The Vengeful Polyglot

Tarte The Starlet Limited-Edition Vanity

Posted on: August 4, 2012

It’s taken me forever to actually photograph and swatch this palette, which was a gift from my mom (thanks, mom!) for my 22nd birthday this year. Those of you who are keeping track will realize that’s more than 8 months ago. Whoops? Nevertheless, it was a great gift and a fabulous surprise given we were currently on the high seas somewhere in between California and Hawaii at the time. Tarte is a company I tend to just love. I love that most of their products are all-natural and not tested on animals (I haven’t checked every single product so I’m hedging that statement, but every one I’ve used has had great ingredients and been cruelty-free).

The Tarte The Starlet Limited-Edition Vanity — there’s a mouthful! — is my second limited-edition Tarte palette (my review of the Tarte True Blood Limited-Edition Palette can be found here). There’s always something so appealing and fun about limited editions, and this is no exception. The claim to fame here is that it serves a dual purpose: once the makeup is gone, the vanity can be used as an adorable jewelry box.

The vanity includes six full-size eyeshadow quads, sample-size MultiplEYE Natural Lash Enhancing Primer and Lights, Camera, Lashes! Clinically Proven Natural Mascara, two deluxe sample-size Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blushes, and deluxe sample-size Mineral Powder Bronzer and Amazonian Clay Shimmering Powder. The original price was $52, but as of this writing it’s on sale at the Tarte website (linked above) for $45. For the amount of product, it’s a good value at either price point.

Packaging

Packaging is one of the main selling points of this palette: once the makeup has been used, the trays the pans are set in can be removed and you’re left with a cute, mirrored jewelry box. As far as construction goes, the top lifts open and there are two drawers that slide out. It’s not the best made box on the planet, but I don’t find it to be dangerously flimsy. I can’t say that it’s very suitable for travel, however. The drawers slide around and there’s no mechanism for really keeping any of it closed, so it’s best suited for looking pretty on your vanity or bathroom counter. While the whole surface is obviously mirrored, it also has a generously-sized mirror on the inside of the lid.

The products are separated from one another, however they’re recessed into the sparkly silver tray, so I have had some product go awry onto that while using it. It’s really been a non-issue for me, but it should be noted that there is some chance for cross-contamination or general messiness, particularly with the face products (this is one reason I’ve never been able to use blush palettes — my brush always goes all over into everything).

 

Eyeshadows

As a general rule, I like Tarte eyeshadows. Of course, every palette will have hits or misses, but the ingredients are nice and the payoff is usually decent. There are six full-size quads in this palette, separated between the top section and first drawer. For added convenience, the 24 shadows are arranged into user-friendly groups of four as a suggestion or starting point for which shadows would go together well. I like features like this — sometimes, I’m a color dummy, and every little bit helps. As far as color goes, this is a far more conservative palette than the True Blood one — there’s a navy and a dark green, but that’s about as wild as it gets. On the upside of this, most of the colors are really wearable. If you’re looking to experiment with really bright hues, though, this may not suit your needs.

Instead of writing out the names and descriptions for each shadow like I normally do in my palette reviews, this time I’ve tried swatching so I can let the shadows speak for themselves! Hopefully this gives a much better idea of the payoff for each color, as well as saving me a lot of time thinking up ways to distinguish between six different kinds of pink. 😛 (For those who are interested, I also updated my Naked, Naked 2, and True Blood palette reviews with swatches.)  Here are the quads swatched on my arm as they appear in the palette:

As you can probably see, there are a large number of really, really light shadows here that unfortunately didn’t swatch terribly well. There’s some redundancy overall, I found. A fair number of coral-y or pink-y shades without too much distinction, and several shimmery neutrals which probably could have been differentiated more as well. Still, though, this is intended to be a wearable collection, and on that front it delivers. I do wish the payoff was a bit better, and some of the more glittery shades were a bit gritty (the gold in the bottom left is a good example of this). Overall, aside from rather minor problems with one or two shadows specifically, the quality is good.

 

Bronzer, Blushes, and Shimmering Powder

The bottom drawer of the vanity holds Park Avenue Princess (a shimmery bronzer), Glory (a shimmery peach blush), Starlet (a shimmery rose blush), and Provocateur (a beige highlighter). I’ve never been one to use bronzer, but I’ve used Park Avenue Princess once or twice as a contour, though only on my cheeks because of the shimmer. The payoff is nice, and I think the color will be flattering on those who want to look a bit more tan than I ever manage to. 😛 The blushes are quite nice, I particularly love Glory. I’ve wanted a peachy blush for a while, and this fits the bill! I only have one other Tarte blush, but it’s been my everyday blush since I got it. The wear is nice and there’s the perfect amount of shimmer. I also already use Tarte’s highlighting powder, but in the lighter shade (I believe it’s Champagne). Provocateur is a bit dark on me as a highlight, but I’m sure it would look lovely on darker complexions. I really, really love both of these products to death, and I’m glad to have more color options now!

Here they are swatched on my arm:

As you can see, Glory hits the light more gold and Starlet more silver. The consistency isn’t gritty at all, and while I’m not sure that I can guarantee 12 hours of wear, I’ve never noticed a problem with fading with this formula. The same goes for the shimmering powder. With the exception of the bronzer which I don’t think I’m necessarily qualified to evaluate, I’d definitely recommend these products.

 

Lash Primer and Mascara

I was a bit short-sighted and didn’t grab a picture of these samples on their own, but you can see them in one of the pictures of the eyeshadows above. I’ve used a lash primer once or twice before, and I thought this one performed well based on my past experiences. It does add length and accentuates curl. I’ve used it most when I don’t want to put on a lot of mascara (like if I’m going to the beach or somewhere I expect to get wet) — it makes a little mascara go a lot farther. While I’m not sure this is a product I’d use day-to-day, if a primer is something you’re looking for then this one seems to work well.

Since I’ve already reviewed Tarte’s mascara based on the sample I got with the True Blood palette, pardon my copy-pasta:

The mascara was actually a revelation for me. I have sensitive eyes, and part of the reason I had trouble imagining myself wearing makeup every day is because mascara, or eye makeup in general, tends to irritate my eyes. I figured this was probably how it was for everyone, and that I should just deal with it. What struck me about this mascara though (I assume since it’s natural) is that it really doesn’t bother my eyes. It’s not quite as nice as the Chanel I was wearing before, but the comfort is totally worth it. It goes on nicely, and I didn’t notice too much clumping (I usually max out at two coats, though, so your mileage may vary). I’m definitely going to be buying another Tarte mascara. Awesome!

I actually use Tarte’s Gifted mascara now rather than Lights, Camera, Lashes! (some of you may have noticed I recced it a while back), but the premise is the same. 😛 Tarte’s mascaras work really wonderfully and don’t irritate my eyes much at all.

 

Overall Verdict

This is a very useful palette in general, particularly for make up novices or those who are looking for a general solution to the “everyday look” problem. It’s also adorably packaged, and the ability to repurpose the vanity into something else is well taken. The blushes are particularly useful to me, and the ability to turn out a complete look (sans lip product) in one palette is really convenient. I’m definitely happy with it as the marker for my 22nd birthday!

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Blog by a programmer cum linguist cum writer cum total geek. One who pretentiously uses "cum" in place of any other logical connectives. Direct questions to the Ask Lauren page!

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