Tarte Cosmetics

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.

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+ Rating Product Brand Category Price Size
Average Maracuja Blush & Glow Brightening Luminizer and Cheek Tint Tarte Cosmetics Face Shine  $32.00
Poor The Bright Side Double-Ended Eye Brightener Tarte Cosmetics Face Shine  $20.00
Good Pure Maracuja Oil Tarte Cosmetics Face/Body Oils  $46.00 1.70 fl. oz.
Poor Celebutante Moisturizing Dry Oil Spray (Discontinued) Tarte Cosmetics Face/Body Oils  $34.00
Poor Clean Slate Flawless 12-hr Brightening Primer Tarte Cosmetics Foundation Primer  $30.00 1.00 fl. oz.
Average ReCreate Silicone-Free Primer with Wrinkle Rewind Technology (Discontinued) Tarte Cosmetics Foundation Primer  $32.00 1.00 fl. oz.
Good Colored Clay CC Primer Tarte Cosmetics Foundation Primer  $34.00
Good Clean Slate Face Primer (Discontinued) Tarte Cosmetics Foundation Primer  $30.00
Average Clean Slate 360 Poreless 12-hr Perfecting Primer Tarte Cosmetics Foundation Primer  $30.00 1.00 fl. oz.
Good Rest Assured Brightening Wand (Discontinued) Tarte Cosmetics Highlighter  $22.00
Average MultiplEYE Lash Enhancer Tarte Cosmetics Lash Growth/ Lash Conditioners  $65.00
Poor 24.7 Lip Sheer with SPF 15 (Discontinued) Tarte Cosmetics Lip Balm With Sunscreen  $16.00
Good FRxtion Sugar Lip Exfoliator & Soothing Balm (Discontinued) Tarte Cosmetics Lip Balm Without Sunscreen  $15.00
Poor LipSurgence Power Pigment Tarte Cosmetics Lip Color  $24.00
Poor Double Dose Berry Boost & Gloss (Discontinued) Tarte Cosmetics Lip Gloss  $21.00
Average Vitamin Infused Lip Gloss Powered by BORBA (Discontinued) Tarte Cosmetics Lip Gloss  $21.00
Best Lipsurgence Lip Gloss Tarte Cosmetics Lip Gloss  $19.00
Average Enbrightenmint Britesmile Whitener & Tarte Lipgloss (Discontinued) Tarte Cosmetics Lip Gloss  $26.00
Average Vitamin Infused Lip Gloss (Discontinued) Tarte Cosmetics Lip Gloss  $21.00
Poor LipSurgence Natural Matte Lip Tint Tarte Cosmetics Lip Tint/Lip Stain  $24.00
Poor LipSurgence Natural Lip Luster Lip Tint Tarte Cosmetics Lip Tint/Lip Stain  $24.00
Poor Rise & Shine Natural Lip Stain & Lip-Enhancing Lipgloss (Discontinued) Tarte Cosmetics Lip Tint/Lip Stain  $21.00
Average Double-Ended Lipliner (Discontinued) Tarte Cosmetics Lipliner  $19.00
Poor Clean Slate 360 Creaseless 12-hour Smoothing Eye Primer Tarte Cosmetics Liquid Eyeshadow  $19.00
Good Maracuja Miracle Foundation 12-Hour Broad Spectrum SPF 15 Tarte Cosmetics Liquid Foundation w/ Sunscreen  $42.00
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