March 7, 2018

Tarte Be a Mermaid & Make Waves Eyeshadow Palette Review & Swatches

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

Tarte Be a Mermaid & Make Waves Eyeshadow Palette ($42) is a new, limited edition eyeshadow palette that launched for Spring 2018 that contains 14 shimmering and matte finish eyeshadows inspired by the mystical mermaid.

This release doesn’t really surprise me in the least as it is yet another “Insta-makeup” launch that Tarte likely hopes to go viral with on Instagram. Hashtag mermaid anything seems to get the most views and likes across social media and of course, unicorns which Tarte has already covered last year with the Make Believe in Yourself Palette launch. It seems logical for them to make the jump from unicorns to mermaids and of course, mermaids have become a major key selling point for them in recent years with many of their products being ocean themed. In fact, mermaids seems like a more fitting mascot for them compared to unicorns.

Anyway, in my opinion the entire Be a Mermaid & Make Waves Eyeshadow Palette is definitely a launch that will rely heavily on creating “waves” on Instagram. But I’m still a beauty blogger and my medium of choice is the written word not a brief blurb on Instagram with a bunch of hashtags. So, this is my review in all its long winded-ness.

I admit to being very much over unicorns and mermaids. Don’t get me wrong I love unicorns and mermaids just as much as the next person. I’ve always been fascinated with mermaids in particular. I’m not really sure I love them in my makeup. Perhaps a few years ago I’d have been overjoyed at the idea of a mermaid inspired palette but mermaids are a little overused (as are unicorns) and it has gone from cute to annoying for me.

On that note, I will say if you are an avid mermaid lover or collector you’ll love the compact. The gorgeous green, blue, and teal duochrome seashell shaped compact has all the colors you’d imagine a real mermaid’s tail would have. Inside you’ll find a gorgeous full-size mirror that has “99% Mermaid” printed on it. Each of the 14 eyeshadows is housed in a fin shaped well. One thing to note is when I first got the palette it refused to close fully for some reason but after fiddling with it a little I was able to get it shut easily. However, I struggle opening it sometimes as it seems like the clasp is a little tight. It could be just a fluke but it deserves mentioning.

The Make Believe in Yourself Palette was $40 and contained 10 eyeshadows which were 0.038 oz each and one highlighter that was 0.105 oz. This palette is $42 and contains a wider array of eyeshadows that are 0.028 oz each but it contains no face powder. I’m fine with the lack of blush, highlighter, or bronzer in all honesty as I didn’t make much use out of the one in the Make Believe in Yourself Palette anyway.

One of the major complaints about this palette was that it seemed like a rerun of shades that appears in the Make Believe in Yourself Palette. There are some shades that look similiar but I don’t think it’s a complete duplication. Some shades I thought looked the same as ones in the Make Believe in Yourself Palette were Frose which looked like Pixie and Dream which looks like Splash. Others seemed more original to me however, that doesn’t mean you don’t already own shades like this across other palettes as it’s a pretty standard assortment of nudes and cranberries. Yes, I said cranberries. Did that have you raising a brow? It did me. Why you might ask?

Tarte Be a Mermaid & Make Waves Eyeshadow Palette Swatches (Nude Beach, Shore Thing, Frose, Mermosa)

Tarte Be a Mermaid & Make Waves Eyeshadow Palette Swatches (Shell Yeah, Salt Water, Bubbles, Lagoon, Splash)

Tarte Be a Mermaid & Make Waves Eyeshadow Palette Swatches (Beach Please, Fin-tastic, Shipwreck, Sandbar)

Well, looking at the palette it doesn’t exactly inspire mermaids. If I created a mermaid eyeshadow palette I’d likely focus on ocean blues, teals, aquas, sandy golds, bronzes, greens, maybe even corals. I wouldn’t include an assortment of berry shades. The palette contains a good deal of bronze-y nudes but there’s also one an area dedicated to dusky roses and berries as well as a small assortment of aquas/teals. It’s not a bad thing by any means! I like roses and cranberries just fine but for something that’s mermaid inspired you’d think the shades would geared more towards that.

I think those disappointed with the Make Believe in Yourself Palette will feel a lot better about the formula of the Be a Mermaid & Make Waves Eyeshadow Palette. The shadows aren’t as chunky and they do contain a bit less shimmer. They also have a creamier, velvet texture with a foiled metallic look on eyes. The mattes aren’t the silkier ones I’ve come to know and love from Tarte as they feel a bit firmer but they are still easy to apply and blend out on my eyes. None of the shades lacked pigmentation and they all applied quite well on my eyes without fall out or powdery kick up. All in all, it performed very well for me. I think overall, the colors seem more intense and richer compared to Make Believe in Yourself. The palette is made in the USA.

Tarte Be a Mermaid & Make Waves Eyeshadow Palette didn’t fail me in formula but the shades might not completely create the mermaid look you’re seeking if you purchase this palette. The eyeshadows aren’t unique by any means so you might want to check your stash for dupes before indulging. None the less, Tarte and mermaid fans alike might want to indulge in this one.

Tarte Be a Mermaid & Make Waves Eyeshadow Palette is available now at

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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  • Katzkann

    We need a Mira Grant mermaid palette. No more Lisa Frank type cosmetics. Just because women would like to be youthful doesn’t mean juvenile.

    • Isabella Muse

      lol you are def wanting that horror blood spilled mermaid palette aren’t you? ;-D

  • Rachael

    The middle row screams mermaid to me. The top row is pretty but the bottom row seems like a miss. More bronze please. This palette is a pass for me but I love the looks you created!

    • Isabella Muse

      agreed! But the roses and berries seemed such an odd addition to me in a mermaid palette!

  • Christina

    Wow, this is way warmer than I thought it’d be. I agree with you: other than a couple aquatic shades and an iridescent purple, it is definitely a berry toned/cranberry palette. Where are the bronzes, greens, and corals? The ocean is alive with colours that would have been beautiful in a mermaid palette!

    That being said, I like the beachy/ocean colours on you. Looks good!

    • Isabella Muse

      I felt a loss at the cranberry. They are nice, don’t get me wrong, but in a mermaid palette? Why? ;-D Aw thanks <3!

      • kjh

        Agree with you, esp the overdone aspect. But remember what the biggest cranberry conglomerate is:Ocean Spray! Not sure that a Bog palette would fly, ‘gram or not. Never quit. Words count.

  • Jules

    The packaging is gorgeous! But between Make Believe in Yourself, and Lorac’s Pirates of the Caribbean, I think I have these colors covered… If it goes on clearance, I might pick it up for the shade Bubbles, though!! Love the looks you did!

    • Isabella Muse

      I think a lot of the shades can be easily duped across the board, not much unique here! Aw thanks <3!

  • ruth

    you could get two and string them together to make a seashell bra 😉

    The looks you created are very pretty and flattering on you. Like you said, we have a ton of these colors across other pallets, and I’ve barely dug into the believe in yourself one from last year. I really like that one, and plan to use it a lot this spring.

    • Isabella Muse

      LOL YES OMG YES! 😀 I really enjoyed it too! It was a nice palette with some colorful options! I actually really like this palette too but it is a lot of reruns! I’m sure I have two million coppery bronzes in my collection already ;-D

  • Susan

    Dear Tarte, step AWAY from the warm neutrals and reddish shades. Love, Me

    Except for three shades, this is so **not** what I’d want from a “mermaid” palette. 🙁

  • Carol

    Muse, I appreciate your “long-winded” reviews. I’m not on Instagram so I could give a rats @$$ what so-called influensters say with their stupid hashtags. I want a detailed,honest review. And that’s what you provide, thankfully. That being said, I can honestly say I don’t need this palette after seeing your swatches. You are correct: not enough “mermaid” colors. While these are pretty colors I do own enough palettes to get by without purchasing this. Thanks again for all your great, in-depth reviews. I love them and rely on them. See? You already saved me $42! 🙂

    • Isabella Muse

      thanks Susan <3! I feel like a dinosaur sometimes doing reviews on an actual website lol! xoxoxox! I totally own a million of these colors as well so, not really a must to go out and buy this right away ;-D Thank you! You made my day! I can't express how much your trust means to me!

      • kimkats

        Muse, you just keep on keepin’ on!!! I’m not on instagram either – but then I have an attention span longer than a gnat’s nose too, sooooo…. I want information about a product, not just the latest “OMG! gottahaveitnao” bullcarp that IG is so full of. I very much appreciate a well explained review of a product, and always rely on you for just that. Per Billy Joel, “I love you just the way you are.” 🙂 Hugs!!

        • Isabella Muse

          LOL I love you too Kim! I think Instagram is fab I’m just not millennial enough to appreciate the quick flash of info! I want MORE just like you ;-D

  • Jessica

    I like the aspect (packaging) of this palette but colors are a bit disappointing just as everybody is saying… I was expecting to open up the palette and seeing all blue, green, purple, pink and tropical fun colors but :s. I would like to wait and see if this goes to sale so maybe just maybe I can buy it.

    • Isabella Muse

      yup! Said as much in my review 🙂 colors def aren’t fitting with the theme of mermaids and oceans/etc

  • Denise

    “Just a fluke”? Were you being punny on porpoise? Just for the halibut?

    All kidding aside, the only thing that says “mermaid” about this palette is the packaging, and that’s just not gonna do it for me. Even if my inner tween needs more convincing.

    • Isabella Muse

      haha! too true. The packaging does speak more mermaid than the shades!

  • Kimmwc03

    You created some really pretty looks. I may have to pick this one up.

  • Jana

    Hi Muse, please keep up the blog…I don’t care for instagram! If anyone is interested in true mermaid colors, the NYX ‘Water’ In Your Element Eyeshadow Palette that came out last year has great greens/aqua/blue/misty colors.

    • Isabella Muse

      but of course, ALWAYS ;-D I don’t think I could ever do just Instagram ;-D btw great rec! That is a fabulous selection of aquatics!

  • Colleenie

    Beautiful swatches, as always! I wish they had gone more beachy. I am so tired of all the reddish/warm brown tones. I still might get it if it goes on-sale (I don’t own any Tarte palettes). I absolutely love the eye looks you did!

    I really appreciate you keeping your blog going in our Instagram world. I really appreciate being able to read an in-depth review and being able to have it in an easily-searchable format. I’m old school, haha.

    • Isabella Muse

      thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I do wish they had as well! More aqua, more sand, less browns/reds. Thank you very much I appreciate that. I feel like people seem to be huge Instagram lovers because it is quick and easy and I always fear I’m way long winded! Always nice to know that people like long reviews as much as I do 😀

  • Kish

    Tarte is really wearing out the cranberry/neutral/gold palettes lately. I fear originality is dead, but as long as influencers tell us it isn’t, they will make some cash.

  • Maggie Liu

    This color scheme actually suits me even though I think I have enough berries. Might haul….

  • Lacy

    I want this but the last row of swatches are a hard pass. I just can’t rock the reddish colors. I look sick. But if it goes on super sale I just might because that shade bubbles…..

  • Andigrif

    When I saw the red colors I thought of sunsets. I could totally see a mermaid sitting on a rock looking at a sunset. So I get their inclusion. However I would rather see more sand and water colors.
    And I’ve never used Instagram so I’m really out of the loop. 🙂

    • Isabella Muse

      Good point 🙂 But I think they might have achieved that sunset look better if they included some coral shades maybe! LOL good for you!

  • Lori

    As if the endless unicorns/mermaids aren’t enough…we are also apparently stuck with an infinite number of red/cranberry/gold/orange/etc palettes too. I don’t like those colors anyway-I’m a neutral/cool fan-and they are NOT what I’d expect from a mermaid palette. It needs purple, taupe, silver/gray, that kind of thing. Not that a gold or brown would fit in with those, but this palette is disappointing. I would’ve bought it for sure if it looked like that.

  • Carlie Morgan

    I bought it just for the bubbles shade. it is gorgeous on. it does fit the theme theyve had recently.. and I have no issues with mermaid/unicorns as an adult lol. I love playful packaging.

  • Holly B.

    OH MY GOODNESS I AM SO EXCITED I FOUND YOU AGAIN!! Sorry for the caps locks but I found your blog in 2015 and used to read your posts all the time. Since I had to get a new computer I forgotten the name of your blog and didn’t find you until I was looking up reviews for the Tarte Mermaid Palette. I’m so happy to have found your blog again.

    As for the Tarte Palette, I think I’m going to skip it. The packaging is cute (and I do love mermaids don’t get me wrong), but I feel like I have similar shades in my collection and can make some of the same looks with other palettes. As for magical creatures themes in make-up, I’m all for this trend. Dragons would be cool if they happen next.

    • Isabella Muse

      Hi Holly! 🙂 I’m glad you found me again too! Good to see you here again! I don’t blame you! It really is a must have imho! Omg dragons that would indeed be a cool one haha!

  • Bren Owsley

    I just don’t feel like Tarte does anymore palettes that don’t look the same. Yes, Bubbles looks so pretty,but 42 bucks for 1 shadow I like, I don’t think so. The package is so cool though but I can’t wear that on my eyes, so a pass for me, and 42 bucks ahead!!!

    • Isabella Muse

      It’s really not a unique selection of shades sadly 🙁

  • Jujubes

    Great review as usual! You are right about the clasp, I managed to close it but it is tricky to open!!

    • Isabella Muse

      First it wouldn’t close for me but after I got it closed I couldn’t get it open 😉 Glad I wasn’t the only that experienced that!

  • Saoirce

    I don’t really care for the eyeshadows and I’m not a big fan of mermaids, but I am SO in love with the clamshell case!!! Tarte needs to turn this case into a purse-size makeup mirror. I’d buy it in a second!