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making faces :: tarted up

sometimes i see something and i immediately know that i need it. it's not the usual "i want to get this", more like "i am meant to possess this object". so it was for me the first time i saw some photos of the tarte "rainforest of the sea" eyeshadow palette. yes, to others, it might have looked like just another neutral palette, but there was something about it that just called to me. you can make your own "sirens" joke there, because i'm not quite sharp enough to come up with one right at the moment.

in order to get this, i went to a sephora in a mall i've been to perhaps twice in my life. my regular sephora didn't have it and it sold out quickly online, and since it was limited, i felt that i had to get it wherever i could. of course, it's come back in stock, so i needn't have been so worried, but hey, what's life without a little adventure, as long as your idea of adventure includes going to a semi-suburban mall?

it didn't take me more than a few seconds of swatching to determine that, yes, this palette was all that to use an expression that no one uses anymore. the powder shadows are so smooth, so finely milled and so pigmented that they feel like cream, or perhaps a little like whatever is used to make colourpop super shock shadows. [fairy juice?] however, these are definitely powders. they apply like silk, blend seamlessly and last extremely well. i'm saying that up front, because it's true of every colour in the palette. there were two that gave me a bit of trouble when it came to getting the colour payoff i wanted [see my notes on the individual shades below], but across the board, i could hardly be happier with my purchase.

there are eight shadows included in the palette, which run from quite light to medium dark. you're not going to get a truly high contrast look out of this palette. the urban decay naked palettes all contain shades that run a bit lighter on one end and darker on the other. "rainforest of the sea" is a slightly softer, everyday kind of look. that's not to say that the colours blend together into a "wash". you can do a bit of a contrast if, like me you like that pale lid with defined crease look. it's just never going to be dramatic.

being neutrals, these shades will respond to the undertone of your skin. on some people, people with warmer complexions [see temptalia], some of the gold shades have a bit of a greenish tint- which is honestly what i was expecting from a palette that invokes both the rainforest and the sea. on me, the golds are gold, but the pink tones in my skin bring a sort of rosiness to some shades- especially the deeper browns. here's a breakdown, shade by shade, based on my experience:

l to r :: sand, mermaid, seashell, wave

sand :: the lightest shade in the palette is a satiny ivory that leans ever so slightly peach on me. if you're a medium skin tone or darker, i'm pretty confident that this would look like a highlight shade, but on me it's just a little too deep. it does look nice in the corners of the eyes if you're using the other shades for a bit of a smoky look, since it's noticeably brighter.

mermaid :: a really original shade among neutrals, a golden tan. it's frosted with gold, but not too heavily, so it won't give a dazzling metallic look, but it will definitely catch the light. in the swatch, you're seeing it in indirect light, where it looks less frosted and more softly lustrous. certainly one of my favourites in a palette that offers a lot of great shades.

seashell :: a well-named colour indeed, because it does look like the pink inside a conch shell. this one was one of only two shades that gave me problems. it's lovely and smooth, but it definitely takes some building to get it to look like it does in the pan. even then, i didn't think it showed quite as pink or warm as it looks.

wave :: this is both the coolest-toned and the most frustrated shade in the palette. it's a medium taupe with a strong lilac undertone, something that should complement the slightly pinker shades and contrast with the golds, but despite the fact that it feels just as creamy and smooth as its roommates, it just doesn't give great colour payoff. i don't understand this at all, but after a few tries, i'm satisfied that it wasn't just a one-off thing. i also found this to be the only shade that faded before the seven-hour mark. i has a sad.

l to r :: abyss, reef, starfish, cove

abyss :: the darkest shade in the palette. it's a plummy deep brown that applies and lasts well, not really frosted but more shimmery than a satin shade. it can be patted on for greater intensity, but it also blends exceptionally well, if you're interested in something that gives a bit of structure with just a hint of colour.

reef :: a rusted brown with warm, red undertones, and a shade that absolutely will not work on a very cool-toned person. shades with copper-bronze tones to them seem to be easy to do well and this one is no exception. it's rich and warm and lasts incredibly well without fading. just stunning.

starfish :: a bit of a chameleon, this one. you can see in the swatch that it can lean almost towards a rose gold, but most of the time it's a medium wheat gold that can even pull a little green. the key is that it's complex enough that it will tend to "borrow" from whatever colours are around it. warmer, redder shades [like "abyss"] will give you the effect you see here. put it next to more neutral colours and you'll get more of a true gold. magical.

cove :: the only matte shade in the palette is a workhorse. it swatches terribly, which i don't understand, because its colour payoff is fantastic in use. i had to build this swatch up to make it visible, but i've had to be very delicate using it, because it can be too much. why does this happen? i've no idea. i call this a workhorse shade because it's the sort of thing that's always going to come in handy. for a warmer smoky eye, it's a fantastic base colour. for giving some dimension, it's great to sculpt along the brow bone. it's a warm tan with a hint of apricot orange and, again, it's going to be unfriendly on very cool complexions, but if it suits you, you can expect to be using it a lot.

and there we have it. i'm just as enamoured with the palette as i thought i would be and, though it is another neutral palette, it has some unique shades. "mermaid" and "starfish" are probably the ones that are hardest to match, but even "sand" is a little different than a lot of highlight-type shades, a little deeper and richer. and, as i mentioned above, while the distance from lightest to darkest is less than you might normally get, it's still more than enough to be able to get several different looks. here's a few that i've tried so far:

warm and smoky




this is what i alluded to earlier about cove being a nice base shade. i've applied it all over the lid, then layered reef and abyss in the inner and outer angles. this is also a good example of how blend-friendly abyss is. i wanted more of a gradient look, but i also wanted to emphasize the angles of my eyes, because they can look sort of flat without. i applied abyss, but then used reef to smoke it out and leave more of a hint of the darker shade. i used sand in the inner corners of my eyes, which looks brighter because it's next to the deeper browns.

i have charlotte tilbury "love is the drug" and becca "pearl" on my cheeks. not quite certain on the lipstick...

cool-ish




this is pretty much as cool-toned as you can get with this palette, which is still definitely more neutral than cool. [it looks cooler in these photos because i'm wearing a navy blue eyeliner.]i applied sand all over the lid, then added mermaid to the inner and outer edges. i put wave in the upper crease and along the browbone and yes, it looks nice here, but that's just a few minutes after it's been applied. it didn't stand up to a day's wear as well as its roommates.

i decided to wear the only other tarte product in my collection- their cheek stain in flushed, a lovely berry shade- and hourglass diffused light over the top. the lipstick is armani rouge ecstasy in garconne fatale.

golden




i think this one shows the colours at their best. again, i have sand all over the lid, with starfish and mermaid blended into an arc through the crease. you could wear this look basically anyway, since it's subtle enough for even a conservative office, but has a beautiful gleam [that lasts!] appropriate for a night out or, if you're invited to one, a red carpet.

i'm not quite sure what's going on on my cheeks in this look, but the lipstick is guerlain rouge g in gracy.

the palette is limited [although many of the other rainforest of the sea products- the skin care and the foundation/ concealer] are permanent additions. at this point, i wouldn't hesitate too long before ordering/ buying, because it is sold out in a lot of locations already. if you're even remotely tempted by what you see, i can pretty much guarantee that you won't be disappointed. dive in.

[the top photo is from tarte. the rest are mine.]

p.s. :: there are actual rainforests of the sea! there's an ancient, almost perfectly preserved cypress forest in the gulf of mexico. there are several around the south and east coasts of england, including a giant oak forest just a few hundred yards off the norwich coast. on a less happy note, the warming of the oceans and the thinning of polar ice caps has caused an explosion of phytoplankton growth in antarctica, which nasa scientists have described as being a type of rainforest. 

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