The Student News Site of Kent State University

a magazine

The Student News Site of Kent State University

a magazine

The Student News Site of Kent State University

a magazine

Tarte Cosmetics Met With Criticism After Shape Tape Foundation Launch


Ask any makeup lover what concealer they’re using right now, and you will probably hear about Tarte Cosmetics’ Shape Tape. This product is famed for its full coverage and blendable formula that competitors can’t beat. Customers who love the product took to social media, begging Tarte to create a Shape Tape Foundation as a counterpart to the concealer.

Tarte fulfilled this request and developed two Shape Tape Foundations, one matte and one hydrating formula, retailing at $39. The highly anticipated foundations are available in Ulta Beauty stores Feb. 4 and have been for sale on Ulta’s website since Jan. 21 of this year.

Excitement and buzz surrounded this announcement; then people saw the shade range. The initial release of the Shape Tape Foundation includes 15 shades in each formula. When photos of the swatched shade range hit the internet, the controversy began.

Out of the 15 shades, there are three darker colors that cater to people of color. The shade names of the Shape Tape Hydrating Foundation range from “Porcelain” to “Mahogany,” with 13 shades in between, 11 of which suit fairer complexions.

Prominent YouTubers, such as Jackie Aina, Patricia Bright, Nyma Tang and Alissa Ashley, reviewed the foundation. As women of color, they point out how few shades there are for individuals with deeper complexions and express the difficulty they have finding a complementary shade with undertones that match their skin.

Kent State student Ariel Semple gives her thoughts on the foundation release. Ariel has not tried the foundation because she does not see her shade or undertone represented. She refuses to purchase the product, as she doesn’t support brands that are not inclusive of all people.

“The first time I saw the foundation was through a YouTube review,” Ariel says. “I was so surprised and quite frankly offended that there were so many lighter [shades] and the three dark shades were basically like an afterthought.”

YouTuber Manny MUA reviewed the foundation as well. He addressed the shade range issue, recognizing the privilege in his ability to find a shade that matches his skin and explaining the need for greater inclusivity within the beauty industry. As for the actual foundation formulas, Manny expresses how unflattering the undertones are, but he overall enjoyed the wear of the product.

“If I get my right color down, I might use the hydrating one again,” Manny says.

Many consumers feel the same way. Some YouTubers and consumers argue whether Tarte intentionally left out deeper shades to gain media attention.

In a YouTube video concerning her thoughts on the product, Nyma Tang says, “I genuinely believe that Tarte coming out with the Shape Tape Foundation with the shade range that it has, was done purposefully…to garner more attention to the launch of this foundation.”

YouTuber Laura Lee tweeted announcing she would not post a video about the foundation due to the shade range issue. Others took the same stance, unsupportive of the brand’s choice to exclude people of certain skin tones and only cater to lighter complexions.  

Tarte Cosmetics issued an apology on the brand’s Instagram account through the story feature. According to PopSugar, Tarte is working on 10 more shades to expand the range.

Many consumers, such as Ariel Semple, say they will not purchase the foundation, even when the new shades come out. Jackie Aina provides honest feedback in her review video.

“I’m definitely not buying it. I’m not using it. And I’m not recommending it,” she says.

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