To Be Or Not To Be…A Fucking Unicorn: Tarte Invites You To Play Make Believe

Published on May 13, 2017 by   ·   3 Comments

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First, a rant.

So, my little closeted gay boy heart in the 1980s would have loved to live in a world that was just bursting with unicorns and mermaids, but this whole cultural obsession with mythical creatures that’s infiltrating every aspect of our daily lives just feels a little bit…sad.  Not that unicorns or mermaids are anything new, mind you, but there seems to be a resurgence in their popularity, especially in the beauty community.  And in the beverage community too, apparently.  Who could forget the petty rant by the stressed out Starbucks employee who was tired of making Unicorn Frappuccinos:

Oh I’m sorry, did people come into your place of work and expect you to DO YOUR GODDAMN JOB?!  That must have been terrible for you.  If it’s any consolation, pouty millenial, it sounds like Starbucks is getting sued by a New York coffee shop claiming that they stole the idea from one of their signature menu items.  So maybe your cloud has a silver lining.

Unicorn 16I promise I’m going to get to the makeup in a minute, but first I just want to go on record as saying that I agree with many of the critics of the mermaid and unicorn fads who say that this obsession has gone a little bit too far.  If you like mermaids and unicorns, that’s fine; I personally have a mermaid-themed bathroom that I think is just darling and though she hasn’t made an appearance for a hot minute, the mascot for Champagne Dreams Productions is a magical (and very crass) unicorn named Trixie.  Like what you like – we all have our own personal fandoms and dorky obsessions.  But what I have a problem with is the way that this obsession with mythical creatures is acting as an excuse for people to try to exempt themselves from grownup life.  Yes, a couple of times a month I paint myself up like a deranged prostitute and stomp around in some dainty 16 wide heels, mouthing the words to a song by some generic pop tart.  But I also have an education and a full time job and I pay taxes.  I try to stay reasonably informed about the world around me.  I’m quite happy to report that I don’t have the slightest clue what the Kardashians are currently “working on” (and I use the term work very, VERY loosely).  I’m not trying to brag, but I manage to have my fantasy life while still participating in the world around me.

Unicorn 14But the current mermaid and unicorn trend drives this insane consumerism: the Starbucks frappuccino had nothing explicitly unicorn about it.  A unicorn didn’t appear on the cup, it didn’t come with some unicorn toy like a fucking Happy Meal.  People take something, make it pink and blue and purple, call it a “Unicorn Whatever” and jack the price up.  Then they just sit back and wait for the money to roll in, which more often than not it does.  I agree with THIS ARTICLE that argues that all this unicorn craze is doing is infantalizing grown adults (mostly women, but also some men) and encouraging them to stay in this place of suspended adulthood; if you haven’t watched Iliza’s newest Netflix comedy special, Confirmed Kills, you should as her roasting of the mermaid trend is spot on.  I mean, look at the lawsuit against Starbucks over that stupid drink: The End is mad at Starbucks for taking the generic idea of a unicorn (which was not invented by either of these coffee establishments, in case you hadn’t noticed) and “copying them” by applying the name to a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT FUCKING DRINK!  It would be one thing if the recipes were the same or there was some evidence that they took some kind of “inspiration” from The End’s Unicorn Latte, but they bear absolutely no resemblance to one another except that neither drink actually has any coffee in it at all.

Unicorn 15It’s like two kids fighting on the playground about who liked unicorns first.  “I liked unicorns first, stupid!”  “No, I did, buttface!”  It’s juvenile and ridiculous, and I hope that little hipster coffee shop gets laughed out of court.

This stupidity has also spilled over into the makeup world when the former owner of Too Faced Cosmetics decided to throw some shade at Tarte (the brand I promise I’m going to eventually get around to reviewing!) by posting a picture of TF’s Unicorn Tears lipstick (which I have and which is absolutely gorgeous) with the hashtag #ThereArentUnicornsInTheAmazon.  This was an obvious dis at the Tarte “Make Believe In Yourself” collection because Tarte is probably best known for their line of Amazonian clay products.  This was already petty as fuck, but then who had to go get himself involved?  None other than controversy magnet Jeffree Star!  And just in case you want to get your wig snatched, hunties, he even drags Lime Crime into the mix!  He admits that he despises Doe Deere, the CEO and owner of Lime Crime, but then mentions the obvious fact that she’s had a line of Unicorn Lipsticks for several years (one of the slogans for Lime Crime is “Makeup For Unicorns”).  JICYMI, here’s the whole snap rant:

Bravo to Jeffree for calling out Blandino for being a tool, but then he gets down into the mess himself by bringing up Nikkie Tutorials and her contract for that ratchet palette.  Ugh, the shade of it all.

The whole thing is just stupid and represents a lot of what’s wrong with the current beauty culture.  There seems to be this idea that there isn’t room for different brands to produce and release products and to contribute to a fun and creative love a makeup.  Rather than focusing on making better and more interesting products in order to make money (I’m looking at YOU, Too Faced – your quality control is inconsistent as fuck), they instead focusing on tearing others down.  Rapid fans on social media feed into this, organizing hate campaigns against brands that their favorite brand rep doesn’t like.  It’s all just so stupid and I think everyone should just grow the fuck up and get back to enjoying makeup.

Rant over.  Now let’s do just that: enjoy some fucking makeup!

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I wasn’t really keen to pick up the Tarte Make Believe In Yourself palette; I got burned pretty bad by the Swamp Queen palette and the terrible quality.  Tarte has never really been a brand I’ve been that attracted to, so when that palette was really patchy and inconsistent I didn’t really feel like running out to buy their new unicorn collection.  Though to be fair, the palette and the brushes that I bought don’t reference unicorns at all (just in case one of those petty bitches was thinking about suing!): the palette, like the collection, is called Make Believe In Yourself and the brushes, which look a lot like the spiral-handled “unicorn” brushes that have been popping up all over, are called Magic Wands.  I haven’t really been paying attention to how they’ve been marketing it (I don’t follow the brand on Facebook or Instagram) so it’s possible they are making the unicorn connection more explicitly on social media?  Who knows?  Who cares?!  The important thing is the quality!  So let’s take a look.

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First up is the palette.  I was perusing the Sephora on Pine in Seattle and I don’t know what made me swatch the palette, but I was surprised to find the shadows super soft and creamy – so much different than the Swamp Queen’s powdery shadows!  Nine of the ten shadows are a metallic finish, with one matte shadow called Myth that will work as a transition shade for light and possibly some medium skintones.  There is also a highlight shade in the middle of the palette that is a white base with a pinky-coral duochrome finish.  The shades, starting with the matte shade in the upper middle/right and moving clockwise, are Myth, Magic (bronze/brown), Wings (copper), Marvel (gold), Trance (sort of a beige/rose gold combo), Fairy (lavendar with a gold undertone), Mystic (silvertoned blue), Dream (blue-green with gold flash), Crystal (rose gold), and Pixie (coral pink).  The highlight shade, as far as I can tell, doesn’t have a shade name.  All ten shades swatched beautifully on my arm with finger application:

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Because I like to be difficult, for the swatches I started with Pixie on the left side of my arm, and I went counter-clockwise around the palette.  So the swatches above, from left to right, are Pixie, Crystal, Dream, Mystic, Fairy, Trance, Marvel, Wings, Magic, Myth, and then the nameless highlighter on the end (maybe Nameless is a good name for it?! Sounds fairytale-esque!).  The above photo is with flash, below is without:

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This palette is going to be a challenge for anyone who likes to do “one palette” looks – there isn’t really anything to darken or give dimension, though I suppose you could just celebrate metallics on your lids.  I generally don’t do my show makeup with only one palette anyway, so that wasn’t a big concern for me but it is something to note.  Wings and Fairy are a little darker and could be used with some of the lighter shades, but a deep gunmetal with silver flash would have really rounded out this collection and could have been in place of either Crystal or Pixie (which are both gorgeous, but very similar).  Oh well, this is what it is, and I think it’s lovely.  I didn’t do a video, but I also played around with them a little and they blended nicely with each other and with the matte shadows from other brands I tried them with.  If you got burned by the Swamp Queen palette and you’ve been hesitant to pick this up (it has the same vanilla scent to it as well, which brought back memories of that unfortunate collab for me and pushed me further away!) then have no fear: this palette is a solid group of shadows and will give you a lot of flash and sparkle for your money.

I picked mine up at Sephora (whose website claims that the highlighter is called Believe – I like my name better!) and it was on par in price with other palettes by similar brands at $40 – maybe even a little bit less.

As for the brush collection, this wasn’t as much of a hit for me.  There are 5 brushes in the collection, 3 face brushes and 2 for the eyes:

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Unicorn 13I love the green and blue pastels of the two eye brushes and the pink of the large powder brush, but the two purple brushes are a little too…something.  I don’t know.  Actually, I think it’s just the more reddish-purple contouring brush that looks too saturated or something.  A nice baby blue would have rounded out the collection a little better IMHO.  All of the brushes are soft and feel really nice, but the handles feel very light (and if we’re being honest, a little cheap).  The pink one is very loosely packed, and would work for setting powders, but you won’t have a lot of control over the product.  The contour brush is a little too firm for me; I like a little bit of give.  If I were in a fairytale right now, it would be Goldilocks: this one’s too firm, this one’s too tight!  The blush brush is just ok, but it’s the two eyeshadow brushes are the ones that are “just right.”  The blending brush is soft and fluffy, and the flat brush is firmly packed but not totally immobile.  On all of the brushes, I notice that occasionally bristles tend to point at weird angles and need to be smoothed out.  They aren’t bad brushes by any means, but at $39 for 5 brushes and with the flaws they do have, I just don’t see them as a “must have” by any means.  But them if you just can’t resist (you’ll get a decent amount of performance out of them), but if you’re just chasing the trend I’ve bought some unicorn-themed brushes off Amazon and from the indie brand Sugar & Cotton that I like much better, had more variety, and were much lower in price!

As much as I rant and rave about unicorns and mermaids and all of that, one of the upsides to these trends are that makeup brands are starting to offer some really fun products.  It wasn’t that long ago that we were awash in nude palette after nude palette, held fast in the grip of Naked 3 obsession.  So I’m never going to complain when brands want to offer stunning pastels, lovely jewel tones, or beautiful shades from the forest and other fairytale landscapes.  Tarte is jumping in with this collection to help you become the unicorn of your dreams, whenever and wherever you want.

Even in the Amazon.

Oh, the shade of it all…

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Now Go Forth & Get Painted!

 

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Readers Comments (3)
  1. […] we won’t rehash here (it’s a simple google search to find it, or get a brief rundown in THIS POST about the tarte Make Believe In Yourself collection), and Too Faced as a brand has been getting […]

  2. […] of palettes for sale.  Two were especially intriguing: a cool-toned collection of pastels perfect for those following the mermaid and unicorn makeup trends called Blizzard, and a more primary-infused collection in a red metallic case called Fuego.  […]

  3. […] (always sold out!).  Some people might be moving on to mermaid chic, but WW is here to show that Unicorns are still where it’s at!  WW did a Unicorn box with Ulta that I also wasn’t able to get my hands on, but this pastel […]





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