I really look forward to the Tarte holiday releases every year, and this year definitely has not disappointed me in terms of fun holiday sets. I have read some extremely mixed reviews on the Tarte Pretty Paintbox Collector’s Makeup Case, so I was eager to get my hands on it and try it out myself to see if it was worth it’s $59 price tag.
Tarte has had the cutest packaging lately, and the case that the Pretty Paintbox comes in is no exception. It’s a fairly sturdy case with a fabric outer layer (but not that gross hold-all-of-the-germs velvety fabric that some eyeshadow palettes have been boasting over the past few years).
Inside the Pretty Paintbox, you’ll find 24 shadows housed on the left hand side, and on the right is a little fold out mirror that uncovers a deluxe sized Tarteist Lash Paint Mascara, a deluxe sized Tarteist Glossy Lip Paint in the shade Obvi, and a full sized Rainforest of the Sea So Fine Micro Liner, as well as a decently large blush, highlight, bronzer and contour powder.
There are a couple things I don’t love about this makeup case, though. The mirror, for one, is kinda weirdly placed. While it’s cute that it folds out, you have to prop the palette up at a weird angle to actually make it usable. I also dislike that the only thing separating the eyeshadows on the left and the powders on the right is a piece of plastic that I’m very likely going to lose- which means it’s almost inevitable that eyeshadow fallout is going to end up in my powders or vice versa. I guess I’ll just have to be careful to keep track of the plastic sheet!
Let’s get right into the eyeshadows, because that’s what the center of all of the controversy over this Tarte holiday set is. I have read a ton of reviews, both on the Sephora site as well as on other blogs, stating that the shadows preformed terribly. I have also read other reviews, again- both on other blogs and on the Sephora website, that say the shadows are great. So, which is it?
As you can see in my swatches below (done over eyeshadow primer as all my swatches are, and with a max of two layers per shadow, though some only needed one swipe for full opacity), these aren’t the worst shadows ever made. In fact, they are not bad at ALL, in my opinion. Let me elaborate a bit, though.
Firstly, there are obviously a few duds. What palette this large doesn’t have a single dud, though? In the Pretty Paintbox, Silhouette, Charcoal Sketch, First Impressionism and Starry Night were the ones that fell short for me- pretty much just all four of the black or almost black shades. I found Silhouette to be a little chalky, Charcoal Sketch just not as deep as I’d like it to be, First Impressionism preforms nothing like it looks like it should in the pan (it appears to be a metallic dark blue in the pan, but comes out like a kinda blah dark grey) and Starry Night is just downright patchy. Frameworthy (the second swatch in the second row) looks a little patchy in my swatch, but I think that was just because I hadn’t properly dried off all of the face wipe I used to clean up the last set of swatches. It is incredibly, incredibly rare that I use blacks or super dark shadows in my eye looks, so I’m honestly not really phased by the less than perfect black shades in this.
Now that we’re done with the dud chat, let’s talk about how many pretty shades there are in this! There are eight metallic and shimmery shades in this, and with the exception of Starry Night, they’re all so beautiful. I am especially in love with Metal Work (second last swatch on the top row), Selfie Portrait (second last swatch on the second row), Hot MoMA (third swatch on the last row) and Get Surreal (second last swatch on the last row). These shadows all only required one swipe to get full color buildup- impressive! The matte shades are pretty much all nice as well (especially Stained Glass, the dark cranberry shade fourth from the left in the last row). There are a few that don’t show up very well on me- Nudes, Waterlilies and Fresco, but they will work fine as subtle highlight and transition shades as well as for all over the lid to set a primer.
Overall, I don’t see a major quality issue with these shadows at all- especially not to the extent that some reviews have been saying. I am wondering if it’s an issue of people being really upset about the four dark shades that don’t preform well, or if there are different qualities of product batches going around.
I’ve also heard mixed reviews specifically about the blush, highlight, bronzer and contour powders in this set. I’ve read people claim that they are super unpigmented, which again leads me to think that there may have been some sort of quality control/bad batch issue, because as you can see in my swatches below, these are beautiful! All of those swatches are just one swipe of color on dry skin, as well.
The Tarte Pretty Paintbox Collector’s Makeup Case retails for $59 (with a value of $418!) and is a Sephora exclusive. In my opinion, I think it’s definitely worth it if pretty neutrals are your jam and you aren’t worried about needing super pigmented black shadows on the regular. It’s also an awesome starter kit for anyone just getting into makeup, since it has everything you need for eyes, cheeks and lips!
If you’ve purchased this holiday set, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!