Saturday, June 30, 2012

New Tarte QVC TSV! 6-Piece High Performance Collection

Hi Ladies!

If you've been with me for a little while, I'm sure you've already realized that I'm a big fan of Tarte Cosmetics. When I got the heads up that Tarte had another Today's Special Value set up on for pre-order, I couldn't resist snatching it up.  You can find the auto-delivery version of it here. The actual date that this will air on QVC as the TSV is July 13.

If you aren't familiar with QVC'c Today's Special Value, it is pretty much what the name says. It is a one day deal offered on a product. In the case of beauty products, they are generally value kits that truly are an amazing value. If you order on or before the actual TSV date, you also get it for an even steeper discount. For example, now through it's official release date in July, the new set is selling for $49.96. After that date, it will sell for $59. These sets are also limited edition, so it is best to grab them quickly after the TSV date, or they could disappear on you.

These TSV sets can be purchased as a single set or on auto-delivery. If you sign up for the auto-delivery, you will receive two more sets (approximately every 3 months) with the same products in different colors.

The Box

The first thing I want to point out is that this kit comes in a nice box instead of the makeup bags that Tarte usually uses for these TSVs. I'm actually happy about that because I have makeup bags coming out my ears. The box is pretty and is sturdy enough that I'll be able to repurpose it.

Now here's a look at the real goodies, the stuff inside the box:

This set comes with (from left to right): a foundation brush, Maracuja Miracle 12-Hour Foundation with Broad Spectrum SPF 15, Pure Maracuja Oil Rollerball, LipSurgence Lip Shine, Gifted Mascara, and ModernEYES Waterproof Creaseless Shadow/Liner. You can also see peeking out underneath the foundation brush the bonus item that came with this shipment: a new maracuja eye cream.

Foundation Brush

Here's a closer look at the foundation brush. It is the classic Tarte design of a gold ferrule with a bamboo handle. I love the addition of the flower design on the handle. I don't love that they chose to make a foundation brush with natural hair bristles. I tried using it today, and it seemed to absorb a lot of the foundation. I don't think I'll use it again as a foundation brush, but I will give it a try for blush and bronzer/contour.

Maracuja Miracle 12-Hour Foundation with Broad Spectrum SPF 15 Sunscreen

The foundation is the feature of this set. It is a full size, with 1 oz of product. The packaging is nice with a frosted glass bottle, a pump, and a bamboo covered cap. I know a lot of people will be thrilled with the pump, and it is a nice feature from a sanitation standpoint. I wish the pump was a bit better in quality though. It seems to stick and then shoot out a bunch of product. It is hard to get just a little bit of product out, and I actually had a stream of foundation shoot across my fingers this morning.

Being as pale as I am, I ordered the fair shade without question. I have the Amazonian clay foundation in fair, and it works well for me. I was a little disappointed when I looked at the first pump of this new foundation. It is quite a bit darker than the Amazonian clay version.

Here's some comparison swatches:

From left to right: Tarte Maracuja concealer in fair, Tarte Maracuja foundation in fair, and Tarte Amazonian clay foundation in fair. As you would probably expect, the new foundation has a much thinner consistency than the Amazonian clay version.

All three products spread out.

All three products blended in to the skin.

Thankfully, I've gotten a little color this summer, and the new foundation works for me, but I don't know that it will for most of the year, which is slightly annoying. I had hoped Tarte would be a little more consistent with their shades.

I've only used this foundation twice now, so I can't fully review it. I do like the finish on it (I used a flat top buffing brush to apply it after not liking the brush included in the kit). It blended in nicely. I'm wondering if the oil in it helps it meld into the skin better. It does have an earthy scent to it that I'm assuming comes from the maracuja oil. The scent lingered after I put it on, but I would say it was gone within 30 minutes. So far today, I've worn it for over 10 hours. It has held up pretty well. If I needed to leave the house again, I would want to touch up with some concealer on a few spots and some powder, but I'm happy with how my face looks overall. I'm actually pleasantly surprised that my typically oily skin isn't a greaseball by now, but it isn't.

I'd also like to point out that I went out shopping today, and there was one point when I was hot enough to have some sweat dripping down my face. I didn't think to double check then and there that the foundation wasn't doing anything funny, but I looked normal the next time I did look in a mirror, so I'm assuming it didn't start sliding around my face with the sweat.

Going on first impressions, if it weren't for the shade being darker than I would prefer, I would be really excited about this foundation. Sadly, the color of a foundation is so important, it dampens my enthusiasm for it.

100% Pure Maracuja Oil Rollerball

This rollerball has .6 oz of maracuja oil, which is about 1/3 the size of a full size bottle. I like the idea of a rollerball. I used it last night, and it was kind of fun to roll it around my face. It didn't feel like I got too much product out either. I've had maracuja oil in my skincare stash since last summer, and I don't use it very often. I get lazy, and that's a step I can skip, so I can't say whether this is a great skincare product for me or not. Maybe the rollerball will help me be more consistent.

LipSurgence Lip Shine in Smitten

Right off the bat, there's a negative with the LipSurgence lip shine. It is a pencil that has to be sharpened. I've already read other comments online wishing that this was like the regular LipSurgence pencils that twist up, and I agree. I prefer the twist up packaging. At least Tarte is good about including sharpeners for things that need to be sharpened (I got a new sharpener in all three sets that included their SmolderEYES pencils). This one is even better because the sharpener is built into the cap. You can also see that the sharpener also has a handy little pick that you can use to clean out junk that gets stuck.

The pencil itself is a lot skinnier than the regular LipSurgence pencils, but according to the packaging, they both contain .1 oz of product. The color Smitten is a mid-toned pink that leans a little bit blue. It feels a bit thicker going on that the regular LipSurgence pencils, and it is also a little more opaque. It has the same minty scent/flavor as the rest of the LipSurgence line, and it isn't sticky at all. I have not tested the lasting power on this yet.

Gifted Amazonian Clay Smart Mascara

I'm not a fan of Tarte's Lights, Cameras, Lashes mascara, so I'm hoping I like this one better. However, I like the mascara I'm currently using, so I'm not tempted to try this yet. I didn't open it to take a picture of the brush because I want to wait to open it when I'm ready to give it a try. It looks like a traditional wand according to the picture on the information sheet included with the set, so it isn't anything unique in that respect. 

ModernEYES Waterproof Creaseless Shadow/Liner Pencil in Plumberry and Plum Brown

Plum Brown
Plumberry and Plum Brown
Plumberry and Plum Brown after "rub test"
 This is the final piece of this kit. Since Tarte seems to do really well with cream eye products (I really like their cream shadows and SmolderEYES liners), I had high hopes for this. I used it the other night, and I was pretty happy with how it performed.

The eye shadow side isn't so soft that too much color ends up on the lid when you are trying to apply it, but it can easily be built up. Unfortunately, it sets really quickly. There isn't a lot of time to smudge and blend it out. The liner side was creamier, and I had more time to blend it out.

I really like this color combination. It gave a soft, smoky eye look that was perfect for an evening out ( my evening out was playing in a community band concert - it would work for a fancier night out too), but it is still wearable for the daytime.

I only wore these shades for a few hours, so I can't comment on how long they would last on the eyes, but the last picture I included above was after doing the standard "rub test." I applied the shadow and liner swatches, gave them a chance to dry, and then rubbed the swatches to see how they held up. As you can see, the shadow didn't really appear to budge. Sadly, the liner didn't perform quite as well, but there is still a decent amount of the swatch left, and it isn't smeared all the way across my arm.

Maracuja C-Brighter Eye Treatment (Bonus Item)

Tarte likes to add bonus items to the first shipment of their TSV sets, and this set was no exception. This time they threw in a pre-release sample of an eye cream with maracuja oil. Since I'm still on the search for my Holy Grail eye cream, I'm looking forward to giving this one a try.

Value Breakdown

I know when this set actually airs, they will repeat numerous times what the retail value of it is, but since it hasn't aired yet, I can only make a guess based on average Tarte prices. Here goes:

Foundation Brush - $25
Foundation - $30
Maracuja Oil - $16
LipSurgence Lip Shine - $24
Gifted Mascara - $19
Shadow/Liner Duo - $20

Total Estimated Retail Value - $134

I will be curious to see what they say the retail value is when the show airs (Edited to add that QVC says the retail value of this set is $157 - I was pretty close!).

Final Thoughts

I'm glad I got this set, but it's not one that I'm going to say everyone should buy. I think these products are good, especially for approximately $10 an item, but none of them are jumping out at me as must-have items I can't live without. If you're a Tarte addict like me, you'll probably want to pick this up. Otherwise, if one or two of the items catch your eye, I would suggest trying to watch one of the airings on the 13th to decide if it would be worthwhile for you (or skipping it so you aren't enabled into buying it).

What do you think? Will you be picking this up or will you be passing?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Finished It!!! Volume 3's been a long time since I posted one of these...March 11 to be exact, so I've had quite a few products built up.

Here's what I've finished up over the last couple of months:

Nature's Gate Tea Tree Calming Shampoo - This is a staple product for me. My scalp gets flakes if I don't use the right shampoo. I used Neutrogena's T-Gel shampoo for years before finding this one. The bad thing is that I can no longer get it locally. Thankfully, sells it and has free shipping with any $25 order.

Nature's Gate Pomegranate Sunflower Conditioner - Obviously, with two bottles, this is another staple. This formula is specifically for color-treated hair. I picked up some new formulas to test out when I recently restocked on conditioner. I'm currently trying a jojoba oil formula.

Salon Grafix Cleansing Conditioner Citrus Creme - I picked this up on a whim. I've never tried any cleansing conditioners before this. I think the first time I tried it, I used it as a leave-in conditioner because the bottle says it can be used that way. I didn't like it. My hair looked okay, but the feel of my hair wasn't nice. As an actual cleansing conditioner, I really liked it though. I used it on those nights when I was feeling lazy and didn't want to deal with using two products. I would put it on my hair as soon as I got in the shower, let it sit while I did everything else, and then I rinsed it out. My hair was easy to comb through after my shower, which is my top criteria for a conditioner. I might repurchase this, but right now, I'm focusing on using what I have.

Silk Naturals Making Waves Curling Gel - This was the original gumball of this product (SN gumball products are trial ones sold at a reduced price before mass release). I bought it when my hair was quite short, so I wasn't able to use it, and then I forgot about it. This didn't seem to do anything special for my hair, which has a natural wave to it that only really shows itself when I wet it and scrunch it. I don't plan on getting this again because regular products from the drugstore work better.

Pantene Color Preserve Shine Conditioner - This came in the spring Target Beauty Bag. This actually worked really well. Most drugstore conditioners don't detangle my hair well enough, particularly at the crown, but this did a nice job. I'm well stocked on conditioner right now, but in a pinch, I would feel comfortable grabbing this one.

Tone Alpha-Hydroxy Fruit Acids Body Wash - I bought this specifically because of the AHA in it. I constantly get ingrown hairs on my legs. It isn't pretty and gets really frustrating. I was hoping this would help. It didn't make a major difference, but I liked the citrus scent. I might pick this up again at some point, but I'm not running out to grab more right now.

Bath & Body Works Berry Vanilla Body Wash - I stocked up on this scent when it was on clearance. I love practically everything vanilla, so I stocked up on the Signature Vanillas line when it was on clearance. I still have several bottles if this and other vanilla scents to get through.

Philosophy Creme Brulee Body Wash - I got this in a set with a lip gloss and a lotion. I love the scent. However, Philosophy is so pricey that their body washes will never be regular purchases for me.

Silk Naturals Kiss Cleanser - I love this stuff. I've gone through several bottles. It is just a really basic cleanser that does a decent job of removing makeup. I use the foamer bottle that SN sells for it, so this size of bottle lasts a really long time. I've already repurchased another bottle of this.

Silk Naturals BHA Toner - This is my second bottle of this. I bought the first one to use as part of my skincare routine. I kept forgetting about it though. After I finally finished it off, I vowed not to buy it again. Then I bought another bottle to use on ingrown hairs. After using most of it, it collected dust again. I finally pulled it out enough to use it up. I don't plan on repurchasing it again.

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Moisturizer Night - I haven't noticed a huge difference in my skin from using this, but I have repurchased this already. It is a decent moisturizer, and I like that it has retinol in it. I have read that retinonl is good for acne, and I know it is a good age-fighting ingredient, and I need both.

Sibu Sea Buckthorn Eye Cream - This was an okay eye cream, but I didn't love it. I purchased the Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair eye cream to replace it.

Philosophy Purity Made Simple Cleansing Oil - Part of my issue with this was the packaging. This was a really thin cleansing oil, and it was in a bottle with a twist off cap. It made it really hard to control how much product came out. It's been a while since I've used it, but I think I prefer Silk Naturals Apricot Cleansing Oil better.

Murad Essential-C Day Moisturizer SPF 30 - This came in the sunscreen set that Sephora had out last summer. I didn't particularly care for this moisturizer. My skin got oily a lot earlier in the day than it does with other moisturizers. I used this on days when I was just running quick errands.

Ginvera Green Tea Aqua Whitening Cream - I got this as part of a blog contest prize. I suspected, but never quite determined for sure, that this broke me out slightly. Because of that, I would only use it for a day or two at a time. While I like the idea of something helping to even out my skintone, I won't be looking to purchase a full size of this.

Burt's Bees Baby Bee Buttermilk Lotion - This was yet another Burt's Bees product that I got in a clearance value set. The texture was off, and it separated slightly. I had to shake it before using it. I don't feel the need to pick this up again (even if it is a newer tube).

Dermasel Spa Totes Meer Maske Feuchtigkeit - I believe I got this in a swap. As you can see, the packaging isn't in English. I think this was a moisturizing mask, but I'm not really sure. I wouldn't even know where to purchase this if I did want to replace it, but that isn't an issue.

Philosophy Microdelivery Peel - This was part of a 500-point perk from Sephora. It reminded me a lot of the Olay microdermabrasion set (do they still make that?). I liked it, but I think I like ExfoliKate more, and I can't see buying both.

Pur-lisse SPF 30 Moisturizer
Murad Essential-C Eye Cream
Super Bright Eyed Eye Cream 
Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Repair Moisturizer

Nothing stood out about any of these samples. I won't be purchasing full sizes.

Yes, I truly am a lip balm addict. In my defense, a couple of these were mostly used up a long time ago, and I just got around to finishing them.

New York & Company Honeysuckle Vanilla lip balm - This had an SPF of 15, which I liked. It had a waxy texture. I don't think they are sold anymore.

Badger Balm - Vanilla Madagascar lip balm - I like the Badger Balm lip balms. I wish they had SPF in them. It is possible I will purchase more in the future.

Kiss My Face Strawberry lip balm - I got this on clearance at WalMart a while ago. Sometimes I like it, and sometimes I don't. This has a really soft texture. I have to dab it onto my lips instead of swiping it. I don't know if I will purchase this lip balm again.

Silk Naturals Tahitian Vanilla lip balm - This was the original gumball version of their newer lip balms. They don't make this formula anymore.

Darling Girl Buttercream Cupcake lip balm - I love the formula of this lip balm. It is really smooth and feels like it melts onto my lips. The scent/flavor was really nice too. The only downsides are that it doesn't seem to last very long on my lips, so I am constantly reapplying, and it doesn't have an SPF. I'll still be repurchasing Darling Girl lip balms to use when I'm not going to be outside a lot.

Silk Naturals Malibu Miss Bronzer (sample) - I finished this a while ago, but I remember it being slightly too orange for my liking.

Silk Naturals Sleep in a Jar Light Peach - I love this product. I went ahead and ordered two jars of it because I seemed to go through this one really quickly. I use it every day under my eyes after I have finished the rest of my eye makeup.

Silk Naturals Caliber Eye Shadow - This is a dupe for Urban Decay's Half Baked eye shadow. I now have two full-sizes of Half-Baked, so I don't feel the need to purchase a full size of this. It is a really pretty color though.

Lovely Android Foundation in Very Fair (sample) - Lovely Android was an online mineral makeup company that didn't last very long. I've had this sitting around for quite a while. I finally threw it into a loose powder mix that I have just to get rid of it.

Urban Decay Primer Potion - This is a staple. After testing out a couple of eye shadow primers that creased on me, I have a much greater respect for good old UDPP (and Too Faced Shadow Insurance). Thankfully, I have full sizes of each just waiting to be opened (and a mini tube of UDPP). I won't need to purchase eye shadow primer any time soon.

Urban Decay Complexion Primer Potions - I didn't particularly care for these. I like my other primers better. I was glad that I got to test out a sample because at one time I really wanted a full size of the pore perfecting variety. Now I can save myself some cash.

DKNY Be Delicious Perfume - It's there hiding on top of the sample cards. I really like this perfume. I've been tempted to get a larger size before, but I've never actually caved and gotten one. I still have a couple of sample vials waiting in the wings though.

Whew!!! This ended up being a good mix of staple products that I have and will repurchase and products that I didn't particularly care for. Hopefully it won't be so long before my next Finished It! post.

What have you finished up lately? Have you been finishing up staples or things that you just want to get rid of?