The twelfth week of my one week, one palette project presented an interesting obstacle for me: this was my first week at a new job in a relatively conservative office. It happened to work out that the palette I had in rotation last week—Tarte Rainforest of the Sea—is my most neutral/light/work-appropriate palette, which was definitely appreciated.
I have to say, though, this wasn't my favorite week by a long shot in terms of looks I created. And I don't think that is the palette's fault; I think I just really don't like conservative and work-appropriate looks. I found myself constantly worrying if I put on too much eyeshadow, and tried to tone down my looks as much as possible while still trying to utilize the palette and show a variation of looks.
Clockwise from top, Seashell, Wave, Abyss, Reef, Starfish, Cove, Sand, and Mermaid
Since there are only two matte shades in this palette (Cove and Sand), I also incorporated some shadows from the MAC C'Est Chic palette:
I've been debating decluttering this palette for a while, and decided to use it for two weeks to really make a decision.
Below are six looks I did last week. Look 1 was not on a work day, but the rest of the looks were worn to work.
Reef on the lid, MAC Soft Brown and MAC Corduroy blended into the crease, Abyss padded onto the outer corner, and Sand on the brow bone. Reef on the lower lash line.
Seashell on the lid, MAC Demitasse blended into the crease, MAC All's Rosy padded onto the outer corner and blended into the crease, and Sand on the brow bone. MAC All's Rosy on the lower lash line.
Mermaid on the lid, Cove blended into the crease, Starfish padded onto the outer corner, and Sand on the brown bone. Mermaid on the lower lash line.
Starfish on the lid, Cove blended into the crease, Abyss padded onto the outer corner, and Sand on the brown bone. Starfish on the lower lash line.
Wave on the lid, Cove blended into the crease, Reef padded onto the outer corner, and Sand on the brow bone. Wave and Abyss on the lower lash line.
Starfish on the lid, MAC Soft Brown and MAC All's Rosy blended into the crease, MAC Embark padded onto the outer corner, and Sand on the brow bone. Reef on the lower lash line.
If there was ever a palette in my collection that I would keep for sentimental purposes or because I loved the packaging, it would be this one. Luckily, I also really love the quality of these shadows, and it is a palette that I enjoy. I think it's a perfect palette for people wanting to do looks appropriate for work and who are also looking to have a bit of diversity.
I really enjoy the quality of these shadows. They remind me a lot of Make Up For Ever artist shadows, which are my favorite shadow formula. They are closer to a cream, in my opinion, than a powder, and are similar in nature to a foiled shadow. I have heard a lot of people complain about the shadows in this palette and say that they don't deposit product well onto a brush, but I strongly feel all of those complaints are due to user error. This is not an eyeshadow formula where one can lightly tap a brush into it and get significant pigment. Due to the creamy nature of it, the product has to be pushed a bit with the brush in an almost scraping/digging motion.
Due to the nature of the formula, the shimmers are gorgeous and perform seamlessly while the mattes take a bit more effort. Typically when using a matte shadow, I lightly dip my brush into the pan and start building the color lightly on my lid. When I've tried that technique with the mattes in this palette, I have received little to no color payoff. Instead, I need to push/scrape the shadow and then pat the product that comes up into my brush. Once I figured that out, the mattes were easier to work with, but they are not as easy as traditional matte shadows from MAC, Makeup Geek, Kat Von D, Viseart, etc.
I enjoyed using every color in this palette. Reef is my favorite shade because I love the richness to it, but I also really enjoy Starfish, and Cove is a surprisingly nice crease color for me. The rest of the colors are also pretty, they are just lighter shades and therefore not as interesting or fun for me to use, but work nicely in an office setting.
It's probably not a surprise that my favorite look last week was look 1 because it was the only look that I did not wear to work. As far as work looks are concerned, I enjoyed looks 2 and 6 the most. Using this palette all week to work really opened my eyes about my palette/eyeshadow collection. I love the diversity of colors in my collection, but if I am only able to wear super neutral looks, I certainly don't need the vast majority of everything I have. And, frankly, that makes me a little sad. I know it sounds silly, but eyeshadow application is something I enjoy so much and has really become an artistic form of self-expression for me. Thinking that I'll need to do light washes of color for the majority of the week, every week, is a sad thought for me.
What I don't understand about Tarte is why they have so many different eyeshadow formulas. This formula is different than Tarte's Tartelette palettes and is also different from the Tartiest Pro formula. I've read that the second Rainforest of the Sea palette has a formula that is similar or the same to this one, but I've also heard that the quality is not as strong as in the original.
Tarte as a brand has rapidly become one that I am not really interested in supporting anymore. I think they are taking a few cues from Too Faced and are pumping out as many releases as possible and compromising on quality. I'm also not interested in a brand that seems so incredibly desperate to be seen as "cool" by people on YouTube. I watch YouTube reviews, but I am not a person who is impressed in any way by brand trips to exotic locations in exchange for people shilling products. And that seems to be Tarte's biggest marking tactic at the moment, which I find very off-putting. And the Rainforest of the Sea palette is just another example of my confusion with the brand. I think these shadows are of excellent quality and easily the best I've experienced ever from Tarte, so it would make sense that they adopt this formula as their main formula. But that hasn't happened and seems as though this formula is only for the Rainforest of the Sea palettes. It would be nice to see some consistency across the brand!
Truthfully, this was a purchase that I absolutely did not need to make. And this is absolutely not a palette that I need to keep in my collection. But as I've said, this is the only item in my collection that I would keep for sentimental reasons and packaging if I didn't like the product (which I do). I bought this palette when I was going through a rough time. My graduate program was incredibly challenging, and it created a lot of stress, anxiety, and general life problems. At the time, I combated those problems with buying makeup. I don't condone that behavior or advocate for it, but I think it's something important to talk about because a lot of people engage in emotional shopping behaviors. This palette purchase was a product of that time in my life, and part of the reason I purchased it was because I was going on a tropical vacation for spring break to a remote part of Puerto Rico. I knew I was buying it for reasons that ultimately didn't matter (like the theme and packaging in addition to the color scheme, which I have always liked), but I bought it anyway. And I brought it on the trip. And I would love to say that the trip was incredible and everything that I wanted it to be. But it wasn't. The beach was gorgeous, the weather was perfection, and I was so far away from New York City. But the trip was also not great because I wasn't doing well as a person at the time, and it didn't matter how much makeup I bought or tropical vacations I went on, I was having a hard time. Ultimately, the trip was incredible because I learned that.
The palette reminds me of Puerto Rico. And, honestly, not all of those memories are good. And it also reminds me of this impossible time in my life. And most of those memories are not good. But it's important for me to remember that time and keep things in perspective. This palette was a frivolous purchase that helped get me through another day when, at the time, that was my only objective. I've gotten rid of most of the purchases I made during that time, but this one remains, and I think it's because it reminds me of Puerto Rico. Because if I was still troubled in paradise, there was something larger that needed to be addressed.
This week was really the first time I've used this palette since the Puerto Rico trip. And everything in my life is different now, except that I still live in New York City. It was a pleasure using this palette under these new and better circumstances because I had the perspective of where I was the last time. The colors in the palette didn't inspire me to the lengths that some of the other palettes in this project have, but using it made me realize that the majority of my looks will now have to be work-appropriate. And I think that was an important experience.
Most importantly, however, using this palette made me feel beyond grateful that I have a job, full stop. I am in a privileged position at the moment, and having this palette as a reminder each morning that I am in a better place was humbling. And that's why I keep it even though I have all of these colors and the palette is functionally superfluous in my collection. I wish I could have let myself know when I bought this palette where I would be now because I still remember all too vividly how it felt when things were falling apart. And I think that during the holiday season and coming into the New Year, that awareness is an incredible gift, and I'm glad this palette helped me put things into perspective.
I would like to wish everyone a merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, and happy holidays.