Fans of Tarte Cosmetics’s Shape Tape Contour Concealer—which, let’s be honest, is pretty much every makeup junkie—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, but a mere three for 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 cult 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
I took the color sample and drew a line at 100% opacity on the models face. The first and second model are the clearly the same skin tone yet they advertise that her match is that orange ass light shade? Disappointing @tartecosmetics someones clearly not being honest here. pic.twitter.com/wwXUqQvuGm— eros ⛄️ (@velvetwink) January 13, 2018
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 toward dark 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
I am putting my Tarte Shape Tape video offline. Thank you for showing me the importance of showcasing my voice.. the Tarte shade range is an absolute mess and I should’ve spoken up about it more than I did. ��— NikkieTutorials (@NikkieTutorials) January 17, 2018
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 black skin, and beauty bloggers and customers took to social media to voice their complaints.
One Reddit thread has gathered video reviews and customer comments in one place, and a quick scroll through shows exactly how disappointed fans were with their former favorite beauty brand. In fact, fans were so upset that they asked popular light-skinned beauty vloggers to take down their positive Shape Tape Foundation reviews. Mega makeup star NikkiTutorials obliged, and she even apologized to her fans for supporting the launch. She said, "The Tarte shade range is an absolute mess and I should’ve spoken up about it more than I did."
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?