Settling the Controversy – Is the Tarteist Pro Eyeshadow Palette Good or Bad? – In-depth Review and Ingredient Analysis

The Tarteist Pro eyeshadow palette has been out for a couple of years and although I’ve been late to the Tarte party in general (because Tarte has a very poor presence in the UK), I also took my sweet time in deciding whether I wanted to buy this palette to begin with.

This palette is one of the many controversial high-end brand beauty items, as it has received a lot of mixed reviews. There are some beauty influencers that give it good reviews and others not that great. Another day, another beauty controversy, right? Well the interesting part is that some believe that the bad reviews are due to those influencers not being invited to Tarte’s promo event for this palette, which took place in Bora Bora. However, isn’t it equally likely that the ones that were invited saw the palette in a more positive light?

Tarteist Pro Eyeshadow Palette 3_20181126153251691

I’ve really being enjoying the Tartelette palettes, in fact I believe that the Tartelette Bloom is a must have palette. As a result, I decided to try out the Tarteist Pro palette as well, as I had high hopes from what I’ve seen from the Tartelettes and I also really liked the way it looks and the colours that are included.

If you missed this post check out: Which Tartelette palette? Amazonian Clay Toasted vs Bloom vs Matte. In depth review, functionality and ingredient lists.

But before we get to the details, just a little note in case you are wondering. I’m sure you know by now that as a scientist I always base my conclusions on facts, but in the interest of fairness, I have not been invited to Bora Bora. However, that has not affected my opinion simply because I wasn’t even a beauty blogger back then. I couldn’t possibly be upset about something that I couldn’t even possibly be invited to. I also payed for this palette with my own money and this post is not sponsored by anyone other than my purse!

With that out of the way, let’s have a detailed look at the palette.

 

Packaging

The Tarteist Pro palette comes with outer cardboard packaging which has minimal design but yet looks elegant and expensive.

It’s a similar story with the palette itself. It’s made of plastic but looks like it’s metallic and although it is beautiful, it is an absolute pain to photograph! It has minimal design but looks elegant and expensive. The top lid has a velvety matte finish (which gets dirty very easily) and the bottom has a shiny gold, metal looking finish.

Tarteist Pro Eyeshadow Palette 2_20181126153158576

The palette comes with a giant mirror inside, as big as the entire lid! It is an absolute treat to have this mirror with you however, the size of the palette doesn’t make it the most travel friendly. However, it is durable and made of plastic, so it is also lightweight, and you could potentially travel with it.

What I love the most about this palette (other than the huge mirror of course!) is the arrangement of the colours (see colours section below). Call me a neat freak but I love how the colours go from left to right, lighter to darker and how you could potentially consider each row as a prepared look with its shimmer at the end.

 

Colours

This palette contains 20 colours of which 16 are matte and 4 are shimmers.

Tarteist Pro Eyeshadow Palette 6_20181126153047253
The strange picture angle is on purpose in an attempt to avoid as much light being reflected as possible. The beautiful metal-like surface is an absolute pain to photograph.

The shimmers are said to be dual-chrome, meaning that they appear as two different colours depending on how the light is (or is not) hitting at them. However, after swatching and using these 4 shimmers, I thought that only 2 of them were true dual chromes (the last 2 colours minx and trendy) and the other 2 are just normal shimmers. Minx is a pink-coppery-black and trendy is brown-blue.

In general, there are browns, purples and two blues so the colour selection is not huge. However, at least there is a white and a black colour which are almost essential. In general, you can easily create both casual/work looks as well as more intense or smoky night looks.

 

Pigmentation and texture

This palette is one, if not the most, buttery feeling palette I’ve ever swatched. However, it is not the best quality eyeshadow palette I’ve ever used which illustrates nicely that swatching is a very different story from using the eyeshadows and you should never judge a palette from swatching alone.

Before I get into the details of why this palette is not the best quality, here’s how the colours felt when swatched:

Classic – This colour is THE BUTTER! It melts on the finger but is a little chalky.

Innocent, Vamp, PunkFell buttery.

Whimsey, Smoked, Fierce, No filterA little less buttery but still more buttery than powdery.

Ethereal, Glam, Mod – Feel a little coarse but still more buttery than powdery.

Vintage, Chick, Profesh, Indie, Bold, Edgy – Very buttery.

Drama – Harsh texture and swatch but can be fixed with a little blending.

Minx, Trendy – More buttery than other shimmers but still slightly coarse.

Tarteist Pro Eyeshadow Palette Swatches_20181126154431526

 

The problem

The pigmentation of this palette is not the best. A lot of the colours do not translate on the eyes as pigmented as they look in their pans. This usually doesn’t bother me that much as I am not a big intense colour look type of person. I do understand though that this is annoying for many as naturally, you want to buy what you see and not a couple of shades lighter!

The biggest issue for me and the reason why I actually wouldn’t recommend this palette is that some of the colours, the darker ones specifically (like the colours Mod and Edgy), are not buildable. I spent so much time trying to build a smokey eye or even shade a corner, that I even gave up on tapping the brush first, in a desperate attempt to keep as much product on the brush as possible. After, I kid you not, 10 times of packing colour on made little difference, I decided I was frustrated enough to give up.

I’ve tested this palette with the Urban Decay Original eyeshadow primer, a MAC paint pot and even using the Tarte Shape Tape concealer and the results were the same. After I applied the eyeshadow primers or concealer, I set them with one of the lighter colours in this palette (I’ve tried both and it made no difference) and I even tried setting them with a light shade from other palettes that I know work well. None of that made a difference!

However, what did make a difference was not setting the primers or the concealer. When I used them wet I was able to pack on the shadows, even the problematic ones, and get good colour payoff, very close to what they look like in the pans. Good eyeshadow palettes shouldn’t need to be used like this, especially because this method leaves small room for error, as blending is more difficult this way, but at least there is a way to make this palette work.

On the plus side, these shadows don’t have a lot of kick back in the pan, but I have noticed that it is the ones that have the least that are also the ones that give the least pigment. Perhaps they are too buttery/muddy and not powdery enough.

Also note, that there is a chance that some people’s palettes might actually work well and that they are not seeing this palette under a more positive light for whatever reason. It’s not the first time that we’ve seen cosmetics come in different qualities (perhaps from different production batches or due to bad quality control) but if that is the case, then that is reason enough to NOT buy the palette as you would essentially be playing lottery on whether you will get a good or bad one.

I bought my Tarteist Pro palette directly from Tarte and so I am excluding the possibility that this is a bad dupe/fake/copy.

 

Blendability

The more buttery shadows blend easily and well, however, there are some harsher ones (like the colour Drama) that need a little more work. They all eventually blend though, some even blend out to nothingness.

Blendability is not an issue in this palette.

 

Longevity

I always use the Urban Decay original eye shadow primer and with that the shadows last all day and do not crease. In general, some colour intensity was lost after a few hours of wear.

Some colours lost normal intensity, as expected from wear and tear but others such as the colour Edgy, disappeared from the eye within a few minutes of wear.

 

Tarteist Pro Eyeshadow Palette 5_20181126152944446

 

Transfer proof tests

These shadows do not transfer if you touch them but of course, if you rub them they will quickly fade away. They also quickly fade away if you blend too much.

 

Price

The Tarteist Pro palette retails for £47 (contains 1g x 20 = 20g). This might initially sound like a high price however, if you take it per gram of product, it is actually cheaper than some other high-end palettes.

This palette is neither cheap nor the most expensive for the amount of product it contains.

 

Smell

This palette has a subtle vanilla like scent which is pleasant.

 

Other

This palette lasts for 12M.

Here’s what Tarte says about this palette:

WHAT IT IS

Teach yo’ self & impress your friends with your new shadow skills using this 20-piece eyeshadow palette that’s formulated with pigments that make you a pro!

Includes 20 eyeshadows:

  • classic (cream)
  • innocent (soft peach)
  • whimsy (brick)
  • smoked (dark brown)
  • ethereal (bronze)
  • vintage (ivory)
  • fierce (cool plum)
  • no filter (purple mauve)
  • vamp (deep plum)
  • glam (champagne)
  • chic (pale pink)
  • profesh (taupe)
  • mod (deep cherry)
  • drama (maroon)
  • minx (shimmering mauve)
  • indie (greige)
  • bold (light brown)
  • edgy (chocolate)
  • punk (black)
  • trendy (prismatic teal)

 

WHAT IT DOES

  • 16 longwearing matte eyeshadows
  • 4 iridescent, micro-shimmer shadows
  • Infused with Amazonian clay for smooth blending without chalkiness & flake-resistant wear
  • Deeply concentrated mineral pigments & smart-blend technology give you the best in even, intense payoff

 

Always formulated without: Parabens • Mineral Oil • Phthalates • Triclosan • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate • Gluten

 

HOW TO USE

  • Highlight, lid, crease and liner shade pairings are curated in four separate rows you can create pro-level looks with ease.
  • Includes a step-by-step guide for edgy inspiration

 

WHY WE LOVE IT

It’s never been this easy to create instagram-worthy looks!

 

POWERED BY

  • Amazonian clay:nature’s most perfect ingredient for better, longer, truer wear
  • Mineral pigments:soothe and soften skin
  • Vanilla extract:a natural fragrance with rich antioxidant and anti-aging properties

 

TARTELETTE APPROVED

  • Dermatologist tested
  • Ophthalmologist tested
  • Safe for contact lens wearers

 

 Ingredients

Eye shadow palettes don’t often contain any “nutritious for your skin” ingredients but rather just the ones required to create the formulation and pigmentation. As a result, there isn’t really that much to say here other than this palette contains standard ingredients.

Each colour contains different pigments, some of which, like carmine, can stain. However, if you usually wear an eyeshadow primer you will likely not get any staining at all. I personally never observed skin staining when using this palette.

If there is an ingredient found in these palettes that you’d rather avoid you’d likely have a hard time finding another palette you can use, as most of the compounds contained are standard.

However, every time the subject of eye shadow palettes comes up a couple of people ask me about the safety of two ingredients in particular, talc and silica, so let’s address them head on.

As a chemist I can tell you that there is no scientific proof that talc is harmful, I will go through this in detail in another post. Talc is classed as a skin irritant on its Material Safety Data Sheet (aka MSDS) however, so is table or cooking salt also known as sodium chloride and….we eat it! Pretty much almost everything can be classed as a skin irritant, especially to those with sensitive skin and these labels are very loosely defined. If you use it and you don’t get skin irritation, then there is no reason to worry. The only time when talc can be dangerous to health is if it is breathed in, in large quantities, as a free powder. So…don’t mash up this palette and breath it in.

Same goes for silica, it is only dangerous in free powder form, if you breath it in and if it’s in large quantities or repeated breathing exposure. Sometimes I wish people spent more time being as mindful of the things they eat! Those will likely affect you more!

In fact, if you are really serious about avoiding talc and silica, you should stop using a setting powder first. Not only do most setting powders contain one or both of these ingredients but even if you find one that doesn’t, using free powder on your face means that you will likely breath some of it in. Breathing in loose powder can damage the lungs (as a lot of powders will just stick to them and eventually clog them) and so using a setting powder has a higher harmful potential than an eyeshadow palette.

To keep this article short, I am only listing the skin nourishing or skin positive/negative ingredients and ignoring the ones that only play formulation or pigmentation purposes. For the full list of these products’ ingredients scroll down to the “full list of ingredients” section.

 

Why is this palette so different qualitywise from the Tartelettes?

The ingredients between the Tarteist Pro and the Tartelette palettes are the same on first glance. Obviously, we don’t know if the amount of each ingredient is the same.

The swatch quality of them is the same and the only difference is the layering and longevity of the pigmentation being much lower in the Tarteist Pro. It’s hard to determine the cause without laboratory analysis or at least the knowledge of the quantities of each ingredient. Some of the problematic colours (but not all) contain Blue 1 lake where none of the Tartelettes do, however, this does not seem to be the problem.

As a chemist I find this example extremely interesting because it proves a couple of points:

  • Swatch quality and feel on the fingers doesn’t translate to actual use behaviour on the eyes.
  • Containing the same ingredients doesn’t translate to the same behaviour.
  • It’s all about the formulation, how much of each ingredient is contained.
  • And perhaps even about changing the formulation when different or different ratio of dyes are present.

 

Ingredient positives:

  1. Boron Nitride – Can function as a lubricant and an optical diffuser (due to its light scattering properties) creating a soft focus with a shimmery and translucent finish. Has a silky smooth feel and adheres to the skin well. Can also absorb excess oils and helps disperse pigments evenly.
  2. Ethylhexyl Palmitate – Skin moisturiser.
  3. Zinc Stearate – A lubricant with anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.
  4. Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride – A skin conditioner and replenisher. Can enhance the delivery of vitamins, pigments and other ingredients.
  5. Stearyl Dimethicone – A skin conditioner that gives a silky feeling.
  6. Caprylyl Glycol – Skin conditioner and anti-microbial agent.
  7. Hexylene Glycol – Skin conditioner.
  8. Kaolin – A drying agent that can limit cakeyness and control oil production.
  9. Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Extract – not only smells nice but is a skin conditioner, skin smoother and can also act as a skin protector. It also contains anti-oxidants.
  10. Vanillin – A fragrance and anti-oxidant.

 

Ingredient negatives:

N/A

 

Ingredients that can cause irritation to some:

This is actually really case specific, as different people have different sensitivities and allergies. Just because a compound has been reported by some to cause sensitivity, it doesn’t mean you will have an issue. “Sensitizer” compounds being present is not a negative in my opinion, as this is the case with pretty much everything out there and funnily enough I’ve seen products that are targeted specifically for sensitive skin, containing some compounds that have been reported by some, or are known to be, sensitizers.

If you have sensitive skin or you are prone to skin sensitisation and unwanted reactions, try a little bit of this at the back of your hand first and consult a medical doctor if you are concerned.

Check out: What is sensitive skin? What are the causes and what can we do?

The following compounds present in this palette have been either proven or claimed by some to be sensitizers, irritants, allergens etc: Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Hexylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol.

 

Full list of ingredients

classic Ingredients: Mica, talc, silica, boron nitride, ethylhexyl palmitate, zinc stearate, caprylic/capric triglyceride, caprylyl glycol, hexylene glycol, kaolin, phenoxyethanol, sodium dehydroacetate, vanilla planifolia fruit extract, vanillin, titanium dioxide (CI 77891), iron oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499).

innocent Ingredients: Talc, mica, silica, boron nitride, ethylhexyl palmitate, zinc stearate, caprylic/capric triglyceride, caprylyl glycol, hexylene glycol, kaolin, phenoxyethanol, sodium dehydroacetate, vanilla planifolia fruit extract, vanillin, manganese violet (CI 77742), iron oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499).

whimsy Ingredients: Mica, talc, silica, ethylhexyl palmitate, boron nitride, zinc stearate, caprylic/capric triglyceride, caprylyl glycol, hexylene glycol, kaolin, phenoxyethanol, sodium dehydroacetate, vanilla planifolia fruit extract, vanillin, carmine (CI 75470), iron oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), manganese violet (CI 77742).

smoked Ingredients: Talc, mica, boron nitride, zinc stearate, silica, ethylhexyl palmitate, caprylic/capric triglyceride, caprylyl glycol, hexylene glycol, kaolin, phenoxyethanol, sodium dehydroacetate, vanilla planifolia fruit extract, vanillin, carmine (CI 75470), iron oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), manganese violet (CI 77742).

ethereal Ingredients: Mica, caprylic/capric triglyceride, stearyl dimethicone, boron nitride, zinc stearate, talc, silica, octadecene, caprylyl glycol, hexylene glycol, kaolin, phenoxyethanol, sodium dehydroacetate, vanilla planifolia fruit extract, vanillin, carmine (CI 75470), copper powder (CI 77400), bronze powder (CI 77400), titanium dioxide (CI 77891), iron oxides (CI 77491).

vintage Ingredients: Talc, mica, silica, boron nitride, ethylhexyl palmitate, zinc stearate, caprylic/capric triglyceride, caprylyl glycol, hexylene glycol, kaolin, phenoxyethanol, sodium dehydroacetate, vanilla planifolia fruit extract, vanillin, carmine (CI 75470), titanium dioxide (CI 77891), ultramarines (CI 77007), iron oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), bismuth oxychloride (CI 77163).

fierce Ingredients: Talc, silica, boron nitride, ethylhexyl palmitate, zinc stearate, caprylic/capric triglyceride, caprylyl glycol, hexylene glycol, kaolin, phenoxyethanol, sodium dehydroacetate, vanilla planifolia fruit extract, vanillin, carmine (CI 75470), manganese violet (CI 77742), iron oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), ultramarines (CI 77007), blue 1 lake (CI 42090), titanium dioxide (CI 77891).

no filter Ingredients: Mica, talc, silica, boron nitride, zinc stearate, ethylhexyl palmitate, caprylic/capric triglyceride, caprylyl glycol, hexylene glycol, kaolin, phenoxyethanol, sodium dehydroacetate, vanilla planifolia fruit extract, vanillin, carmine (CI 75470), manganese violet (CI 77742), ultramarines (CI 77007), iron oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499).

vamp Ingredients: Talc, mica, silica, ethylhexyl palmitate, boron nitride, zinc stearate, caprylic/capric triglyceride, caprylyl glycol, hexylene glycol, kaolin, phenoxyethanol, sodium dehydroacetate, vanilla planifolia fruit extract, vanillin, carmine (CI 75470), manganese violet (CI 77742), iron oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), ultramarines (CI 77007).

glam Ingredients: Mica, caprylic/capric triglyceride, stearyl dimethicone, boron nitride, talc, zinc stearate, octadecene, caprylyl glycol, hexylene glycol, kaolin, phenoxyethanol, silica, sodium dehydroacetate, tin oxide, vanilla planifolia fruit extract, vanillin, carmine (CI 75470), titanium dioxide (CI 77891), copper powder (CI 77400), iron oxides (CI 77491).

chic Ingredients: Mica, talc, silica, ethylhexyl palmitate, boron nitride, zinc stearate, caprylic/capric triglyceride, caprylyl glycol, hexylene glycol, kaolin, phenoxyethanol, sodium dehydroacetate, vanilla planifolia fruit extract, vanillin, carmine (CI 75470), manganese violet (CI 77742), iron oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499).

profesh Ingredients: Mica, talc, silica, ethylhexyl palmitate, boron nitride, zinc stearate, caprylic/capric triglyceride, caprylyl glycol, hexylene glycol, kaolin, phenoxyethanol, sodium dehydroacetate, vanilla planifolia fruit extract, vanillin, manganese violet (CI 77742), iron oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), ultramarines (CI 77007), titanium dioxide (CI 77891).

mod Ingredients: Mica, talc, silica, boron nitride, zinc stearate, ethylhexyl palmitate, caprylic/capric triglyceride, caprylyl glycol, hexylene glycol, kaolin, phenoxyethanol, sodium dehydroacetate, vanilla planifolia fruit extract, vanillin, carmine (CI 75470), manganese violet (CI 77742), iron oxides (CI 77491, CI 77499), blue 1 lake (CI 42090).

drama Ingredients: Silica, boron nitride, zinc stearate, talc, ethylhexyl palmitate, mica, caprylic/capric triglyceride, caprylyl glycol, hexylene glycol, kaolin, phenoxyethanol, sodium dehydroacetate, vanilla planifolia fruit extract, vanillin, carmine (CI 75470), manganese violet (CI 77742), iron oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), ultramarines (CI 77007).

minx Ingredients: Mica, caprylic/capric triglyceride, stearyl dimethicone, boron nitride, talc, zinc stearate, silica, octadecene, caprylyl glycol, hexylene glycol, kaolin, phenoxyethanol, sodium dehydroacetate, vanilla planifolia fruit extract, vanillin, copper powder (CI 77400), iron oxides (CI 77491, CI 77499), titanium dioxide (CI 77891).

indie Ingredients: Mica, talc, silica, ethylhexyl palmitate, boron nitride, zinc stearate, caprylic/capric triglyceride, caprylyl glycol, hexylene glycol, kaolin, phenoxyethanol, sodium dehydroacetate, vanilla planifolia fruit extract, vanillin, manganese violet (CI 77742), iron oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, 77499), titanium dioxide (CI 77891).

edgy, punk, bold Ingredients: Talc, mica, silica, boron nitride, zinc stearate, ethylhexyl palmitate, caprylic/capric triglyceride, caprylyl glycol, hexylene glycol, kaolin, phenoxyethanol, sodium dehydroacetate, vanilla planifolia fruit extract, vanillin. (+/-): Blue 1 Lake (CI 42090), iron oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), manganese violet (CI 77742).

trendy Ingredients: Mica, caprylic/capric triglyceride, stearyl dimethicone, boron nitride, zinc stearate, talc, octadecene, caprylyl glycol, hexylene glycol, kaolin, phenoxyethanol, silica, sodium dehydroacetate, vanilla planifolia fruit extract, vanillin, iron oxides (CI 77499), titanium dioxide (CI 77891), ferric ferrocyanide (CI 77510)

 

Tarteist Pro Eyeshadow Palette 4_20181126153346148

 

Verdict

The Tarteist Pro is a gorgeous looking palette but it is disappointing in performance when used traditionally with a set primer. While the colours contained all swatch nicely and all feel buttery to different extents, some of the darker shades have little colour payoff and are impossible to pile up.

I was able to create some beautiful looks with this palette when I used the eyeshadow primers still wet (not set) so it’s not a complete waste of money. However, the frustration and time spent to figure this out and the fact that you really shouldn’t have to use a palette like this is enough to make me not recommend it.

You could make this palette work, especially if you are not a beginner, but since there are so many great options in the market these days, I recommend you give this one a pass. It’s not like we are short on palettes to buy!

 

I am not affiliated with any company or brand. These are my views and experiences.
Beauty is a very personal thing, we all have different skin, requirements and biological build which can influence things. What worked for me might not work for you and vice versa. Have you ever tried these products? Did they work for you? Let me know your experiences below!

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