Facebook PixelTarte Cosmetics Create Your Own Beauty Kit November 2021 Review
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Tarte Cosmetics Create Your Own Beauty Kit November 2021 Review

Jessica Hapak
ByJessica HapakNov 29, 2021 | 20 comments

group shot of makeup laying next to sparkly makeup bag

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Tarte is a makeup brand that is loved by many. Tarte palettes, mascaras, and lip products (and other beauty and makeup products, I am sure), have been featured in various subscription boxes, but about twice a year they offer a "Create Your Own Custom Kit" sale that lets you pick seven items of your choice for $63! Everything is full-sized, and each time this deal is offered I have a very hard time resisting creating my own custom kit full of products that I get to choose. 

 FYI - this box is no longer available for purchase, but Tarte tends to offer this deal twice a year. 

My Subscription Addiction paid for this box. (Check out our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we review boxes.)

First Impressions


Your purchase comes packaged inside of a kraft cardboard box. Everything is wrapped in tissue paper, and this came with a card with a generic discount code as well as a single-use sample of their concealer.

The Breakdown- What's Inside My Custom Tarte Kit 

Hydroflex Serum Foundation, 1 oz - Retail Value $39


I have never tried this foundation from Tarte before, and I was intrigued by the concept of a serum foundation. Tarte has a pretty wide shade range for their foundations and I have found their descriptions to be consistently accurate, so I went with the shade 12B Fair Beige for fair skin with cool, pink, or rosy skin tones even though I didn’t really mess around with shade matching. 12B ended up being a really great fit for my skin tone, so I was happy. This is described as a flexible, medium-coverage foundation, but I find it to be on the lighter end of medium coverage. I don’t think that’s a bad thing- I specifically chose this foundation because I wasn’t looking for full or heavy coverage. This evened out my skin well, and the watery texture blended out really easily. Rather than messing around with a brush or beauty blender, I have actually just been applying it with my hands- and I have no complaints.

Shape Tape Glow Wand in Sunbeam, 0.16 oz - Retail Value $27


I chose the Shape Tape Glow Wand because I was curious about if it would be a good dupe for the lovely (but expensive) Charlotte Tilbury Flawless Filter. This liquid highlighter has just a touch too much shimmer for it to be called a dupe, but I still think it’s really pretty and gives a natural-looking glow. I chose the shade Sunbeam which is described as a pearlescent glow (and was the lightest shade out of the eight shades offered), and it really helps the light to hit the high points of my face without being over the top shimmery. I like that the packaging has a sponge at the bottom to help me blend it in, and I appreciate that this highlighter is formulated with good-for-your-skin ingredients like mango butter and licorice root along with the mineral pigments and diamond powder to help your skin glow.

Maracuja Juicy Lip in Strawberry, 0.095 - Retail Value $19


I’ve been seeing a lot of the big influencers on Instagram use these lip balms, so I’m not going to lie- I was excited when I received a Maracuja Juicy Lip in my Ipsy Glam Bag Plus a few months ago. The shade I received was rose, which was a super sheer pink that was really pretty and comfortable to wear. Since I already knew I liked the formula of these nourishing lip balms, I selected the shade Strawberry for my custom kit. I’ll be honest- I was surprised at how pigmented this was when I swatched it on my arm, and I was a little nervous this wouldn’t work well as a swipe and go (no mirror needed) shade for me. Luckily, it sheered out a little bit on my lips and the formula wasn’t too thick, and personally, I found the end result to be super pretty. This didn’t fully quench my intrigue on these tinted lip balms, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I grabbed another one if I saw it on sale during the Black Friday weekend.

swatches of foundation, highlighter, lip balm

Here we have the foundation, glow wand, and juicy lip balm swatched.

Power Bar Amazonian Clay Eyeshadow Palette - Retail Value $19


I’ve known for years that Tarte has an amazing eyeshadow formula- I actually remember being an MSA reader (wayyyyyy before I even dreamed about becoming a writer for the site) and loving the Tarte eyeshadow quad spoilers and review of the Popsugar Must Have Box from November 2015. I have no idea if Tarte eyeshadows had been featured in subscription boxes before that point, but that was definitely when my interest in the brand was first sparked. Fast forward six years later and here I am reviewing my own Tarte eyeshadow! I’ve had quite a few Tarte eyeshadow palettes over the years (I got more than one when I was subscribed to Boxycharm a few years ago), so most of the products in this category were products I had already tried- except for this one. I actually hadn’t even seen or heard of the Power Bar palette before I saw this was a customization option, so I definitely had to choose this as my selection. For the $19 price tag, this palette is absolutely awesome. I was worried by the description of this being a “pocket-sized palette” that the eyeshadows would be tiny, but I definitely feel like the eyeshadows inside are full-sized. The pigment on these shades is *chef’s kiss*. The colors are buttery, smooth, and blendable, and I can see myself getting a lot of use with this palette whether I want a dramatic look or just a wash of a single color across my lid.

swatches of eyeshadow

Here is the palette swatched.

Lash Paint Mascara, 0.23 oz - Retail Value $23


Tarte definitely has a wide variety of mascaras to offer, but I think Lash Paint may be the best of the best (for my lashes, at least). It has a really firm silicone brush that normally isn’t my favorite, but it really works well with this mascara formula. Lash Paint promises to lift and separate each lash, and I do feel like they deliver on that claim. When I use this mascara I can get some great length and definition without clumping or spidery-looking lashes, so I love what the finished look looks like. I don’t have any real issues with this clumping throughout the day on me, either.


Here I am wearing everything this kit came with (and only what this kit came with): foundation, highlighter, eyeshadow, mascara, lip balm.

Maracuja C-Brighter Eye Treatment, 0.35 oz - Retail Value $39


I have been having an eye cream renaissance ever since discovering that applying it to the corners of my lips helps to prevent the cracking I was struggling with for a while. Do the corners of my lips need brightening? No, but this creamy eye treatment is formulated with hydrating maracuja, squalane, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin B5 that works with the trademarked C-Brighter technology for a thick cream that hydrates and smoothes pretty quickly and will hopefully add brightness to lackluster skin over time. I personally really like how thick this eye cream is, but I don't suffer from milia so I am not sure if people who do will feel the same way about it. This alone is worth more than half the cost of the entire custom kit, and I am not complaining.

Glam to Go Makeup Bag


Every custom kit gives you the choice of a makeup bag. I was attracted to the sparkle of this glittery bag, but I didn't end up loving it in person. The glitter isn't sealed so there's fall out and the texture is scratchy, and I don't actually see myself using this. I am not too upset, though- if any product out of the seven had to be a miss, I would definitely want it to be the makeup bag instead of something like the foundation.

Value - Was This Box Worth It?

The Cost: $65 + free shipping

Use coupon code CYBERSZN to save 30% off sitewide for a limited time.

Value Breakdown: 

  • Foundation: $39 →  $15.27
  • Glow Wand: $27 →  $10.57
  • Juicy Lip: $19 →  $7.44
  • Power Bar Palette: $19 →  $7.44
  • Lash Paint: $23 →  $9
  • Eye Treatment: $39 →  $15.27
  • Makeup Bag: n/a

Everything in this kit except the makeup bag adds up to $166- that means you save more than $100 off of retail value by purchasing this kit (and since you can custom pick each item, you have the potential to create a box with an even higher value). Or, you can look at it like you paid $9.28 per item!

Key Takeaways

If you're already a fan of the Tarte brand, I think you'll absolutely love creating your own custom kit. If you're new to the brand, I think you'll be satisfied with the quality and performance of the products. With the Tarte custom kit, you can always expect a foundation or concealer, a mascara, and a lip product plus a few more categories to choose from. These sets are not to be missed- the value is fantastic, and I am incredibly pleased with everything I selected (except the makeup bag, but 6 out of 7 isn't bad at all). I definitely recommend grabbing one of these the next time Tarte offers the deal- even if you only need a foundation or concealer, everything comes boxed in its original packaging so you can easily break the set apart for gifts.

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

Other Things You Should Know

When is this box available? Tarte usually offers this for a few days at a time twice a year (typically in May and November).

Does this ship free? Yes, this custom kit had free shipping.

What do you think about the Tarte Create Your Own Custom Kit this time around? If you grabbed a bag, what did you get?

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At tarte, we believe in breaking down beauty boundaries, shattering stereotypes & being kind. We believe in high-performance AND natural.
Jessica Hapak
Jessica Hapak
I am a staunch believer that pineapple doesn’t belong on pizza and when I’m not working as a family law attorney I enjoy hiking the Louisiana trails (alligator sightings are a favorite!) or relaxing with Duchess, my cat. I’m a sucker for anything labeled a mystery box and I’ve never met a bath bomb I didn’t like.

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Great and thorough break down, Jess!

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Love your reviews! I had no clue Tarte does a build your own kit. I’ll definitely have to check it out next time they do this.

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Great review! I was so tempted to get this. Every time their sales come up I make a cart and then never check out lol. I was really curious about that foundation.

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Same here!!!

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I’ve been interested in trying many of these products (huge Tarte fan but always afraid to try things outside of my usual purchases). I’m so glad Jessica tried the foundation and the lip gloss (that literally every influencer seems to promote!). Thanks for the honest reviews, Jessica!

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Ah, I’ve been waiting for this review. 🙂 So glad you had a good experience with the palette – I got that too. Of course, I’m still working from home so I haven’t tried it yet (but looking forward to doing so) – I’m lucky if I can manage to run a brush through my hair before I trudge downstairs to the dining room table, aka, “my office,” in the mornings LOL. The foundation you got was one I debated getting but didn’t, so now I know what I’ll be selecting the next time the kit is offered (I seem unable to resist them, despite not actually needing any of it). Thanks Jessica!

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This deal is insane! I’ve been on an eye product kick lately and that eye cream is calling my name 👀 It’s been a while since I’ve tried any Tarte products but now I’m very tempted to get this kit next time it’s available.

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Such a thoughtful review. I wasn’t aware that Tarte offered this, but now it’s on my radar for spring since many of their products work for my über sensitive skin. I appreciate that they include skin-loving ingredients in many of their formulas now too

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Not sure if this twice a year sale still gets the same hype it used to, but always fun to read the reviews. I have to ask though, Jessica, how the HECK do you manage all of the stuff you sample and receive?! I would also love to see a straight up FAVORITES post of skincare products EVER from MSA reviewers (favorite moisturizer, cleanser, etc.) Hopefully, Jessica you keep doing these reviews because you definitely put your heart into them and that is very much appreciated. 💕

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Catherine Mackay

Love this post, Jessica! Incredibly thorough! I’ve never tried a serum foundation either, but always a fan of low coverage makeup, so you might have intrigued me into purchasing this one! I’ll have to watch out for this deal next time it comes around too… such great value!

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Smita Mittal

I used tarte like ages ago but I liked their packaging. Foundation serum looks like a new concept never heard of this but I think hydration before foundation must feel good. Good post 👍🏻

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Kealey G.

I honestly love the fact tarte does this deal and honestly think more brands would benefit by doing it. It gives a consumer a chance to sample the brand without spending that $166, which is a lot of money to spend on something you’re not sure you’ll love. I’m always meaning to do this, although somehow every single time I manage to miss this deal LMAO. After seeing some of the stuff you got im going to have to keep my eye out for the next one I think!

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Mary Zubritsky

Totally agree!

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Tarte is one of my favorite brands and if I had the money, I totally would have gone for this deal! I really love that you can pick what you want for your kit. Definitely wanting to try the Hydroflex Serum Foundation as I’ve been lovely low coverage makeup lately!

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Mary Zubritsky

I love, love, love their eyeshadows, but not so much when I drop and break them…

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Katie P

This set is fantastic! I didn’t get it, but only because I have so much product I am making myself use up before buying more. Everything you picked looks so perfectly curated 🙌

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My old opinion of Tarte was that the cosmetics like the shadow were so drying for my eyes. But we are talking some time ago. Possibly high school? Reading this, I’m intrigued. The value seems really great. Fun to get so many full size products too. Have you ever wondered if the products sold in subscription boxes are close to expiration? Maybe you know the answer!
I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled in May for Tarte!

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Jessica Hapak

Hi Victoria!
Thanks for reading. I’m not going to lie- that has happened a time or two in boxes I’ve received before (not with tarte!). In my experience that’s something you have to worry more about when you’re purchasing a mystery box, not something like this set because tarte has all of it in stock already.
I hope this helps 🙂

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Mary Zubritsky

Oh, yikes…

Mary Zubritsky

Hi, Victoria! My personal experience has been that these items are still very new and nowhere near the expiration date. In fact, I think they could get into trouble if they sent out items that expired or were just about to expire. As a general rule of thumb, powders last longer than gels and creams, and when I was a beauty editor back in the day we’d store our beauty products (for personal use and photography purposes) in the beauty closet for months at a time…or longer.

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