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Nothing ties together a makeup look quite like blush. Regardless of your preferences, using blush is a great way to enhance your already-gorgeous facial features and, if you’re like me, add a little color back into your face when you’ve gone in a little too heavy with your complexion makeup and need to look put together for a Zoom call.
These days, I find myself gravitating towards crème blushes due to their natural-looking finish on the skin and when possible, I like to use products that have clean formulas and come from brands that prioritize sustainability. So, it’s no wonder that Axiology has been popping up on my radar lately. Founded with the goal of creating the “most ethical lipstick on the planet,” Axiology bridges the gap for beauty lovers that are looking for ethically-produced cosmetics and clean ingredients without skimping on color payoff or quality.
Since making its debut, the Latinx-owned brand has extended its offering to cater to the face, lips, and hands, making Balmies their most coveted bestseller. These multi-use crayons can be used to add a sweep of color or shimmer to the cheeks, lips, or eyes and are made with a skin-healthy blend of elderberry, hemp, and plum oil. Clean formulation aside, it’s the packaging that makes these versatile little guys pretty remarkable; the Balmies are zero-waste thanks to their cap-less, tubeless design and are instead wrapped in paper. They also live in a recyclable carrying case, which is actually made from recycled trash by a women’s cooperative in Bali.
Intrigued by Axiology’s innovative and sustainable approach to beauty, I connected with founder Ericka Rodriguez to learn more.
“For our Balmies, we knew we wanted them to be zero-waste and were trying multiple innovative ideas to get there,” she tells The Quality Edit. “We were inspired by companies that had already innovated in the zero-waste category and were trying to build on their ideas. One day, someone had the brilliant idea of wrapping the crayons in paper like a Crayola crayon and that was that.”
Coloring outside the beauty industry lines, Rodriguez goes on to explain that the Axiology team sees themselves as “a do-good-for-the-planet company that happens to make beauty products.” She supports this by stating, “Our zero waste 3-in-1 Balmies are the perfect example of this ethos. We wanted to create a makeup product that would leave little waste and pollution on our planet.”
My First Impressions
To get a feel for how the Balmies act as a blush and a highlight, I decided to try the Of The Earth Trio, which retails for $36 and features the shades Caramel (a coppery gold shimmer), Nude Plum (a soft muted rose with a hint of plum), and Cherry (a burnt berry with warm undertones). Out of all of the shades, I was most excited for the Nude Plum, which is the closest to the blush shades I usually wear, and the most nervous for Cherry, which is very out of my comfort zone but is a hue that I have always wanted to try.
One thing you should know about me before we begin is that I tend to skim over important details. So, that being said, you can only imagine how taken aback I was by the size of the trio. The Balmies are .12 oz—which apparently is the standard size of lipstick, only we’re used to them appearing bigger because the tubes they traditionally come in add some bulk. Had I read the product description a little more thoroughly, I would have known to expect this. Widthwise, they were thinner than I was expecting as well. I was worried that the Balmies’ tiny stature plus their vulnerable packaging would mean that they’d be more prone to snapping in half, so I tried to be as gentle as possible but these little guys are sturdy enough to handle the pressure. I was also afraid that they would run out quickly since they were so little, but a little definitely goes a long way. When the crayon does begin to dwindle, you can push the Balmies up from the bottom to get more product.
Testing It Out
My glam game plan was to apply Caramel on my high points for highlight, Nude Rose on my eyes and lips, and Cherry on my cheeks for blush. The Balmies pointed crayon tip created the perfect precision. I just drew it right on to the areas that I wanted to accentuate and color over. Much to my surprise, the Balmies weren’t as hydrating as I thought they would be; they felt a little dried and matte on my skin. But this wasn’t really a problem. Seeing that the formula wasn’t as creamy as other blushes I’ve used, I decided that my finger was the best route to go in terms of blending versus a brush or beauty sponge. This ended up working in my favor because the heat from my fingers really warmed up the product and helped blend it out. Whatever fears I had about it not looking natural were immediately gone once I saw how seamlessly-blended the finished product was.
Here’s what I thought of the shades:
Caramel: Since my skin falls in the light shade range, this coppery gold didn’t have the same impact as it would have on someone with deeper skin—but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a lovely highlight. It’s gorgeous!
Nude Plum: My favorite of the trio, the Nude Plum met my shade expectations and really worked well with my skin tone.
Cherry: This was surprisingly really flattering on me and it blended down to a lovely pink on my skin that wasn’t intimidating at all.
Are They Really Versatile?
Yes! I am the worst when it comes to eyeshadow and only use products that can be easily applied and blended in 1-2 steps max. This not only created the nicest wash of color, but it also blended really well across the eyelid. To add some dimension, I followed up with a light sweep of bronzer to the crease and waterline. Next time, I’ll definitely try all three shades on the lid; I think Caramel would make a great inner corner highlight and maybe I can figure out how to blend Nude Plum into Cherry on the outer lid. I still think using your finger is the best way to go, but a brush might be your best bet if you’re going for a fancier eye look.
Yes! This is the perfect blush. It’s easy to blend and has such a high-impact pigment. The formula is really buildable, so you can definitely amp up the shade to match the look you’re going for. I ended up using two rounds of Cherry on my cheeks and it still looks subtle and natural. It was also incredibly long-wearing and didn’t budge throughout the day either.
Yes—but not what I was expecting! Since the formula falls on the drier side, the Balmies did not apply like a regular lipstick and didn’t glide across the lips as I was expecting. Instead, it offered a sheer coverage and created more of a stained lip look, which I’m actually really into and the Nude Plum ended up being the perfect your-lips-but-better shade for me. I blended it out with my fingers and the finished product reminded me of a tinted lip balm, but I’m sure you could build it up if you wanted to. If you have dry lips, I’d definitely recommend prepping with lip balm beforehand.
I’m so excited to have these in my makeup bag. The Balmies are stunning and boast an inclusive shade range that any beauty lover would be pleased with. The formulas weren’t quite what I was expecting, but I was really impressed with their versatility. While my initial glam came out a bit more natural-looking for a casual work from home day, I can definitely see these three shades being used to create something a bit more elevated; they’re incredibly buildable and can deliver some day-to-night realness.
At $36, the Trio definitely falls on the pricier side—which may seem like a lot especially when you see how small they are—but I think it’s worth it when you factor in the consideration that went into making them sustainable and eco-friendly. I also love that the brand takes the guesswork out of figuring out what to do with product empties and makes it incredibly easy to dispose of ethically. I never thought I’d say this, but I can’t wait to use up the Balmies so I can recycle them!