This is the summer of the balm-stains! Between the new releases from Revlon and the oldies, but goodies from Clinique and Tarte, balm-stains look like they are here to stay and I have to say that I'm glad! To me, they are the perfect blend of color and moisture and offer staying power above and beyond other lip colors, so I'm always game to try more.
The Tinted Brilliance Balms by Pixi are getting in on the balm-stain game and offering an extra perk that many others don't: pH dependent results. I've talked about the science behind pH reactant beauty products in previous reviews, but want to touch on it briefly because it can sometimes be misleading. Products that react to your pH won't necessarily change to flatter your skin tone because they are ultimately reacting according to how acidic or basic the moisture in your skin is. What's more is that they aren't solely reacting to the moisture in your lips, but also the ambient moisture in the air around them. Bottom line: don't purchase a pH tailored product expecting to get flattering results every time. However, one thing you can expect is that it might look differently on you than it will on your neighbor.
Now on to these balms! I have Pixi's Tinted Brilliance Balm in Craving Coral and found that it's not only very moisturizing, but pigmented - everything I want and need in a balm-stain. Pixi's website is very up front about the lasting power of the balmy finish, but says that once it wear off, it leaves a lush looking stain behind. That's no lie! After about two hours, the balm was gone, but the stain was going strong well through hour 6. As for the pH claims, this balm went pink on me. The picture of the swatch below was taken right after application but I let it sit a little longer on my lips to make sure I got an accurate reading for how it would change on me. It's definitely pinker, which is a shame because I love the original coral color the pencil has. But, it didn't turn an unflattering shade of pink so I can't com pain too much.
For $16 a pencil, I think it's on par with higher-end balm-stains in terms of pigmentation, lasting power, and hydration and I don't feel like I'm paying for the pH powered claim. What's more is that Pixi will often have sales and promos on their website so this isn't the lowest this price will go. For your chance to snag this at a bargain, sign up for their e-newsletter on their site.