September 19, 2016

Tarte Double Duty Beauty Eye & Cheek Palette - Classic Courage

Purchased from
Affiliate link used in this post.

Tarte has a huuuuuuuuge lineup of products, and as a Canadian, there was an entire subset of products I had no access to: the Double Duty line, which is so far exclusive to Ulta and

At least that's what I thought, until I realized that 1) the Tarte website ships to Canada, and 2) it does so for free, and with no extra fees or duties, with orders of 75$. Though I was tempted to go nuts, I restrained myself to those products that I couldn't get otherwise. (And also took advantage of a discount code.)

One of these items is the Double Duty Beauty Eye & Cheek Palette "Classic Courage" (36$CAD).

Tarte Double Duty Beauty Eye & Cheek Palette - Classic Courage

Tarte Double Duty Beauty Eye & Cheek Palette

Tarte Double Duty Beauty Eye & Cheek Palette

I was impressed right when I took it out of the packaging - it has a nice amount of heft, and looks and feels like I'm getting my money's worth. It has a magnetic closure to keep it tidy if you're traveling, as well as a decently sized mirror. While it does stay open, it teeters since both the top and bottom are equally weighted, so you'll still have to hold it or prop it up. It also smells very distinctly of vanilla, so be aware of that if you're sensitive to scents. For me, the smell doesn't linger on the face, but it is very noticeable every time I open the palette.
If you're a neutrals fanatic like I am, this palette is pure catnip. The website describes this as having "warm, neutral tones", but I think it might pull more more or less warm depending on your underlying tones. On me it's squarely neutral. There are five eyeshadows, two mattes and three shimmers, as well as a nearly full-size Amazonian Clay blush.

Tarte Double Duty Beauty Eye & Cheek Palette - Classic Courage

Tarte Double Duty Beauty Eye & Cheek Palette - Classic Courage swatches
Rise and Shine, Rosy Outlook, Lucky Penny, Smile On, Trailblazer, Courage

Tarte Double Duty Beauty Eye & Cheek Palette - Classic Courage swatches
Rise and Shine, Rosy Outlook, Lucky Penny, Smile On, Trailblazer, Courage

All of the eyeshadows kick up a fair bit of  powder when I dip my brushes into them, but I don't get any fallout during application.

Rise and Shine: an ivory-leaning beige matte, the texture is very smooth and silky, and it blends easily into the skin without looking chalky. The pigmentation is softer.

Rosy Outlook: a light rose shimmer, this has a more "wet" reflective quality than the other two shimmers, and looks more ethereal when applied. Slightly flaky when I dip my finger into the pan, but that doesn't translate into application. Very bendable, and can sheer out to a much paler version of itself, so it can work as both a lid color when packed on, or a highlight when used lightly.

Lucky Penny: a muted, rose-gold with strong taupe undertones. It's the smoothest and creamiest of all the shimmers, though only marginally more so than Smile On. It blends perfectly, and has lovely pigmentation.

Smile On: a neutral brown shimmer, with essentially the same texture and pigmentation qualities as Lucky Penny.

Trailblazer: a neutral chocolate brown matte, with a somewhat drier, slightly less silky texture than Rose and Shine. It blends out without a problem, with good pigmentation.

Courage: a pretty nude rose blush, very much in the same tonal family as Exposed. The powder is soft and smooth and silky, and it blends seamlessly into the skin, but the colour intensity is fairly muted, so I doubt it would show up very well on skin that's darker than medium.

One thing to note as well: the formula of the blush is not the same as the regular blushes, but seems more similar to that used in the holiday palettes. I have several of those holiday palettes and this seems comparable.

In terms of value, this contains five eyeshadows of 1 gram each - so 5 grams in total - and one blush at 5.4 grams, for a cost of 36$.  In comparison, one regular Amazonian Clay blush is 5.6 grams, and 35$. So basically for the approximate cost of one Tarte blush, you're getting a blush and five eyeshadows. I think that's a really decent price, for the performance and quality.

For the look below, I kept it simple: Lucky Penny on the lid and lower lash line, Smile On in the outer corner and on the outer third of lower lash line, Rosy Outlook in the inner corner, Trailblazer lightly through the crease, Rise & Shine on the brow bone and to blend out the the crease.

I also applied Courage blush to my cheeks. (It's a shade that could also be mixed lightly with Trailblazer for a softer transition.)

Tarte Double Duty Beauty Eye & Cheek Palette

If you're curious about my experience as a Canadian ordering from the Tarte website, I offered a review and some general first impression in this video:

September 18, 2016

Blog Update

So as you may have noticed, if you've somehow stumbled back upon this blog, that I've come back to it after spending a year at

Last summer, after a lot of critical thinking, I decided to take a break from Maggie's Makeup. I had fallen into some really bad habits in terms of my spending (and consumerism in general), and I needed to disengage with aspects of my life that were feeding into that. I also needed a fresh space to begin a transition to cruelty-free beauty, and to explore the concept of minimalism.

I really value the time I spent at a distance from Makeupland - I started a decluttering process that I've documented on youtube, and more importantly, I got control of my spending habits and fascination with labels. I was never very successful at becoming a minimalist, but I picked up some good mental tools from the attempt.

The time away also made me realize how much I love writing and talking about makeup. I tried doing more lifestyle/foodie/book/sociopolitcal oriented things, and it became evident that while I'm interested a wide variety of topics and am happy to post about them, I am, at the heart of it, a beauty blogger. My perspective on beauty and makeup has shifted over this past year, and my passion for it has fluctuating along with some of those mental shifts - but ultimately, it's just what I love.

And so I'm back to where I started. :)

(If you scroll down to older posts you'll see that I've mirrored most of what I've written on A Simple Hedonist, so if you didn't follow me there, you can catch up here, if you're so inclined.)

August 02, 2016

Kat Von D Serpentina Palette - Review, Swatches, Face of the Day

Purchased at Sephora.
Contains an affiliate link.

The Serpentina Palette from Kat Von D is a classic case of "I want to love you."

Kat Von D Serpentina Palette - Review, Swatches

Kat Von D Serpentina Palette - Review, Swatches

Kat Von D Serpentina Palette - Review, Swatches

Kat Von D Serpentina Palette - Review, Swatches
Swatched on clean, un-primed but moisturized skin.

Without a doubt, it's s stunner. Kat Von D's branding is unique and instantly recognizable, and yet it also clearly evokes the theme of Ancient Egypt. If I'm to nitpick anything, it's the bulkiness of the packaging, especially in comparison to her other palettes. I get that it was done to accommodate the pigment jar, but I wish they'd thought of a more elegant solution - especially since that jar also means that the palette is best stored flat, or risk having gold pigment get everywhere.

The shades are stunning, as well - brilliant jewel tones and murky, glittery earth tones. One could quibble about the lack of transition shades, but that's a lazy criticism. Chances are, if you're buying a palette with this kind colour range, you're not the type of beauty junkie with a dearth of browns and taupes and camels in your collections.

They look good. Really, really good. I just wish they were as easy to apply.

Kat Von D Serpentina Palette - Review, Swatches

Kat Von D Serpentina Palette - Review, Swatches

Kat Von D Serpentina Palette - Review, Swatches

Bloodmilk is the one I was most concerned about. I knew going in that vegan eyeshadow formulations could be especially challenged by red tones, but this one hit it out of the park. Over a primer, the colour packs on true to pan, and blends out without a hitch. And it looks GOOD. I always think of red as the kind of shade that best suits blue or green eyes (and an otherwise youthful countenance), but there's something about this particular shade that doesn't make me look a couple of decades too old to be indulging in all-nighters.

Medusa and Ankh have the kind of micro glitter that makes the eyeshadow feel a bit gritty, and difficult to blend out. Medusa is the smoother of the two, with a dirty gold base colour that is just beautiful. I wish they were a satin (or metallic) formulation.

Queen and Hieroglyph, on the other hand, are smooth, creamy, densely pigmented and very easy to work with. Hieroglyph has a slightly flakier texture, but I didn't find it to impact application.

Kat Von D Serpentina Palette - Review, Swatches

Kat Von D Serpentina Palette - Review, Swatches

Kat Von D Serpentina Palette - Review, Swatches

Nile is the biggest disappointment. An incredible rich blue in the pan, it has a dense but crumbly texture when swatched, and applied choppily, with heavy fallout. It's a serious pain to blend out as well.

Scarab has a similar texture and application to Queen and Hieroglyph, and is a stunning colour to boot.

Venom has a texture similar to Bloodmilk, but doesn't build up as well. Like many purples (especially mattes), it tends to look dusty and faded on the lid. As a crease shade, though, it's workable.

Prophet is my second favourite shade from the palette - a rich old gold with a hint of green, that can be used as a glimmer wash all over the lid when applied dry, or as a burnished metallic highlight when applied damp.

Kat Von D Serpentina Palette - Review, Swatches

These are the two looks I was able to create using this palette.

Here I used Nile and Scarab on the lid and lower lash line, with a halo and inner corner highlight courtesy of Prophet. I also used the cooler tones from the Shade + Light Eye Contour Palette for the crease, lash line blending and transition.

Kat Von D Serpentina Palette - Look

For the warmer look, I used Bloodmilk in the crease, Ankh on the lash line, Queen in the outer corner, Hieroglyph through the middle and Prophet in the inner corner, mirrored in the lash line. Again I pulled the warmer tones from Shade + Light for the transition and blending out. 

Kat Von D Serpentina Palette Look

I think the end results are pretty and surprisingly wearable, but the blue look especially was a challenge. For 57$ CAD, I want a palette that's not only beautiful, but a dream to work with - and this is not that.

That said, I'm loath to return it, because, for some reason, it still speaks to me.

And now that I think of it, maybe being gorgeous but demanding is somehow perfectly appropriate for a palette that so strongly evokes the spirit of Elizabeth Taylor's Cleopatra. ;)