Is the Tarte NeutralEYES Eye Shadow Palette Universally Flattering? Well, the Universe Is a BIG Place…

Published in: Makeup, Product Reviews

tarte neutraleyes

universally flattering |yü-nə-ˈvər-səl-lē ˈfla-tə-riŋ|
adjectival phrase
1 A phrase which has come to mean “looks great on everyone,” but which more properly understood means “looks great on almost everyone” : I’m looking for a shade that’s universally flattering.


The idea of makeup designed to look great on everyone always gets me excited. What a cool idea, right? — products without boundaries or inhibitions; colors able to get along with everyone.

It reminds me of the time I walked in on a party to find a bunch of people in a huge drum circle. At first I thought, “Uh, oh. Not my scene,” but then I grabbed some bongos and started banging away. Before long I felt right at home. 🙂

Tarte must have had a world like that in mind (maybe?) when they developed the new Tarte NeutralEyes Eye Shadow Palette ($44). Like all of their products, it’s cruelty-free, which scores may-jah points in Tabs’ book. New for spring, the palette comes chock full of good stuff like…

  • 10 shadows (eight mattes and two shimmers) with light-to-medium pigmentation in a cute, refillable case
  • A full-size EmphasEYES Aqua-Gel Eyeliner in Brown
  • A dual-ended eyeshadow brush
  • A tiny bottle of Lifted Eye Primer
  • Printed instructions for both a “Day Look” and “Night Look”

Tarte selected neutral colors they felt would work well on a wide range of skin tones, and I particularly like the darker shades — the matte deep teal, shimmering bronze, matte brown, matte plum and matte navy. I can can see them looking fab on pale and dark beauties alike.

The shadows apply smoothly, exhibit minimal fallout, blend like a dream and contain a healthy serving of pigment. They’re intense, but not so intense that I look overly made up with them on. The look has punch, but it’s still safe and work-friendly.

Now, I had a little trouble with the lighter shades… The matte beige, pink and taupe — the three shadow colors that come with special “Day Look” instructions — looked chalky on my tan skin, and at one point while using them I hit something I call the blending “point of no return.” That’s where the colors just start to run into each other and turn into a monochromatic mess. After my third attempt with them, I figured the beauty gods were trying to tell me something, so I scrapped the idea and tried a different look with the Shimmering Soft Peach and Matte Deep Teal colors instead…

Yup, if your skin tone is similar to mine (or darker), you may find the lighter colors in the palette a bit challenging to use.

tarte neutraleyes with phone

tarte neutraleyes closed

tarte neturaleyes

tarte neutraleyes colors

tarte neutraleyes tutorial

tarte neutraleyes swatches

tarte neutraleyes swatches

tarte neutraleyes eye closeup

tarte neutraleyes karen


As for the other items in the set, I like the way the dual-ended brush applies and blends shadows. I think it works pretty well and should come in handy for touch-ups. And the brown eyeliner, like the other EmphasEYES liners I’ve tried, holds on exceptionally well along the lash line.

So while the palette itself may not live up to the term, “universally flattering,” I still think it’s a pretty good deal, especially if 1) you’re looking for a selection of work-friendly shadows, and 2) you like that it’s cruelty-free.

PRICE: $44

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 53 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Tiffany says:

    This is cute, but I like more shimmer! Love the front of the case though!

    • Karen says:

      I love the case too. It has a hard time staying open (urgh!), but otherwise it’s adorable.

      How was your Monday?

      • Tiffany says:

        It was ok. Busy day at work and I’ve been up since 4am (couldn’t sleep).

        How was your day? Anything fun going on?

        • Karen says:

          I feel you on the insomnia. It seems to have reached EPIC levels lately.

          Mine went by fast. I’m glad to have gotten in a workout (yay) and now I’m making improv lazy girl vegetable soup, LOL.

          Try to get to bed early tonight… maybe try some Sleeptime tea?

          • Tiffany says:

            I don’t like tea 🙁 I hope we can still be friends, lol. I got some good sleep last night – I hope you did, too!!

          • Karen says:

            REALLY? Oh well, we’ll always have Nutella. 😉

            Glad to hear you good some sleep last night… I spent the evening tossing and turning! Tabs was thrilled, haha.

          • Tiffany says:

            Plus we are car twins! That has to count for something 🙂

            Sorry you were tossing and turning 🙁 hope you have a relaxing day!

          • Karen says:

            So true! Yours probably isn’t in need of a serious wash, though. I keep meaning to clean mine, but every time I plan on washing it the weather folks say it’s going to rain the next day so I just keep putting it off.

  2. Paris B says:

    I have one Tarte palette from a while back with brighter more shimmery colours and they were amazing. This one looks a but chalky in general but you did a great job regardless! 😀
    Paris B recently posted … Makeup Artist Tips- Lipstick Application Tips and Common Mistakes

  3. Terri says:

    Thanks for the very helpful review Karen! I initially thought that I might give this a whirl, but I don’t think the lighter colors would work on me :(.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Terri,

      You’re very welcome! If you have any other question re: the palette please let me know… I’m always happy to help.

      • Terri says:

        I think the review answered all of them! I love your reviews (and the pictures and swatches) because it gives me a sense of what the colors might look like on me since we have similar coloring ;).

        • Karen says:

          Oh good. 🙂 Well, one great thing about the beauty world is that there’s always something new. I’m sure something that you’ll absolutely love is just around the corner!

  4. Tracy says:

    I’m liking the plaid shirt more than the palette! You look good in red! Heck, you look good in everything. Sigh.
    Tracy recently posted … Annabelle Smudgeliner in Limette Makes Me Feel Like Spring Is Near!

  5. Rae says:

    Eeeeee! (Translation: the outside of this palette is super-cute.)

    I usually love me some mattes, but I almost want more shimmers out of this palette – I like the ratio to be more like 50/50 than 80/20 😛
    Rae recently posted … The 2011 Oscars secret

  6. AnieJ says:

    This sounds right up my alley, and since the brand is cruelty-free I definitely need some more of that in my life! I actually don’t like that there a skimmer in this at all, I’ve been big on the matte eye recently…
    AnieJ recently posted … Dior DiorSkin Nude Foundation in 010 Ivory

  7. Vijaya says:

    That’s a shame about the light colors, as I’m most definitely darker than you. I had suspected this would be so, though. I always look at paler colors with a healthy dose of suspicion.
    Vijaya recently posted … Sephora by OPI Glee Collection- Mash Up

  8. gio says:

    I’m not too keen on the paler shades but the darker ones are beautiful. Love the packaging as well.
    gio recently posted … Product Review- Sleek Acid Eyeshadow Palette

  9. Alexandra says:

    Niiice! how can i get tarte in europe??
    Alexandra recently posted … Lac de unghii Nails Inc Victoria

  10. Nina says:

    LOVE the case! LOL! I love the darker shades more than the lighter/paler ones.

  11. beth says:

    looks like a lovely collection in a nice compact case – some nice everyday shades – thanks for the info x
    beth at beauty gu. com

  12. Nina says:

    i dont want to be tempted, but i am being tempted by this palette!~

    • Karen says:

      Girl, it happens! Do you have any gaps in your eyeshadow collection? If you need some jewel tones then go for it!

      • Nina says:

        i have this HUGE tarte jewel palette thats got some pretty jewel tones that i need to bust out and use!

        i think thats the downside to heavier palettes for me – i get lazy to use it and it spends its days in the drawer. 🙂

        • Karen says:

          Oh, I know! Well, this one’s pretty slim and trim so you’ll be able to take it out and about… the only thing is the cover has a hard time staying open! When I work with it I use a big jar of moisturizer to keep it propped open.

  13. Ruchita says:

    Thanks for the review of this palette! I love neutrals, but I’d like to break away from wearing brown neutrals all the time. Also, I’m not an eyeshadow expert by any means, so I like having the “how to” pictures to guide me. I’ll definitely have to add this to my next Sephora order.

  14. Kim says:

    I’m always up for liking anything Tarte, but the mattes do a look a little flat to me. Then again, I do tend to be overwhelmed by palettes, and also have a penchant for shimmer, so it’s probably just me. 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kim,

      You know me and sparkly things. The mattes come in handy when I want to add some contrast, but yeah… give me glitter any day of the week. 🙂

  15. irini says:

    Karen a little out of topic, but I LOVE how you always respond to everyone 🙂 Good job! 😀
    irini recently posted … cant get enough

  16. Chris25 says:

    Pretty! I’ll check this out the next time I go to Sephora.

  17. Perri says:

    wow- what a cute makeup case. I love how spruced up it is!

  18. Rozae says:

    Hi Karen,

    I’ve been wondering about Tarte and want to try their line, but wanted to know, these eye shadows do they have the staying power? thx

  19. Sarah says:

    I have the Tarte neutral palette from last year (the purple one with the vinyl flower on top). I really like it. It was the first time I was gutsy enough to wear green, I’m always afraid I’ll look ill, but it looked good. My husband even noticed and said my eyes look good. This is a different mix of shades. So maybe I’ll try it. The orange shadow would be my first, although on you it looks brownish, so maybe I’ll be able to pull it off. Thanks for the review.

  20. Shu says:

    Hi karen, was looking for some review on this palette and I m so glad to find it here at ur blog.. great review!! Thks so much.. btw, I m wondering if u have tried other tarte eye shadow palettes and would like to find out which would u recommend for tanned skin girls like us? This may not the one for us I reckon..;)

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