You know what? I really do not get the "flash balm" category of beauty products. There are some good makeup primers that also impart radiance to the skin (NARS, Guerlain, Laura Mercier), but so far I'm not having much luck with flash balms (see my review of the one from Clarins), and this includes Elemis Pro-Radiance Illuminating Flash Balm, despite my usual love of Elemis products.
According to the people at Elemis, their Pro-Radiance balm is to be used
"AM and PM by gently applying onto clean skin and under eyes on dark circles. Upon application you will notice a translucent glow to the skin. To use as a mask, leave for 10-15 minutes and rinse with lukewarm water."They also claim that it can be used as an overnight mask, but I have no intention to try. At best, the Illuminating Flash Balm is a slightly heavy primer that uses mica to impart a visible radiant effect. Naturally, more visible under a tinted moisturizer than under a full coverage foundation. I find it a bit too obvious and thick (compared to the primers I mentioned above), and as an added annoyance, just like the Clarins product, the Elemis balm clogs my pores and breaks me out. Thus it is not a good choice for me as a skincare product (and I don't want to think how it would have ended had I chosen to spend the night with it as a mask). Looking at the ingredients of the Illuminating Flash Balm I'm far from impressed: notice how high fragrance appears on the list-- right after Vitamin E. There's also alcohol in there and several oils that are known irritants and allergens. The not so funny thing is that several of these ingredients are heavily restricted by IFRA for use in perfume, a product that you use in much smaller amounts and mostly on far less sensitive areas of your body. But here they are in this balm, ready to be slathered all over one's face. I'm not amused.
Aqua/Water/Eau, Octyldodecanol, Propylene Glycol, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Starch, Glycerin, Polysorbate 60, Sorbitan Stearate, Mica, Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Phenoxyethanol, Carbomer, Bisabolol, Pullulan, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Polyacrylamide, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Fragrance (Parfum), Methylpropanediol, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Laureth-7, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Lecithin, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C), Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Moringa Pterygosperma Seed Extract, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin) Oil, Dipropylene Glycol, Sodium Hydroxide, Disodium Phosphate, Litsea Cubeba Fruit Oil, Caramel, Orchis Mascula (Orchid) Extract, Alcohol, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Morinda Citrifolia (Noni) Fruit Extract, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil, Bixa Orellana Seed Extract, Potassium Hydroxide, Potassium Sorbate, Benzoic Acid, Euterpe Oleracea (Acai) Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Dehydroacetic Acid, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sorbic Acid, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide, Salvia Sclarea (Clary Sage) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Flower Oil, Limonene, Linalool, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Citral, Benzyl Salicylate, Geraniol.
Bottom Line: the radiance I get is not worth the consequences.
Elemis Pro-Radiance Illuminating Flash Balm ($60, 1.7 oz) is available from Nordstrom. The tube I have came as part of an Elemis travel kit.