Tuesday, January 3, 2017

What I'm Not Buying: Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Volume 2

Photo: Temptalia 

In keeping with Tarte's latest marketing practice to pump as many products out as possible, they have released yet another eyeshadow palette: Rainforest of the Sea Volume 2. 

And I won't be buying. 

I recently used the Rainforest of the Sea (I guess it's considered Volume 1 now?) in my one week, one palette project, and I remarked how those shadows were my favorite from Tarte. After first purchasing and using the Volume 1 palette, I remember saying that if Tarte ever came out with another palette in that same formula that I would buy it no matter what. 

It turns out I was wrong. And I'm happy for that. 

I shouldn't be shocked by the color selection of this palette. I mean, it's coming from Tarte, and Tarte is anything but unique and innovative, but I have to say that I am actually surprised that this palette is so neutral, so—frankly—boring, and so similar in color scheme to the Volume 1 palette:

Photo: Temptalia 

This is something that I really don't understand and also can't get behind. At least five shades from Volume 1 appear to be very similar to shades in Volume 2, which is pretty ridiculous. I think Tarte failed big time on this one. If you're going to make a volume 2 of a palette—even a neutral one—I think it should be markedly different from volume 1. Because (in theory) no one wants to buy the same palette twice. With a name and theme like "Rainforest of the Sea," Tarte could have really gone wild with creativity. They could have had an entire palette themed around water and seaweed with blues and greens. Or they could have taken advantage of the red/orange craze and created a palette that explored gorgeous hues of coral. The colors could have been inspired by sea creatures. Or anything, really, apart from yet another volume that explores... what? Sand? Sea glass? Even that would have been more interesting than this. 

And, let me be clear. I am not disappointed by the color scheme because I was hoping to buy the palette or had made up my own idea of what the palette would be. I'm disappointed because it feels like Tarte—and the cosmetics industry on the whole—believes it is acceptable to continually pump out the same products but market it to consumers as something new and different. And that's where we need to come in as smart shoppers and call them out on that bullshit. 

With the first palette, there seemed to be a disconnect between the theme, packaging, names of the shadows, and the actual colors. Sure, "sand," "seashell," "cove" and "abyss" work for a ridiculously light neutral palette, but names like "mermaid," "starfish," "reef," and "wave" make me think of anything but light shades of brown. The packaging also worked with the theme and was gorgeous:

Photo: Temptalia 

But it seems as though more thought went into making the packaging fit the theme than the actual shadows. And as I mentioned in my one week, one palette post about this palette, if there was ever a palette I would keep solely for the packaging, it would be this one. I find everything about it to be incredibly elegant, and I view this compact like a piece of artwork.

Despite what I perceive as a disconnect between theme and product, I purchased Volume 1 because I knew I would get use out of every shadow and I liked the formula. That remains true today, which is another reason why this palette won't be decluttered. 

Volume 2, however, doesn't get as much slack from me. On the most basic level, I'm not a huge fan of the packaging: 

Photo: Temptalia 

And I feel like the packaging is even more disappointing/disconnected because, again, the colors could have been inspired by hues of coral. Instead, the colors were inspired by the Urban Decay Naked palette and the packaging got all the attention. 

This palette also doesn't get much slack from me is because I've read that the quality is not quite as good as Volume 1. The formula is the same (or at least similar) and differs from the brand's Amazonian Clay formula, but the colors don't apply as nicely as they did in Volume 1. This tells me that a corner was cut somewhere, likely to save money, and the product suffered as a result. I'd like to note that I've read the quality is far from terrible, I just think it's worth noting that it is not as great as the original. 

A positive that I can give this palette is that it appears Volume 2 would work better (perhaps only slightly) on medium and deep skin tones. I've read that the color payoff is lighter than what appears in the pan (the same is true for Volume 1), so I'm not sure how well they would actually perform on darker skin tones. Nonetheless, I think it is positive that Tarte is moving in a more inclusive direction. 

Still, the color scheme of this palette remains a mystery to me. I can't understand why Tarte would go in what feels like a dated direction when reds and oranges are hot right now. And that's not to say that they should go in that direction; the market is already saturated with those colors. But it seems like going along with what's hot right now is Tarte's modus operandi. 

Instead, they presented a palette with the most basic neutral color scheme. 

It looks like Urban Decay Naked:

Naked Smoky:

Stila In the Light:

Lorac Pro:

Photo: Shameless Fripperies

NYX Smokey Eyes:

And most recently, Anastasia Beverly Hills Master Palette by Mario:

Photo: Temptalia 

What's tricky about this color scheme is that it is both classic and dated. It's classic in the sense that Naked, Stila in the Light, and Lorac Pro are staples in many people's collections and continue to be loved and celebrated. But it is also dated in the sense that the Naked palette has been around for six or seven years, and most people want to see product releases that present something new to the table. In the entire context of the cosmetics industry, I don't think Volume 2 presents anything new, but more than that, I don't think it presents anything new to Rainforest of the Sea

It's frustrating for me to see brands churn out product after product, especially when the products are limited edition, because it feels like little thought went into it. If a brand is expecting me to pay upwards of $40 or $50 on an item, I would at least like there to have been some thought and inspiration behind it. I honestly think that's part of the reason people are falling all over Modern Renaissance. Because at the time of its release, only Lime Crime Venus was really similar, and most people either weren't aware of Venus or were boycotting Lime Crime. The color scheme feels inspired, and it was something a little different for most people. But releasing an item that looks so similar to many existing popular palettes and bares a striking resemblance to its predecessor just feels like you want me to collect the Rainforest of the Sea line and give you more money. That's another reason why I'm not a huge fan of serializing makeup items. Because it plays directly into some people's "need" or desire to complete collections. And if you know people will buy something just to complete their collection no matter the quality or how inspired it was, what's the incentive to put effort into making a great item?

Rainforest of the Sea Volume 2 just doesn't do it for me in any way. And Tarte on the whole has become a very unattractive brand to me as it seems they care more about whisking away internet famous people in their twenties to an exotic island in the hopes that they will shill their products than actually producing good quality makeup. This palette feels lame to me and like Tarte didn't even try, and I won't be buying. 


  1. I hope I'm not getting annoying by commenting too much!

    I know your focus is mostly on eyeshadow at the moment, but! Have you seen the "release plan" for the new addition to Kat Von D's Everlasting Liquid Lip line? On the one hand, the colors look amazing. On the other much bigger hand, the release schedule is really pissing me off. Some colors will be available for 48 hours on the Sephora app every Wednesday or something like that until they are added to the permanent lineup sometime in February. WHY? This seems like a marketing decision entirely aimed at making these shades feel limited and exclusive when in just a couple of months, they will be permanent and available. It's a true disappointment from the brand for me.

    1. I love comments, so there is no such thing as commenting too much!

      I had seen a bit about the KVD stuff, but I really hate liquid lipstick (I should make an entire post on that) and so I don't typically pay too much attention. But that release schedule sounds ridiculous and like it's just trying to promote crazed, reckless spending. That's really disappointing.

      Thanks for letting me know. I'll look into it.