The year was 2010; Youtube’s beauty space has just started to boom and blossom and influencers like the Fowler Sisters, Bethany Mota, and Ingrid Neilsen along with all the other “OG Beauty Gurus” were new to the joys of uploading makeup tutorials, beauty and fashion hauls, and the influencer life in general.
Back then, if you wanted to know the latest about everything makeup- and beauty-related, Youtube was the place to be and that’s exactly how and where I came to know about theBalm Cosmetics. Everyone was contouring with the Bahama Mama and getting their glow on with Mary Lou-manizer — it was a glorious time.
theBalm Cosmetics is a makeup brand built on women empowerment and wit. Marissa Shipman, the brand’s founder and CEO, started theBalm in 2004 after quitting her job as the first step to her pursuit in finding something that she would love doing for the rest of her life. She knew she was obsessed with all things beauty-related so Marissa started ordering books online on how to make cosmetics.
Unfortunately, all the recipes she found in the books were not what she had hoped for. She was surprised to see ingredients she hadn’t heard of before listed in the makeup products she wanted to make except for one: the balm. So, she set out to purchase the natural ingredients listed from her local grocery store and went about creating the brand and its first product.
Today, theBalm is one of the leading makeup brands in the world. Despite being smaller than other cosmetics brands and staying private, it’s definitely thriving, not just surviving, amongst makeup giants under the umbrella of the biggest players in the market. Aside from balms, they also make amazing lip products on top of eye makeup and face makeup products like foundations and concealers. They pride themselves in creating high-quality products that are paraben-free, talc-free, and cruelty-free. They’re also known for their cheeky product names that are just the best combination of fun and flirty!
That’s not to say everything was and has been a smooth sailing ride for Marissa and theBalm. In 2015, theBalm received backlash over its nude eyeshadow palettes, Nude ‘Tude and Nude Dude. Both palettes had quirky graphics of naked men and women with the eyeshadow pans covering their privates. The retro-style images were cute and definitely made a great addition to any vanity.
However, displeased customers soon aired their complaints online about the brand’s choice of names for the eyeshadow shades. The female version of the palette, Nude “Tude, had names like “Stand-offish” and “Stubborn” while the male version of the palette, “Nude Dude,” had eyeshadow color names like “Friendly” and “Flawless.” The fact that the women seemed totally nude while the guys were covered up with a towel didn’t fly too well for them, too.
Still, theBalm team stood by their decision, saying their products are “about attitude and being able to express yourself however you want.” They also assured their customers that they will always be a brand that will always put women in the driver’s seat which is amazing and much needed considering how men are starting to dominate industries like fashion and beauty, which are mostly targeted towards women.