December 27, 2017

Tarte Clay Play Face Shaping Palette II Review & Swatches

I purchased this item and I receive a small commission if you shop using the links in this post.

Tarte Clay Play Face Shaping Palette Volume II or Tarte Clay Play Volume II Eye & Cheek Palette ($46) is an odd follow up the Clay Play Face Shaping Palette that released last May. I said odd because the original palette was created as a contouring tool for face and eyes where as Volume II isn’t really like that at all. In its defense though I would like to mention it has two different names. As Sephora lists is as Clay Play Face Shaping Palette II but the box reads Clay Play Volume II Eye & Cheek Palette. Not there is nothing about face shaping in Tarte’s own title so I suspect they haven’t created this as a multitasking contouring and eyeshadow palette at all. In reality, you wouldn’t be able to use any of the shimmer shades to contour with anyway.

But yeah, it’s a little confusing how they did a follow up palette that has a completely different idea compared to the original. The idea of creating a follow up is to bring back more of what users liked about the original. This palette actually keeps the same packaging as the original, almost the same name, but it gives you shimmers instead of mattes. It could easily be argued that anyone who hated the mattes in the original will love the new version which brings a lot more shimmer. This is basically the idea I guess as even the shade names are the same which isn’t a new thing as many brands have done a matte palette and followed up with a shimmer one with the same shades, Kat Von D Shade + Light Glimmer Eye Contour Palette comes to mind. But again, the original was created with all mattes because they intended for you to multitask with the shades and use them for both shading eyes and contouring your face. Not that I ever did this but I feel like Volume II lacks that multitasking benefit should you have wanted it.

Anyway, here’s the deets, review, and swatches on the Tarte Clay Play Face Shaping Palette II.

To me this feels like a lazy release. There wasn’t anything terribly unique about the original either but I liked it a lot and felt like I made a good deal of use out of it since I don’t have a lot of mattes in my stash of makeup. This particular palette seems to have a lot of rerun shades that I like already own from in some other palettes not to mention they didn’t even change the packaging of the palette!? And hey, many of the shades aren’t even new and are already available in the original!

The outside box has a pretty palm tree design but its like they suddenly ran out of money to create a matching design on the actual palette or maybe something went wrong with production and here we are with the same zig zag design as the original. Hmmm….!

When purchasing this keep in mind not a lot has changed from the original palette aside from the fact there are a few shimmers mixed in here as well as a blush shade which was lacking in the prior release.

In the first trio of shades Journey and Solstice remain matte where as Stone is now a shimmer. In the next trio, Dunes and Sand remain matte and Smoke is now a shimmer. And finally, in the last trio Ember and Instinct remain matte and Onyx is now a new color (it was black previously) as well as a new finish of shimmer. One thing I noted about the shades that remained the same is they seemed a tiny touch warmer compared to the ones in Volume 1. It just seemed like the shades aren’t exact dupes and looked a little more warmer toned but maybe I’m imagining things.

Terracotta makes an appearance here and again remains matte and is a dupe for the original shade. Desert seems much darker and pigmented in this palette with a duskier rose pay off compared to lighter shade in Volume 1 plus it seems to work great as a blush where as it didn’t show up as much for me originally. Timber is a completely new shade. This is a champagne highlighter where in the prior release it was a dark brown bronzer/contouring shade.

Tarte Clay Play Volume II Eye & Cheek Palette Swatches (Journey, Stone, Solstice)

Tarte Clay Play Volume II Eye & Cheek Palette Swatches (Ember, Onyx, Instinct)

Tarte Clay Play Volume II Eye & Cheek Palette Swatches (Dunes, Smoke, Sand)

Tarte Clay Play Volume II Eye & Cheek Palette Swatches (Terracotta, Desert, Timber)

After comparing the two palettes it almost felt like the new version is more of a highlighting palette versus the contouring one and perhaps Tarte thought the two palettes would work together as a pair. Although, the fact I only technically got four new shades (five if you count Desert being so much darker this time around) was disappointing.

On that note I will say the shades all performed well. The mattes were as silky as the originals and the shimmers had a nice creamy texture with an easy application. The face powders were also lovely with Terracotta and Desert having a nice, silky texture that blended easily and Timber a creamy, velvety consistency with a highly frosty finish that gives skin a nice luminosity but can easily be overdone if you have a heavier hand. The shades are all powdery and quite softly pressed but this didn’t make them chalky or dry in my experience.

Tarte Clay Play Face Shaping Palette II is a very confusing and uneventful release. They should have just kept the original palette which appears to be gone from their permanent collection after it being on sale quite a bit over the course of the last few weeks. I wouldn’t be too surprised if this goes on sale within the next three weeks or less. This is a odd release that lacks creativity and comes across as a ploy to get fans to purchase yet another palette they don’t need. I just calls them as I sees them. Sadly, I can see a younger demographic falling for that type of marketing technique.

Tarte Clay Play Face Shaping Palette II is available now at and

I purchased this item and I receive a small commission if you shop using the links in this post.

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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  • Christina D.

    Alas, I fell for it, too, but not because I’m a member of the younger demographic — far, far from it! — but because I really like the first palette. It is lazy and confusing; since when is Onyx a copper? Did Tarte have loads of the original palette/packaging sitting around and decided to use up the stock with slightly newer shadows? But I’m ok with having the palette as a companion to the original. As you say, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it on sale shortly which has become a very annoying trend.

    • Isabella Muse

      Likewise! Not younger but just really liked the original and expected the same from this but really it’s just odd, confusing, and even a bit weird. What was the point of this release!? It does indeed feel like it would work well in conjunction with the original but the reruns are very annoying! I’m betting on sale in two weeks, three tops!

  • Deanna

    Thank you for your review. I have the original and love it (and actually do use Desert as both contour and eyeshadow). I feel they made quite a few big mistakes with Volume 2. Also, I do think they should have changed the names, regardless. I’ll stick with my loved original.

    • Isabella Muse

      Likewise. It’s a really nice round of lovely mattes! Volume 2 seems like a major cop out! One that doesn’t even make sense!

  • kjh

    I know this is nuts, but the thing I seem to love most about Tarte is the outer palette design. Nice palms. All the rest is pretty forgetable and duped to death. We overstashed frequently say that, but fairly noobs could find this just the thing. I agree with the confused expectations… might have thought/looked for a cooler version of 1, a darker or lighter version of 1. YKWIM. I think it’s a real mistake to use the same shade names. Unless you are a diehard Tarte maven or read blogs, you will be misled by the same shade names for different shades in different palettes. On the blogs, I can hear long names, e.g ‘used Onyx from the TCPFSP, VOL 2., not the Onyx from TCPFSP,’ I would have gagged and shut it off.

  • Carol G

    All I can say is WTF? This is so out of control right now, it’s making me want to swear off makeup! You are right, these companies are just churning out palette after palette after palette only to mark them down in a few weeks. Sick of all of it!
    I guess they figure we all have “sucker” written on our foreheads. Well I say no more. Not buying ANYTHING that comes out right away. Going to wait at least 3-4 weeks after a release. Look at all the stuff that’s discounted now that just came out a few weeks ago!! And the fact that they, themselves, can’t even change the packaging or get the damn name straight! Ridiculous.

  • Kish

    Wow, thanks for the review. I’ll definitely be passing on this. I have the original, which seems like it will be more than enough. I appreciate you!

  • Dee

    I really like the first palette but wished there was a blush in it so I had a complete look in a palette. But that’s not reason enough to get the new one. You are right in saying this is a lazy release!

  • Caroline

    I just got this in the mail yesterday, and I’m so confused. From the pictures online I thought it looked quite different from volume 1, but…nope, not really. And why on earth didn’t they at least change some of the shade names that don’t make sense in volume 2 (like Onyx)?! So strange. I can’t decide if I will keep mine or return it. I do like the blush, though….

  • genevieve

    I love the eyeshadow shades in this, but not the blushes. If you didn’t have the first one – this looks nice. But Tarte is mucking around with their loyal customer base putting out similar palettes and just changing the names.

  • Denise

    For someone who owns neither and only wants to buy one, which would you recommend? Leaving price out of the equation, since no doubt #2 will go on drastic sale soon.

  • Raychel

    I currently own the original Tarte Clay Play Face Shaping palette and it is super great.. Dunes works for my brows and the middle large shade is perfect for contour; all of them are great for eyeshadow. I will admit I thought the second version of Clay Play seemed kind of cheesy… but I just assumed I was crazy. Reading this makes more sense now.

    My mom bought the 2nd one, and I admit I like the 3 large shades. They are good for contour, blush, and highlight but the shadows are weird. I feel like Smoke and Timber are very similar shades. The fact that they were too lazy to change the names or packaging is very silly to me as well. Onyx is obviously not a brown.

    I feel like anyone who buys this who has not bought the 1st one will love it, but to us who know what the original is like, this is a joke. I have no doubt in the quality of the products; I own several Tarte products and I love them to death, including the Tarteist Pro palette (which may have had a name change… not totally sure), their amazonian clay foundation, and the Park Avenue Princess bronzer. Of course I have the first Clay Play one as well, and use it on the daily.

    I’m not sure what the point of all this was, but the only things I like about the new one is the blush and highlight addition. Other than that, they should have added new matte eyeshadows with new names. Hopefully they will fix that up and put more effort into a future one, or fix this one.

    • Isabella Muse

      Hi Raychel I own the original as well and I agree completely. Anyone who doesn’t own that palette might just like Shaping Palette II however, if you already own the original the sequel is just a joke and a rerun of shades aside from the blush/highlighter. I do believe a little more effort is needed here and hope they learn from the mistake in the future but they went ahead and re-released the Maneater Palette and it’s the same damn fiasco:

  • Andi

    Hi Isabella, how similar is this “new” Clay Play II palette to the Tartelette in Bloom? 🙂 I do like the In Bloom a lot and Clay Play II is calling to me (despite the shade names and the cardboard packaging), but they seem fairly similar on first glance! That being said, most Tarte palettes are reasonably similar to each other even without repeated and reused shades. A swatch post comparing all of them would be extremely telling!

    • Isabella Muse

      Hi Andi! I don’t think they are exact dupes however, the shades are similiar enough that you might end up with eye looks that look the same across the board. I’m sorry, sometimes I don’t always have time to do side by side swatches as I work full-time as well as the blog. Apologies for the lack of dupes in the post.

  • Jodi

    Really appreciate the clarification review and swatches. Thank you! Maybe because I’m a little older and don’t run out to buy everything just because it’s a new release, I’m not upset about the naming issue, and I was actually into this palette design with Vol I and ok with the repeat. (It’s Jan 2020, and I just ordered Vol II : )

    We talk about smaller footprints and less waste, but heaven forbid companies save useful packaging rather than destroy a few hundred more trees to make new cardboard palettes. I come from an era when getting one of something was a big deal.

    Since it’s been a few years since I have purchased eyeshadow, I ordered the Tarte QVC Holiday palette trio with shades called mittens and other such nonsense, having nothing to do with the actual color. So, as the bard said, “what’s in a name”? I either like a shade, or I don’t.

    IMHO, Tarte makes great eyeshadow palettes. They managed to create an easy to use, long wearing formula in shades that work with an endless array of skin tones. I’ll cut Tarte some slack on this particular palette and give them kudos for not wasting packaging.

    Happy New Year 2020!

  • Jane Ruminer

    I really enjoy your product reviews. I like that you are a normal person who loves cosmetics like I do. Your comments are practical, honest and without BS. Keep it up. Thanks.

    • Isabella Muse

      Wow thanks Jane 🙂 that means a lot to me thank you very very much!