The Shape Tape Concealer has been the only makeup product from Tarte that I have loved and recommended, but it’s not the only Tarte Product in my collection. For example, I had the Tarte Tarteist PRO Remix Amazonian Clay Palette for well over a year as a gift from a friend, yet I hadn’t even swatched it since getting it even though I’ve always been curious about Tarte’s eyeshadow formula. So, today, I’ll be reviewing several products I acquired last year from Tarte that I haven’t spoken about or even used until now. The Amazonian Best of Cheek Set from last year’s holiday release was supposed to be on this list, but I reviewed that in May, so the Amazonian Clay Blushes finally join Shape Tape as another recommended favorite.
Tarte Tarteist PRO Remix Amazonian Clay Palette
I noticed a chocolate scent as soon as I opened the palette, which surprised me because I wasn’t aware that it’s a common feature of Tarte eyeshadows. It’s apparently supposed to be a vanilla smell, but it smells exactly like Too Faced Chocolate Bar palettes to me.
Another thing that shocked me is the quality of these eyeshadows! I know Tarte has a very dedicated fan base (how else would they be able to sell the same palette slightly tweaked over and over again), but I thought they just loved the neutral aspect. I didn’t realize the shadows were genuinely good! The shimmers don’t have that high intense sparkle to them that I’ve come to enjoy, but they are still shimmery enough, pigmented, smooth, and easy to apply. The mattes are soft and two are blendable. I wish I had more of them in this palette because there are only three: Mixed Media which I can only use to brighten the look or blend out edges, Wall Art which barely shows on my skin and also only works to soften the edges of shades, and Ink which is a stubborn to blend black shadow that requires using the tiniest amount, blending, then slowly continue to build and blend. Working with Ink is too tedious for me. So, I sorely miss having some mattes to use in my crease that will actually show.
I enjoyed this palette so much that I instantly wanted to buy more. However, I remembered that Tarte stepped out of their metaphorical box with this palette and have barely made anymore like it. The most colorful palette they’ve made since that time which almost had my interest is the Tartelette Juicy Amazonian Clay Palette, but Tarte caught me at a time when I’m still sick of pinks, despite how beautiful the shades look. When or if they make a palette that suits my tastes, I won’t hesitate to purchase it.
tarte SEA Breezy Cream Bronzer in Grace Bay and Sunset Beach
I purchased these from Tarte’s website during two different sales. There are three shades in total and they got very little hype, which surprises me because I think this is a solid cream bronzer formula. There’s nothing extraordinary about them, but they do get the job done. They last on me all day and are easy to blend if I use the right brush and don’t spread out the product too far. They’re not transfer-proof, but they set nicely with powder on top and aren’t sticky to the touch.
I typically apply a minute amount of Sunset Beach first, the darkest shade that did not make it to Sephora’s site, to chisel my face because it’s deep enough to have a major contouring effect on me. Then I apply Grace Bay on top to warm it up. Grace Bay is essentially a warmer version of my skintone, so it barely adds any depth. Between the two shades, I can bronze, contour, and brontour. As much as I like them, they take a backseat to the Danessa Myricks cream bronzer and the cream sculpting shade in the Kaja Play Bento trios, so it wasn’t the best decision ordering both even at the reduced price. I managed to get Sunset Beach for 50% off, and at that price I’d recommend these.
Tarte Blush Authority Amazonian Clay Cheek Wardrobe (Holiday 2020)
Rumor has it that Tarte’s holiday blushes aren’t good unless they are the Amazonian Clay formula. This was the main reason, aside from the shade options, that I avoided getting Tarte’s blush/highlighter/bronzer sets despite their great value for the price. This ongoing reputation probably contributed to Tarte’s inability to sell them all at the end of 2020, and even when I bought this in September of 2021 for 50% off, it didn’t sell out until sometime between May and June of 2022.
The shades in the gold compact seemed the least likely to work for me, so I decided to give that one to a friend and just try out the rose gold and purple compacts. Frosted Frappe is a beautiful pink-gold shade that I can only pull off if I use the tiniest amount. I didn’t expect to like it, but it’s a very interesting tone and surprisingly better than the highlighter in the 2021 Holiday Set. The only downside is that it’s not the most flattering on texture and I don’t consider myself as having that big of an issue with texture on my skin, so noticing it says a lot.
Photo showing many different Tarte products applied to my face.
I didn’t bother showing what Sweet Cheeks looks like on the skin because it doesn’t show on me at all. Sugar & Spice gives a faint flush if I build up the hell out of it. I do like it though.
Please ignore the mask indent on my cheek. This is the Sugar & Spice Blush built up heavily.
Into You doesn’t show on my cheeks. Yours Truly is a slightly darker duper for Nars Orgasm and I would use it as a highlighter if the shimmer was more finely milled. The metallic nature of it isn’t flattering on texture. Lastly, Playtime is my favorite of the bunch because it actually shows on me the most and isn’t as bright as I expected from the way it looks in the pan.
I have some longevity issues with these blushes and they are a bit dusty, so I don’t believe they are as good of quality as the Amazonian Clay ones. I might still reach for these every so often, but I did learn that I should probably not get Tarte’s basic blush formula again, nor their highlighters.
Tarte Merry Metals Brush Set
This set was a gift from my friend in 2020 that I only started to test out at the end of March because the bristle splay of those head shapes looked less functional than I like. I really hope she doesn’t see this post because I appreciate the gift, and the handles are all durable and high quality, but the brush heads are flawed.
I remember being so impressed with Tarte brushes up until 2017. They were all the right densities, soft but still with some resilience, and not scratchy. I never had issues with shedding. They actually gave natural hair brushes a run for their money. Where I started to see a decline was the Unicorn horn-handle set of brushes that had inconsistencies of the dye, spots I could see glue, and other minor flaws. However, even those brushes I thought were still pretty good and I still continued to recommend Tarte brushes as synthetic options. So, I was quite shocked with this new experience of bristles that feel barely above old school cheap synthetic fibers before advancements were made.
This brush blends decently, but the trade off is the scratchiness! I don’t consider myself as having sensitive skin around my eyes, but this is too much for me. While it’s true that I’ve gotten used to doing my eyeshadow with high grade goat hair brushes with uncut tips, I still use one or two synthetic eye brushes on a weekly basis and none of them feel like this on my skin. If I was younger, I’d probably use it anyway, but with the collection that I have, there’s no reason for me to subject myself to skin irritation unnecessarily.
This is the best brush in the set, and it’s just okay. It’s bundled to medium density, which makes it the thickest and second most dense one out of the set. This characteristic compensates for the fact that these bristles don’t pick up powder that well, so I can at least get a medium amount of product onto my face per dip into the pan. I can get a little more buffing action out of this brush than the others. The tighter bundle also keeps the brush from splaying as much as the others, so I can have a bit more control and precision for blush, bronzer, and all-over powdering of the face. It feels softer than the others purely because I don’t have to use as much pressure to blend, which means I can hold the brush further back when I use it, which also means there isn’t enough pressure for the bristles to scratch my face. With more pressure, this brush still feels soft at first, but by the time I’m finished buffing, it feels like I just dry-brushed/physically exfoliated my face. Even though this is the most useful of the five, I’d reach for my Real Techniques brushes over this one every time.
Despite the pinched ferrule, this brush is way too loosely packed to be used for anything but a super blendable bronzer or face powder. The bristles being so long, combined with the loose bundling, makes it too floppy and flimsy that I can’t even properly clean the tips onto my microfiber towel between uses. I can only effectively clean off the very tips and not slightly higher, which causes color to be re-deposited onto my face since the wide splay causes so much of the fibers past the tips to be exposed to my face. I tend to use brushes for multiple purposes, so this is a nightmare to try and switch between using it for bronzer then blush without muddying up the cheek and then switching to face powder without getting the pink blush remnants all over the face. In order to try and get a better clean, I’ve tried grabbing the base of the bristles myself and squeezing them together to get the bristles to stand upright without flopping around while I rubbed them on the cloth. This still didn’t feel satisfactory, so I held the brush and put the cloth over the tips and tried to gently squeeze and rub the ends with the cloth like I would if I was getting excess water out of the bristles of a freshly washed brush, but when I did that, it felt like I almost yanked the whole thing out of the ferrule. It’s just an absolutely poorly bundled and constructed brush head.
The state of the Large Powder Brush after two uses.
The reason I don’t recommend this with blush is because of the huge splay and inability to blend properly, so if I were to keep using this brush I would make a decision on whether to use it exclusively for bronzer or exclusively for powder so that I wouldn’t be mixing shades and need to clean off the color in-between uses.
With only light pressure, the splay becomes too wide for me to enjoy this with blush.
The one thing this brush has going for it is the fact that it’s impossible to be scratchy when using because applying pressure makes the bristles practically go flat, so I have no choice but to hold the brush further back on the handle in order to use it. For this reason, I find the best use for this brush would be all over face powder where blending isn’t needed as much and low product pick up is generally a good thing. This brush is recommended by Tarte to be used with loose powder anyway.
I think no one would be shocked to learn I have no intention of using this brush again.
We’re back to another scratchy brush. I guess it’s fitting since it’s basically just a larger version of the blending brush.
I like to apply highlighter as lightly as possible, so at least in this instance, I can use it in a way that keeps things soft. Because this doesn’t pick up much product, and I wouldn’t want to do much blending with it, it’s best with lightly pressed and more powdery highlighters. With thicker formulas or ones harder to pick up, I don’t feel like I get an even coating on my brush which makes for inconsistent application sometimes. The imprecision is a big issue for me since it makes the fact that I have highlighter on even more obvious and goes against the more natural look I try to create, so I will also not be using this brush again.
This is the only truly dense brush in the set and comically one of the most dense shader brushes I have in my collection, next to my other Tarte flat shader brush from the Make Believe In Yourself Magic Wands Brush Set (unicorn handles). It’s also not a bad brush. It picks up a decent amount of product that I’m able to not only pack on shadows with, but also line my eyes and add definition to the crease. If I clean off the brush and turn it on it’s side, I can also use windshield wiper motions to blend with it as well. It’s minimally scratchy (or at least the area I use this brush on isn’t as sensitive) so this is actually a brush I could see myself continuing to use. The only reason I likely won’t is because I still have my natural hair brushes I prefer. This brush would be perfect for spreading on cream shadows and on top of eyes that were prepped with glitter primer that I shouldn’t use with my natural hair brushes. The density makes it great for spreading on an even amount of eye shadow, but that density does prohibit building them up in a thicker layer.
This brush set is no longer for sale, but I went into this much detail because I want to express caution when it comes to Tarte brushes. They apparently are not all the same good quality that they used to be, so one has to be careful when choosing which to purchase.
Despite a few letdowns (mainly the brushes), I think my overall opinion of Tarte has risen. Most of the products are decent quality or better, so this is one of those brands I’ll keep my eye on, but only if the products are on sale. Speaking of sales, I believe Tarte’s Friends and Family sale is still going on at the time that I’m posting this. Shipping is free and code FAM30 will give a 30% off discount. I believe the code even applies to new releases and stacks on top of items already on sale.
That’s all I have for today. Thank you for reading!