Monday, October 16, 2017

What I'm Not Buying: Tarte Tartelette Toasted

Tarte has released a new palette in their Tartelette line, this time with a warm, neutral focus—Tartelette Toasted. 

And I won't be buying. 


I have a lot of thoughts about Tarte, and I feel like the longer I am a part of the makeup community, the more unsavory things I come to know about brands. 

But we will get there in a little bit. Let's talk about this palette. 

I have owned both Tartelette and Tartelette In Bloom, and at some point in time, I was utterly infatuated with both of them. I wore In Bloom for several weeks, every day, which is a rarity for me. That was also the palette that was a "gateway" for me into mauve or berry crease shades, and I learned a lot about myself and my preferences from that palette. I have "decluttered" it from my collection, but I still own the palette. I've been starting to do some freelance makeup, and I feel In Bloom is more appropriate in that capacity than just for myself, mainly because there are a lot of cool-toned shadows, and that is not something I enjoy. 

Had Tartelette Toasted come out a year and a half ago, I would have snapped this up in a heartbeat. This is the perfect Tartelette palette for me. It's all warm colors and has all the neutral shimmers I love. 

But here's the thing: I have every single color in this palette several times over. And so do you. And because of that, it's a waste of money. 

I find myself perpetually annoyed by all the hype surrounding makeup, and this palette is no different. I can't tell you how many comments I've read of people acknowledging that there is literally nothing special about this palette, that they have these colors already, that this color scheme is tired at this point, but that they are still going to buy it. 

This mindset is frustrating, and it is what contributes to the crazy amount of hype and hysteria and the overwhelming culture of consumerism. It's additionally frustrating for me because I also understand it and still sometimes struggle with those feelings. 

When I look at Tartelette Toasted, I could easily talk myself into buying it:
  • I would use every single color
  • There are several "go-to" looks I could create using just this palette
  • It's easy, and looks would be fast
  • It would be great for travel

But I have been talking myself into buying things I don't need for years now, and I have also been anti-haul blogging for over a year, and I know what a load of crap all of those reasons are. Thing is, after a while, when the newness of something wears off and you are just left with the fact that it is the same as all of your other products, it is treated as the same as all of your other products. 

When talking about palettes like this that are serialized, I like to bring up a few points. There are some people who really love to collect makeup, and it is not my place or my intention to judge that hobby. But for the people who "collect" certain items purely because of the hype or fear of missing out, I would really encourage you to look at the items you already own and ask yourself how additive a product like this would really be. (To read more of my thoughts on serializing palettes, read my anti-haul post on the Lorac Mega Pro 4.)

Finally, one of the biggest excuses I hear from people buying things they know they don't need is "I really like the formula of that brand, so I want this product in that formula." And this is something I would like to talk about. If you have gone out of your way to buy all of these colors already, chances are you like the formula of your existing shadows. If you don't, then it might be worthwhile to declutter the items that you have and don't like and replace them with this product or something similar in a formula that you do like. But just wanting to have more of the same in a different formula is not, in my opinion, a good enough reason to justify spending that kind of money on something you already own. 

And it's true that not all eyeshadow formulas are created equal. I know some people who found one or two formulas that they really enjoy, and they decluttered everything that wasn't that. Moving forward, they are only purchasing those select formulas. And I certainly have my preferences. I don't like Urban Decay or Anastasia Beverly Hills palettes, and I tend to like the Colourpop pressed shadows, Makeup Geek, and Coloured Raine. But, at the end of the day, many shadow formulas perform similarly. And the difference is typically not so substantial to warrant needing to buy things you already own to have them in a specific formula. That is an excuse to buy into hype.

Let's look at the palette:

And swatches (provided by Tarte):

I've said many times that I am not a fan of relying on swatches (especially those provided by the brand) to really gauge how a product looks or performs. Take the above photo, for example. First, it is obvious that the colors have been applied in several layers to the models' arms. Next, several of the colors don't look that different across skin tones, and it is because they have been applied in such thick layers. While I appreciate brands showing diverse models, it defeats the point of the exercise if the swatches are unrealistic. 

Tartelette Toasted reminds me a lot of Tartelette In Bloom: 

If In Bloom had less variety. In Boom as an entire palette is not great for me because I have too warm of a skin tone for the whole thing. But for people with neutral or cool undertones, I think a lot about In Bloom works well. I think it's a great palette to have in a kit, because it has neutral shades that can suit several different skin tones. Tartelette Toasted is taking that same concept but just making the entire thing warm and repetitive. 

It also looks like so many other warm neural palettes. Like Urban Decay Naked Heat:

Too Faced Sweet Peach:

Morphe 35O:

Smashbox Ablaze:

Viseart Warm Matte:

Colourpop Yes, Please!:

NYX Fire:

Tartelette Toasted feels to me like Tarte is too late for the warm neutral trend, but, like Urban Decay, they are still going to throw their hat in the ring with a product. This is a product that is entirely dependent on hype and people buying something they already own. There might be an audience of people who are not makeup-obsessed who just want one palette filled with warm shadows that will flatter them. And for those people, this would probably be a good palette if the quality is good. Even still, they will have many options for a palette like that, and Tartelette Toasted is just one of them. There is nothing so special about it to elevate it above its competitors, in my opinion.

And yet, I don't think that is Tarte's targeted audience, even though that is the audience that makes the most sense. Tarte's target audience is the makeup-obsessed who have no self-control, have to buy the new serialized product, and have to have whatever their favorite online "influencers" are talking about. 

Finally, let's talk about Tarte. 

Tarte, in many ways, is an exceptionally uninteresting brand, in my opinion. They teeter between releasing the same product over and over again and then jumping the shark with whatever is trending (like mermaids or unicorns). Their holiday releases are typically terrible, and this year's Buried Treasure eyeshadow palette:

Has received horrendous reviews. I'm always put off by brands who value pumping out mediocre products over producing fewer, quality products, and Tarte definitely falls into that category. Since I've decluttered the In Bloom palette into my freelance kit, I no longer have any Tarte palettes or shadows in my collection, which I think is really telling. That is not to say that everything Tarte produces is poor, just that their releases are usually quite repetitive and nothing that really rises to the top or stands out. 

And then, of course, there is the recent controversy where Tarte reposted a racist meme on their social media and later posted an apology that was at best in poor taste before the CEO posted an appropriate apology days later. What was further troubling about this incident was that many people who are not a part of the racial group of people attacked in the meme told those who were offended that it was "not a big deal" and that they should "get over it."

This is a problem that goes far beyond talking about why I'm not going to buy the Tartelette Toasted, but Tarte handled themselves so poorly, and it is difficult for me to look past it. In the appropriate apology post, Tarte acknowledged that telling people to "get over it" is not acceptable and encouraged people to have a discourse. However, they disabled the comments so that no discourse could take place. 

It is not acceptable for people to tell others to not be offended by a racist remark targeted at them. And it is not acceptable that Tarte let that happen for as long as it did. One can argue that whoever was in charge of the social media is responsible, but the post was so inappropriate that it is shocking that it came from a professional account. 

I personally feel that having an apology come from the CEO was appropriate, but it is unfortunate that it took as long as it did for the brand to pursue an appropriate course of action, with several missteps in between. 

Trying to find brands that are worthy of support seems to be increasingly challenging. And I do feel that if you look into most brands, you will find controversy or something unsavory. However, I also feel that right now, especially, we need to stand up as much as possible and demand better. 

Going back to the actual product of the Tartelette Toasted, there is just nothing interesting about this product. I feel like we all have these colors already, and there is nothing so incredibly special about this palette to justify buying what I already own, except that it is branded as a "Tartelette" palette and part of the series. I've been working hard to pare down my collection to items that inspire and excite me, and this palette doesn't do that for me. I don't need it, so I won't be buying. 


  1. Another excellent post. I just wanted to add that the arm swatches on different skin tones are usually manipulated by the creative agency. They superimpose swatches they already have onto the bare arms of the models. This is pretty standard practice. In fact in my previous agency, they simply darkened a person to make them look like they are from a different race, because they can't afford or be bothered to look for a different skin type.

    1. That's really interesting! I can't say that I'm surprised, but since I've never worked in that industry, I didn't want to state any speculations I had. But thank you for sharing that information!

    2. You're welcome! My agency used to do the advertising for Loreal and it was pretty shocking how unrealistic the photos can be. A designer had to Photoshop away all the wrinkles of a middle aged Asian actress who was endorsing an anti-aging cream... Makes me not want to pay any attendion to marketing material of any product. I prefer consumer reviews.

  2. Thanks for the post. Have been trying to talk myself out of the Toasted. I have Naked Heat and enough eyeshadow overall. But I am getting sucked in to the hype vortex

    1. The hype vortex can be really hard, especially since most people will say, "Just buy it, it's great!" But I think that's not the healthiest mindset, personally. If you have the Naked Heat, I really don't think this palette will be all that additive to your collection. They may not be exact dupes, but they are close enough. And if you feel you have enough eyeshadow overall, I think that's another reason to not buy. All this palette will give you is another one to compete with what you already have. I think it would be better to use and enjoy what you currently have!

  3. I think you have really great points. However, I will be purchasing this palette because I don't have any single eyeshadows and none of the palettes I currently own have any dupes.

    1. Sounds like it could be a great purchase for you. I hope you enjoy!