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Clarins Beauty Flash Balm Review

Updated on September 30, 2012
Photo © Redberry Sky, 2012
Photo © Redberry Sky, 2012

This product has been one of my absolute favourites for a long time. It can be used as a make up base, a moisturizer, a facial mask, or on the days when it just seems too much bother to apply make up, it acts as a kind of alternative to foundation and gives skin a soft and glowing radiance.

What Does Beauty Flash Balm Do?

What doesn’t it do?! It isn’t like an ordinary moisturizer – although it does work to retain moisture - but where other moisturizers are massaged into the skin and are absorbed, Beauty Balm is applied in a similar way to make up foundation – a thin layer on the surface of the skin. This means that it keeps the environmental impurities out, and the moisture in.

But the balm goes much further than simply acting as a barrier, as it has ingredients that give it a ‘diffusing’ property, which even apart from any moisturizing effects, smooths the appearance of blemishes, pores, lines and wrinkles.

How To Use the Balm

The best way I've found to use it is over a small amount of light moisturizer, either as a make up base or as a foundation cream in its own right.

Don't use it over a heavy face cream, or all-in-one's like tinted moisturisers or BB creams - you'll be using two quite thick creams together and the result might look quite 'caked' and unpleasant, and since both will have some 'tint' to them, the combined colour may not be what you're expecting!

As similar products, BB creams are good alternatives to the Flash Balm - Garnier's BB pictured here is one of the most popular of these.  Photo © Redberry Sky, 2012.
As similar products, BB creams are good alternatives to the Flash Balm - Garnier's BB pictured here is one of the most popular of these. Photo © Redberry Sky, 2012.


There are some great products that are quite similar to the Flash Balm, and which have much the same effect. The newest one (in the West - Asian countries have had them for many years) are BB creams, which are all-in-one moisturizers, sun blocks, foundations and concealers. I quite like Garnier's BB Cream, but more and more BBs are coming onto the market all the time: MAC have one that's received great reviews, and Clinique have their own BB too, as well as many other cosmetics and skincare manufacturers.

Basically, Clarins's product is a moisturizer and light matte foundation, and it seems to work best on fair-skinned people with 'normal/combination' skin, so for many, using separate moisturizing and foundation products tailored to their particular skin type and tone will be much more flattering, and might better suit particular skincare needs.

A Smudge of Flash Balm

The cream is light and quite silky to apply, and works like a very light foundation.  Photo © Redberry Sky, 2012.
The cream is light and quite silky to apply, and works like a very light foundation. Photo © Redberry Sky, 2012.

Is Beauty Flash Balm Good?

There is huge disagreement among those who have tried the product as to whether it is a miracle cream that wipes away the appearance of fatigue, making you look young and vibrant; or whether it is a cleverly marketed but ultimately useless face cream that does nothing but part you from your cash.

I’m somewhere in between these views. I have about three Clarins products that I use regularly, and although I don’t think any of them will really bring me eternal youth, I have found them to be among the most effective products I’ve tried. The Flash Balm is light, simple and quick to apply, and its matte texture and soft colour gives skin a very soft and natural glow. I use it as a daytime product, I think evening demands something less subtle. Another thing to know is that it doesn't provide any sun protection factor (SPF) at all. I think it's a very convenient product for anyone who just wants to wear light, unobtrusive make up for work.

Flash Balm Comparison Photos

The hand on the left has Flash Balm applied, the hand on the right doesn't.  Photo © Redberry Sky, 2012.
The hand on the left has Flash Balm applied, the hand on the right doesn't. Photo © Redberry Sky, 2012.

What’s Good About Beauty Flash Balm?

Soft Skin and Absolutely NO Greasiness Whatsoever

When I apply the cream by itself, my skin feels extremely soft and supple, and I always think it has a kind of very subtle sheen to it – as though I’ve dusted with some very fine translucent powder.

Refreshing and Tightening

It makes my skin feel just a little bit ‘tingly’ and cool, which makes me feel refreshed and more awake. Clarins claims that the product does tighten the skin, and lists the astringent Witch Hazel as one of the responsible ingredients for this.


There is a little colour in the cream, a very neutral-to-warm creamy yellow. This does not cover or conceal blemishes, but it does seem to lift my pale skin tone to a brighter and more healthy-looking hue. No doubt this is not entirely due to the colour in the cream, as astringents and the diffusing properties will also have an effect, but the gentle lightening is very welcome on days when I look tired or when I don’t want to wear full make up.

As a Make up Base

I think that the balm makes a great make up base, whether it’s to give a smooth and silky helping hand to foundation cream, or whether I want to get away with wearing just a few essentials to go somewhere casual and want a little warmth in my complexion.

What’s Not so Good About Flash Beauty Balm?

The Price

At £28 ($45 in the US) for 50ml, this is one of the most expensive products I own. Clarins recommend using the balm as a mask twice a week, and I must admit that when I’ve tried this it does completely refresh my skin and make it feel wonderfully soft, but the amount of product needed to use it as a mask even once a week would put this out of my price range completely.

I only use it as an alternative to foundation or as a refreshing cream or base a couple of times a week, and a 50ml tube lasts me for about 4 months, which means I spend roughly £85 a year just on this product alone. For those in the US, the same amount of cream (three 1.7 fl. oz. tubes a year) costs $135.

The Astringency

One of the best qualities of this cream – it’s cooling and refreshing nature – can also be one of its downsides. The astringent ‘tingling’ that the cream provides lasts for up to 2 or 3 hours in my experience, and that can become a little irritating. Note, though, that this doesn’t bother me all the time – I only really notice it on the days that my skin is feeling very sensitive – and ordinarily I’m quite happy with the feel of the balm.

The Scent

Some of Clarins products smell divine. But sadly Beauty Flash Balm isn't one of them. It's certainly not a bad smell, but it kind of conjures in my mind an image of my grandmother - kind of like old-fashioned 'vanishing cream'.

Overall, Is Beauty Flash Balm Something Special or just Another Expensive Face Cream?

I like the Beauty Flash Balm, and it’s my treat to myself. I have seen other recommendations for similar but less expensive products, but I’ve never found one that performs quite as well for my skin as this product does. The cost is a bit of a sticking point, but the balm can ‘stand in’ for foundation, and it’s much more forgiving and quick to apply on the mornings that I just don’t have time to spend on applying full make up!


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    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Great review! I've been looking for a good 'all in one' type moisturizer. I might just have to check into this. Thank you for a great write up. VUMS.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      good product review

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      I love Clarins products but have never tried this one. Now I plan to get a tube. I like the idea of the tightening, astringent effect and softening while moisturizing. Thank you for a great product review!

    • Peanutritious profile image

      Tara Carbery 4 years ago from Cheshire, UK

      I love this. Like you, it's not something I can afford readily so I save it for special occasions like a big glam night out. I feel much better with it on. It lifts me somehow and makes my skin look dewy. It does smell a bit grannified though!

    • Redberry Sky profile image

      Redberry Sky 4 years ago

      Hey Tara :) it is a wonderful cream isn't it, but yes- that smell is *most* peculiar for such a beautiful product!

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