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Tarte Skincare Surprise Set Review – October 2019

Tarte celebrated their 19th birthday this month with new sales every day, and they also curated this surprise goodie bag containing 2 full-sized, 2 travel-sized and 1 skincare mini all inside a makeup bag, promising a $112 value!

FYI – this Tarte Skincare Surprise Set is still available for purchase! They also launched a Makeup Mystery Set which is also still available for purchase.

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 Skincare Surprise Set

The Cost: $56

The Products: 1 makeup bag, 2 full-size items, 2 travel size items, and 1 mini skincare item. ($112 value)

Tarte Skincare Mystery Set October 2019 Review


Tarte included a card listing all the items along with their ingredients. They also included a 15% promo code to use on their website.


I Wake Up for Makeup Bag

The bag was the only non-mystery item in this bundle, and it was definitely not what sold me on this set. It is cute enough with pink fabric and gold detailing, but I’ve received some really special bags from Tarte in the past, so this one just didn’t rank for me.


Rainforest of the Sea 4 in 1 Makeup Setting Spray, 2.5fl oz – Retail Spray $25

Setting spray is one of those items I hate to spend money on, so I was really happy to see this full-sized bottle in my box. I’ve never tried this one out before, but it is a multi-tasker, just like its name states. On clean skin, this spray can act as a skincare essence, treating your skin with marine plant extracts, but it is also used to prime, hydrate and refresh your makeup. I didn’t try this out as a skincare essence, but it did a great job refreshing my base makeup after a long office day. The scent reminds me of citrusy watered-down witch hazel, just like the H2O Boost below, and it is somewhat cooling upon application. In my first order, which shipped extraordinarily fast, my setting spray had drenched all of the items in the bag, and I was left with 3/4 of the spray left in the bottle. I’ve always had great experiences with their customer service; after a quick chat with customer service, Tarte sent a replacement set just as quickly as they sent the first!


Tight and Bright Clay Multi-Mask, 1.76oz – Retail Value $40

Multi-masking is such a great concept, especially for those of us who have different textures and concerns all over our faces! This jar is so huge and the packaging is so inviting; I couldn’t wait to dig in. I was mostly interested in the tightening clay mask for my t-zone and the brightening mask to fill in around it, but I definitely went ham with the clay. I loved the gritty texture which seemed to really detox as well as tighten my pores, and the gold gel hydrated and brightened my undereye areas.

I let the mask sit for 15 minutes before rinsing, and I was really impressed with how clear and glowy my skin looked. I was even more impressed the next day when I looked in the mirror and my face was still glowing, and some scarring looked like it faded overnight.


Rainforest of the Sea H2O Hydrating Boost, .5fl oz – Retail Value $14

Although this product is not new to me, I was happy to revisit such a gentle, delightful treatment. Hyaluronic acid and electrolyte-balancing sea salts work together with antioxidants from marine plant extracts to moisturize and protect the skin, leaving you lightly moisturized with a healthy glow. When you first apply this treatment, it has a subtle cooling effect, which intensifies if you leave the jar inside the fridge (would definitely recommend!). It isn’t enough moisture for my dry skin, but I definitely noticed the hydrating boost it left after I had applied all of my skincare in the AM. Hyaluronic acid is a miracle-worker for my skin, and if it wasn’t for the jar packaging, I’d definitely purchase the full-size H2O Boost. [Jars expose their products to the elements which leave a lot of active ingredients open to breaking down over time (not to mention germs from your fingers, etc.).]


Rainforest of the Sea Deep Dive Gel Cleanser, .25oz – Estimated Value $1.74 (Buy 1.7fl oz here for $12)

This is the only product in this box that didn’t wow me. The gel consistency felt good while I was massaging it onto my face, and I liked the lather it built up. I used this in the AM and PM, and my face felt clean and smooth but also a little tight after drying. As far as makeup removal goes, I had to go back in with micellar water to pick up remaining bits of waterproof mascara and eyeliner, but it did a great job removing everything else. All in all, it is a good, gentle cleanser, but there are different options out there that work better for me.


Frxxxtion Stick 3 in 1 Exfoliating Cleanser, .22oz – Estimated Value $4.84 (Buy 1oz here for $22)

Typically I go for chemical exfoliators, but while you’re pregnant you have limited options in that department. I do love the feel of a physical exfoliant, especially one as gritty as the Frxxxtion stick. Its sand-like grit is gentle enough for my sensitive skin, and it did a fab job of sloughing away the dead skin cells that seem to inhabit my pores after 3-4 days of not exfoliating. I applied this directly to my damp skin then, in circular motions, massaged it in with my fingers. It felt fantastic! I fully plan on repurchasing this stick when they have their sale before Christmas. I will mention, I have no idea what this product is supposed to smell like; I didn’t notice a scent before applying it to my face, but after a few swipes, I did notice a plastic-like smell that reminded me that the sample may have been past its prime. Did anyone else notice a seemingly odd odor?

The Verdict: Tarte is the only makeup brand I really trust to not break my skin out, so I think I would have been content with anything they sent to me, as long as the value was there… Unfortunately, Tarte’s promise of hitting a $112 value with this box wasn’t met, as I calculated a value of around $85.58 (not including the bag). Although I am seriously impressed with the products I got and will definitely be repurchasing a few, I feel they could have included another full-sized or travel item to live up to the value they predicted. In the end, I tried new products (that I love) that I wouldn’t have purchased otherwise, so besides the value discrepancy, I give this box two thumbs up!

To Wrap Up:

Can you get this box if you sign up today? As of publication, this set is still available!

Value Breakdown: This box costs $56, and I calculated a total value of $85.58 (using retail and estimated values) not including the value of the bag. Here’s what you are paying approximately per item:

  • Tight & Bright Mask: $26.16
  • H2O Boost: $9.16
  • Deep Dive Cleanser: $1.14
  • Frxxxtion Stick: $3.17
  • Setting Spray: $16.35
  • Bag: n/a

Alternatively, with 6 items in this box (including the bag), you are paying $9.33 for each item.

Check out all of our Tarte reviews and the best beauty subscription boxes, as voted by our readers!

What do you think about the Tarte Skincare Mystery Set? What did you get?

Written by Abby Holsinger

Abby Holsinger

Abby has been a box enthusiast since July 2011, finding her calling with Birchbox. That was the start of a new era for Abby, because she is now hooked on the subscription box life; she loves the idea of receiving (several) thoughtful treats from genius curators such as Lisa Sugar and Rachel Zoe. A few other loves of hers would be her dog named Bill Murray, Bill Murray and chocolate babka.

Posted in Beauty Subscription Boxes, Subscription Boxes for Women, Tarte Reviews| Tags: tarte | 12 comments

Comments (12)

  1. I would most likely be contacting them of my disappointment at not getting the promised value and send them a email of the review this is what turns people off to companies and sorry Make-up bags to people are of no real value they are a dime a dozen in the Beauty box world sorry for the rant

  2. It’s unacceptable that they didn’t deliver the value they promised. It’s not like it was a buck or two. That’s 27.50 or 25% less. They would be sending me more swag.

  3. How do you get the build your own makeup kits, thtu tarte? And is it monthly?

    • They have a 60ish dollar sale twice a year, one should be coming up soon. You choose a foundation, lip, eye, etc. out of a bunch of choices. Last time they had some palettes included in the choices. If you search this site for tarte, you will find the information on the one they had earlier this year.

  4. Talk about a disappointment! So glad I passed! You could almost get one of their sets in the sale section and get a better deal!! Wonder what’s in the makeup one??

  5. My setting spray Lid was not on correctly and half of my setting spray spilled out just like yours. I contacted customer service right away and they shipped me out a new one. I ordered this one and the make up mystery bag. I’m happy with both of them but the part they sent I already have. It’s not a new palette and Although I really like it I just don’t need 2

  6. Wow, value wise this is a huge dud for a mystery box. This mystery set is only a third off retail, I can do as well or better on exactly what I want in just a few weeks on black Friday.

    • Omg BF really is only a few weeks away

  7. Is it a new trend now to promise value and just not deliver? Ipsy GBU and now this? Sub boxes are going to go away if this is what we can expect moving forward.

  8. Bummer that this mystery box didn’t hit the published value. They were off by quite a bit. I think I would have been disappointed if I’d bought this box. I like many of the products, but it needs 1 more thing or all full sizes.

    Any idea what’s in the makeup box?

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