Tarte needs to Shape Up

Elsa McEvoy

International cosmetic brand Tarte caused controversy after the launch of its new foundation.

Tarte’s Shape Tape concealer gained a lot of attention for its high coverage and the longevity of its wear time, leading to high expectations for the foundation of the same name.

Tarte released two formulas of the foundation to cater for different skin types: a mattifying version for oilier skin and a hydrating version targeting dry skin.

However, the Shape Tape foundation launch was met with a lot of criticism when Tarte came out with 15 different shades, of which only three catered towards darker skin tones.

This came as a shock to beauty lovers and influencers who saw it as an exclusion of darker men and women in the beauty industry.

Manny MUA, a beauty Youtuber with four million subscribers who reviewed the foundation said “when you’re a brand like Tarte, people expect a lot from you”.

He went on to say that it’s not fair for people of darker complexions not to have the option of trying the new foundation because of the colour of their skin and “it sucks that it’s like this in the beauty industry”.

Another beauty Youtuber, Jackie Aina, reviewed the foundation with influencer Alissa Ashley, who has over a million followers, on a video fittingly titled ‘Black Girls React to Tarte Shape Tape Foundation’.

Upon testing the three darkest shades on her arm, Aina said they were “laughable”.

“I don’t appreciate the blatant erasure of a whole spectrum of people” she said.

“You have every variation of Ivory and then you picked Mahogany and Deep Honey to make who happy?”

“This brand embodies the exact opposite of everything that I stand for. They don’t do anything that makes people feel included” she added.

It questions the standards of the beauty industry and the exclusivity of it. However, this is not the case with all brands. L’Oreal has 28 shades of their True Match foundation and Rihanna exceeded expectations when she launched a whopping 40 shades of her Fenty foundation.

Tarte is currently working on bringing out more shades and apologised for the offence caused. They explained that they pushed the launch forward despite not having all the shades ready for it.

“We lost sight of what’s really important in this industry and for those who feel alienated in our community, we want to personally apologise,” read the statement.

Despite all this, I did buy the mattifying version of the foundation to see if it lived up to expectations.

First of all, it is not cheap, especially on a student budget. Tarte cosmetics aren’t available in Irish shops but the company does have a website selling its products which ships internationally. Saying this, the Matte Shape Tape cost €40 on its own and came to a total of nearly €55 with shipping.

Finding a shade to match online is difficult too but the website makes it easier to identify your shade using questions about your skin tone and type. I have a neutral undertone so it was no surprise that it decided that ‘Light Neutral’ was the shade for me.

Upon initial application, the shade I bought was a perfect match, but I noticed you have to work fast to blend it out before it dries.

It dried to an almost powder finish and I would recommend that drier skin tones stay away from it as it did cling to any dry patches I had around my nose.

However, it didn’t emphasise any pores or blemishes on my face, gliding right over them instead.

Another positive aspect is that it is very full coverage, meaning that a little does go a long way. Considering the price, this means that you will get a lot of use out of this foundation.

It also lasted extremely well throughout a whole work day and still looked fresh at the end of the day without breaking apart or letting those pesky oils shine through.

The real downfall is the shade range. With only 15 shades, there is not a shade for everybody.

I did notice a little oxidisation of the foundation, meaning it changed to a darker shade the longer it was on my face. Though this wasn’t really an issue for me personally because it was a little bit light to begin with.

The price is something I can’t condone either as there are so many good affordable foundations available in pharmacies nationwide which are just as good with a larger shade range for half the price.

L’Oreal’s True Match foundation, which has 28 shades and retails for €14.99 comes to mind.

Overall, I enjoyed this foundation and will continue to use it because I paid a pretty penny for it. However, I will say it is absolutely not a necessity, especially for the price. One piece of advice I do have if you plan on buying it is to be mindful when choosing your shade, even go one lighter than you might think suits you. I would also recommend using a hydrating primer especially to any dry areas on your face to stop the foundation clinging to them.

By Elsa McEvoy

Image Credit: Elsa McEvoy