tarte Call of the Wild Eyeshadow Palette [DC] {Review}

This post contains affiliate links Pros: Durable packaging, large mirror, good selection eyeshadow shades
Cons: Pricey, powdery eyeshadows, no applicator wells, shadows very dark, pigmentation issues


The Call of the Wild Eyeshadow Palette has been discontinued and is no longer available online.

I’ve wanted the Call of the Wild eyeshadow palette (CotW) by Tarte since I first discovered it on the site’s vegan list earlier this year. I’m not usually able to purchase palettes since they invariably contain carmine. When I looked at online swatches I liked what I saw. I did not take into consideration that the swatches were on women a couple skin shades darker than mine.

I held off until buying the CotW palette until Tarte’s Friends & Family Sale in early August where I received 30% off, as well as free shipping (you can read more about the shipping issues in my earlier post). I’m glad I waited for the sale because the palette has not lived up to my expectations. I can’t imagine how I’d feel if I paid full price for it.

call of the wild Amazonian clay 8-shadow collector’s palette

Rating: B-
Price: $36.00 USD
Shades Available: 1 palette
Where to Purchase: Discontinued

The palette is billed as a smoky, yet neutral selection of shades. As with all Tarte products, the shadows feature amazonian clay in their formulation.

I don’t think palette works for those of us with light, porcelain skin tones. It’s just too dark.


The packaging for the CotW palette is gorgeous; durable and high quality, yet sleek. The outside is reminiscent of patent leather, with textured animal print on the inside. I’m not big on animal prints, but I will agree that the palette is well themed. The topped is stamped in gold lettering with the company name and title of the palette.

Inside of the Call of the Wild palette

Inside the palette is a large mirror with eight good sized eyeshadow pans. Six eyeshadows are squares and the remaining are two rectangular strips. There is a plastic insert that is printed with the names of all shades. I always try to keep the plastic inserts, so it’s convenient for me. If you are one to toss the inserts, you’ll have to remember the names.


Overall, the palette suffers from powdery shadows and pigmentation issues. Most tend to rub down into an ashy color. I found it difficult to get good definition when applying the shadows, instead ending up with a soft look.

As stated earlier, most of the shades run on the dark side. The reviews I read beforehand mentioned that the shadows had a creamy consistency. I have not found this to be true at all. Urban Decay and e.l.f. make some creamy eyeshadows. The COTW palette is a powdery mess.

Swatches of the Call of the Wild palette

To combat the powdery shadows rubbing down to an ashy color, I’ve decided to treat them like mineral shadows. The first thing to consider is a good, sticky primer. As a vegan, I don’t have a lot of options for eyeshadow primer. I’ve chosen to go with Silk Naturals Stick ‘Em because it remains a bit sticky. I then use my (discontinued) e.l.f. Mineral Eyeshadow Brush to gently pat the shadows onto my skin. This brush works well because it has short, dense bristles that can pick up a lot of product. I prefer it over the e.l.f. Studio Eyeshadow “C” Brush.

So that’s what I have found that works well. I still get a soft look, but it’s the best I can do.


The CotW palette features eight eyeshadows cleverly grouped into threes–highlighter, lid, and crease–resulting in four (suggested) combinations. While it’s an interesting concept, the shades are sometimes too dark for me to use as suggested.

Inside of the Call of the Wild palette

Meow (Shimmer)

A light, bronze shade with lots of shimmer, though it’s difficult to get Meow to show up on the skin as such.

Jungle (Shimmer)

A darker bronze shade than Meow, though it’s not as different than one would hope.

Call (Matte to Pearl)

Mostly matte, though there is a slight pearl finish.

This shade appears to be a light, salmon pink, but it’s not very pigmented. Personally, I’m relieved because if it was as pigmented as it should be, it would be much too dark for me to wear as a highlighter. I don’t like to use shimmery shades for highlighters, making Instinct not applicable.

As it is, Call works very as my go-to highlighter in this palette.

Instinct (Shimmer)

A shimmery, light cream. I like to use it on my lid as I don’t like to use shimmery highlighters.

Wild (Shimmer)

This shade is very reminiscent of the e.l.f. Studio Single Eyeshadow in Raspberry Truffle. And just like Raspberry Truffle, it is exceedingly tricky to get the shimmery purple undertones in Wild to show up.

You absolutely need some sort of sticky primer with this one. And you also need to make sure to pat the shadow onto the skin. Any rubbing will get rid of the shimmery purple, leaving you with a dull brown.

Lynx (Matte)

This is a lovely taupe that is way too dark for me to wear as a highlighter. Not happening. I have had some success using it a lid color.

So those with fair skin tones, beware.

Primal (Matte to Pearl)

Mostly matte, but it looks like it has a slight pearl finish in the pan. One of the few shades that I would describe as creamy with lots of pigmentation.

A dark grey is useful for smoky eye looks. I, however, use it in the crease, paired with Lynx as a lid color.

Roar (Matte to Pearl)

Another shade that could be called pearl. Roar is kind of powder, but there is a lot pigmentation here.

A nice navy blue that is way too dark for me to wear in most situations. I use it in the outer V of my eye and as a liner. For those of you not sheet white like me, these last three shadows combine to make a good smoky eye look.


Alas, those of us with porcelain to light skin tones are going to have to be more creative with which colors we use. For example, for a smoky look I used Call as a highlighter, Instinct in the inner corners of the eye, and Lynx as a lid color. I used Primal in the crease and on the lower-lash line. I then applied Roar in the outer V and as a liner. You could also use Instinct as a highlighter.

As an aside, I’m convinced that my eye shape does not work with smoky eye looks. I just look…weird.


For those of you who don’t know, Tarte has a YouTube channel. Beside product promotions, they also have makeup tutorials featuring their products.

There are three CotW related videos. All of them are Halloween themed tutorials, but the video below is more useful for everyday application.


Final Thoughts

I’m glad I get to add another high quality palette to my collection, joining my Urban Decay Vegan Palette, but this palette is difficult to love. The powders are often too dark for my skin tone and on the powdery side. To be honest, there isn’t a whole lot of difference between Meow, Jungle and Wild, despite looking different in the pan (the swatches are misleading).

I’d hesitate recommending the Call of the Wild palette to those with fair skin tones. If you think you can pull off dramatic smoky eye looks, give it a try when it’s on sale, or check it out in Ulta stores first. Otherwise, you should probably skip it.

For everyone else, the problem with the eyeshadow consistency is still an issue and the payoff is not that good. If you are willing to take some time to work with the palette, and follow my application suggestions above, you might come to love it. But it’s not a palette you can use as right out of the box.