Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tarte Treasure Chest Limited Edition Palette Holiday 2009

So... I bought this during Sephora's Friends and Family last year and haven't posted it yet. There are a few reasons for that, one of which is that I was going to swatch all the colors individually but it seemed too big and daunting so I never got around to it.... Another reason is that I sorta forgot I had it until I pulled it out to use this week. Whoops...

Anyway, this is one of those 'Blockbuster' style palettes that tend to come out every year around Christmas. It has a large amount of product for a small price. After I used it for the first time, I realized why the price was so low, but let me post the pictures before I talk about the product:

Here's the front. I think it's pretty beautiful. A metallic silver pleather with large gems. Really does reinforce the 'treasure chest' theme. I like the box so much that I wish you could use it for other things, but sadly, you can't.

Flip open the top and you'll see the shimmer shadows, 16 of them:

From left to right starting at the top, you have: tan, brown, cranberry, black raspberry, dark burgundy with gold and silver glitter, light gold, deep smoky denim, medium aqua, pinky peach/gold duochrome, light rose, olive green, red-toned purple, smoky greenish-greyish taupe with glitter, periwinkle-lavender-gold duochrome, indigo and silver with glitter. All shimmer finishes. Really fantastic colors. A little washed out in my picture due to the lighting, though.

Flip open the side flaps to find the 16 matte shades:

Ivory, purple-taupe, light pink, warm blush brown, purple, camel, fuchsia, burgundy, peachy-pink, indigo, warm grey/taupe, white, reddish medium brown, neutral light brown, dark teal, deep grey. Again, a little washed out because of the lighting.

Then, underneath that there's a double-layer drawer that's constantly falling out which contains the glosses and the blushes.

Pull the drawer out fully to see the gloss:

Only halfway for the cheek items:

That's a lot of product, isn't it? That's why I bought it. I'm a huge sucker for those value sets, though I'm really hesitant to buy them any more because the quality tends to be watered down.

This palette was like that- allow me to explain.

First thing I need to discuss is the packaging. It's HORRIBLE. This has to be the worst palette design in history and I'll explain why. Let's start from the top. There's a lid flap (the part with the jewels) that has no clip or lock or magnet or any sort of securing mechanism. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but this palette has an obnoxious sliding drawer that opens/falls out every time you move the damn palette. This caused me to put a big gouge in one of the blushes before I even got a chance to use it. I hate that damn drawer so much that I kinda want to break it off and put it in its own palette.

The second design flaw is the top layer of eyeshadows. They are each on flaps that open like wings, but they're not entirely solid. This can cause the edges of the flaps to dig in to the shadows below, causing breakage and gouges and basically a giant powdery mess. The side flaps don't stay open very well while you're trying to use the matte shadows, which is also an annoyance. They also tend to flip out to the sides whenever you tilt the palette- there's nothing to secure them so once the lid is open you have a big floppy, flappy box of crazy with powder flying everywhere.

The palette itself is so floppy, large and unwieldy that it is almost impossible to use without scratching or breaking or accidentally putting your finger in something. It's too big to comfortably set on a vanity and use all the items- fully extended with the lid open and blush and gloss drawers open it's over two feet long. The fact that you can't stop that obnoxious mother effing blush drawer from opening is sure to cause uncontrollable rage by the second time you try picking up the palette. You may be overcome with the urge to throw the palette against a wall and maybe smash it with a fire extinguisher or shoot at it a few times.

Absurdly bad design aside, the products inside are hit-or-miss. I found most of the shadows to be rather chalky with fairly poor payoff and pigmentation. Some shades are better than others. The mattes were especially streaky and chalky but most of the shimmers were acceptable. The glosses are hard and sticky and come in really odd colors like brown and salmon and off-white. The gloss (or is it lipstick?) formula doesn't resemble any Tarte lip product I've ever used and they're not scented or flavored. The blushes are good and quite pigmented but they're also extremely shimmery and powdery.

The colors of the shadows are really great. The selection is amazing and the complexity of some of the shades is just spectacular. The problem is that they're not the regular Tarte shadow formula.

I have two other Tarte palettes- the A List palette which is the normal Tarte formula and the We Wish You Wealth palette which also feels the same as normal Tarte formula. It seems like this Treasure Chest palette was watered down in quality in order to justify such a low price. Tarte eyeshadows are usually silky and creamy, a lot like Stila or Urban Decay's shadow texture. The ones in this palette are harder, more powdery feeling and not as pigmented.

This may seem like a pointless review now that the product is unavailable, but I wanted to share my experience with it and see if maybe someone else felt the same way about it. This really would have been a great inexpensive palette if that stupid blush drawer didn't slide out every time you touched the palette. The packaging is beautiful, the colors are sexy and fun- it's the kind of palette you want to leave out on your vanity because it's so beautiful to look at. Makes me wonder if they even tested the drawer design before that manufactured it...

Okay, next makeup review I post has to be something I'm super in love with.


  1. I depotted mine (I also HATED the packaging!). I have it on my blog if you're interested in checking it out.

  2. the new one from this year looks beautiful and seems like better quality. i saw Marlena from do a tutorial using this palette and it looks pretty damn good.

  3. I have the gold one... Can't STAND the box. I found the formula to be rather nice though.

  4. For shame! I bought this as a present for my sister last year and reading how nuch it annoys you upsets me.

  5. Even Stila is starting to dilute the quality of their products in their value sets and palettes. From what I have heard, some of the travel palettes suck horribly. One thing I noticed is that the drop in quality seems to coincide with these companies sourcing the production of these value products to China (ostensibly to keep costs low, which allows for the low price). I am not saying all makeup made in China is necessarily of poor quality, but it is definitely an indicator of the company cutting corners to sell more product. Let's face it; in this cruddy economy, these value sets are very tempting.

  6. FYI on a tip that might help you with your dislike of the packaging, particularly of the gloss and blush/bronzer/highlighter drawers sliding out at the slightest provocation (I'm TOTALLY with you on that, too!) - the drawer with the glosses (and which also contains the second drawer that has the blushes/bronzer/highlighter located directly beneath the gloss drawer) can be removed completely from the rest of the palette and used separately and you don't have to "break" anything in the process. :)

    Just pull the gloss drawer out as far as it goes (as if you want to use the glosses in the back row), then wiggle the gloss drawer gently back and forth and up and down until you feel the plastic "bumps" on the bottom of the drawer slide over the bumps on the inside of the palette and it will slide right out of the rest of the palette. Now do the same with the blush/bronzer/highlighter drawer that's beneath (and in the same piece as) the gloss drawer.

    Voila! ;-D You can now use the different parts of the palette without those dang drawers sliding out with no warning!

    It's not an ideal solution (packaging still sucks and you shouldn't *have* to disassemble the palette to avoid the drawer issues) but it is quick and you can easily slide the drawers in and out of the palette as often as you need/want (for usage, storage, etc.).

    Hope that helps! :)

  7. I completely agree on ALL points! I love Tarte, and this palette is beautiful on the outside but I've used it only once (I'm truly not exaggerating) since getting it last year. Its been sitting pretty on top of my vanity, and I plan on using it a lot, but I get tired just thinking about it, all the flaps and drawers going every which way and the chalkiness of the shadows. It basically is a lot of effort to end up ticked off and with muddy shadow. Some of the dark shimmer eyeshadows baffle me, they're simply gorgeous in the pan, but look like matte black on my skin, where does the color go? What the eff happened to the shimmer? Also agree that their normal palettes are great, this one not so much. Oddly enough, I did have another eyeshadow that was chalky so it sat in a drawer forever, I used it recently and it was normal and worked great. Don't know what happened, but it's given me hope for this big ol pile of mess.


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