For the past couple of weeks I’ve been playing around with the Clay of Life Colored Clay quad that came in the Tarte TSV.
I purchased mine from QVC.
I once swore that I’d never buy any more Tarte shadows again. My past experiences with them have been disappointing to say the least. Tarte’s eye shadow formula tends to be dry, powdery and sheer in my opinion. I have really dry lids and the shadows don’t adhere well to my skin at all. However, I watched the QVC presentation and the Clay of Life quad uses a new colored clay formulation that’s supposed to be creamier and more velvety. I was intrigued. Plus, the colors really spoke to me.
The shadows come in a small, plastic compact that features a geode design. For what it’s worth, I think it’s pretty.
The four shades included in this quad are: Classic Cream ( matte ivory), Simple Slate (metallic taupe), Tantalizing Tan (matte peachy beige), and Breathtaking Brown (dark brown with gold microshimmer).
At first glance, these shadows look strikingly different from past Tarte shadows. Up close in the pan they appear almost fuzzy, like carpeting, especially Breathtaking Brown. It’s weird yet kind of cool.
According to the QVC spiel, these shadows are long wearing, cream to powder shadows that are meant to be used without a brush. Sounds good to me. I love the ease of cream shadows and that I can just use my fingers to apply them but I hate how quickly they dry out in their pots. These Tarte shadows, that are supposedly powders that apply like creams, sounded like the best of both worlds to me. I was super excited to try them.
To the touch, these Colored Clay shadows definitely feel a lot smoother and creamier than their regular Amazonian Clay shadows. But one thing that QVC and the dozens of YouTubers who got this kit for free to promote didn’t tell you is that these shadows develop hard pan fast.
As someone with extremely dry skin, I can’t say that I’ve ever had a shadow form hard pan on me before. I think of that as more of an oily skin issue. For those unfamiliar with the term, hard pan is usually when the oil from a person’s skin transfers to a powder product (i.e. blush, bronzer, etc.) and forms a hard, shiny layer on top. This usually occurs when people don’t wash their brushes often enough and the skin oils trapped in the brush get transferred to the powders. Hard pan makes it difficult to grab product with a brush, so to make the powder usable again you either need to use something like a spoolie to scrape away the hard pan or use a piece of Scotch tape to lift the crust away.
What surprised me the very first time I swatched the shadows is that they developed hard pan almost instantly. It’s not an issue of oils making the powder hard but pressure, as in just lightly pressing the shadows with a finger or the flat side of a brush compacts and compresses the powder. The mattes were the worst offenders. I could literally see the shiny crust forming as I gently swirled my finger on the surface of the powder. It made swatching the two lighter shades really difficult and the color payoff quite sheer. The dark brown shade wasn’t as bad; there was only a tiny bit of hard pan there so the pigmentation was still very good. The best was the taupe shade that had almost zero hard pan.
I wonder if the finish of the shadow makes a difference. It’s odd how the matte shades get hard pan so easily while the two with shimmer/metallic finishes are relatively safe, the shiniest shade being the best out of them all.
Compared with Tarte’s regular Amazonian Clay shadows, the pigmentation of the Colored Clay shadows is a lot better. However, I think that says more about the poor quality of their past formula than it does about the quality of these new shadows.
Hands down, the standout shade in this quad is Simple Slate. It’s a rich, metallic taupe that looks different depending on the lighting. Sometimes I get silvery gold, other times a dark bronze. It’s a beautiful color.
Breathtaking Brown is very nice too but I gravitate towards lighter neutrals so I don’t use it as much.
Most YouTubers have been going in really heavy with the taupe and dark brown shades to create a smokier eye. That’s great and if that’s your thing there are some wonderful demo/tutorials over on YouTube you should check out but I tend to favor “no makeup” makeup so I’ve been doing a very simple eye look with this quad: Tantalizing Tan all over the lid to cancel out the natural brown pigmentation of my eyelids, a light layer of Simple Slate in the outer two-thirds, the tiniest bit of Breathtaking Brown in the outer corner, and Classic Cream in the inner corner and under the brow bone. The effect is a shiny nude eye. It’s extremely boring but it makes me look a lot more bright eyed and put together than I would without.
Honestly some days I just use Simple Slate all over the lid and don’t even bother with any of the other shadows (it’s not far off from what I’m already doing, right?). If you want a “one and done” eye shadow, Simple Slate’s a good one.
Overall, I’m disappointed with the quad. If they ever release it for individual sale I wouldn’t recommend it and I won’t purchase any additional colors. For shadows that were designed to be used with fingers, they aren’t very user friendly. I mean, they develop hard pan on the first use. What’s that about?
Of course, I tried removing the hard pan with a piece of Scotch tape and instead of lifting away just the hard pan, it took away entire chunks of powder (that’s why my quad has craters now). It even lifted away bits of untouched powder that still had the hatch marks on it! How wasteful is that? That’s another thing: these shadows crumble really easily. To make these shadows usable again, I discovered that all I had to do is gently stab the powder with an eye shadow brush. That breaks up the hard pan and loosens up the powder.
Personally, I prefer to use the matte shadows with a brush because of the whole hard pan issue. The mattes compress and form hard pan easily at the slightest pressure. It’s much easier to poke at the matte shades to loosen up the powder, pick up product with the brush, apply it to the lids and repeat as necessary than attempt to use these matte shadows with fingers.
The only shades that can be used with fingers, in my experience, are the taupe shade and the brown shade to a lesser extent. They’re both very nice, the taupe especially, but I don’t think they make the rest of the quad worth the trouble of the mattes. If I knew then what I do now and had to do it all over again I wouldn’t buy it.
Clay of Life Limited-Edition Colored Clay Eyeshadow Palette−Classic Creme: Mica, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Talc, Kaolin, Dimethicone, Zinc Stearate, Pentylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Cetyl Dimethicone, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Sorbitan Sesquiisostearate, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Montmorillonite, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate/Argilla, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Ultramarines (CI 77007), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499).
Clay of Life Limited-Edition Colored Clay Eyeshadow Palette−Simple Slate: Mica, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Talc, Kaolin, Dimethicone, Zinc Stearate, Cetyl Dimethicone, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Pentylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Sorbitan Sesquiisostearate, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Montmorillonite, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate/Argilla, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Ultramarines (CI 77007), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77499, CI 77492).
Clay of Life Limited-Edition Colored Clay Eyeshadow Palette−Tantalizing Tan: Mica, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Talc, Kaolin, Dimethicone, Zinc Stearate, Pentylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Cetyl Dimethicone, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Sorbitan Sesquiisostearate, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Montmorillonite, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate/Argilla, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Ultramarines (CI 77007), Iron Oxides (CI 77492, CI 77491, CI 77499).
Clay of Life Limited-Edition Colored Clay Eyeshadow Palette−Breathtaking Brown: Mica, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Kaolin, Dimethicone, Talc, Zinc Stearate, Pentylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Cetyl Dimethicone, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Sorbitan Sesquiisostearate, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Montmorillonite, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate/Argilla, Iron Oxides (CI 77499, CI 77491, CI 77492), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Carmine (CI 75470).