Tarte Keeps Playing Make Believe With The Be A Mermaid & Make Waves Palette

Published on March 22, 2018 by   ·   No Comments

Oh, tarte.  What’s the matter, baby?  What’s going on in your life?  Because if your recent creative direction is any indication, you’ve been going through some things.

I won’t belabor the troubled launch of the much-anticipated Shape Tape foundation; yes, the shade range was pathetic, and showing the swatches on a black woman’s arm when pretty much none of the shades would work on her complexion was a total bonehead move, but I’m still a little perplexed about the amount of rage directed at it when other brands, specifically Too Faced, have been putting out shitty, pale shade selections pretty much forever but haven’t somehow attracted the ire of the beauty community in the same way.  No, I’m talking about the fact that they keep putting out the same boring shades of brown palette time after time and no one seems to care.

Is that the same fucking palette, over and over, or did I have a stroke?  People complain about how so many palettes are just a bunch of warm neutrals with a pop of color…but these don’t even have a pop of color!  If they do something interesting, please wake me up out of my cosmetically-induced coma.

Enter the newest mystical, make believe palette: Be A Mermaid & Make Waves.

Mermaid 01
So the title is so fucking extra that I kind of want to hurl, but I was hopeful when I saw the gorgeous packaging – a holographic blue-green 3D seashell.  As a kid I was obsessed with mermaids and this would have been the ultimate mermaid accessory.  The stitching is beautiful and the colors are really lovely…but then you open it up and reveal the shade selection.

Tarte 09
*Sigh*  If mermaids are supposed to be your inspiration, why in the fresh fuck would you give us a collection of warm neutrals with just a couple pops of color?  Oh, because that’s what every tired brand has been doing for the last year and a half, waiting for the next “it” palette to come along so they can copy it (think ABH Modern Renaissance, Too Faced Sweet Peach, or Urban Decay’s Naked 3).  I don’t know what kind of freshwater, trout-looking motherfucker of a mermaid they were inspired by, but once you take away the cute clamshell packaging and the unique pan shapes, it’s just another boring warm neutral palette with a couple pops of color (a blue, purple, and green).  In fact, when you look at groups of swatches, you would never in a million years guess that this was a mermaid-inspired palette:

Mermaid 04
L to R: Nude Beach, Shore Things Mermosa, Frose’

So…these are boring as fuck.  Nude beach is a pretty typical champagne shimmer.  It has a nice golden tone to it, but if you have the Make Believe In Yourself palette (or pretty much any other palette with a basic champagne shimmer), then you already have this.  Shore Thing is one of the three mattes in the palette, and none of them were very impressive.  They didn’t swatch very well with a finger; they were all three very dry and patchy, and they pulled against the primer that I used (UD’s Primer Potion in the anti-aging formula).  I swatched all three mattes with a brush and I’ll include that below.  The swatches turned out a bit better, but they were still sort of washed out and sad looking.  Mermosa is a metallic copper-gold, pretty enough I guess but also pretty basic.  Frose’ should have been a fantastic color, a pink base with gold reflects, but when you swatch it out the pink all but disappears and it’s just another light gold shade.  It needs more of the play between the pink and the yellow gold to make it interesting.

Mermaid 03
L to R: Beach Please, Fin-Tastic, Shipwreck, Sandbar, Cavern

So…here’s the row that makes the least sense for a mermaid.  Red and brown.  I have no words.  Beach Please is a pretty enough shade, a bright brick red with a great shimmer.  Fin-Tastic is a ruddy brown shimmer that is pretty easily dupeable.  Shipwreck was the worst of the mattes to swatch, and it’s a pretty basic ruddy brown matte, like Fin-Tastic without the shimmer, and it’s another one that you probably already have in your collection.  Sandbar is the most basic as fuck shade in this palette.  If you don’t already have this camel shade 100 times over, then you haven’t bought a single eyeshadow palette in the last two years.  This one is everywhere, and it’s so not mermaid in any way shape or form.  Cavern is a nice chocolate brown with shimmer, but it’s another one you probably already have in your collection.  Gawd this row makes me angry.  Let’s move on.

Mermaid 02
L to R: Salt Water, Bubbles, Lagoon, Splash, Shell Yeah

So this grouping of shadows is the best of the palette, and it’s the most mermaid-like, but it just feels like too little, too late.  Salt-water is a taupe shimmer that I think is really pretty, and though I have some things like it, I can appreciate it’s inclusion in this palette.  But why would you use the word water in a shade name and not make it a blue or green shade?  Ugh, this palette…anyway.  Bubbles is a pretty plum and lavender duochrome that has a lot of fun color play, though it’s another of those duochromes that stands out in comparison to the other (boring-ass) shades in the palette, but the more you consider it the more you realize that you’ve seen this before – and probably already have it.  Urban Decay does this kind of combination in at least three different shades – Asphyxia, Tonic, and Fishnet – and if I had them handy I would swatch them to give you the exact dupe.  If you are thinking about buying this palette to get these three pops of color, I promise you can get them elsewhere; don’t bother.  Lagoon is a navy shimmer, pretty enough, but nothing special.  Bubbles is my favorite of the palette, of course (because it’s green) but this is another shade you probably have several times over.  Shell Yeah is a bright copper gold shade.

Before I vent my final rage, here are the three mattes, swatched with a brush over the UD primer:

Mermaid 05
L to R: Sandbar, Shore Thing, Shipwreck

As you can see, they perform a little bit better with a brush, but the pigmentation seems rather washed out.  It still pulls against the primer and though it’s more even with a brush, it’s still just not that impressive.  I could name 5 brands off the top of my head that have better quality mattes, and I’m sure you could dupe all three of these basic bitch shades without much effort at all.

I really, really wanted to like this palette.  I know that the whole mythological creature thing is sort of played out and tired, but I really liked last year’s Make Believe In Yourself palette – it had some of the most gorgeous subtle metallic I’ve seen in a long time! – so I was really hoping that they could make some new magic with this mermaid collection.  And while the packaging is bomb, the rest of the concept really just falls flat.  There is absolutely nothing about this shade selection that says mermaid; the three pops of color can’t save this from being just another tired rerun of the warm neutral palette with 2-3 vivid shades.  Even the three pops that are there are easily dupeable and nothing special.  This would have been the perfect opportunity to give us something totally crazy!  Bring out an accent palette of greens and blues and purples!  Mix together weird duochromes, and if you’re going to include browns and beiges, use interesting flashes and undertones to make them unique and special.

But hey, why try something new when you can just put out the same shitty palette 50 times.  I think we figured out what made all of those mermaids cry.

Let us know what you think in the comments: are you as bored af as we are with this junk?  Or do you want to make a case for why this is the best thing since sliced mer-bread?  Is tarte just…over?  Or is this still your go-to brand for all things neutral?

Tarte has never really been that much on my radar as a brand; I love their Amazonian clay blushes, but when the best product coming out of your line is a blush (which if done correctly should sort of disappear into your look to let the eyes and lips shine!) then you probably have some work to do on your color concepts.  This palette (not to mention the super sad brush collection with mermaid tails that have already been done a million times by Chinese sellers on Amazon for way cheaper!) does nothing to convince me that I need to give this brand another look.

If all they can give me is 50 shades of beige and snooze-worthy palettes, then I definitely don’t want to be a part of that world.


Now Go Forth & Get Painted!

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