The Tarte Achiote Cheek Tint and Lip Luster Duo and the Legend of the Lipstick Tree

Published in: Makeup, Product Reviews

tarte achiote cheek tint and lip luster duo

Like the Yeti of my makeup dreams, I thought the lipstick tree was a figment of my imagination. Many, many times I’ve dreamt of having one strategically placed outside my bedroom window (right next to the money tree, of course), so I could easily pluck a tube off its branches whenever I wanted a new color.


Funny thing about dreams — sometimes they come true, albeit indirectly in this case. It turns out there really is a lipstick tree! It doesn’t sprout lipsticks (DAMN!), but bright red fruit instead.

Apparently I wasn’t paying close attention in upper division botany, because today I found out achiote is a small tree grown in tropical regions of the Americas and Southeast Asia. It bears spiny fruit which contain bright red seeds used to color food, body paint and lipstick, hence its nickname, “the lipstick tree.”

That’s achiote, yo!

I owe this new beauty wisdom to Tarte’s Achiote Cheek Tint & Lip Luster Duo ($35). A two-piece QVC spring exclusive, Tarte packed it with a cream blush and a sheer lipstick, both in the shade Achiote, a shimmery reddish peach.

tarte achiote cheek tint and lip luster duo product pictures

Did I mention that I love this color because it looks like a universally flattering shade that could work on light, medium and dark skin?

tarte achiote cheek tint and lip luster duo boxes

tarte achiote cheek tint and lip luster duo product pictures

tarte achiote cheek tint and lip luster duo swatches with the flash
Swatches of Natural Cheek Tint in Achiote on the left and LipSurgence Natural Lip Luster in Achiote on the right with the flash

tarte achiote cheek tint and lip luster duo swatches without the flash
Without the flash

tarte achiote lip luster

tarte achiote cheek tint and lip luster duo

Natural Cheek Tint blends easily on top of both foundation and powder, and I get about three hours before I need to touch up the color again. Lip Lustre, with its light mint flavor and scent, feels non-sticky and slick on my lips. It wears for about three hours, too.


PRICE: $35
AVAILABILITY: Exclusively at

Anybody else feeling like Tarte is on fire this spring? They’re quickly becoming one of my favorite brands.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


P.S. I hope you had a great Tuesday! I’m just about out the door, because I’m heading to San Francisco for dinner (I’m going to an Italian comfort food place called Beretta) . What are you up to tonight?


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So far, 91 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Fefe says:

    Thats a great look for you Karen. Love those colors.
    Fefe recently posted … Photography- Attempt Numero Uno

  2. Liz! says:

    Those look so pretty! And you’re right about Tarte, what they’ve been putting out lately is awesome. I already liked the line but now I luuuuuuurve it!

  3. kayann says:

    I feel the tarte fire!

  4. Tiffany says:

    Pretty shades! And the tree looks awesome, lol! I am doing a whole lot of nothin tonight 🙁

  5. Meghan says:

    Awesome colors!! 🙂
    Meghan recently posted … Clinique Milly Pretty in Prints

  6. Solangel says:

    Orange is so totally your color 😀 Too bad this is exclusive, I love it down to the details on the compact :<

  7. AshBash says:

    im getting into tarte now with your posts lately. im on a no-buy (for myself) with no decided end date, but this is brand i will think of when it comes time to buy gifts.
    AshBash recently posted … Review- DDF Discoloration Reversal Pods

  8. i keep reading artichoke! :p

    it’s a gorgeous colour and LOVE the packaging! i’m really enjoying the packaging in the latest tarte products you’ve been posting about!
    dani@callitbeauty recently posted … Winter Staple- Lush – Mange Too Massage Bar

  9. Tracy says:

    Tarte is something awesome this Spring! Is this just a QVC exclusive because that makes me sad. 🙁
    Mmmmm-Italian comfort food sounds good! What did you have?
    Tracy recently posted … Maybelline Volum Express One By One Mascara

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tracy,

      Oh, Beretta had lots of really yummy things! Thin crust pizza, a bruschetta with broccoli rabe, beets, olive oil ice cream… if you ever come to SF you might want to stop by. I think I’m gonna go back next time I’m in the city.

  10. Nina says:

    another winner from tarte — and you look like a million bucks in that look, karen! 🙂

  11. kana says:

    I am totally sold on this! I love the swatches, and mmm mint! That’s kind of a short wear for the blush part. The lips I dont mind… i usually end up reapplyin because i love to eat, drink, and bite my lips. -_- (bad habbit is baad!) I gotta definitely look for this! thanks 🙂

  12. Rae says:

    Again with the artichoke! I’m kinda feeling the need to pick this one up, if only because it’ll guarantee a giggle whenever I use it 😛 I just can’t stop thinking of the vegetable whenever I see “achiote”!

    How do the cheek tints feel vs the cheek stains, hon? While I love how the stains look, I can’t get over the sticky finish.
    Rae recently posted … Get a Peach Glow with Natio

    • Karen says:

      Oops, I wrote you back but the comment’s farther done on the page… anywho, the cream blush isn’t sticky like the stains. The finish is really smooth and on the drier side. But it’s nice!

  13. The colors are so gorgeous! I can’t stop looking at that blush o.O Wow, a lipstick tree? Now I’m thinking of all the possibilities for different types of makeup related trees…
    Makeup Morsels recently posted … Il Teatro- Round 2

  14. Heidi says:

    Wore these for the first time on Sunday and really love this color! It’s really easy to control the color intensity. It’s a beautiful shade on my NC20 skin. Oh, and Rae, I found that the blush didn’t have that sticky feel that I’ve also noticed with the stains.

    • Karen says:

      I second Heidi on that one. The blush has a lovely consistency — it’s really easy to blend.

      How are you liking the lip product? I’m kind of obsessed with it. 🙂

      • Heidi says:

        Me, too! It’s one of those shades that seems to work with so many wardrobe colors, and really brightens up my whole face! Plus I’m really loving the ease of application when using a fat crayon kind of lip product.

  15. gio says:

    The colors look lovely! Tarte is coming out wth some awesome products lately.
    gio recently posted … New Collection- Collistar Italian Look Spring-Summer 2011

  16. mint says:

    the blush looks beautiful 😀 I love the print at the top too! thanks for the review
    mint recently posted … Dolly Wink Eye Shadow Palette Swatches

  17. katie says:

    Agreed, Tarte has been fantastic this year..and I’ve always loved their cheek stains, especially tipsy 😀 hehe
    katie recently posted … Nail Polish Collection

  18. Kim says:

    Beautiful! And I love the packaging, particularly on the cheek tint. Tarte is definitely pulling out all the stops on new (to me) ingredients, too. It’s nice when a makeup line inspires you to learn about amazonian clay and botany. 🙂

    Oooooh, how was your dinner? Just the thought of Italian comfort food makes me happy.

    • Karen says:

      It was really good yummy. It was a pizza place (thin crust), but I think I liked it more for the appetizers and dessert. They had some kind of weird bruschetta that was so good (instead of topping the bread with tomatoes they used a broccoli rabe). I also had some fantastic beets… Oh, and there was olive oil ice cream!

      How was your night? Did you do anything fun?

      • Kim says:

        That sounds awesome, especially the bruschetta! No, nothing too fun. They boys had practice so we were at the rink, then came home to hit the treadclimber and watch my Caps lose to San Jose. I did get an hour of reading in, though. So that was nice and relaxing. 🙂

        Oh, and I’m pulling a Heidi today with Yeyo on the waterline. It’s hanging in there really well and it’s been 6.5 hours!

        • Karen says:

          Is the treadclimber the vertical machine with a mountain climbing motion? That thing looks HARD!

          And woooot re: Yeyo. I was at Sephora the other day looking at UD liners and I totally thought of you. Heidi does mascara on her lower lash line with her white liner… did you do that too? 🙂

  19. Really pretty, natural colours – perfect for Spring!

  20. Laurina says:

    i just ordered my set last night. The color looks so pretty for spring I had to get it!

  21. heidi says:

    Am I the only one that finds exclussives frustrating? I’m totally digging this stuff along with a lot that tarte has been putting out and despite the fact that I really want it I’m not going to buy it. Call me old fashioned but I don’t like ordering things. I want to be able to walk in make my purchase and leave with my new goody. I also want to hold it in my hands before I buy it. Is that just me? How do you all feel about purchasing online?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Heidi,

      I’ve purchased makeup online sight unseen, but I usually try to buy it from places with a good return policy just in case it doesn’t work for me. I love being able to see/experience the product in-store, but sometimes it’s just more convenient for me to just order it online, ya know?

      • heidi says:

        Yeah I get that the other part is that I don’t like to wait I think I’m just impatient and like the instant grattification of getting to play with it as soon as I purchase it. I can tell just by looking that I would love it but half the fun of makeup is in the experience of shopping for it. Plus even if the site has a good return policy its still a hassle to return. I’m not saying I would never buy online I just really prefer to buy in store

  22. NeenaJ says:

    LOVE this look on you, Karen.

    QVC has a 30 day money back guarantee, so if you don’t like it, it’s easy to return for a full refund (less S&H). I think I may pick one up.

  23. Chris25 says:

    I am really burning to buy this! I love the fact that Tarte strives to put natural ingredients in their products. And I love your earrings, Karen!
    Chris25 recently posted … MAC Deep Truth- Cork- and Charcoal Brown Swatches &amp Comparisons

  24. Ganda says:

    Karen, achiote is atsuete in Tagalog. That’s what makes kare-kare that unique shade of yellow! 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hey Ganda,

      Now you’ve got me craving for kare-kare. I haven’t had it in years. My Ninang makes THE BEST version of it… nom nom!

      • Ganda says:

        Mmmm….my mom makes an exceptional kare-kare as well! When she was last here she froze bags and bags of the sauce. So now all I need to do is cook up the beef, add mom’s sauce and veggies, et voila! A simulation of her cooking. 🙂

  25. AnieJ says:

    I wish this weren’t only available from qvc…I think I’ll try some other tarte stuff from my local Sephora, then maybe these.
    AnieJ recently posted … elf Tools I Might Never Live Without Again

  26. Sondra says:

    Hmmm…I’m not a cream blush lover, but after seeing your pics/review, I think I’m gonna jump.

    “Beretta” reminds me of the old cop show. LOL!!

  27. AnnaK says:

    Hi Karen!
    I love your blog! I love keeping up-to-date with new make up trends and your blog just makes it that much easier!
    I was wondering if you could do a post about choosing the correct shade of red for lipstick? For example, I lean towards cooler tones – I have light skin and brown eyes – and red clothing for example, doesn’t suit me, but I feel that wearing warmer reds on my lips suits me better than blue (pinkish) toned ones. Whoever I’ve asked about this couldn’t give me any guidelines that made sense, so maybe you could help a girl out? 🙂 xx

    • Karen says:

      Hi Anna,

      I’ve got a very liberal color philosophy — basically if you feel pretty in it, then wear it. With red lipstick I think a lot of it is trial and error, to be honest. A place that’s good for newbies to start is with MAC Russian Red lipstick. I think it’s one of those colors that looks good on almost everyone!

  28. mkdallas says:

    Both those colors look AWESOME on you and you’re also having an excellent hair day, you lucky girl! I am also recently very enamored of Tarte. I picked up some of their chubby eyeliner/shadow pencils on QVC and they’re the bomb. I also love the cheek stain, which I happen to be wearing today in Perfect Pink and just purchased in Blissful as well.

  29. larie says:

    I agree, Tarte’s been putting out some pretty fabulous things lately!

    Those colors look lovely on you, and I love the earrings!
    larie recently posted … Smashbox Layer Lash Primer

  30. Amy says:

    If only they were selling this lip stain with the new powder blush instead! Loved your review on the blush Karen- you’ve been reviewing (and loving) everything that I’ve been wanting to buy! I’m looking forward to seeing the new Luster lip stains and blushes at Sephora. I’ve also wanted to try the Lights, Camera, Action! Tarte mascara. Anyone tried it?

  31. Ariel says:

    Nice packaging!
    Ariel recently posted … The Ultimate Valentine

  32. Sophia says:

    Karen, I have to say that orange is a color that suits you particularly well… 🙂

  33. Jen says:

    I saw the presentation for this duo. Debated. I’m a deeper skin tone and wasn’t sure if it would work or not. I’m getting more and more into tarte. I have all 3 of their eye palettes, mascara and other eye items. they are definitely are definitely making their mark I had never heard of tarte until i saw them on qvc.

  34. Krista says:

    Hey Karen, I hope you enjoy your dinner out! These look wonderful on you! How does the cheek tint feel on? Is it tacky or oily feeling? Or does it dry down? I’m fussy about how my blush feels so I figured I should ask! Thanks again for another wonderful review!
    Krista recently posted … Nars Cream Blush Penny Lane Review

  35. Gigi says:

    You look great, orange is way hard to pull off. I like the color combo.

  36. Jordan says:

    I really want this! Even though the colors are sheer, do they still show up? This just screams spring!

  37. Winterbloom says:

    Stunning – both the plant and the products…and of course you ;).

    I haven’t tried Tarte for a while, but the new products they are coming up are hard to resist. The new powder blushes look so vibrant and now these coral temptations. A welcome breath of spring when there is 10 inches snow outside.

  38. Hazel says:

    omg when did they show this? i really wanna get this now! i esp love the design on the top of the blush compact 😀 so cute! and i love your earrings too <3
    Hazel recently posted … Photo

  39. Kay says:

    That color looks hella awesome on you!

  40. Phyrra says:

    The Lip Lustre is really pretty!

  41. lexi says:

    I second that -quickly becoming one of my fave brands, too…that and TF. I am debating whether to buy this set on QVC, OR…this set:

    they also have some new brow stuff:^A213861,RecTypeInd^IOFFER,navlist^A213861*A215553*A209526*,cp^detail,tmp^related,cpprod^A212485,cm_scid^dtlr&walk=&cmtags=

    PS – any chance that you’re going to be reviewing the new Tarte Smooth Operatorâ„¢ Amazonian Clay Illuminating Serum? I just got a sample at Sephora yesterday.

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