So last week I decided to finally dip into the Tarte Swamp Queen palette by Grav3yardgirl. I’ve had it for over a month but since I bought my friend one as well for her birthday, I had to stash it away. It was such a mission to get this palette from Tarte but I’ve learnt my lesson.
I initially ordered it during their Black Friday sale where they had 30% off. I ordered it along with a second palette for my friend and a limited edition lipstick and lipliner set. Since Tarte offer free international shipping for orders over R1 024, I happily entered my address and confirmed my order. December came and went, no package. New Years came and went, no package. Janaury arrived and still no package. I emailed Tarte, they advised the package might be lost and refunded my money. I then tried to place another order but the lip set was no longer available. Then I requested for another 30% voucher and they said they would apply it after my order was placed and paid for. That made no sense but I went ahead and placed the order anyway. This time I used Aramex instead and got my package within 2 weeks. FYI, still no discount, credit or refund.
So ya, what a crazy mission just to get my hands on the palette and not touch it. It was excruciating because it was on my dresser and I looked right at it every day. Last week I took the plunge and I’m sad I didn’t do it sooner. The palette is much better than I expected. I initially bought it because of the packaging but the shadows blew me away even more. Enough with the chit chat and rambling. Let me show you.
So who is Grav3yardgirl?
Bunny, as her fans know her by, is one of the highest paid YouTubers and has over 7 million subscribers. Her channel is whacky, freaky, fun and entertaining. She lovingly refers to her YouTube following as the swamp family (hence the name of the palette). On her channel she reviews crazy items and even goes ghost hunting.
The Tarte Swamp Queen palette
Released in June 2016, Tarte’s website crashed after the amount of traffic received when the collection launched. The collection contains the eye and cheek palette as well as two liquid lipsticks.
As I mentioned, the stunning packaging is what flipped my top. The wood grain feel and gold lettering reminds me of the Wild West. Front and centre, an alligator with wings turns it into a whimsical affair. The palette is very much like Bunny would describe herself, vintage. As with most Tarte palettes, the container is made of cardboard but very sturdy. The gold inside echoes an air of luxury but the mirror finish is prone to fingerprints. There is a large mirror with the quote “Believe in yourself. Love yourself. Embrace your individuality” written on it.
Shade Selection & Formula
The palette contains 3 face shades and 9 eye shades. The larger shades from top to bottom are sweet tea (bronzer), does this thing really work? (blush) and gator wings (highlighter). The colours are more suited for fair to medium skin tones but the blush could work for anyone because it is very pigmented. The eyeshadows are mostly warm but range from light to dark. They are all very pigmented and transfer well onto the lid using a brush. The mattes are not chalky and blend well. The metallics are not creamy or buttery but they’re pigmented and opaque. They also have the coolest names for the shades which will make more sense if you are a regular watcher on her channel.
So I don’t usually speak about the brushes contained in palettes because they are usually just meh. This one though blew me away. I can’t term it as dense nor sparse, flat nor fluffy or round nor tapered. This brush is probably going to be the brush I take with me whenever I travel. I can blend out harsh edges, pack on shadow, be precise in the crease, smoke out the lower lashline and highlight my browbone all with this one brush. I tried it with various different looks and it’s awesome.
So I’ve been playing around with the shades and whilst it does look amazing when applied, the shimmer fades after just a few hours of wear. I always wear a primer so if you want it to pop then wet your brush to brighten the shine. The matte shades though last around 6-7 hours before fading.
Price & Where to Buy
The Tarte Swamp Queen palette retails for $45 (R580 on the SA site) on the Tarte website but excludes shipping and customs charges. For a full face and eye palette it is definitely worth it. You can see a full cost breakdown in comparison to other palettes here.
I love this palette and I see myself using it everyday for the next couple of weeks. I use sweet tea in my crease, gator wings on the inner corner and pop some big baby on the brow bone and lid, add some mascara and I’m out the door. Would I recommend this palette? Perhaps only if you’re a collector and love the packaging like I do. There are much more versatile palettes out there and while the quality is great, all shades are dupable in every aspect. It’s a pretty palette but not a must have. Thanks for reading.