"Why then the world's mine oyster, which I with sword will open."

Blush: theBalm and PANDORA’S Makeup Box swatch and comparison


I’ve always thought that having one blush was good enough – when you find the perfect colour for your complexion, you shouldn’t need another, right? It would just look weird… right? Here are the two blushes I own and have tried: theBalm’s Hot Mama! and PANDORA’S Makeup Box blush in St. Tropez.

theBalm’s Hot Mama was the first blush I ever purchased – and it’s the only blush I’ve used since then. I had read many reviews raving about NARS blush in Orgasm, as well as Benefit’s Coralista, which both seemed to be peachy coral blushes with gold sparkles or shimmer. I had been looking into theBalm as a brand, and found their products much more appealing in terms of price and amount of product – Hot Mama was the most economical choice and seemed a similar colour – peachy coral with tiny specks of sparkle. Not to mention the packaging is adorable and it comes with a mirror inside.

I bought this back in December 2010 from Sephora. I don’t wear makeup every day (not very often, to be frank), but I’ve barely made a dent in it. There is shimmer throughout the blush, but it’s not obvious after application – it doesn’t make my face look like a disco ball or anything like that.

In my first Glossybox last month, I received PANDORA’S Makeup Box blush in St. Tropez – a matte pink blush with adorable packaging that has a refillable pan. St. Tropez is the second blush I’ve ever tried. I never would have picked out a matte blush for myself (actually, I probably wouldn’t be shopping for blushes in the first place), so I’m so glad that this came in my Glossybox!

Here come the swatches, but be forewarned: there are a lot of them. I had trouble deciding which were the best representatives of the pigmentation, so I just decided to throw them all in here so you can decide for yourself and be able to see them in different lighting. All pictures were taken during the day with no flash, but some seem to be in direct daylight while others are a bit more shadowed.

As you can see, Hot Mama does have a reflective sheen because of the shimmer in it. It is also more pigmented than St. Tropez, which has a slightly more chalky formula. However, they are both quite buildable to the same amount of pigmentation. After blending, St. Tropez actually seems to be more pigmented – that could be because Hot Mama is closer to my skin tone because it’s a warmer colour. Either way, I never find that I have to build up the colour on my cheeks – a light dusting is enough for both blushes. Hot Mama gives me a more natural glow, and St. Tropez gives me nicely flushed cheeks.

Below are two FOTD’s with the two blushes. Unfortunately, one seems to have been taken with sunlight while the other just daylight so they’re different hues. Hope it helps anyway.

Left to right:

  1. M. Asam Magic Fini (March 2012 Glymm Box)
  2. MAC Paint in Bare Canvas sample
  3. Hourglass Calligraphy liquid eye liner in Ebony
  4. Shu Uemura eyelash curler
  5. Maybelline The Colossal Volum’ Express – Waterproof mascara
  6. Anastasia Hydrafull Gloss in Sorbet (March 2012 Glymm Box)
  7. theBalm Hot Mama blush

Left to right:

  1. M. Asam Magic Fini (March 2012 Glymm Box)
  2. PANDORA’S Makeup Box blush in St. Tropez (March 2012 Glossybox)
  3. Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Double Face Perfector concealer (discontinued)
  4. MUFE Aqua Cream in 13 Warm Beige (champagne shimmer)
  5. MUFE Aqua Cream in 15 Taupe (taupe brown shimmer)
  6. Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner in Black Ink
  7. Shu Uemura eyelash curler
  8. Laura Mercier Full Blown Volume mascara in Black
  9. NARS lipstick in Dolce Vita
  10. NARS Pro-Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base

I love both of the blushes and am so glad that St. Tropez was included in my Glossybox – my first venture firstly into matte blushes and secondly into an alternate option to Hot Mama. Hot Mama gives me that natural glow while St. Tropez gives me nice pink cheeks – both applied with a light hand, tapping off excess.

I’m starting to have a hard time finding theBalm in select Canadian Sephoras – I’m not sure if they’re being discontinued, but they are definitely available online. Their official website also offers more options and products not available at Sephora – there is a current offer: free bag with purchase of $50 USD or more. I am not sure if they ship outside of the US, though.

PANDORA’S Makeup Box is a relatively new Canadian brand. You can order off their website – international shipping is available. Shipping is calculated based on dollar amount purchased, via Expresspost with tracking. Use my promotional code pearlessence20 for an extra 20% off your order. I have not yet ordered off the website myself, but I do plan on doing so – I’d love to try some of their other products!

Just in case you haven’t read my Disclaimer: As mentioned above, I purchased Hot Mama with my own money, and St. Tropez was in my Glossybox, which I also paid for myself. I was not given either of the products for free nor am I receiving any compensation or incentive for this review. This is my honest opinion based on my own experience with the products – honesty is first and foremost for all reviews I give and it is my topmost priority – just as I would expect of any blogs I read.


Author: pearlessence

She who loves shopping, baking, gaming, and all things Disney! All on a student's meager budget :)

26 thoughts on “Blush: theBalm and PANDORA’S Makeup Box swatch and comparison

  1. looking lovely in both blushes! and i love your emphasis on honesty 🙂

  2. Ooo they both look really good! And the packaging on both are amazing! Now I might need to go check out Hot Mama… Dang. I’ve got enough blushes for the next 20 years already…

  3. The Anastasia Hydrafull Gloss in Sorbet looks really nice on you!!! I always read good stuff of theBalm, I think I’ve only seen London Drugs ever carrying it.

  4. I love both these colors! I’ve never tried a matte blush before, now I really want one haha

  5. you looks awesome! i like the both of the blushes colors on your cheek 😀

  6. I have the Hot Mama blush, love it!

  7. Love the blush and the Balm brand! They have some nice natural shades. Love your adorable blog and photos…xx

  8. I love theBalm products. Their eye shadows are great. I bought the same blush last week, but haven’t used it yet because I’ve been sick. I’ll have to wear it tomorrow 🙂 I love your FOTDs!

    • I find that theBalm is very reasonably priced compared to other high end brands, as you get a lot of product for the cost. And the quality is great too. I would say that their blush works beautifully as a pick-me-up even on sick days! Thank you for the compliment 🙂

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