Something Went Seriously Wrong With Tarte's New Shape Tape Foundation

Fans of Tarte Cosmetics’ Shape Tape Contour Concealer—which, let’s be honest, is pretty much every cosmetics enthusiast—were elated when the brand teased the launch of Shape Tape Foundation in early January 2018. However, when the product was released a few weeks later, fans experienced major disappointment.

The backlash against Tarte Shape Tape Foundation was swift, harsh, and well-deserved. Bloggers and customers were outraged at the foundation's limited shade range, which included 15 total shades, with a mere three allocated towards women of color. From the tease, to the launch, to the near-downfall of Tarte Cosmetics, the Shape Tape Foundation controversy probably won't be over anytime soon.


  • Tarte's Shape Tape Foundation Was The Most Anticipated Product Launch of 2018

    The iconic Tarte Shape Tape Contour Concealer has amassed a following for its face-smoothing and skin-brightening properties. Thanks to a healthy dose of mango seed and shea butter, the formula actually regenerates and illuminates all complexions — and on top of that, it lasts forever. 

    So when Tarte teased a new Shape Tape product via Instagram on January 1, 2018 with the caption "Are you ready to shape what your momma gave you in 2018?," fans freaked out. It was arguably the most anticipated product launch of the year.

  • Promotional Images Contained The First Signs That Something Was Wrong

    Promotional images for the much-anticipated Shape Tape Foundation showed the first signs of trouble in makeup paradise. First of all, the range only included 15 foundation shades, which isn't quite enough to be considered "inclusive." Second, of those 15 shades, a measly three were geared towards darker skin.

    One makeup artist noted in a post on Twitter that the darkest foundation shades didn't even match the models' skin tones in Tarte's advertisement.

  • The Launch Was Controversial To Say The Least

    When Tarte officially launched their new Shape Tape Foundation, the backlash was swift and fierce. The launch featured a total of 30 foundations, which included 15 shades in a matte finish, and the same 15 shades in a hydrating finish. A very small number of those shades catered to people of color, and beauty bloggers and customers took to social media to voice their complaints.

  • Tarte Promised To Do Better

    In a statement on their Instagram story, Tarte addressed the controversy head on saying,

    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 caught up in #shapetapenation and seeing your tweets asking for it... We wanted to get the product out as fast as possible, and 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 as fast as we can, at any cost. WE CAN AND WILL DO BETTER.

    So, it looks like Tarte will be releasing a greater range of Shape Tape Foundation shades. But will fans still show up to support the line?

  • Even The Apology Caught Some Backlash

    Tarte's official apology didn't cut it for fans. Many makeup devotees felt that the brand's claim that more shades were "in the works" and "coming soon" only proved that Tarte views women of color as an afterthought. Redditor user /u/amimimi explained,

    The whole 'we're adding more shades later' excuse is bull. I'd rather a company release all the shades of foundation at once. Or if you're only going to do 15, do an even distribution of the 15 shades and then add more shades and more undertones later.

    On top of that, many people took issue with the fact that Tarte apologized via Instagram story, a social media platform where content disappears after 24 hours. Since the company didn't post the apology in a more permanent place, like a real Instagram post or on their site, fans are wondering just how genuine it was.

  • Jackie Aina And Alissa Ashley Compared Tarte To George W. Bush

    Jackie Aina And Alissa Ashley Compared Tarte To George W. Bush
    Video: YouTube

    Tarte's PR team gifted beauty bloggers Shape Tape Foundation to review, and they didn't hold back in expressing their disdain for the product and its shady shade range.

    One Shape Tape Foundation review from beauty vloggers Jackie Aina and Allissa Ashley went viral; the pair teamed up to tell fans the truth about Tarte's new foundation. They referenced Kanye West's on-screen TV rant about President George W. Bush's treatment of Black people in America and intimated that the company had done the same. They emphasized that there were "literally no excuses" for Tarte's “blatant erasure of a whole spectrum of people."