December 13, 2011

Tarte The Starlet Makeup Vanity Review, Swatches, Photos

After blogging a few years, Holiday Collections tend to run all together. Seems like brands get more and more repetitive each year with their special sets, palettes, and collections.

Not Tarte.

They had a winning Holiday Season as far as I’m concerned and to add even more joy to their Holiday Collection they released a completely revised version of their traditional “Jewelry” palette.

This year, Tarte’s Starlet Makeup Vanity took an entirely different path and introduced a selection of great shades arranged in such a way that application was a snap and packaging was so beautifully it made us sigh in delight.

Did you purchase this one?


Seriously, The Starlet Makeup Vanity is one of the most complete selections you’ll find out there this Holiday Season that offers an incredible line up for cheeks, face, and eyes for such a steal of a price tag ($52 bucks!).

Housed in a reusable mirrored jewelry box with two pull out drawers and a flip top this “vanity” holds a whooping 24 shades of eyeshadow as well as plenty of other goodies to get you excited.

Packaging appeals to me in a major way and this really brings together a certain elegance. Of course, being the practical makeup user I’ll admit it’s not ideal for laying on your bathroom sink and applying and it is pretty big and bulky but I didn’t think it proved too difficult to use and the drawers as well as the top remained open during application so no worries about holding a top open for fear it would snap close while you applied your makeup. The entire vanity box is mirrored so it does collect fingerprints in a major way but it wipes clean easily enough. The nice part is after the makeup is gone you can use it as a jewelry or keepsake box.

I like the way Tarte choose to arrange the shadows this year as well. Each shadow selection is arranged in a palette which contains a liner, contrasting shades of shadow, and a highlighting color to create a specific look like a traditional smoky look, earthy, nude look, a blue smoky eye, a plum smoky eye, or a pretty pink look. It’s nice they took the work out of figuring out which shades go with what. Of course, it’s up to you how you combine the shades but they are arranged in a specific way that you’ll be able to create a total of six looks using the “palettes” inside the kit.

Shades Include:

Traditional Smoky Eye

  • Celebrity (deep shimmering gray)
  • Superstar (deep shimmering silver)
  • Luminary (silver frost)
  • Opening night (sparkling black)


  • Talent (shimmering peach)
  • Idol (matte taupe)
  • Cameo (matte beige)
  • Virtuoso (sparkling forest green)

Plum Smokey Eye

  • Stardom (blackened plum)
  • Icon (warm lilac)
  • Major (shimmering plum)
  • Siren (shimmering deep mauve)


  • Fame (shimmering cobalt)
  • Big Break (shimmering ice blue)
  • V.I.P. (shimmering blue-silver)
  • Toast (shimmering toasted beige)

Browns (wearing below)

  • Popular (shimmering golden beige)
  • Timeless (shimmering cocoa)
  • Prestige (matte ochre)
  • Trophy (shimmering golden brown)

Pinks (wearing below)

  • Ingénue (matte baby pink)
  • Prima Donna (shimmering cinnamon)
  • Leading Lady (shimmering nude pink)
  • Diva (shimmering dusty rose)

Unlike past releases Tarte left out cream cheek stains and lip creams and brought in two new shades of their Amazonian Clay Blush plus a highlighter and bronzer.

Shades Include:

  • Mineral Powder Bronzer in Park Avenue Princess (highly pearled golden tan)
  • Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Glory (shimmering peach) and Starlet (shimmering rose)
  • Amazonian Clay Shimmering Powder in Rose (soft petal pink)

And finally one of the drawers includes mini sizes of Tarte multiplEYE Natural Lash Enhancing Primer and Lights, Camera, Lashes!

The blushes stood out for me since I generally love the Clay Blush Formula and I’m really pleased with the shimmering finish on these. The standard line includes matte shades but Tarte’s been injecting a few shimmering ones into kits they’ve released this year and I hope the trend continues into Spring 2012 as these given a glistening glow on cheeks and are truly beautiful.

The shadows are a mix bag here as some have a very good formula with excellent pay off where as others were a tad sheerer. About 75% of the shadows are a solid go as they have a silky, easy to blend formula that worked well. I was particularly partial to the nude, copper-y brown selection and the rosy pink one which is what I used to create my two looks below. I can’t knock anything here though as I thought the palette created some very pretty looks.

Overall, the Starlet Makeup Vanity is an outstanding deal and gets a Muse Approval from me. I really liked this one and felt it was worth a purchase particularly if you’re looking for the perfect gift for a teenager or a true makeup lover in your life. I love Tarte for excluding creams this year as they just bring down the value of a palette due to the mess they create when combined with so many powders. The design, packaging, and overall idea and concept of the set is well thought out and is arranged in a way that even newer makeup users can get the most benefit from it.

This one I liked alot.

Very Muse Approved for purchase.

Anyone buy it?


Do share!

It’s available exclusively for a limited time at Sephora and

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

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  • diane

    I snatched this w/the sephora 20% off..I love it! The colors are so pretty. The vanity iitself is gorgeous too. Well worth the $ for sure

  • Angelic Mariposa })Ӝ({

    I have this too and I’m a sucker for holiday palettes but I love that the packaging is sustainable and the colors look FAB. I have been on a bit of a tear so I haven’t used it yet but you have me itching to crack this bad boy open and get to work!! Thanks Muse!!

  • Nikki

    the packaging! Muse, i gave a loud “EEEEKKK” when I saw it! so pretty! I’m sold just for its packaging!

  • jpscraps

    I’ve been on the fence with this palette. I love the look of it. The thing that holds me back are the blushes. I’m not fond of the shimmer.

  • Jessica

    I bought this pallete a few months ago with some birthday gift cards. I still like it but after owning it I don’t think I would buy it again. I agree with your points about the eyeshawdows. Sadly, the beautiful rose blush does not last nearly as long as the regular line of amazonian clay blushes. I would assume the other blush would not last as long either but I have not worn it yet because it seems like it would be more for spring. If they did last I would be happy with the the whole set just for that color.

  • BooBooNinja

    Do you know what would have been great?
    Had this come with a little empty palette so you could take out your mini palette and have it to-go. I think Sephora did this with one of their most recent bulk palette sets. It would work so well with the way Tarte has set up their kit.

    • the Muse

      they actually have a set like that booboo but it would be great if this was like that too!

  • Jenn

    I thought this palette looked sooo pretty…but I had already bought the True Blood one and the Too Faced one…maybe if it’s still around after the holiday and goes on sale….*wishful thinking* haha,

  • Ana

    shiny! i want! 😀

    only thing stopping me is knowing that i’d probably never touch at least a good 1/3 of it. plums and blues are not so much up my alley. 😛

    thanks for sharing though! it was fun to look at. 😀

  • Maria

    I’ve been debating this one also….I kind of want it, but I’m kind of dissapointed with the shadows. I want a lot more pigment in my shadows. The blushes/bronzer/highlighter however are amazing and the packaging is one of the best I’ve seen this holiday season.

    • the Muse

      i don’t mind so much. I have alot of pigmented shadows so these were very nice for daily looks ;-D

  • Prairie Peg

    My DH gifted me this for my birthday last week! Thank Sephora for their wonderful Gift Registry! 😉 This will be a big ‘go to’ for me in the coming year!

  • JenJ

    No didn’t pick this one up. I got the 3 TSV auto deliveries and i have some other tarte palettes that i really don’t reach for (already gave one away to a friend). Shadows don’t seems as pigmented other tarte shadows that I have.

  • Majick

    I purchased this during Sephora F&F and returned it. I thought the vanity was really pretty but I don’t know why they didn’t put a mirror on the back too. If it was sitting on top of a vanity the unfinished back showed in the mirror. (minor and not why I returned).

    I have SO many Tarte palettes (among a million others) and I just thought the formula on this one wasn’t up to Tarte’s original quality.

  • Yuvee

    I’m still wishing for a day when Tarte is available in Asia, or at least somewhere online with decent price and international shipping

  • Linda

    shadows looks so sheer , shame 🙁 No pigment at all
    . Only blushes good.
    thank you for review , this tarte is not for me then

  • Stevirox

    There are two things about this set worth keeping. The bronzer and blushes. The blushes are not as good as the full size but usable. The shadows have uncontrollable fallout and are low on pigment. I have and use several pro quality eye shadow primers. Not one helped or cured the issues with these shadows. They completely lack blend ability. I was fuming at the amount of time it took to work them. Complete garbage.

  • Stevi

    This is hands down the worst palette set I’ve ever purchased. The shadows may be plentiful and well coordinated but the quality is lacking….to say the least. I am well versed in shadow primers and use several of the best. Nothing controls the fallout and lack of blend ability of these poor excuses for a pro line cosmetic maker. The only saving grace is the amazonian bronzes and blushes (the blushes are not the usual quality of the full size but still usable)

  • Saskia

    I got this for Christmas and I love it – especially the pretty packaging. Glory is the first blush I’ve found to suit my super-fair skintone and unfortunately I’m about to run out of it! Does anyone happen to know any similar blushes to Glory (drugstore brands preferred)? I live in Estonia and Tarte isn’t even available here. Any help would be appreciated! 🙂

  • Isabelle

    I have had this box for three years and I absolutely love it! The blushes, bronzer, and highlighter and two of the eyeshadows are long gone, but this was a great Christmas gift I will use for years and years! I want to get another of Tarte’s amazing jewelry boxes in the future!