Thursday, January 24th 2018, 9 PM
Hello everyone! Man, have I wasted my evening! After working a long 9-5 day, I never want to do anything other than chill out, and eat dinner immediately. What do you think would stop me from chilling and eating? Makeup. That’s right. Freaking makeup.
Something you won’t necessarily know about me is that I buy some of my makeup secondhand. I use an app called VarageSale, but there are tons of used item apps out there, depending on your location. I stalk the cosmetics board hardcore. I get notifications. I am on top of it.
Used makeup, you may ask with a cringe? I usually try to buy makeup that is new and untouched. And if it has been lightly touched, then I will only purchase items that are hygenic or that I can sanitize with alcohol (obviously not tube lip products like glosses etc). There are actually lots of new items that usually come up for a pretty good deal, mainly because I think most people don’t know how good Sephora’s return policy is!
Well, man did I stumble across a great deal yesterday! Someone was selling a Tarte Cosmetics Tartelette Vault for only $75 CAD (sold on Tarte for $130 CAD). I immediately jumped on this deal. I already own Toasted, but I have had my eye on Tartelette in Bloom for a while, and the original Tartelette would certainly be a bonus. Also, my friend was immediately interested in purchasing the Toasted that came in this vault from me (and obviously I would give her a sweet deal), so everything was so perfect! Below are the pictures from the posting.
I will say, I was definitely a little skeptical at this deal. The pricing of the vault on the Tarte website is already such a good deal, where you are getting three palettes for the price of two plus $10. With this seller’s price, I would be getting three palettes for just over the price of one palette. However, on the posting it said that this girl had received the vault for Christmas, and had no interest, so maybe she didn’t know about the worth. Also, older products typically don’t sell very well on VarageSale, so decreasing the price to increase the incentive makes sense, since two of the palettes are older releases. Additionally, expensive products DEFINITELY do not sell well on VarageSale. Despite this, I immediately googled “Fake Tartelette Vault” and nothing alarming popped up right away so I left it at that.
Today after work I went to go pick up the vault. We organized pick up very quickly, which was great. While the seller didn’t live too far away from me, it was at least a 20-30 minute drive one way, so almost an hour out of my time there and back. Pick up was easy, and I examined the palettes in my car. They looked legit! However, it was dark outside at this point, and the dim lights in my car didn’t make it very easy to see nuanced colour tones. Well guess what I found when I got home??
Honestly, I’m not totally sure what went down here. I do wish I had taken more pictures of everything, but as soon as I figured out what was going on, I wanted to fix the situation immediately and didn’t feel I had time to catalogue everything. I only have a picture of the most shocking aspect of this story. What ticked me off first was when I was looking at the Tartelette in Bloom.
Those of you who own Tartelette in Bloom will immediately think WTF when you see the picture down below. It literally looks nothing like what it should. However, I was only first clued in to some strangeness when I saw the shade “rebel”, which is not supposed to be a metallic/shimmer, it is supposed to be matte!
I was definitely initially surprised at how vivid all the shades were! I remembered in Bloom being a bit more on the cool-toned dull side. I tried to examine the palette for other clues. All the names were as they should be, but obviously when I compared the colours to what they should look like, based on online photos, clearly it is so different!!! The bottom right pan was dropped in upside down, but I do think that that is a simple error a company can make. I tried looking on the back of the palette to see what the back sticker said, and it was all very similar to the information given on the Tartelette Toasted palette, however it didn’t have the same font. The only thing that seemed a bit fishy is that “tartelette” did not have a trademark symbol by it. The front cover of the palette looked exactly as it should, but it didn’t feel glossy, it felt like it had more texture than it should. The bottom right-hand of the cover was also chipping off, like the pattern was printed on some weird plastic/paper material that could be scratched off. It was still pretty convincing though and obviously I didn’t already own a Tartelette in Bloom to compare it to.
To continue my investigation, I then looked at the Toasted palette that came with the vault. Clearly this would be an easier comparison since I owned the Toasted palette. Honestly, the Toasted palette looked legit! I didn’t spend a lot of time on it, but all the shades looked normal and the back sticker had the right font. Although this one may also have been missing the trademark symbol.. I can’t quite remember.
To finish off checking everything out, I opened up the original Tartelette that came in the vault. I’m not sure how close the shades were to being exact, but it looked pretty good at first glance. But then I examined all of the names and the bottom left shadow that should be named “super mom” literally said “super mon” LOL. Seems like a strange mistake for a company to make. ALSO the sticker on the back of this palette was the wrong sticker! It was another in Bloom sticker! This could be a mistake that a company would make, but all this weird added up to just too much weird lol.
Overall, with the shades as they were in the Tartelette in Bloom, I knew I had to take this back. This shit was fake, or at least a portion of it was. And if it wasn’t fake, a huge mistake had been made. I actually thought this “new” Tartelette in Bloom palette was kind of pretty, but I think it would have been difficult to create cohesive looks with literally only purples pinks and oranges. ALSO if this was fake, there have been so many horror stories about people getting eye and skin infections from fake products. NO thanks.
Immediately, I felt panic. What private seller takes returns? Well fuck, I am going to make them take it back. I immediately messaged them as politely as possible, stated that I had not touched the shadows in any way, just looked at them, and that she could sell this item to someone else. There was actually a ton of interest on this item, as around 6 people after me had indicated their interest. I immediately left to drive it back. Great, another hour of driving and I had literally just taken dinner out of the oven. It would have to wait. Luckily when I got to her house again, she had told her husband to give me my money back with no questions asked. She had gone out so only he was there. When driving there I was very aware that I was potentially about to enter a sketchy situation. I hadn’t met these people when I picked up. Were they potentially selling fake products on purpose? What do they do to people who figure them out? I also typically do not buy from male sellers on purpose. I don’t think anyone who is a woman needs to ask why.
Don’t worry! It all turned out fine. As a precaution I sent the address of the house to my friend, so I Stayed Sexy and Didn’t Get Murdered (anyone know what this is from???) When I arrived, the husband gave me my money back immediately, and they took back their fake shit.
Because this person actually lived relatively close to a Sephora, I went straight to Sephora to complete my investigation. I pretty much knew what the Tartelette in Bloom was supposed to look like, but it is always difficult to tell from pictures. Well I certainly chuckled to myself when I got there. There was actually a cast member right in front of the display stocking Tarte products and I shared with her my experience. She shrieked in horror when I showed her the picture of what this chick tried to sell me. Below in the first photo is what she tried to sell me, and below that is the picture of the Tartelette in Bloom from the Sephora display. THEY COULDN’T BE MORE DIFFERENT!! I mean seriously, couldn’t they have tried a little harder? Lol. I guess they didn’t think people would look beyond the outer packaging??
Overall, I don’t really know what this girl’s involvement was in this situation. Was she just totally oblivious? Did someone really give her this fake shit for Christmas? That sucks lol. It’s weird, because on the app she has 131 praises: that means 131 people have given her positive reviews! So I am inclined to think that she was simply clueless, but I have no idea. It’s all just so weird.
The moral of the story is, do make sure that you are very careful when buying cosmetics privately. This is my first time having an incident, and I was very lucky that she was reasonable and took it back. I did have one thing in my favour, I knew where she lived. We didn’t just meet at some random location, so at least it was easy to track her down again.
Usually fake items are pretty obvious, but I honestly think that these were very high quality fakes. Other than the shades being totally messed up in the in Bloom palette, the packaging was all very convincing. But, something as simple as a trademark symbol missing can be the clue. Make sure you check things out thoroughly before walking away with it. Additionally, there are lots of Youtube videos out there that compare fakes to the originals, so do a little bit of research if you can. You can also always go to Sephora, and take pictures of the real version, so that you can be sure when you go to pick up the privately sold one. Just do what you can to protect yourself.
In the end I did end up sending the seller pictures of both what her palette looked like, and what it should look like. She claimed ignorance, and we both left it at that. And just in case you are concerned that she was going to keep trying to sell this fake, she took the item down. It is against VarageSale rules to sell fake products so I am glad that I didn’t need to take any further action by notifying the VarageSale admins. Honestly, I’m just glad I didn’t end up being out $75!! I am very lucky, and I hope that you can learn from this weird experience and waste of an evening.
Have you ever bought any fake cosmetic products by accident? How did you handle the situation, and what gave the product away?
I hope you guys enjoyed this story! After wasting two hours of my evening, and stressing out a bit, at least I got to write a blog post! Haha!