Tarte Stroke of Midnight Brush Set for Holiday 2015 Review

I wanted something from the Tarte Holiday 2015 collection because of the sequinned packaging, but not much remained except for the limited edition Stroke of Midnight Brush Set and Travel Case.
The sequinned travel case is spacious and ideal for holding makeup brushes or for jars or bottles of skincare and liquid foundation and other makeup securely during air or road travel. They certainly have paid a lot of attention to detail when it comes to the packaging, even the external box. There are five makeup brushes in this set.

Scroll down for my thoughts on the Tarte Holidaze Stroke of Midnight LE Brush Set for Holiday 2015.

Review of the Tarte Holidaze Stroke of Midnight LE Brush Set for Holiday 2015.

The brushes in the kit are:
  1. Concealer Brush
  2. Eyeshadow Brush
  3. Airbrush Finish Foundation Brush
  4. Fluffy Brush Brush
  5. Complexion Brush
Who can resist the gold handles and ferrule? The brushes feel heavy and look great. As a gift set, you can't get better-looking swag than this. Also, the packaging is lovely. I like sequins. For $44, all seems well. With the exception of the Fluffy Blush Brush, the brushes are dense - some of the densest I have encountered. Denser than IT Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Airbrush Foundation (the flat one).
Review of the Tarte Holidaze Stroke of Midnight LE Brush Set for Holiday 2015.

The only problem is that the bristles feel stiff and thick. Wire-like. Starched. The only Tarte brushes I have used before this are the Airbrush Finish Bamboo Foundation brush and an Eyeshadow brush and both those seemed fine. As a matter of fact, my Airbrush Bamboo Brush is an HG for setting powder. It is only the brushes in this set that feel like they are made of steel wire. Or as though the heads were all dipped in a can of varnish. The Fluffy Blush Brush feels comparatively less stiff.
Pigment pick-up is great. However, the starched feel of the bristles leads to problems. For instance, the Concealer Brush tugs at my delicate under-eye area. Not good! Sephora Pro Airbrush Concealer Brush 57 picks up pigment nicely but applies concealer gently without pulling at the skin at all. The two foundation brushes drink up product, because of the density.
The two face brushes are so thick that it takes a while - and a gallon of water - to get the soap out of the bristles completely. However, I found that the Airbrush Finish Foundation Brush has improved a bit with washing. Marginally; the bristles still feel off. I hope it continues to improve. Maybe it was something like starch after all? 
So I presumed I must have got a dud or someone starched this set before okaying it at the factory - it turns out I am no exception. I googled reviews and found that Musings of a Muse had pretty much the same thing to say about the bristles. Whew. Proves I'm not a bitter old cynic who finds fault with everything on earth.

Sorry to say the bristles are just too stiff, starchy and wire-like for me to love this set. Pity, that. The brushes look beautiful and I'm in love with the packaging. The concealer brush especially is unyielding, like Bellatrix Lestrange's wand. Hang on, maybe I can chop out the bristles and make these into wands for the Potterheads in my family.
I don't know what went wrong with this set. Perhaps because Tarte now makes in China? I am no xenophobe, but when you make something under your own supervision, it can turn out differently, whereas when you get someone else to do it.... On the other hand, Sonia Kashuk makes in China as well - for a fraction of the price - and her brushes are fine. I particularly like the new Ombre set reviewed here. Look Good Feel Better makes really nice brushes - see here - and also supports a good cause.
Moral: Do not buy without seeing reviews.
Mind you, any opinion is just that, and subjective. I cannot find this online anymore, be it on Sephora or even on Tarte's website - it seems to have been replaced with the Golden Tools of the Trade set. If you find it in stores, try it and see if you agree!


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