Friday, April 1, 2016

Tarte Double-Duty Beauty 101 Discovery Kit


All right, friends. I've got a major value alert coming your way. About a month ago I decided to pick up the new Tarte Double Duty Beauty 101 Discovery Kit ($36) and put it to the test. The Double Duty Beauty Collection just launched for Spring and is exclusive to Ulta stores. Designed with the busy girl-on-the-go in mind, every product is aimed towards slimming down your beauty routine and making some space in that cosmetics bag. You can shop the entire collection here, which contains some super cute palettes and innovative new foundation formulas in addition to the products in this set. With four full-sized products valued at almost $100, the Beauty 101 Discovery Kit is a steal for only $36. I also thought it'd be a great way to get a feel for the new collection and see if it was worth checking out.


Aside from it's crazy value, there are a few other really appealing things about this set. First of all, it contains essentially everything you need color-wise to complete a basic makeup look. There's something to blush and bronze your face, an eyeshadow and eyeliner duo, mascara, and a lip color. The shades of each individual product are very neutral and daytime wearable, working harmoniously with one another to create an everyday look. I also think they're universally flattering and would compliment a wide range of skin tones. With the addition of a foundation and maybe a brow product, you've got your makeup bag packed and ready to go.

As for the new collection itself, I dig the concept. You definitely get more bang for your buck, paying the cost of one product for what is essentially two. It's also friendly to makeup newbies and minimalists, taking the guesswork out of pairing shadows and liners or lipsticks and glosses. If you're someone who craves variety and fun pops of color, this may not be the most appealing range for you. But if you're looking for easy, everyday makeup it's got a lot of great options.

With the rise of new luxury brands (Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs, Charlotte Tilbury, and so on) to the beauty scene, I've noticed that mid-range brands like Tarte and Stila are really upping their packaging game. Gold detailing and sleeker packaging can be found on most of Tarte's new launches, including the Double Duty Beauty range. Overall the feel of their products are still a bit more playful than, say, ByTerry or YSL, but they're beautiful nonetheless.

Anyway, let's get into the individual products in this set. There are four included, all of which are full-sized. And considering that all of them are "double duty" you're really getting 8 different products to try.


The product I was most immediately drawn to from this set was the Colored Clay Bronzer Blush ($30). You can't deny, this compact is a thing of beauty. The packaging reminds me of what'd you'd see in a desert canyon, with subtly marbled layers of color, and the product itself is embossed with a gorgeous leaf motif. The shade Pink Bronze is what is included in this set, and comes off exactly as its name would suggest. If you swirl your brush throughout the entire pan it'll come off as a soft, rosy-toned bronzer, however you can also pretty easily pick up just the bronzer or just the blush shades if you'd like to add more of either to a targeted area of your face. The product also has a hint of shimmer, which adds a subtle luminosity to the skin without a chunky, glittery finish.

The one thing you really want to note about this powder is that it's marketed as providing buildable color. Aka, do not be surprised that this is not the most pigmented product in the world. On one hand buildable pigmentation is nice. Even on the fairest of skintones it's hard to overdo, which might be really appealing to those of you who normally shy away from bronzer out of fear of looking like an Oompa Loompa.  However, this also means that for those of you who lean more towards the medium end of the skincare spectrum, you're going to really have to layer this product up on your skin to see it. I think the type of brush you use also makes a big difference with this product. The Amazonian Clay infused formula is a bit more stiff than blushes or bronzers that you might be used to using, so a very soft brush isn't going to be able to pick up a lot of product from it. If you're feeling like the coverage you're getting from this blush/bronzer duo is way too sheer, try using a stiffer or denser brush to get a more bold application.


You all know I love a good lippie, so I was pretty excited to see how the The Lip Sculptor Double Ended Lipstick & Gloss ($24) performed. Formulated with coconut oil, maracuja oil, and Vitamin E, this duo will condition and moisturize your lips while packing on some serious color and shine. The shade included in this set is VIP, a pairing of flattering cool toned nudes. Guys, I must say, I LOVE this formula. L-O-V-E love it. The lipstick glides on effortlessly to your lips and feels incredibly creamy and smooth. It's perfectly opaque and pigmented, and the color will stay put for hours. The gloss is thick and shiny without being too sticky, keeping it comfortable to wear. And if that isn't good enough, they are both also scented like a vanilla cupcake. Basically this duo is a match made in lipstick heaven.

The only downside to this product is that the packaging is a little bulky. I love the convenience of having your lipstick and gloss together, I just feel that the end result is a little bit chunky. It still fits perfectly fine into a standard lipstick organizer, so I suppose I shouldn't be complaining all that much. Perhaps its just that, despite the pretty gold detailing, a slightly thinner and longer product would have a more sleek, luxury feel than one that is a bit shorter and wider like this. Seriously, though, I'm just nit-picking. This product is great.


On the flip side, I was a little disappointed with the The Architect Double Ended Shadow & Liner ($24). You get the shade Brown/Champagne in this set, which I have absolutely zero complaints about. It's a beautiful, classic pairing that I think is perfect to wear to school or work. Really I'm just a little unimpressed with the shadow portion of this duo. The product itself is packed into the cap, which screws on and off to reveal a sponge tipped applicator. The sponge tip does a perfectly good job of pressing the shadow onto your lid (although you'll have to do any blending work with your fingers or a brush), but unfortunately does not pick up a ton of product. I found it somewhat difficult to dip the sponge back into the cap to pick up more, as you almost need to screw it back on completely to get the sponge fully in contact with the product itself. While I can appreciate that Tarte put some thought into creating loose shadow pigment that doesn't make a huge mess, I think they might have swung too far in the other direction.

Also, while the shadow itself is a beautiful inner corner highlight, I didn't find it to be very long wearing. A primer will help, but if the purpose of using this product is to downsize the number of products you're using to make your makeup application process faster and easier, I would like to see a shadow that performs well all on its own.

The liner, on the other hand, is great. It's very smooth and pigmented, gliding along the lash line with ease. You'll have about 30 seconds to play and smudge it out as you'd like before it dries down to a waterproof, budge-proof finish. The self sharpening feature is very on-the-go friendly, although I do feel that the product itself is on the thicker side, which will make creating a precise line more difficult as time goes on. Fortunately, brown is a more forgiving shade than black. You can easily create a sort of undone, imperfect look with this pairing that isn't too heavy or dramatic.


The Lights, Camera, Lashes Double-Ended Lash Fibers & 4-in-1 Mascara ($21) was probably the least exciting product in this set for me. Don't get me wrong, Lights, Camera, Lashes is a great mascara, but Tarte seems to sample it in EVERYTHING they do. I've already got an unopened full sized tube at home, and have had countless samples in the past. The one unique thing about this duo is the addition of lash fibers. I'm not going to lie, lash fibers are a trend I've been avoiding. Having seen many a video where beauty bloggers have complained about getting little fibers in their eyes or all over their faces has made me less inclined to give them a whirl. However, in the name of science and providing my readers with solid beauty reviews, it was only fair that I gave these a try.

In case you're new to the whole lash fiber concept, they're basically tiny synthetic fibers that are used to help thicken and elongate your lashes. As you can see in the picture above, they're applied with a traditional mascara wand, and are completely dry and wispy. After applying a coat of mascara to your lashes, you would sweep the fibers from the midlengths to the ends of your lashes, and seal them in with another layer of mascara. Now that I have them in my possession, I can understand where the lash fiber horror stories come from. These Tarte ones are actually pretty long and almost cotton-y in texture (they're actually made of Nylon), and while there is no formula around them to hold them to the brush, they sort of cling to each other and don't make a giant mess. But cheaper brands could easily have the potential to get EVERYWHERE, including in your eyes and all over your face. So far I've tried the fibers with my Better Than Sex mascara, which was already opened, and while I noticed some difference I don't think it was mind blowing. I'll definitely have to play around with them some more before I make a final decision.

Final verdict? Lights Camera Lashes is a solid mascara formula that provides volume, length, and definition sans raccoon eyes. If you don't already have three tubes at home, it's certainly worth owning. The lash fibers seem a little gimmicky to me, but I think I need more time to experiment.

From left to right: Champagne Eyeshadow, Brown Liner, VIP Lipstick, VIP Gloss, Pink Bronze

All in all, I think for $36 this set is a pretty solid deal. The lipstick duo was by far the standout product for me, and with a $24 price tag is worth more than half of the entire set itself. I was a little disappointed with the level of pigmentation in the bronzer/blush, although I've managed to make it work for me. The eyeshadow duo is good, but nothing earth shattering, and the mascara duo, while also good, was less exciting to me personally since I've already have it on hand. 

If you're a total beauty junkie and have a collection as massive as mine, odds are you probably already have products similar to these in your stash, so it may not be totally worth the investment. However, if you're someone newer to makeup, or who really loves neutral, everyday shades, I think it's an awesome value. If you can see yourself regularly using even two of the products, you'll definitely get your money's worth. 

Have you tried anything from the Double Duty Beauty collection? What's your favorite product?

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