Tarte Foundation Receives Backlash for Lack of Diversity

By Kalah Mingo

Creative Director


The Tarte Shape Tape Foundation launched on Jan. 21 and retails for $39 online and in stores only at Ulta.


Recently, the popular makeup brand Tarte Cosmetics has been criticized for the lack of shade range in its launch of the highly anticipated Tarte Shape Tape Foundation. The brand’s newest release had big shoes to fill considering the success of the Tarte Shape Tape Concealer, a cult favorite. However, the new foundations fell massively short of expectations.

The initial launch included two different foundation formulas–hydrating and matte–each with 15 shades.To consumers’ disappointment, there’s an imbalance of shades with 12 varying shades of light to tan and only three deep shades catered to people of color.

Faniché Brown, a third year international affairs major from Darien, Ga., was one of Tarte’s fans that was disappointed in the new line, especially as a woman of color and makeup artist herself.

“It seemed that they put more effort into making sure the lighter shades varied in color and undertone in comparison to the three deeper shades that had the same undertone…,” Brown says.

Brown has done makeup as a hobby for more than five years and currently works as a freelance makeup artist.

Tarte explained that they have plans to expand the shade range with 10 more hues. Still, several popular beauty influencers such as Alissa Ashley, Jackie Aina and James Charles have denounced the product for the exclusive shade range that leaves out deeper skin tones.

Brown had planned on buying the new foundation until she realized the incomplete line didn’t come in her shade.

“…a brand as established as Tarte Cosmetics shouldn’t have launched a product if the line wasn’t complete,” Brown says.

Tarte fans and makeup lovers took to twitter to voice their discontent:








Tarte later released a statement on their Instagram story in response to the heavy backlash:

“It may be too little too late, but we can assure you this was not meant in any kind of malicious way. We all just got so caught up in #shapetapenation and seeing your tweets asking for it… We wanted to get the product out as fast as possible, & we made the decision to move forward before all the shades were ready to go. We know there is no excuse, & we take full responsibility for launching this way. We lost sight of what’s really important in this industry, & for those who feel alienated in our community, we want to personally apologize. We’re doing everything in our power to bring those unfinished shades to market as fast as we can, at any cost. We CAN and WILL DO BETTER.”

Soon after their statement, they released three more deeper shades in each formula, however, not everyone is satisfied with the quick fix:





Samrin Martin, a public relations major from Lawrenceville, Ga. was not appeased with the additions and suspects it was a marketing strategy.

“As a big brand, they know better,” Martin says. “I feel like this might have been a ploy to receive more attention due to all the backlash.”

Martin is passionate about makeup as she’s worked as a freelance makeup artist with Chanel for five years.

“… these shades are not adequate at all. It is not fair that women of color have to suffer because high-end brands think they are losing money by creating more shades for us,” Martin says.

With brands from Fenty to Huda Beauty, and many more taking the steps to create a more diverse and inclusive line of products, does Tarte have an excuse?

Brown has decided not to buy from Tarte Cosmetics anymore despite her love for their eyeshadows and concealer.

“I will miss my Shape Tape Concealer, but in good conscience,” Brown says. “I can’t support a brand that doesn’t support me.”

The beauty realm expects and demands better. Will the industry listen?

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