certainly not going to complain, especially since I picked these up pretty cheaply.
Today, I swatched All You Ever Do Is Taupe.
This is the song I keep hearing when I think of the name—it kinda rhymes. “All I Want To Do Is Rock” by Travis, originally from 1996 (this is live in 2001):
This nail polish, man.
LOOK at it in the bottle.
WHAT. IN. THE. WHAT. IS THIS?
Well, I guess the name makes more sense this way.
Don’t get me wrong—I actually really dig the way it looks on the nail. It’s a super smooth metallic frost in a light, smoky, lavender taupe. It doesn’t change in sunlight.
But the bottle makes it seem that it was going to be a darker blue/green/purple color-shifter, doesn’t it?
Ah well. Pretty if you dig frosts, but not what I was expecting, at all. In theBalm’s defense, they do have itty bitty swatches on their website which show that this polish does indeed look like a taupe frost. (The bottle photo is messed up, though.)
The formula is pretty good even if it seemed thin at first. A second coat applied smoothly and gave full opacity. This is definitely a better polish than its packaging suggests. Would I pay full price? Possibly not, but on sale, these are surely worth picking up. I may return for some creams, but the Rexall 3-for-2 sale ends tomorrow!
BUTYL ACETATE, ETHYL ACETATE, NITROCELLULOSE, ADIPIC ACID/NEOPENTYL GLYCOL/TRIMELLITIC ANHYDRIDE COPOLYMER, ACETYL TRIBUTYL CITRATE, ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL, STYRENE/ACRYLATES COPOLYMER, STEARALKONIUM BENTONITE, N-BUTYL ALCOHOL, BENZOPHENONE-1, SILICA, ALUMINA, TRIMETHYLPENTANEDIYL DIBENZOATE, POLYVINYL BUTYRAL
MAY CONTAIN/PEUT CONTENIR [+/- ALUMINUM POWDER (CI 77000), BISMUTH OXYCHLORIDE (CI 77163), IRON OXIDES (CI 77499, CI 77491), RED 34 LAKE (CI 15880), RED 6 LAKE (CI 15850), RED 7 LAKE (CI 15850), YELLOW 5 LAKE (CI 19140), FERRIC AMMONIUM FERROCYANIDE (CI 77510), MICA (CI 77019), BLUE 1 (CI 42090), YELLOW 11 (CI 47000), TITANIUM DIOXIDE (CI 77891), VIOLET 2 (CI 60725), POLYETHYLENE TEREPHTHALATE, POLYBUTYLENE TEREPHTHALATE, ETHYLENE/VA COPOLYMER]
theBalm Hot Ticket Nail Polish contains 0.5 fl oz / 14 mL and retails for US$10 / CA$10 (yay!). The formula is free from toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, camphor, and dibutyl phthalate (DBP). It is made in the USA. The company is cruelty-free.
theBalm was launched by Marissa Shipman in 2004. The company is based in Alameda, CA, USA.