Color Connection #14
OB for Shu Uemura

Retro deja-vu with The Balm

Ah, The Balm.  I've posted about this line and their unique brand of fun retro packaging a few times before.  While some other brands (Benefit, Too-Faced) have created and continue to come up with designs reminiscent of decades past, The Balm is the most consistent.  Their latest offering is Instain, six long-wearing powder blushes packaged in cases illustrated with a very posh, sophisticated woman clad in vintage-style clothing and accessories.  The overall look suggests a magazine cover.  And while I'm no fashion historian, to my eye the clothes/hats look like they span anywhere from the 1920s through the 60s.






(images from

I was really impressed with the design since it seemed to be well thought-out.  Not only does a different woman appear on each, but there is a different clothing pattern (lace, toile, pinstripe, etc.).  I'm not really sure I get the fall/spring designations, since houndstooth and argyle scream fall to me while Swiss dots seem rather springy, but I appreciate that they're all exclusive patterns.  The text changes ever so slightly as well - "Keep your color around the clock", "Color that won't quit," etc. While each one is a little different, at the individual level the palettes still have a cohesive look due to the blush color matching the band at the top of the case.

As I looked at these I was reminded of Stila's Front Cover Lookbooks from way back in 2007.  I don't think I ever posted about these (gasp!) so here's a quick peek. (Click to enlarge.  These did come with tubes of lip glosses but I have no idea what happened to them!  Curating FAIL.)


Like The Balm palettes, these resemble magazine covers (albeit contemporary ones) and each one has different text as well.  In Stila's case the text highlights the name of a color contained within the palette.  For example, Front Cover Lookbook No. 1 says "Feel confident & grace-ful" and includes one of Stila's best-selling eye shadows named Grace.


So while the same basic design idea has been done before, The Balm, somewhat ironically I'd say, manages to update it by using their signature retro twist.

Are you digging the Instain blushes?  And what do you think of Stila's previous iteration of the magazine cover idea?

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