Makeup Monday: Shadow Showdown

Emma Frankart Henterly

Spring is almost upon us (though you may not know it from the forecast this week), and that got me in the mood to do something with the Tartelette In Bloom palette for this month’s Makeup Monday. When my coworker and fellow makeup enthusiast Chelsea Savage pointed out how similar it is to the Lorac Pro 3 palette, which she had just purchased, I decided to compare the two. Read on for a full breakdown of the good, the bad and the pretty.

The Basics

Right off the bat, you’ll notice that the Tarte palette has 12 shades compared to Lorac’s 18. As with all of Lorac’s Pro palettes, nine shades are shimmer and nine are matte. Tarte’s palette comes with nine mattes as well, plus three shimmer shades. Neither palette comes with a brush, though the Lorac comes with a deluxe sample size of the brand’s eye primer.

I also noticed a significant difference in pan size with the shadows; although In Bloom has fewer shades, the pan sizes are way bigger than those of the Pro 3; in fact, In Bloom comes with 0.636 ounces of product, while the Pro 3 only has only about half that, at 0.32 ounces. Pricing between the two is pretty comparable, with Tarte’s palette retailing for $46 and Lorac’s for $44.

There are pros and cons to packaging of both products, and I liked each for different reasons. Tarte’s is just plain cute, with a floral pattern on the front and gold accents inside and on the back. It also has an enormous, high-quality mirror on the inside, and the container itself feels quite sturdy—in fact, this is probably my new go-to palette for travel, thanks to those factors. Lorac’s packaging is sleek, with a really cool matte-feel finish to the durable cardboard palette. But the mirror inside is pretty terrible—not only is it thin, but the one in my product was also pretty warped.

And not that this really matters, but the Tartelette In Bloom palette has a pleasant, cake batter/vanilla scent to it (whereas the Pro 3 just smells like … well, eyeshadow).

The Shadows

Both palettes feature a warm neutral color range, with an accent on purples in the Lorac and on berries in the Tarte. And both formulas produce quite a bit of kickback/fallout when you’re using them, so you’ll have to tap your brush off regardless. But in swatches, the formulas differ greatly.

The Tarte shadows seem to have a stiffer formula than the Lorac ones, which is no surprise—Lorac is known for having super-creamy, buttery shadows. But ultimately I felt that this creaminess wasn’t a bonus in this case, as it seemed to lend to a shorter wear time and a propensity for the shadows to blend too much, creating one muddy-ish color instead of a nice gradient.

The Tarte shadows, on the other hand, were just as pigmented as the Lorac, but blended more effectively and lasted much longer. (I used Urban Decay Primer Potion, first in Original and then in Eden, during my wear tests.) The Lorac shadows did get me through the day, but the muddiness tended to intensify as time went on. The Tarte shadows, by contrast, stayed where I put them until I was ready to wash them off. In fact, as you can see in the arm swatch photos below, the darker Tarte shadows didn’t want to wash off Chelsea’s and my arms completely.

Tarte Tartelette In Bloom swatches on a pale and medium skin tone.

Lorac Pro 3 swatches on a pale and medium skin tone.

The Looks

Chelsea and I both tested the palettes, and we both felt like we could get a range of looks out of them; great news if you want one palette to carry you through a multitude of pre-wedding events. You could easily get a fresh and light bridal shower look, as well as a dark and smoky bachelorette party one, from each brand. In fact, we accidentally created astonishingly similar looks one day, despite the fact that we each were testing a different palette that morning.

And a classic, neutral bridal eye look is definitely achievable with each palette … though I thought they both lacked a nice, super-light shimmer shade to act as a brow bone and inner corner highlight. Sure, they each had a matte white option, but for me personally, that just doesn’t cut it.

The Verdict

I definitely don’t think you need both palettes; so if I had to choose one, the Tarte Tartelette In Bloom palette just wins out for me. Between the formula, longevity and packaging, Tarte just has the Lorac Pro 3 beat handily in my book.

The only hesitation I had in naming Tarte’s palette the winner was the variety in shimmer shades offered by the Lorac Pro 3. But when I looked further, I realized that my favorite Lorac shades—the deep purple Amethyst, the pinky-gold Rose Bronze, the bronzy-gold Medallion, the softly glowing Almond Pearl—either aren’t practical (how often do you reach for a deep plum shimmer shade?) or had close dupes readily available in the In Bloom palette (Firecracker for Medallion, Funny Girl for Almond Pearl and Rocker for Rose Bronze, which also has a dupe in the Maybelline Expert Wear single in Nude Glow, the Colourpop Super Shock singlein Weenie and the L’Oréal Infallible single in Amber Rush).

All that said, Lorac Pro 3 is a fine palette. If you already have the first two Pro palettes and want the third to complete your collection, go for it! But if you’re on the fence about the two—as I certainly was—I’d recommend the Tartelette In Bloom as your pick, hands-down.