Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Dupey Palettes: Wet n Wild and theBalm

Some time ago, beautiful Monika sent me a lovely care package, and within the box was the famous Wet n Wild Comfort Zone Palette. WnW shadows are legendary in the blogosphere, boasting great pigmentation and buttery soft textures at bargain prices on both sides of the US/Canadian border. Personally I hadn't tried the brand before and was obviously thrilled to be able to test it out at last.

The colours are safe neutrals, inspiring zero fears for those of us who favour natural looks on a regular basis. But the longer I stared at it, the more something tugged at the back of my mind. The palette seemed familiar somehow. But why?


I found the answer in my train case while rummaging one day: Shady Lady Vol. 2 by theBalm!


They don't seem all that similar at first...


...but aha!





Swatch tests were in order. Shade from theBalm are on top, shades from WnW are on the bottom.

Top: Mischievous Marissa / Bottom: Eyelid

Top: Devilish Danielle / Bottom: Browbone

Top: Makeout Mary / Bottom: Eyelid

Top: Caught In The Act Courtney / Bottom: Definer

I was amazed to discover that the WnW shadows are indeed everything that everyone had ever said and more. Until now, I hadn't come across powder shadows that were as soft as the ones from theBalm, but WnW shadows are even softer and even more pigmented. The last comparison between theBalm Caught In The Act Courtney vs. WnW Definer Shade almost threw me for a loop. Granted, some of the shades in theBalm Shady Lady are meant to be used alternately wet as eyeliners, but still. Caught In The Act Courtney was quite stiff and patchy by comparison to the WnW.

And yet, softer doesn't always necessarily mean better, and I need to play with WnW Comfort Zone Palette a bit longer to determine its status within my makeup stash hierarchy. But as you can see, many of the shades in the two palettes are rather similar. Both are very affordable, though WnW is obviously easier to obtain due to its drugstore status while theBalm can be more difficult to locate after it pulled out of Sephora a couple of years ago. (In Canada, they're available at select Rexall/Pharma Plus locations.)

Anyway, there are differences within the palettes that have me hemming and hawing about keeping them both. As you know, I've entered a blue shadow madness phase, and theBalm Shady Lady Vol. 2 contains a gorgeous shimmery blue called Bossy Bobbi.


And in return, WnW Comfort Zone contains a chameleon-ish duochrome Definer Shade, in a similar manner as MAC Club.


And while the similar shades do resemble each other a lot, they're not exactly the same.

What do you guys think? Different enough to keep both or should I let one go?

50 comments:

  1. I NEVER noticed this..and I bought both at about the same time..now I feel sort of stupid..

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    1. Aw, not to worry. There are some differences and maybe we can both keep both. :DDD

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  2. Keep both and use one for travel or emergency work/gym/not-home stash?

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    1. What gym? lol

      I guess that's a good idea to keep one at the office, except I'd have to keep brushes there as well. Still torn!

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    2. Hmm true. For the longest time the only brushes I had were a little Cargo double-ended set. Great brushes but a pain in the behind to clean/dry, and now when I think about using them for their intended purpose (travel/gym/etc.) I go "hmm...maybe I'll just bring cream eyeshadows."

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    3. I just tote around cream shadow pots for emergency and leave powders at home. The thought of any of them shattering whilst on the go/being pilfered at work is terrifying. :<

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  3. I have both, and I've never noticed this. Oops. I'm still keeping both, though. :P

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    1. Hahaha, good for you. I've just been contemplating a paring down project forever now and am trying to be strict. :D

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    2. I completely understand. I'm just being stubborn. Heh.

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  4. I think they are still quite a few shades in these two that differ a whole lot, like the blue you mentioned. You could always depot the shadows from theBalm or WnW that you like best and keep those? x

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    1. Yep, the blue and the purple are the best parts of Shady Lady! I'm too lazy to depot and like keeping palettes in their original form. I'll have to try using them both excessively to really determine their worth!

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  5. I'd say keep both just because the Wet'n'Wild is very, very fragile and the soft shadows are prone to breakage. I've broken two of them already, not traveling or anything with them.

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    1. I agree! WnW should be kept at home. I love how soft and pigmented they are, but they break with one little drop.

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    2. Good point, Mimi! Though as you can see, one of the shades in the Shady Lady is already broken. This is why I'm wary of soft shadows despite their smoothness. :(

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  6. Sharp eye! I say keep them both. You'll be sorry if you get rid of theBalm one, and like Mimi said the WnW ones are so soft and break easily.

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  7. I say keep both... but this is coming from a serious make-up hoarder... so I don't know how seriously you can take me when it comes to these matters. :P

    Never tried the WnW shadows... but for some reason, I never feel the need to try them. Maybe I'm just a big snob. Or maybe I just don't go to drugstores enough...

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    1. LOL! Your input still matters. ;D

      I think they're only at Walmart around here, which can be a pain to get to. I always hear random kids crying and getting slapped and it saps any joy of shopping right out. :<

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    2. Liz, I found my Comfort Zone at Superstore. Are there any out in Ontario? -- I can't remember.

      I'm also voting for "keep both".

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  8. LOL at your 'what gym' comment above. Well, I'd say definitely keep The Balm palette because it has more colors, and that blue is beautiful. I'd keep the W&W one too, though, or at least select shades from it. I like Rocaille's idea.

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    1. I haven't stepped foot in a gym in six years or longer. :>

      I think most people have voted for me to keep both. I need to use them both a lot more, that's what.

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  9. Keep both, for sure! I've read lots of good reviews about WnW but also similar complaints that they break easily. I love my Shady Lady palettes. The Balm makes awesome eye shadows. You have really sharp eyes, Liz!!

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    1. Thanks! I was just randomly playing with my stash (probably like your kids and their toys, lol) and the similarity caught my eye. I'm leaning towards keeping both but to be determined after I use both palettes more thoroughly. :)

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  10. Keep both, there are enough differences for them to be a worthwhile addition to your stash. I have that TheBalm palette and haven't played around with it too much, what have I been doing ><

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    1. Been busy whoring around with too much blush! LOL >;D

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  11. Keep both! :D Sometimes I don't think we need to be so ruthless as to cut down every single possibility of a dupe...especially if both give you happiness :)

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    1. I just really want to have one drawer full of stuff and get rid of my train case for good. But why must I like everything?!?

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  12. Great observation! My jaw kind of dropped reading this ... didn't think I would be surprised in the beauty world anymore.

    It would be fun to do a look on each eye using both palettes exclusively!

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    1. **jazz hands** Surprise!!!

      Lol, my eyes are already asymmetrical enough without doing different EOTDs. I'm horrible at self-shots and long ways from there, but I'll try it one day and ask my sister if she notices any difference. (She won't, lol.)

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  13. Whoa! That's a really great catch, it never occurred to me to compare those two palettes - and while they are not exact dupes, those be some pretty damn similar shades!

    I do love my WnW. The texture is incredibly butter-soft and pigmented, but I find them quite "thin". They swatch really vividly, but you have to be careful how much you blend or they sort of smooth around too easily. That's not a good or bad thing in and of itself, just depends how you prefer to apply, how much you like to blend, and what kind of brushes you like to use. (I was actually surprised how easy it was to apply this palette using the included applicator, which I never would have tried were it not for using it in my 20$ challenge video.)

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    1. I was just messing around with the multitude of things and was like, "WAIT A MINUTE...!"

      I get what you mean by thin, but I start really sparingly with all shadows to begin with, so it's not a bad thing with me. And I like to blend A LOT. Lately I've been into more brazenly packed shades than subtle tones though, so I'll try packing it on with the applicator per your suggestion. :D

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  14. I'm desperate to try the comfort zone palette, alas not available here :(

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    1. Aww! Well, you have friends across the pond with access here, so just holler if you'd like one. :D

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  15. KEEP BOTH, of course!! You can NEVER have too many ;) And I am very surprised at how similar those shades are. I didn't think they were that alike when I saw that photo of the palettes side by side but swatched, WOW. I never look twice at the WnW display when I'm at the drugstore. Kinda a beauty snob maybe but I definitely plan on taking a closer look next time!

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    1. I never even see these anywhere, actually. I suspect these are at Walmart around here but I HATE Walmart and never go. Still, good to know these are around and reliable on an emergency eye shadow moment, right? ;)

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  16. Despite the dupey shades, I think they are still different enough to keep them both. I have the Comfort Zone and it's absolutely lovely.

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    1. Hehe *updates vote tally* :)

      I guess I should wash my face and put some of this on today, lol.

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  17. Hi Liz,

    I have Comfort Zone, too but not The Balm! The pigmentation is ridiculously good, but the frost factor is a bit high. I like to keep mine as a backup in my drawer at work. It works well in a pinch, and I don't feel too guilty about not using it since it wasn't pricey to begin with.

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    1. I used to hate frost and shimmers but now can't get enough of them. :) It's a good idea about keeping as backup at work but I don't like to keep too many personal things at the office. Everytime I take something to keep as backup, I regret it because I immediately wake up the next morning wanting to put it on before heading into work, lol!

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  18. It's a keeper!!! Now I think I want Shady Lady Vol 2. too!

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  19. I'd say keep them both and you know why? You've already invested in The Balm Palette and while there are some shades duplicated in the WnW, there's still a few original ones as well. The WnW palette was received as a gift and it might seem a little....well, you know, if you don't hold onto it. Plus the pigmentation on it seems pretty amazing to me! I sense major regret if you decide to ditch one...but that's just the hoarder in me talking, lol!

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    1. Yeah, I feel bad about the gift aspect but couldn't resist the comparison. But the good news is I've decided to keep both, mostly because I'm a palette whore, but secondly because they are different enough to warrant keeping. Thanks for the input nonetheless! ;D

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  20. I think it depends on which shades you use most and then go from there! There are some strong similarities Liz, so hard to say. I get what others are saying about keeping them both, and there is no harm, but I know what I'M like and I get overwhelmed and hate having dupes or even near dupes, so you have to make that call. I have to say though, I'm quite impressed with the WnW palette! I have read so much about them but I made a pact with myself to not buy any more drugstore makeup, because I have this stupid effing mental block about it and if I buy drugstore I still end up buying a high-end product anyway after the fact. At least, with most things, not all, but most. It's idiotic.

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    1. Hey, you want what you want - and if abstaining from drugstore means more Chanel, why not? I just can't pass up good deals and the constant experimentation. I'm just so relieved to know for myself that the hype about WnW is truly warranted, which will have me lusting after their other colourful palettes I'm sure... but let's not talk about that right now, LOL. Whatever, we'll figure it out. :)

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  21. Ok, so I was in London Drugs today and I swatched all three Shady Lady palettes. I decided I liked Volume 2 the best... and then I remembered your post! I already have CZ, but man, theBalm makes some incredible shadows!

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    1. Yeah, they're pretty nice! The Nude 'tude is fantastic, too.

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