At Ease Micronized Clay Calming Concealer with ARPM (Discontinued)
Category:Makeup > Concealers & Highlighters > Cream Concealer
Last Updated:05.10.2012
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:No
Review Overview

This product consists of a creamy concealer in a flip-top compact sitting atop a small jar of loose powder. This duo is supposed to reduce redness, and its ARPM (anti-redness peptide matrix) blend is said to regulate the secretion of pro-inflammatory substances in skin (see More Info below for a discussion of that claim).

At Ease’s biggest problem is that the cosmetic effects of the concealer and powder are mostly terrible. The creamy concealer glides over skin and blends fairly well, but its opaque finish looks heavy. Rather than mesh with your skin and blur imperfections, this looks obvious, and the color is so yellow it may make you look jaundiced—it really is that yellow.

The loose powder is meant to set the concealer, and it’s needed because the concealer will crease into lines around the eye without it. It’s silky and, thankfully, the pale yellow color goes on translucent. Still, the color isn’t as neutral as it should be and many will find it does little to cancel redness.

Bottom line: This duo essentially trades one discoloration problem for another, and the concealer is a step backward compared to today’s best options. Those hoping for skin-calming ingredients will be disappointed.

  • The loose powder has a silky texture and goes on almost translucent.
  • The creamy concealer’s finish looks heavy and easily creases into lines.
  • The concealer’s strong yellow color can create a jaundiced look that trades one discoloration problem for the other.
  • Claims of 50% redness reduction in 4 weeks are not supported by published research or by any of the ingredients in the concealer or powder.
  • Type of packaging means the antioxidants and peptides in each product will break down and become ineffective.

More Info:

Although Tarte doesn’t specify which ingredients are in its ARPM complex, we suspect they’re referring to the vitamin-based antioxidants and peptide the concealer and powder contain. None of these ingredients have reliable research proving they can reduce redness by 50%, but the anti-inflammatory action many antioxidants have should provide some relief. The problem with this duo (well, other than the strong yellow coloration) is that the packaging won’t keep the air- and light-sensitive ingredients stable during use.

For redness reduction, a much better way to go is to use gentle, fragrance-free skin-care products loaded with soothing ingredients and antioxidants. Makeup-wise, you can cover redness with a neutral-tone foundation and/or concealer—it doesn’t have to be strongly yellow (or mint green) to work!

Brand Overview

Tarte Cosmetics At-A-Glance

Strengths: Excellent foundation; great cheek stain and powder blush; superior pressed powder and eyelining pencils; good mascaras; unique, innovative, beautiful packaging; complete ingredient lists on the company's Web site.

Weaknesses: Expensive; some gimmicky products and claims; lacks matte eyeshadow options.

Tarte Cosmetics CEO and founder Maureen Kelly started Tarte in 1999, supposedly out of a need to create a cosmetics line that "would prove that glamour can be good for you." Well, to be honest, we didn't know that glamour could be bad for anyone, no matter who was selling it. In this case, good-for-you glamour is about the products being "natural." Of course, lots of women believe that natural ingredients are the only way to go because they're told, and unfortunately often believe, that the synthetic ingredients in cosmetic products are toxic and poisonous for your skin. That is a misguided belief!

Ironically, despite Tarte's attention-getting marketing concept, their products aren't any more natural or healthier than loads of other products. We take particular issue with the company's claim of being preservative-free, synthetic dye-free, and talc-free. Not only are these ingredients not a problem for most people, but also many of Tarte's products do contain them! What is that about? Didn't anyone at Tarte read their own ingredient labels?

We are beyond understanding how a cosmetics company can base their advertising on what their products do not contain, yet fail to realize, or just won't acknowledge, that their products in fact do contain them—the very ingredients they tell you are toxic or poisonous for your skin. We mean, really, if your products (in this instance Tarte products) do contain isododecane, imidazolidinyl urea, butylene glycol, parabens, PEG/PPG-18/18 dimethicone, aluminum starch octenylsuccinate, that's the pot calling the kettle black. Whatever… if Tarte chooses to mislead and misinform the consumer it doesn't seem to matter, because many uninformed women won't notice the hypocrisy—they'll just accept Tarte's claims at face value.

Marketing hype and ingredient deception aside, the ingredients Tarte does leave out of its products are sulfates (though sulfates are rarely used in makeup products anyway, so it is a trait most makeup products share), phthalates, and synthetic fragrance (but "natural" fragrance isn't any better for skin). That's nice, but in the scope of things, not really all that special.

We appreciate that Tarte conveys their message without the "granola," antiglamour, or anti-elegance image that's characteristic of many "natural" lines. The trade-off is that you're going to pay extra for Tarte's glamorous image and packaging. Although there are a handful of products in the Tarte lineup worth the splurge, if you only shopped this line for cosmetics, your wallet would definitely be lighter—and there's no need to splurge to the point of incurring debt just to outfit your makeup bag with all things Tarte. After all, you aren't going to be applying the packaging to your skin.

Those who shop carefully should pay close attention to Tarte's foundations, blush options, eye pencils, and a handful of their innovative products. If you're looking for matte eyeshadows, however, you're out of luck. Tarte isn't as full-featured as several other makeup artistry lines (Bobbi Brown and Laura Mercier come to mind), and Tarte doesn't outdo Rimmel or Sonia Kashuk at the drugstore, but their good products are indeed good.

For more information about Tarte Cosmetics call 855-968-2783 or visit www.tartecosmetics.com.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula Begoun herself.

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