TheBalm Meet Matt(e) Nude vs the Original Meet Matt(e)

TheBalm is a San Fransisco-based company known for their quirky, vintage-style packaging and high quality products.

TheBalm’s Meet Matt(e) is an eyeshadow palette featuring a variety of matte colors. This January, they released a new, much larger matte palette using primarily nude tones: Meet Matt(e) Nude.

On the cover of the Meet Matt(e) Nude palette, theBalm proudly proclaims “Size Matt(e)rs”. You have to appreciate a makeup company that is willing to make penis jokes on their packaging.

The original Meet Matt(e) costs $34.50 for 0.33oz of product, or $104.55 per ounce. Meet Matt(e) Nude costs $42 for 0.9oz of product, or $46.67 per ounce. (For reference, Urban Decay Naked Basics is $90 per ounce.)

Obviously, if price per ounce is your concern, Meet Matt(e) Nude is a much better deal. However, even if absolute cost is your main issue, the Meet Matt(e) Nude palette is only $7.50 more than the original, and it has almost three times the product.

Size comparison

That being said, there are a few benefits to the original Meet Matt(e) palette. Because it is small, it is more portable. It also has a brush, which makes it easier to use on the go. (Still, I don’t really use the Meet Matt(e) brush because it’s a pretty shitty brush… But I appreciate the effort!) And, of course, if ‘all nude’ palettes aren’t your thing, the original palette has greens and blues in addition to neutrals.

The Original Meet Matt(e)

The packaging for the Meet Matt(e) palette features a moderately handsome, 1950s-looking white dude with very, very shiny teeth. (They are literally sparkling, you guys.)

The original Meet Matt(e) has the following nine shades:
Matt Smith- A warm beige
Matt Gallagher- A medium brown
Matt Ramirez- A dark, reddish brown
Matt McDonald- A dark, greyish blue
Matt Horowitz- An ocean blue
Matt Chung- A very light, baby-was-just-born pink
Matt Batali- A dark brown with a hint of eggplant
Matt Schilling- A teal
Matt Patel- An ashy grey-brown

Two swipes of each color

Although I find the darker colors to be very pigmented, the lighter colors (especially Matt Smith and Matt Chung) fall very short. They are, however, useful for ‘no-makeup makeup’ looks!

A neutral look created using the Meet Matt(e) palette

Meet Matt(e) Nude

The Meet Matt(e) Nude palette features the same moderately handsome dude, except now he’s more tan.

I like the fact that there is a mirror large enough to actually use.

Meet Matt(e) Nude has the following nine shades:
Matt Johnson- A charcoal-y blue
Matt Garcia- A cool dark brown
Matt Malloy- A rich ivory
Matt Rosen- A “the Beast from Beauty and the Beast” colored brown
Matt Wood- A purple-ish dark brown
Matt Singh- A hospital-gown colored peach
Matt Abdul- An almost lavender colored gray
Matt Lombardi- A buttery, yellowish beige
Matt Hung- A medium gray

Two swipes of each color

All of these colors are very creamy and well pigmented. Matt Malloy was the biggest surprise. Every matte white I have ever tried as been pretty much a failure. This one is quite pigmented. Matt Lombardi is the biggest disappointment, and it is actually still relatively pigmented. Because all of these shades are winners, I feel that not only is the Meet Matt(e) Nude palette less pricey, it is higher quality.

If I had had a crystal ball when I purchased the original Meet Matt(e) palette, I wouldn’t have bothered. I feel that the Meet Matt(e) Nude palette outshines it by a significant margin.

A neutral look created using the Meet Matt(e) Nude palette

Miscellaneous Related Soapbox Time

If you look at the people featured on theBalm’s packaging, you might notice a pattern.

Pictures all gracelessly stolen from

TheBalm REALLY likes featuring white people on their packaging. I was able to find one item featuring a woman of color (their liquid eyeliner). However, for a San Fransisco-based company, this lack of ethnic diversity is not appropriate or acceptable. (This would be unacceptable for any American company, but given that San Fransisco is the 2nd most ethnically diverse city in the US, this oversight is especially egregious.) I think that this is a real shame, and I hope theBalm steps it up in the future.


  1. Charlotte

    I love the names of all the eye shadows! At least those are diverse LOL.


    Ha! That’s true.

  3. Ariel

    Hey, so I’ve been reading your blog for a couple weeks, and may I just say that you are amazing and I love everything you write. But this entry made me absolutely overflow with fangirl adoration for you. Because not only are you a really clever and funny writer, science-minded, and awesome about makeup; but you also actually notice, care about, and speak up about racist marketing tendencies in makeup! Can you even get any cooler? Girl, you are unbelievable! Keep being you. Because you rule.


    Thank you so much! I really appreciate it.

  5. ellemarie

    Just discovered your website today while at work(!) [shameface!] while researching tips to keep my face from looking like a damn oil slick after three hours, and that’s with mattifying translucent powder underneath and on top of Revlon Colorstay for combo/oily skin. I absolutely love it, and I’ve been reading through your archive (obviously!). I second every compliment Ariel gave you. I really appreciate that you called out the Balm’s marketing and your consistency in pointing out when products won’t work for all skin tones, i.e. they’re not brown-girl-friendly. Keep it up!

  6. teresa bowen

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  7. eve

    Thank you for pointing out the racism in their packaging. I thought I was the only one bothered by this. And I have to echo what Ariel said above. It’s cool to see a beauty enthusiast with a social conscience. Good work!

  8. vvatima

    Wanted to second the comments thanking you for noticing the disproportionate number of white people on the packaging. That definitely put me off a bit as an Asian person. Though strangely enough, the Matt(e) Nude palette looks like it would really work quite well for my tan, warm skin so I might check it out – normally nude/neutral palettes contain too many shades that are too light and cool for me.

  9. caprica122

    Love your review!!! I had been eyeing the balm products for so long. I adore the packaging. When I first heard of their line and saw the packaging I too noticed all the white people and even emailed the company to ask if it would work my skin tone (I am dark skinned) because I thought it was aimed for lighter complexions.It has been a few years and after seeing numerous online swatches I know their products will work on lots of skin types and I caught their 50% off sale and can’t wait for the products to come in the mail. Thank you for the review!