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Tarte Birthday Mystery Beauty Box Review – October 2018

Abby Holsinger
ByAbby HolsingerOct 19, 2018 | 34 comments

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Tarte was celebrating their 18th birthday last week with new sales every day; they also curated this limited edition mystery box containing 5 full-sized products with an $87 value!

FYI - Unfortunately, this box is now sold out.

My Subscription Addiction paid for this box. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)

About The Box

The Box: Tarte Surprise Birthday Set

The Cost: $35

The Products: 5 full-size products, including a palette and something to zip it up in, an $87 value!

Tarte Build Your Own Custom Beauty Kit May 2018 Review

Tarte included a card listing all the items along with their ingredients.

Sequin Makeup Bag

Sequin Makeup Bag - Buy it here as a part of a $32 value set

I opened the box, and this bag made me gasp! I was expecting a purple canvas or nylon bag (so very Tarte) but this was so different and fun! This roomy makeup bag easily housed all of my mystery goodies included in the bundle. It measures 8 by almost 6 inches and is detailed with a gold zipper and teal liner.

Tarteist Lip Crayon, Totes (hot pink)

Tarteist Lip Crayon, Totes (hot pink) - Retail Value $18 (found here for $12)

I am loving this hot pink lip liner! It “lines and primes” your lips for the perfect, stay put lip look. Although they include a how-to on contouring your lips, I just like to fill them in and pop a balm or gloss on top. This hydrating crayon glided on easily, and the pigment was outstanding! (see swatch below)


Limited-Edition Lip Sculptor Lipstick & Lipgloss , Intoxicating (raspberry red) - Retail Value $24 (found here for $21)

Hello, holiday lips! This birthday mystery box is all about a bold lip. I rely on subscription boxes to hook me up with colors I normally would not invest in, and I am so excited about this berry lippie! This formula is not only hydrating, but the color is so rich and the gloss compliments it perfectly. Extra points for the heavenly vanilla scent, too!

Tartelette Flirt Clay Palette - Retail Value $19

It has been a few years since I’ve tried any Tarte eyeshadows, and it seems they have come a long way. I remember muddy blending and stiff shadows (mostly in LE value sets) but dang! I can’t get over the soft, buttery textures and pigment. This pocket-sized palette packs a major punch, and I feel like my world has opened up. The pigment lasted through my work day until dinner without any devastating creases.

Lifted Sweatproof Mascara - Retail Value $23

Out of all the mascaras Tarte makes, I am so excited that they sent out the only one I’ve never sampled. Lifted Sweatproof Mascara is a waterproof formula infused with Amazonian Clay, Vitamin C, and emollients to soften and promote healthy lashes. This mascara has changed my mind about waterproof mascaras! It didn’t clump up, flake off or burn my eyes after swimming, and it was also very easy to remove. It only comes in a brown/black color, but it is close enough to black to work for me.

The swatches go in this order: lip sculptor lipstick & gloss, lip crayon, and the eyeshadows as they are laid out in the palette.

Here is a quick look using a few of the eyeshadows and the mascara. Pretty boring eye look but I wanted to make the lip sculptor the star of the show! I am loving the bright berry pop of color! I am happy to report that the lip color stayed on for about 3 hours and faded into a very nice stain, keeping my lips pretty moisturized all morning. I also think the mascara did a great job volumizing and separating my lashes.

The Verdict: Although this entire box was a hit for me, the products that really stood out were the marcara and eyeshadows. I am relieved that Tarte didn’t just throw in clearance items to this mystery box (although both lip products are on sale right now), and the colors they sampled are really fun, universal shades. I can’t wait for the next mystery box to come out because I really feel that this box was very worth the price tag!

To Wrap Up:

Can you get this box if you sign up today? Unfortunately, this set is sold out.

Value Breakdown: This box costs $35, and I calculated a total value of $84 ($73 if you use the sale prices) not including the value of the bag. With 5 items in this box (including the bag), you are paying $7 for each item.

Check out all of our Tarte reviews and the Beauty Subscription Box Directory for more makeup boxes!

What do you think about the Tarte Birthday Mystery Box? What did you get?

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Abby Holsinger
Abby Holsinger
I’m a self-proclaimed “cool mom” who loves a little, who am I kidding, a lot of razzle-dazzle. I have been box-obsessed for over 10 years, and I am always on the hunt for new beauty, fun flair and trendy clothing boxes. A fun night for me includes an exfoliating foot mask and a bag of Dot's Pretzels while binging Rupaul’s Drag Race.

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FWIW, I guess I’m the only one that got the exact same bag and items as MSA (Abby).

The lipstick/gloss duo is GORGEOUS and although the palette is mini, it’s great too. I’m not a blogger or influencer or anything, so not sure why I lucked out. I did buy some other full size products in addition so maybe they upgraded me? Anyway, bag, mascara, and lip crayon are on swap site if anyone is interested.

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I got my box today (actually I think it may have come Sat but I checked the mail too early) – I did end up with this exact combo! (Very happy I got the sparkly bag and not a branded one.) I doubt the pink liner and lip duo will work for me, though, so I may have to gift those. The promo code I used for it got me 20% off plus a mini liquid lip in goals, and I think that color will work for me better.

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I almost bought this so had to come and read the comments. I would be very unhappy as well if the bag was counted as one of the items AND it is not the bag sent to bloggers. I agree this mystery bag should’ve been about $20.

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I got the purple canvas bag, a different from Liz but still a bright pink lip liner, lipstick in cartwheel (very pale pink gloss & peachy lipstick), same mascara, & the tease palette. Not worth it. A $1 cheapo canvas bag counted as one of the items? Rip off. Never again

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Glad I ended up not getting this. I had a bad feeling about it and went with my intuition…whew!

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I love Lifted. I wish there was an option for black! I’d pay full price for it in a heartbeat!

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Cynthia Burt

I was terribly disappointed w/ this bag. What I received was a nude color lip product, a purple lip liner, brown mascara, the Tease pallete & a Tarte Branded bag. Oh & did I mention the eye shadow was only item in its packaging. So I decided to send Tarte a FB msg stating my displeasure. Tarte responded with; they will be issuing me a full refund & threw in a 30% discount code on my next purchase. Although I wasn’t happy, I didn’t expect a full refund because let’s face it “mystery” is just that & we take our chances with those types of purchases.

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I emailed them and I got this generic reply:

Hi tartelette!

Thank you for contacting tarte’s customer service! We are so sorry to hear about your experience & appreciate your feedback. We’ve also shared your concern our product development team.


So mad right now. I had to pay customs on it too! Won’t be shopping at tarte again.

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Update: I complained on Facebook and they have given me the option to choose a full size palette out of a selection. So at least they are trying to make it right.


I purchased this and it was a waste of $35. 4 clearance items were inside of a very thin purple bag. I received the mini brown palette (tease), the same mascara, a very light lip color (coral?) and a very dark pink lip liner (magic wand). The items matched in no way. They also claimed that the products would be full size. That palette is far from full size. I truly expected a special “birthday box”, not a clearance “mini haul”.

Since this “incident”, I was looking at the H2O mini gloss set and I realized Tarte is misleading us in many ways. A rep told me the minis are 1/4 of the normal size. The full size is $19 per tube. That would make each mini $4.75 each. There are 9 tubes in the “kit”, so it’s worth $42.75 and being sold for $39. Why do they have a sticker on the kit saying it has a value of $72?!! Why would they flat out lie? I’m a huge fan of Tarte, but I think it’s time for me to move on. I’m not going to spend money on a company that’s going to purposely mislead customers.

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I got a more purple pallet and a man eater mascara. Happy with those. Purple lipliner and baby poop colored lip duo…..

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Agree with nearly everyone else that the colors I received in the lip products weren’t pretty (like the ‘important’ people got) and my bag was an ugly purple canvas thing. The eyeshadow is really the only usable item I received making this “surprise” not at all worth it.

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I didn’t get that bag. I got a tarte branded bag, the hot pink lip pencil, a horrible nude lip duo (I would have loved the color you got), the same mascara and same eye shadow palette. Honestly, it was not worth $35. I like only the eye palette and the mascara. I do combine the lip pencil with the nude lip duo. Also, I think a bag should not count as one of the 5 full sized products. I would not get another mystery bag again from them Also, I wonder if they sent a special one to Liz.

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Same disappointment as almost everyone else. Shadow and mascara were nice, but everything else seemed bargain bin. Purple lip liner, brown lipstick, and tarte-branded gold bag. It bothers me that companies think it’s okay to send better items to influencers.

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Did anyone get the teal bag? If not..sounds shady…..

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I got the Purple Lip Liner, which Sucked! I will never use it!!! Then got brown mascara that I will pass on to someone else. Wasn’t to happy with it!!!

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I received the the same as everyone is posting—i was a tad disappointed, but that is the gamble right? I am excited to still try lifted (which i almost got in the FFF edit) tho i heard it isnt as sweat proof as it could be (i am still looking for the HG of mascara for me—stupid oily lids/long lashes!

I know i will be able to use (or gift to one of my Sis-in-laws) the eyeshadow—Im all about pretty will some “oooph”

I did order this with the discount so the pain isnt as bad. live and learn!

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Rebecca Stewart

I also received the purple bag. The bag Liz received would have made this a little less lackluster, but it was still absolutely not worth $35. Not a single of their popular/hero items. I will not be purchasing items like this from Tarte again.

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I got a purple Tarte branded canvas bag, bright red lip liner, shimmery lignt pink lip duo and the same palette/mascara. Wish the liner matched the lip product at all but 🤷‍♀️.

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IKR!! I got Purple lip liner!! :p

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This is not the same box I received. Although all the products are the same, I received a Tarte branded bag, a flesh colored lip sculptor and a bright purple lip pencil. Aside from the eye shadow, I feel like the colors I received were, indeed, clearance items. Very disappointed.

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Me too, very disappointed ☹️

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Me too. I was sad 😢


Yep, me too. The only item that I’ll use is the shadow palette…the other “discount colors” aren’t usable for me. Every time I buy the Tarte mystery bag, and every time I regret it. Shame on me–you’d think I’d have figured it out by now! 😉

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Amy Ruth

I received the same 😕

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I received the same item.

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Cathleen Marine

Same for me as well – absolutely awful colors for me personally.

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Brittany Bolton

same! i got a bright purple lip liner and the bag i got is way less cuter than this one! I did a review on it and my mystery bag was very disappointing!

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Same. I like the shadows I got but the lip colors were very disappointing together. And I feel like the wording was misleading – 5 items =/


I didn’t love the box. Maybe due to variations. My bag was simple purple canvas (LOVE the one you got) and the lippie was a nude-ish frosted color that didn’t really suit me. I would have been more forgiving if the price point was $20 or less.

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I got the same, the color of the lip was so brown that it looked on my lips that I just ate poop. I am so disappointed with this bag.

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Kathy Piccini

Im sorry but that poop comment made me laugh out loud 😂😂😂


I loved everything on this box. It was worth every penny!

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