Disclosure: the Balm eyeshadow was a PR sample, and the Benefit eyeshadow I swapped for myself.
Ah, cream shadows. Beloved by many, and hated by those of us with oily lids, there have been a fair few released recently bearing the "creaseless" moniker. The Balm's slightly daftly named Batter Up Creaseless Cream shadow is the latest brand to take on the cult favourite that is Benefit's Creaseless Cream shadow. But how do they compare? Which one is better? Read on to find out more.
There's no doubt that these two products are very similar. Both come in screw top jars, with a glass bottom holding the product itself. Both jars are weighty, and both look like you're getting more product than you actually are, due to the lids being rather deep and the actual jar being deceptively small.
Both products are pretty, with simple printed sticky labels atop the screwtop container. The Benefit one is the prettier, in my view, as I quite like the simple and elegant design of birds, whereas the rather random baseball silhouette on the Balm product just confounds me. What does baseball have to do with eyeshadow?
Left to right: Benefit Creaseless Cream in Gossip;
the Balm Batter Up Creaseless Cream in Grand Slam PamShade Range
Swatched, these two shades both apply smoothly and fully opaque, although you could sheer them down if you wanted to. The Benefit offering is slightly less obviously metallic and shimmery than the Balm. Benefit offer a grand total of up to 21 shades, including limited editions, from dramatic to neutral. The Balm's shade range is much smaller at present: just four shades, all of which are on the more neutral side of the colour spectrum. That said, they might well introduce more shades in the future, if the product becomes successful.
Personally, of the two purple shades I've swatched above, I prefer the slightly deeper, richer the Balm shade.
I've been testing out these cream shadows with a firm bristled synthetic brush; firstly loading up the brush by dabbing or swirling it over the product, and then stroking it onto my eyelid and blending out the edges. Both products apply relatively smoothly and quickly, although the Balm eyeshadow sets faster, leading to a few slightly clumsy looking edges in the application.
The photo above shows one pass over the eyelid with a fairly well loaded brush. Using less product will result in a sheerer application, and both products claim to be easily layered for a more intense effect. For me, this is enough - I look to cream shadows for that slight sheen you get on the lid, rather than the intensity of pigment.
While the Benefit eyeshadow feels as if you've got nothing on your lids, the Balm shadow wears with a slightly strange feeling on the lid, almost as if it's drying down further and shrinking on the lid. Twice I've felt like it's pulling on my lids, which has been a very disconcerting feeling!
So, the big question: how creaseless are these creaseless shadows? From the photos above, taken after about 6 hours wear, it's pretty clear that the Balm shadow has not fared very well. It's creased badly, and looks pretty terrible on my eyelid. The Benefit shadow, however, hasn't really creased too much per se - but the undefeatable oiliness of my eyelids has diluted and dulled the shadow such that there's very little left. It doesn't look anywhere near as terrible as the Balm offering though!
Thanks to my oily lids, neither of these shadows is going to find their way into my heart. The after photos are taken after just six hours of wear; I usually expect my eyeshadow to look good after a fourteen hour day, and neither of these products would cut it for that long. Of the two, the Benefit Creaseless Cream shadow has the best wear, the best application, and lacks the strange shrinking feeling I experienced with the Balm Batter Up Creaseless Cream shadow.
Price wise, the Benefit product costs £14, and the Balm product costs £18. If you're lucky enough to have eyelids less oily than mine, you'll probably fare well with either of these, but if you want blendability, a good colour range, and consistent wear, the Benefit Creaseless Cream shadow is the one to go for.
What do you think? Love cream shadows? Tried either of these?