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When theBalm opened its doors last month, I was excited for a beauty option on an already amazing block in the Mission (also home to Craftsman and Wolves and Dandelion Chocolate). But when I entered the space, I wasn't sure what to expect—I had never heard of the brand before its SF opening. Founder Marissa Shipman began her makeup line here in the city (among the local makeup giants), but the brand found early entry into the international market (it sells successfully in 60 countries) before making a bigger push at home.
Upon entering the store, a rundown of the products (skincare, haircare, nailcare, makeup) that lined the walls put me at ease: all products are three-free (the brand says it's actually free of five nasty ingredients often found in nail polish). But it was the brow shaping at the wax bar that sealed my fate as a theBalm believer. I walked out with brows that look both sexy and natural (and that don't require a week-in-advance appointment for touch ups). And the entire experience—from waxing to picking out products—was unpretentious and very approachable. It's the ideal, full-service beauty store for the girl who wants everyday, easy glamour without an ounce of fuss.
TheBalm's eyeshadow bar allows mixing and matching for custom palettes
The eyeshadow bar came a close second to the waxing as my favorite store feature. Armed with a magnetic clipboard, I tried various colors against my skin tone and added my favorite shades onto my mock palette. Once I picked sixteen colors and took my board to the counter, new versions of the colors were placed into a palette case (I chose the leopard-print one) for easy travel. But even more impressive was that the shadows' pigments actually stuck to my eyelids without running down my face. They had a velvety texture that felt good and made application seamless and consistent. The mix-and-match shadow bar is exclusive to the flagship store.
A few other noteworthy products include the En Root Dry Shampoo ($19), Schwing Liquid Eyeliner ($17), and Dandelion Skin Brightening Moisturizer ($38), all of which have quickly become my everyday beauty staples. The dry shampoo soaks excess oil and boosts volume without adding heaviness to hair. My only complaint is the aerosol spray function (I'd prefer a squeeze bottle option). The liquid eyeliner is actually easy to apply with a controllable felt tip. And the moisturizer effortlessly sinks into skin without any irritation. The three help make my beauty regimen to stay tight, focused, and efficient—because according to Shipman, it shouldn't take hours of work with tons of product to look good.
Walk-ins are welcome (and now is your chance before the store grows to capacity) and are an opportunity to learn more about products. Makeup tutorials are free except on special holidays when a purchase of two or more items is required. If you're hoping to look extra special for that hot Valentine's date, theBalm suggests you book ahead for prime slots.
· Free Personal Makeup Tutorial Videos in the Mission: It's theBalm [Racked SF]
· All Esther Tested posts [Racked SF]