I initially had zero interest in the Tarte Showstopper Clay Palette. From past experience Tarte products don’t perform well on my ultra dry skin but when the palette suddenly sold out online at sephora.com I suddenly had to have it. You know what they say: people always want what they can’t have. It was certainly true in my case.
I purchased mine from Ulta for $38.
I once owned the Tarte Aqualillies Palette, a limited edition palette from a couple of years ago that was highly coveted. It went for insane amounts on ebay after it sold out everywhere else. I was lucky enough to snatch one up from Sephora when it was still available. Truth be told, it was gorgeous. Beautiful, beautiful highlighter and blush. Just about every single item in the palette swatched so well but my skin hated it. The powders just wouldn’t stick to my face. The problem wasn’t that the powders wore off halfway through the day. As a person with very dry skin, makeup wearing off or fading has never been an issue. The problem was that the powder wouldn’t even adhere to my skin right from the start. The only way I can describe it is imagine a dry wall. Now imagine yourself throwing a fistful of flour at that wall. Most of the flour just slides off, right? That’s basically my skin. (Using that same analogy, a normal, combo or oily person would be that same wall with a layer of oil sprayed on top, allowing the flour to bond to it.) My skin prefers powders with creamier, more buttery textures. Tarte’s powders tend to be on the drier side.
Tarte powders swatch so well but when I use them in a normal application on my eyes and cheeks, they blend away to nothingness on my skin. It’s the oddest thing and it’s something that I knew long before buying the Showstopper palette yet I keep buying Tarte cosmetics hoping for different results. Hmm, isn’t that the definition of insanity?
For those who don’t have super dry skin, I’m positive you’ll have more luck with Tarte. Based on online reviews, I know a lot of people love their Amazonian Clay formula.
As for the Showstopper Palette, I think it’s the best looking round compact packaging they’ve come out with to date. I already mentioned owning the Aqualillies palette and I’ve seen their other similarly shaped palettes (Coral Crush, Rainforest After Dark, Romancing the Glow). Those to me were borderline cheap/tacky in appearance, especially Coral Crush with the 3D starfish glued on the lid. The Showstopper palette compared to those is much more understated. It’s still hard, sturdy plastic like the others but features a simple reptile motif in purple with gold accents.
On the inside you get a fairly large mirror, Tarte’s popular Park Ave Princess matte bronzer, a highlighter, blush and six eye shadows.
Not gonna lie, Fame was the main reason I wanted this palette. Funny thing is, I’ve been lurking on various makeup forums and when this palette was first launched I saw a lot of people saying that they loved the selection of colors except for the blush. Apparently the shadows are cool, the blush is too orange and most would’ve preferred a pink blush. Personally, I love an orange blush. The more orange the better, I say. A pink blush in this palette would’ve been a snooze, in my opinion. Fame is what sets this palette apart. I love the contrast of cool and warm. And, honestly, it’s not that orange. It’s more of a matte coral.
I’ve blogged about the Park Ave Princess bronzer before. It’s a pigmented, matte, neutral bronzer. It’s not my cup of tea personally. I prefer peachier bronzers which I use in place of blush on my cheeks but if you like all over bronzers for warming up the entire face this is a good one.
I thought I’d love the highlighter but the consistency is very powdery compared to the other items in the compact. It’s a pinkish white highlight with a frosty finish. I like the color but the powder’s too loosely packed and borderline messy to work with.
All of the shadows are nicely pigmented but Steel the Scene and Rose to the Top are definite standouts. Those two shades swatched wonderfully. The dark brown Dim the Lights felt a little drier than the rest but was still very pigmented. It’s mostly matte but looking at it really closely there’s a tiny bit of barely there microshimmer.
Besides Fame, another reason I wanted the palette was for the gold Go for the Gold shade. When I first saw it I thought it might be a dupe for the gold in my bareMinerals The Overachiever duo but it’s actually a lot more yellow gold.
I wore the shadows on my eyes and unfortunately the Tarte eye shadow formula is still a no go on my dry lids. Although the shades swatch really well on my hand, they apply so sheerly on the lids with a brush. I also tried patting the shadows directly onto my eyelids using my fingers to get more intensity but even then I wasn’t able to achieve the opacity and richness I saw in swatches. The colors just looked very washed out and faded on my eyes. Disappointed.
As for Fame, although I dislike the Tarte Amazonian Clay formula, I really love the color of the blush. Playing around with my BECCA Beach tints I discovered that if I mix Papaya and Guava together I can get a pretty close approximation of Fame. I used a 3:2 ratio of Guava to Papaya (about 1 drop of Papaya mixed with slightly more than 1 drop of Guava). Papaya alone is way too orange (can you see how much more orange it is compared to Fame?) and Guava by itself is too pink but together they make a very pretty coral.
All in all, Showstopper is a lovely palette provided you don’t have ultra dry skin like mine. The packaging’s beautiful, the selection of colors are gorgeous and I personally really dig the contrast of cool and warm between the shadows and blush. If you already love the Amazonian Clay formula, this palette is definitely worth a closer look. For me it’s a pass and I ended up selling mine off on my blog sale.
Tarte’s palettes are always so tempting but hopefully I’ve learned my lesson and I’ll remember to look the other way the next time they release a new one.