Tarte Rainforest After Dark Colored Clay Eye and Cheek Palette

Tarte palettes can be a little hit-or-miss for me. Most recently I ordered and returned the Golden Days and Sultry Nights one (which is currently in the sale section at Sephora), but loved my Aqualillies palette, so when the Rainforest After Dark Colored Clay Eye and Cheek Palette popped up a few weeks ago, I nabbed it right quick.

Tarte Rainforest After Dark Colored Clay Eye and Cheek Palette

Tarte Rainforest After Dark Colored Clay Eye and Cheek Palette

I must admit that the packaging looked swankier on the website. I tried to photograph it without making it look too gaudy, but in this case there was no getting around it. Purple and gold don't exactly convey restrained chic, and the faux-wood plastic casing bears a striking resemblance to the pre-reno paneling in my childhood home.

Ah well. I can deal. Especially since the inside is awesome.

Tarte Rainforest After Dark Colored Clay Eye and Cheek Palette

Tarte Rainforest After Dark Colored Clay Eye and Cheek Palette

For 46$ CAD, this contains a full sized limited-edition blush, decent sized bronzer and highlighter (though if you're a Tarte fan, you no doubt have a dozen versions of the Park Avenue Princess bronzer), and six eyeshadows in a variety of textures. Value-wise, this is an excellent palette.

The blush, in the shade Unleashed, is soft, warm-leaning rose with a beige undertone. The texture is perhaps a touch softer than the other Amazonian Clay blushes in my collection, but doesn't deviate in terms of how smoothly it applies or how well it wears. It looks very, very natural with my light skin tone, and I think it would work well for fair to medium skin as a natural flush shade.

The highlighter, in the shade Champagne, is buttery-soft and dense, with great pigmentation that sheers out easily. It's a little too warm for my skin to use as a face highlighter, but it's perfect for the inner corner of the eye.

The previously mentioned Park Avenue Princess bronzer has a firmer, silkier, slightly drier texture that has sheerer pigmentation. It applies smoothly and lightly, and the pale tan shade is ideal if you prefer subtle bronzing/contouring, or if you have fairer skin. It's almost completely matte with the very slightest sheen that keeps it from looking too flat. I also like it as a transition shade on the eyelid.

Tarte Rainforest After Dark Colored Clay Eye and Cheek Palette


The eyeshadows vary quite a bit in terms of texture and finish.

Don't Turn a-Brown - a dark, cool ebony brown with a firm, slightly dry texture and a matte finish. This doesn't swatch all that well, and looks like it might go on patchy, but it actually blends very nicely, and can be packed on for intensity. It also makes a great liner.

Tan-gled Up In You - a cool tan, this has a softer, smoother texture than the dark brown, and applies with terrific pigmentation. It's a great lid or crease colour, depending on your colouring.

Up To No Gold - a metallic gold, with a creamy, dense texture and intense pigmentation. Packed on, it is very vivid, but I do find it can crumble a bit when used with a fluffier brush (though you can get a sparkly wash). Best applied with a firm paddle brush.

Plum Away With Me - a rich plum satin with micro shimmer/glitter, a soft, but not overly creamy texture. Although it swatches opaquely, and does apply like so with a firm brush and a good primer, it also tends to get a little powdery and blend out easily. I find that it loses some of that plum tone and goes murky the more it's blended. The shimmer also is more subtle once applied.

Make a Mauve - a mauve-toned taupe, with the same texture and finish as Plum Away With Me, though it looks more satin-y on the lid. Same tendency to go a little powdery and blend out, though also the same great payoff when patted on with a dense brush over a primer.

Bare to Explore - pale pink-beige matte, with a smooth, silky texture. It has good pigmentation, but also blends out really easily. It can be used as a base lid colour, or as a subtle brow bone colour (not highlight). It can also blend out a crease colour very well.

Tarte Rainforest After Dark Colored Clay Eye and Cheek Palette

I think what I like best about this palette is how well all the shades work together, and how convenient it is. I can see myself tucking this away in a travel bag, and being able to work a variety of  looks with it, though still in a neutral category. I appreciate that both the highlighter and the bronzer can be used on the face and the eyes as well. I think as long as you're ok being a little careful with the plum and mauve shades, especially in blending, then this is an excellent palette, especially for work or travel.

Here is a soft, work-appropriate look, using Make a Mauve as the lid shade and under the lower lash line, Plum Away blended in the outer corner (see how it reads less plum?), Tan-gled in the crease, Champagne in the inner corner, and   Don't Turn A-Brown as liner in the top lash line. I brushed Bare to Explore just above the crease to blend it out.

I also used Unleashed very lightly as my blush.

Tarte Rainforest After Dark Colored Clay Eye and Cheek Palette


Tarte Rainforest After Dark Colored Clay Eye and Cheek Palette

Are you guys fans of the Tarte palettes? I find myself liking their smaller palettes more than those big blockbuster sets these days.

Availability: At Sephora stores and www.sephora.com, as well as www.tartecosmetics.com (which does ship to Canada now). Price is 46$ CAD and 38$ USD.

(I purchased this item. All opinions are my own. This post is not sponsored or compensated.)

Shu Uemura Ready To Wear Palette (Pink Hues) and Drawing Pencils (M Black 01, M Grey 05, M Earthy Brown 82, ME Green 51)

Shu Uemura recently revamped their eyeliners 9 dubbed Drawing Pencils - and introduced four new eyeshadow palettes, each featuring a monochromatic colour scheme.

Side note: As the name of the pencils suggest, I immediately took to doodling with them. :P

Shu Uemura Ready To Wear Palette (Pink Hues) and Drawing Pencils (M Black 01, M Grey 05, M Earthy Brown 82, ME Green 51)

Although I love a good plummy eye, I can't say I'm usually drawn to a full-on pink look. With my olive-leaning skin and brown eyes, it can look like I've lost ten rounds with my pillow. The Ready To Wear Palette in Pink Hues palette was just so PRETTY though, that I put my hesitation aside and committed to trying it out in a variety of permutations.

Shu Uemura Ready To Wear Palette (Pink Hues) and Drawing Pencils (M Black 01, M Grey 05, M Earthy Brown 82, ME Green 51)

Shu Uemura Ready To Wear Palette (Pink Hues) and Drawing Pencils (M Black 01, M Grey 05, M Earthy Brown 82, ME Green 51)

Shu Uemura Ready To Wear Palette (Pink Hues) and Drawing Pencils (M Black 01, M Grey 05, M Earthy Brown 82, ME Green 51)

Overall, I was really pleased by the performance of the shadows in this palette. The matte grape wasn't impressive upon swatching, with a firm, smooth and slightly dry texture that appeared a little sheer and patchy when dabbed on the arm. However, when it was applied with a brush to the eyelid, the pigment transferred without an issue. This is not the kind of colour that goes on with full-blast intensity right away, but with a dark shade like this, I can't say that's a bad thing. It was easy enough to build up to greater depth, and it blended well. It's perfect for adding deepness to the outer corner, or building up a hazy smoky eye.

The soft matte pink had a softer texture than the grape, swatched more opaquely and applied to the lid smoothly. It's definitely a shade I need to use sparingly with my colouring, but I have no complaints about texture or performance. I actually don't have this kind of colour in my collection, so once I got over that bit of shock, I was happy to have it in potential rotation.

The "wet" sparkle of the third pink from the left makes it a fantastic layering shade. The hot pink base is quite sheer, so what you get is this glistening effect that looks incredibly when dabbed to the centre of the eyelid. Applied like that over the grape (heavily built up into a smoky eye) looks intense and totally unexpected.

The pale pink and pale peachy-pink shimmers are smooth, creamy and dense, with intense pigmentation. They apply beautifully, but look virtually indistinguishable from each other once on, so I do wish there had been some greater variation. That said, they are both completely lovely.

The matte beige has a similar texture to the matte pink, and is that rare near-white colour that doesn't look chalky. Perfect brow bone highlight, especially if you're going with an otherwise shimmer/sparkle heavy look.

For 85$ CAD, I do think this is a pricy little set, especially considering the monochromatic theme. It's definitely not a palette that stands by itself, though the quality of each shadow ranges from good to great, so there is no doubt they would each get their use in combination with other products.

Shu Uemura Ready To Wear Palette (Pink Hues) and Drawing Pencils (M Black 01, M Grey 05, M Earthy Brown 82, ME Green 51)

And the Drawing Pencils. These are meant to be blend able and waterproof, with 21 different shades to choose from, and 4 different textures.

Shu Uemura Ready To Wear Palette (Pink Hues) and Drawing Pencils (M Black 01, M Grey 05, M Earthy Brown 82, ME Green 51)

Shu Uemura Ready To Wear Palette (Pink Hues) and Drawing Pencils (M Black 01, M Grey 05, M Earthy Brown 82, ME Green 51)

The M Black 01 and M Grey 05 are probably the best performing of the four. They apply smoothly, with very rich pigmentation and a creamy texture.

The M Earthy Brown 82 actually has to be built up a bit as the first layer is sheer, and rather than feeling creamy it's more oily/waxy. I have to say, the colour reads a little off to me as well, and looks a little dirty around my eye. It's my least favourite of the four, both in terms of texture and actual colour.

The ME Green 51 is GORGEOUS. A perfect teal with incredible golden sparkle, it's also sheerer at first swipe.

These had more of a learning curve than I'm used when it comes to eyeliners. With the shades that required a second swipe for full opacity, I found that I needed to let them dry, or the product wound up coming up with that second pass. It was a little frustrating until I figured that out. Fortunately, they dry down incredibly fast, so waiting to do a second layer wasn't a hardship. Un-fortunately though, that über-quick dry down time means that you have to work incredibly fast if you want to smudge these. Even at that, I don't think they blend out all that well, as they just wind up looking a little patchy and washed out more than anything. As the name suggest, I do think these are best suited for creating strongly graphic lines, which they do very, very well.

Because of their intense creaminess, they're also best when sharpened to a good point, and applied almost laid down on their side, with the length of the exposed "lead" along the lash line. They tended to skip or crumble along the lash line for me when applied in the usual, point-first manner.

I can attest to the waterproof claim, but I can't say that they're epically long-wearing, as I got fading and a bit of crumbing/cracking in the line after 6 or so hours. They contain a combination of a rigid and flexible silicon polymer, which together are supposed to provide good adhesion and flexibility. On my eyes, I suspect the rigid ingredient just doesn't hold up, either because of the natural oils on my lid or that way my eye moves/is shaped. I suspect that if you have problems with eyeliner wearing off, you'll either love or hate the Drawing Pencils, depending on how your personal skin chemistry reacts with the polymers and other waterproofing ingredients.

While I do love the colour range, the waterproofness and the intensity that can be achieved, they are spendy, especially considering the potential application issues.

Shu Uemura Ready To Wear Palette (Pink Hues) and Drawing Pencils (M Black 01, M Grey 05, M Earthy Brown 82, ME Green 51)

Have you guys tried any of the newness from Shu? I get the feeling that it's a very cult-y kind of brand. I know a lot of MUAs who adore it, but I tend to get a lot of blank looks when I chat with the average makeup lover about them.

Availability: At certain Holt Renfrew and Sephora locations, as well as online at www.shuuemura.ca. Price is 85$ CAD (65$ USD) for the Ready To Wear palettes, and 28$ CAD (25$ USD) for the Drawing Pencils.

(These items were provided by the brand/PR. All opinions are my own. This post is not sponsored or compensated.)

Cover Girl truBLEND Liquid Makeup - l5 Creamy Natural and m4 Sand Beige

Cover Girl reformulated their truBLEND foundations a few months ago, making the formula lighter and thinner while improving the shade-matching potential. I never tried the original version, so I can't compare them directly.

Cover Girl truBLEND in l5 Creamy Natural and m4 Sand Beige
Cover Girl truBLEND in l5 Creamy Natural and m4 Sand Beige
I was sent these two shades to try out, so the colour match is not exact, unfortunately, but it gives you an idea of the range. They are split into three groups (light, medium, deep), with a variety of undertones in each. I think Cover Girl has improved a lot in terms of their foundation colours - I remember a Clean foundation I had as a teenager that was, quite literally, pink. I looked like I had dipped my face in calamine lotion.

Thankfully the formula here is forgiving as well, despite the good coverage, so while the l5 Creamy Natural is a little too dark and cool for my skin, I can get away with it, as long as I blend well around the ears, or else it leaves a noticeable line. If you have truly neutral or olive-toned skin, this foundation might require some shade-mixing, so while it is inexpensive, you'll likely need to experiment with a few bottles to get an exact match.

Also a bit strange, the liquid pumps out with a strange streaking of white pigment, but it disappears as soon as I blend it in. It doesn't seem to alter the application in any way.

Cover Girl truBLEND in l5 Creamy Natural and m4 Sand Beige
Cover Girl truBLEND in l5 Creamy Natural and m4 Sand Beige
In terms of coverage, this is a solid medium. In the picture below I applied it relatively sheerly with a moistened buffing brush, and I still got decent coverage out of it. Despite that, it still looked very skin-like to my eye, with a lot of natural glow (which if you have oilier skin, will probably translate to too much shine). While it smoothed over dry patches nicely, I found it slightly emphasized the texture around the lower part of my cheeks, where I tend to have any residual acne scarring and dilated pores. Again, probably better for drier skin.

Lasting power was really good - it didn't go cake-y or fade over the course of 8 hours, though the glow definitely turned to shine on my t-zone, and I had to use blotting papers twice for that. Despite the shine, I didn't actually get any separation or fading there either.

Cover Girl truBLEND Liquid Makeup - l5 Creamy Natural and m4 Sand Beige

I definitely prefer the Ready, Set, Gorgeous foundation for my particular skin needs (video review here), but I think this is a good reformulation, and a solid drugstore option if you're looking for a glowy, natural finish foundation for normal-to-dry skin, that still provides good coverage.

Availability: All drugstores that carry Cover Girl products, as well as Wal-Mart and Target. Prices vary between 10$ CAD and 14$CAD, and the least expensive I found was at Wal-Mart.

(These items were provided by the brand/PR to be considered for review. I am a #BeautyUnited blogger. As part of my affiliation with this group, I receive products and special access to P&G events. The opinions on this blog are my own.)

Makeup Revolution - Essential Mattes and Shimmers Palettes, Baked Blusher

In case you've missed the social media blitz, Makeup Revolution is a relatively new drugstore brand out of the UK, setting up shop in Superdrug locations (and online) this past March, and combining very attractive pricing with an on-trend and rapidly expanding range.

They are very known in the youtube world for making spot-on dupes (colour-wise, anyway) of the three Naked palettes from UD (their versions are named Iconic). I only have Naked 3, so I wouldn't be able to compare them for you either way, but I did receive two of the other palettes in their Redemption 12 Shade Palettes range: the Essential Mattes and Essential Shimmers. I was also sent two of their Baked Blushers to try out.

Makeup Revolution - Essential Mattes and Shimmers Palettes,

In terms of packaging, it's exactly what I expected for a brand at this price point: simple, inexpensive but sturdy plastic, and unfussy font. The eyeshadows in the palettes are arranged in narrow strips, but not so narrow that you can't fit a crease brush comfortably. The long sponge tipped applicator is of negligeable value, but the space for it is perfect for stashing an eyeliner or a smaller, good quality eye brush. The variety of shades and non-flimsy packaging makes these nice for travel, but a mirror on the inside would have been a nice feature for that purpose. The blushers also lack a mirror, the clear flip top lid showing off the admittedly gorgeous swirls of colour.

Makeup Revolution - Essential Mattes and Shimmers Palettes,
Essential Shimmers, Essential Mattes
I was really, really hopeful about the Essential palettes, and I have to say that, for the most part, I was pleased with them - especially considering the price point. I don't think they are the be all and end all that some breathless posts on Twitter have claimed, but they are indeed good, and certainly better than a lot of palettes put out by "big-name" mass market brands. (For comparison, I'd much rather use these than the Maybelline the Nudes.)

In terms of straight on pigmentation, I put these at a solid medium-to-great. They don't have quite the same level of intensity as, say, the Urban Decay eyeshadows do, but I think that has more to do which how they adhere than strictly speaking with how they cover the skin. (More on that further down.)

The only ones that gave me significant trouble in terms of going on sheer or patchy were the black in the Mattes palette, and the glittery plum brown in the Shimmers palette (third from the right, felt a little gritty too). The pale mattes also could have a bit more punch, but for using on the brow bone or as a base, they're fine.

The texture of these is lovely to the touch - the mattes feel smooth and silky, the shimmers quite creamy. Honestly, I wasn't expecting them to feel so nice!

I think were they do fall a little short is in how they adhere, both to the brush, the "themselves" and to the eyelid. (It's also where I personally see the difference between a product with a more stripped down, albeit a very nice-feeling formula, and something comparable from a higher-end brand.) The Mattes, for example, kick up a ton of powder when a brush is dipped into them, so I had to be careful to really tap them off. As beautifully as they swatch, they can over blend when they're applied to skin or to a dry-finish primer (like the Too Faced Shadow Insurance). The Shimmers have the opposite issue - I found I had to rub my brush in there to get the right level of product, and when applied to bare lids, the intensity was muted. (Compared to a UD or Lorac shimmer, which you have to be careful to barely tap with a brush or you'll wind up with way more than you need.)

That said, the solution is super simple: a tackier base. A paint pot is fine, but I actually the best results using my regular primer and then applying a thin layer of liquid concealer, and then the eyeshadows over that. The pigmentation showed up true to swatch, there was no fallout or over blending, and the finished look was beautiful, and lasted 8 hours without a problem.

And for palettes that come out to 7.40$ CAD? I really don't mind changing up my usual eye base.

I think in terms of overall quality, they're very comparable to my Sleek palettes, though a different kind of texture altogether.

Makeup Revolution - Essential Mattes and Shimmers Palettes,
Essential Mattes
Makeup Revolution - Essential Mattes and Shimmers Palettes,
Essential Mattes, first 6 shades on the left
Makeup Revolution - Essential Mattes and Shimmers Palettes,
Essential Mattes, last 6 shades on the right
Makeup Revolution - Essential Mattes and Shimmers Palettes,
Essential Shimmers
Makeup Revolution - Essential Mattes and Shimmers Palettes,
Essential Shimmers, first 6 shades on the left
Makeup Revolution - Essential Mattes and Shimmers Palettes,
Essential Shimmers, last 6 shades on the right

The Baked Blushers aren't quite what I expected either. I imagined them to function more like traditional blushes, but they actually go on more sheer and shimmery. If you are fair, you might be able to get away with wearing them softly as a glowy blush. On my skin tone, I found that getting the colour payoff I wanted translated to a bit more shimmer than I generally wear during the day. Bang Bang You're Dead is a vivid cool medium pink in the pan, and goes on paler. Hard Day is a cool tan with incredible mauve iridescence in the pan, and swatches, strangely, as peach.

BUT. I do like them as a layering, highlighting blush, something to add to a more muted, matte blush. For example, I just recently found that the bronzed-mauve shimmer of Hard Day looks AMAZING layered over Tarte Exposed blush. It's the perfect non-tanned bronzed look. :P

The texture is on par with most other baked/mineralized products, meaning they have a firm, somewhat dry, smooth feel, and kick up a ton of fine powder.

And again, the price is highly reasonable, if you're on the lookout for this sort of product, as they retail for 4.63$ CAD. (And if you prefer regular blushes, theirs are 1.85$ CAD.)

makeup revolution baked blusher Bang Bang You're Dead Hard Day
Baked Blusher - Bang Bang You're Dead and Hard Day
makeup revolution baked blusher Bang Bang You're Dead Hard Day
Baked Blusher - Bang Bang You're Dead and Hard Day, heavily swatched and buffed out.
Here is a full(ish) face done with a combination of shades from the Essential Mattes and Shimmers. I used the dirty gold shimmer all over the lid, the pale gold cream shimmer in the inner corner, a combination of the matte beige and light brown shimmer through the crease, and the two darker matte brown shades in the outer corner, layered and buffed out with a fluffy crease brush.

I also used a combination of both blushes on my cheeks, with a bit of the MUFE powder foundation overtop to mute the shimmer.

Makeup Revolution - Essential Mattes and Shimmers Palettes, Baked Blusher

So my feelings overall?

If you're not inclined to shop mass retail for your makeup, you probably won't be swayed here. This is a well put together budget brand, with a big catalogue and great performance for the price point, but I don't think it's really comparable to high-end, be it in terms of packaging or feel. However, if you're concerned about price, or just like/prefer to shop drugstore, then Makeup Revolution is a very solid contender.

I'm actually plotting my order for a few more things as I type this - I want to try their regular blushers, as well as their Chocolate Bar dupes. The shipping to Canada is a little steep, about 14$ regardless of parcel size. I would suggest following them on social media in case they run a shipping promo, but be warned - you'll be seeing A LOT of retweets of effusive reviews and the like. (Gotta respect a brand that hits the ground running!)

Availability: At Superdrug in the UK, on http://www.makeuprevolutionstore.com/ otherwise.

(These items were sent to me by the brand/PR to be considered for review. All opinions are my own, this post is not sponsored or compensated.)