A “Bahama Mama” Review + “Maria Morena” Thoughts

This is theBalm’s Bahama Mama, a matte bronzer that happens to be affordable and of incredible quality. I use this mainly to contour and I find myself reaching for it nearly every single day as it’s not too dark on my skin–just enough to add some definition, really. This was my very first bronzer, but since purchasing it I had to have a shimmery one too for when I want something like the glow our “Bahama Mama” has going on up there.

It took me ages to go and finally pick up a bronzer for myself, and if you continue reading, you’ll hear why. Plus a review on the brozer too, of course. Haha

[If you don’t want to hear about anything but the bronzer, skip these next few paragraphs]

Being tan has never been a huge thing in the Philippines, where the ideal woman is a Maria Clara (“clara” is Spanish for clear) with porcelain skin, rosy cheeks, and the virtue of an angel. Given our history as a colonized nation, it’s no surprise that our idea of beauty is anything other than having dark skin, which is more often than not associated with looking poor and/or unclean. Although that narrow definition of beauty has expanded the tiniest bit over the years, whitening products still fly off the shelves and “brozer” has only recently become a part of the Filipino makeup vocabulary. If you’re a local makeup artist, you’ll know the value of a good contour powder and shimmery bronzers placed in just the right places, but our culture still rejects that beautiful all-over bronzed glow that I’ve seen caucasians drool over and bake in the sun for hours in an attempt to achieve.

Putting it into makeup terms, the ideal skin tone would probably be in a (MAC) range of NC/NW 35 and below. Anything higher than that is “dark.” To be honest I developed a deep insecurity over my being morena (dark-skinned) in my teenage years. I still am more of a “Maria Morena” than I will ever be a Maria Clara, but one of the great things about growing up is that you finally grow into your own skin–and quite literally so in this case. Today, I can tell you that I love the colour of my skin, but imagine how confusing it was as a young girl to be at home (the Philippines) and have titas (aunts) come up to you and harp about how much prettier you would be if you only were a little bit fairer… and then to go on vacation around Europe where these tall, white-skinned foreigners tell you how beautiful you are precisely because of your tan. It may seem trivial to some, but history has its way of clinging to each and every one of us even when we think we’ve left it in the past.

Before I go on any longer and practically write an essay about the effects of colonialization on perceptions of beauty, I’ll get to the turning point that I meant to make many a paragraph ago: It was my becoming comfortable with my own skin that improved my makeup routine. I finally stopped picking powders/foundations that were too light for me and insisting that bronzers would never be for me. I began to choose what fit me best, and I just started to feel better about myself because I wasn’t forcing the mold. It’s definitely not always true that external beauty reflects inner beauty, but it is always true that inner peace and comfort show on the outside.

CHEESE, right? Ok, back to the review!

Bahama Mama is, like I said, completely matte so it’s perfect for contouring. It’s neither too orange-based or too dusty, so it won’t make you look like an Oompa-Loompa or an ashy-cast mess. The texture of the powder is also really nice and fine; super easy to blend!

You get 7.08g in the pan, which is protected by theBalm’s signature cardboard casing. It’s actually incredibly durable and the only down side to it is that it gets dirty easily. The overall size of the product though is convenient and perfect to take with you while travelling because it’s so light! :)

Swatched on my NC42 skin. The left is a more blended out swatch and on the right I really pushed the colour in. I’m curious to try the NARS Laguna bronzer now, but I’m so content with this one that it might be a while before I do.

Product Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ five outta five!

theBalm products are available at Beauty Bar branches nationwide. Bahama Mama is priced at 750.00php, which is incredibly reasonable. Self-confidence, on the other hand, is priceless and is often found within you but not easily drawn out. Lol. K. Bye.


4 responses to A “Bahama Mama” Review + “Maria Morena” Thoughts

  1. My Lucite Dreams

    Lovely review. I love the intro, very beautiful! Love the bronzer, don’t know why I never tried this, will need to check it out..

  2. Crissy

    I think you are beautiful & you have a lovely complexion :) I’m filipina too, but wish to have darker skin. I only use whitening products for dark spots like elbows, knees, post acne marks, etc. In terms of bronzers, I prefer matte & neutral. I agree that some bronzers can be too shimmery or orange. I’ve been using Benedit Hoola, but I might just check out Bahama Mama :)

    • Mariana – Author

      :) Thank you! Yes, super dark skin is so beautiful! Especially when there’s a tan on top of it pa!

      I’ve always wanted to try Benefit Hoola but I find it expensive for the amount of product you get. Based on other reviews though, I think it’s a shade or two lighter than Bahama Mama. :)

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