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Why I'm Voting No On Tarte | Anti-Haul #6

I didn't plan on publishing a post today and I sure as hell did not plan on writing up a post purely dedicated to the Tarte Fiasco. But it's been festering all week and I've realized I need to word vomit all my feels into a post. Also when people ask me "why is Tarte racist?" or "why won't you buy from Tarte?" I'll have my answer all written up!

Buckle in folks, it's gonna be a bumpy ride.

The Meme Incident

I have no idea if this is the first time that Tarte showed their true racist colors, but it's the first time I was aware of it.

In September 2017 Tarte reposted a meme from Hrush (a makeup artist for the Kardashian's) that contained a racial slur against Asian people. Here's the meme below (image pulled from Reddit):


First Apology Attempt

Later on, after receiving a ton of justified backlash, they posted a photo of an (adorable) kitten with a half-assed apology in which they didn't take responsibility for their actions, blamed an intern, and used a photo of that they had no rights to use (image also pulled from Reddit.) Let's break that down.



First, the "we're sorry you were offended" is a non-apology, in my humble opinion. It puts all the blame on the victim and none of the responsibility on the person performing the harmful actions. Second, they said that it wasn't their "intent" to be racist. That doesn't erase the fact that they were in fact racist. That's like punching someone in the face and saying "oh it wasn't my intent to break your nose." Third, they blamed it on, what I'm going to guess, was a non-existent intern. Tarte has several million followers on their Instagram account and is a major player in social media and influencer marketing. I don't for one second believe it was one sole intern responsible for this post. The post must have been seen by multiple people and been approved by a social media manager before going live. Yet through all that nobody thought, "hmm, maybe we shouldn't post something with a racial slur in it???" Given the other actions of their social media manager, this isn't too surprising to me (more on that later on in the post.)

Lastly, they didn't have permission to repost the photo of the kitten. Ironically, the owner of the photo is Chinese and she has explicitly stated she does not want her content reposted without permission.

Apology Take Two

After the backlash on the first apology, Tarte deleted that post and reposted a second apology from the CEO taking full responsibility for the meme.

Some people forgave Tarte and moved on. For others, it was too little, too late. We were cynically waiting in the corner for Tarte to fuck up again. But either way that's the end of part 1 of this saga.

#ShapeTapeNation Foundation Release

In mid-January, Tarte announced the release of their new foundation (the Double Duty Beauty Shape Tape Hydrating/ Matte Foundation) inspired by their best-selling shape tape concealer. The foundation would come in 2 formulas, each with 15 shades each. As was blatantly obvious from the beginning, the shade range fucking sucks.

Out of the 15 shades for each range, only 2 or 3 were geared towards people with medium, dark, and deep skintones aka people of color (POC.) The lack of shades is nothing new in the beauty world, it’s not even anything new with Tarte. But it’s 2018, we’re in a post-Fenty market, and people want better.

Within the week, PopSugar released an article boasting about the release, aaand they happened to include swatches of all 15 shades for each formulation (so 30 total.) The swatches made it even more obvious how awful the color range is. (Photo source temptalia & popsugar.)



It’s not the number of shades that’s the problem, but rather the uneven distribution of shades across the spectrum of skintones. There are 12 shades of white with minute differences yet 3 shades for all POC; it’s insulting.

It’s even more unacceptable when you consider how popular the shape tape concealer is. If it truly is the best-selling concealer of all time as Tarte claims, does that not mean that people of all skintones are purchasing it? As it is black women spend 80% more on makeup than non-black women so the excuse that “there’s not a market for darker shades” is a flat-out falsehood.

Deleting + Locking Down Comments 

The sub-heading tells all.

Tarte published a post featuring two of the darker shades. People in the comments voice their frustrations about the shitty color range. In turn, Tarte starts deleting comments and blocking accounts, and when it got out of hand, they simply turned off all comments on the post.

Nothing like silencing the voices of people talking about racism and colorism on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, amirite?

The Second PopSugar Article

Because there was so much buzz about the shitty shade range, Tarte finally had to come out and say something. They had a representative talk to PopSugar and the spewed some BS about already having more shades in the works. They wanted to release the foundation before the additional shades were done because there was soo much hype and they didn’t want to let their fans down (ignoring the fact that they let thousands of fans down by ignoring their existence.) Also, they wanted to make sure the additional shades were “flawless.”

The PopSugar writer added in the following commentary (that has since been deleted from the post but ya girl has screenshots):

“Additional shades are usually added seasonally, which makes sense because our complexion tends to be paler in the Winter and darker in the Summer months (but please wear sunscreen, kids!)”

I don’t know about you, but my melanin doesn’t magically evanesce come winter.

The piece closed with the line “all good things come to those who wait!” Because once again, it’s POC who have to wait. It’s POC who are the afterthought. It’s POC who get the second pick.

Palm Tree Spam

At this point, you’re probably thinking, “damn, Tarte. Could you dig the hole any deeper?” And the answer is yes, yes they could.

Like I mentioned up above, people have been vocal about this disgust at the lack of foundation range, Tarte’s lack of response, and the secondary PopSugar article. Tarte’s #trippinwithtarte Instagram posts weren’t the usual sea of goals and heart-eye emoji comments. And they just couldn’t have brown people cluttering up their comments with their complaints (pls note I am being sarcastic. I’m a brown person.)

So instead they started a contest on their Instagram Story. Leave a palm tree emoji on their post and be entered to win a giveaway. And thus the sea of palm tree spam drowned out the comments complaining about the shade range. It was a win-win for Tarte! They had increased engagement and once again they silenced the dissenting opinions of POC and allies.

Faux-Pology Take II

Who knew that ignoring a problem doesn’t make it go away????

Apparently, Tarte didn’t. They finally took to their Instagram stories to “address” the situation and shared the following message spread out throughout 10 stories. (I was too lazy to write this up myself so I copied and pasted it from Temptalia’s post.)

"We want to let you know, we hear you… You all know by now that we revealed our much anticipated shape tape foundation… & the final shade range that we launched was definitely not a full representation of all of you[.] 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."

First off, publishing said apology on their actual feed instead of their story would have been nice. Also, saying “we know there is no excuse” following a list of excuses pretty much invalidates the statement. Furthermore, they’re the ones who created the hype around the foundation. If they weren’t ready with all the shades, why even tease it???

All around I’m not buying the apology. I’m not buying that they actually had darker shades in the works all this time. I’m not buying that they’re actually sorry—they didn’t take responsibility for deleting comments and blocking people. I’m not buying that they actually give a shit about making inclusive beauty products.


Possible Repeat Formula

The only reason I’m mentioning this bit is because it adds something to the whole “oh we haven’t perfected the formula for darker shades!!!” bit.

Long story short, someone noticed that the ingredient list for the hydrating shape tape foundation is identical to the ingredient list of a foundation that Tarte is clearancing out on their site at the moment. Ingredient for ingredient, line by line they’re exactly the same. The shade names are also mostly the same except some of the medium dark shades have been removed and a few lighter shades have been added.

Tarte replied that they altered the manufacturing process so the foundations in fact, are different. I personally don’t know much about makeup manufacturing to guess if that’s BS or not. Then again they’re known for clearancing out a product, renaming it, and selling it at full price… so my absolute non-expert opinion is yes it’s BS. But either way—it shows that they were able to formulate darker shades in this formulation. They simply chose not to.

Aaaand they pulled the clearance formula from their site after this all went down.

Bonus!! Racist Social Media Manager

Redditors are real sleuths. While all this was going down, people brought attention to the fact that Tarte’s social media manager’s public IG account with 120,000+ followers (@jentarte) has several visibly racist posts. Now the racist meme and other horrendous behavior starts to make sense…

Update: originally I had embedded one of said racist posts, but it seems that sometime between this morning and now (2:30ish PM) the Insta has been deleted. I do have a screenshot from when I was writing this post ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ You can also find more of these gems on Imgur thanks to this Reddit thread.


And That's The Tea 

And that's where we are. In my eyes, Tarte has shown time and time again that they don't care for POC to be their customers. Personally, I have decided not to purchase any more items from them in the future, and I returned the one item I did purchase last year. 

As a medium-skinned POC, I could possibly find a shade match in the foundation, but I won't. I don't think my harsh words criticizing Tarte would mean much if I turned around and bought the foundation anyway. This is a case in which I'm voting with my dollars and I'm voting no on Tarte.

The point of this post is not to say "hey you, you're not allowed to purchase from Tarte anymore!" The point of this post is to say "here's why I personally am not going to give my money to Tarte anymore." Everyone has their own morals and ethics when it comes to purchasing decisions. Some people choose to shop cruelty-free, some people choose to shop vegan, some people choose to shop sustainably. Personally, I don't have any hard and fast rules but there is some sort of invisible line. Once a brand crosses that line, they no longer get my money. For me, Tarte has crossed that line. 

P.s. it seems that Ulta has decided to delay the release of this foundation.

They have the following message up on their site “Sorry for the delay, we've decided this product lineup isn't quite ready yet. We'll let you know when it's ready to go."

Maybe our voices are being heard for once?



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