Melanin and Makeup | Tarte Clay Play Face Palette Review

Tarte Clay Play Face Palette

I haven’t had this palette for very long but so far I love it. I’ll admit, the first time I saw sneak peeks of this palette I was less than impressed. I though oh joy another neutral matte palette, just what we need more of. I didn’t give it much thought after that, until I saw some swatches of it, I thought that the swatches reminded me of the Kat Von D Shade and Light palette, which I’m not purchasing because I’m uncomfortable with the shade names.

Yeah it sounds like a weird thing, but I feel a way to know that I’m apply a colour that’s named after a demon. So that palette is a nope for me. Price wise they are in the same area around $64 for Tarte and $62 for Kat Von D, the Shade and Light palette is around 17 grams of product and the Clay Play is 12 grams. 

I picked this palette up when Tarte was having their anniversary sale, it was around 70% off, the perfect time for me to grab it.

Tarte Clay Play Face Palette , side profile

I do think that the palette is aptly named, depending on your skin tone and colouring you really can use it for various purposes. For myself I can use the shade ‘Smoke’ for my brows as well as for my contour, ‘Timber’ is great for bronzing my skin, it warms it up nicely. I also found that the colour ‘Terracotta’ works well as a powder to set my makeup, the colour is just right and doesn’t leave me looking ashy. The rest of the shades in the palette I use as eyeshadows. I think it’s a great palette that covers the basics.

The palette feels quite sturdy and has a good weight to it. It has a magnetic closure and does come with a nice mirror.


I found the shades to be quite pigmented, none of them are lacking in depth and can easily reach full opacity. I find that they are error friendly, so if you’ve added too much product, it’s not difficult to buff some of it away.


The shadows swatch well, as you can see there is no skipping and even the lighter shades show well on my deeper skin tone.


The shadows blend out beautifully. They are creamy and soft and blend well when used on the lids or on the face. They are a bit dusty as per Tarte’s standard formula but nothing that causes concern. The shadows are well formulated and seem to melt into your skin when applied, they also blend well with each other and don’t turn muddy or loose their distinction when layered.

 However, there is one thing that I dislike about this palette, I’ve found that some of the shades seem to oxidize and change their colour when applied. Timber when used as a contour is great, but when I use it in my crease it changes from the warm toned orange brown that it is in the pan to a cool toned grey brown. Not what I’m expecting when I try to use it as a transition shade.


These last on my face and eyes all day long. I do have oily eyelids and oily skin so I’m always using a primer to help minimize fading and creasing, that being said the shades wear beautifully, I’ve experienced no creasing at all when I used these on my eyes. When I use the powders as face products I don’t experience any separating or flaking, even my under eye area still looks good after 8 hours of wear. They don’t control or minimize my oil production, but Tarte doesn’t make that claim of the palette.

Tarte clay place palette, front profile


The only other product I can think of that is even slightly comparative to this palette is the Kat Von D Shade and Light eyeshadow palette. I’ve already mentioned above a few comparisons, the Shade and Light has 5 more grams of product then the Clay Play Face palette but only differs in price by $2, $62 to $64 respectively. However, the Shade and Light isn’t advertised as being designed for use on the face. The beauty of this palette is that it’s been formulated in such a way that you can use a light hand when applying it to your face and build it up when using it on your eyes.


For the most part I love this palette, I appreciate that I can use it as an eyeshadow palette but also have the flexibility of using it for other steps in my makeup routine. I don’t however appreciate that the oxidation that occurs in some of the shades, such as Timber. For this reason I rate the palette 4 out of 5. This palette is well on it’s way to hitting Holy Grail status for me, so I’m very glad that I was able to pick it up. Having to compensate and use another palette for some warmer shadow shades isn’t too much of a problem for me, since I tend to use more than one eyeshadow palette when I’m doing my makeup.

Have you tried the Clay Play Face palette, what did you think of it? Did you love it as much as I do?