Why the Tarte Shape Tape foundation has ruffled so many feathers


As we all know, with any community of people there is bound to be a difference of opinion and sometimes conflict; the term ‘drama’ replacing this concept in our age of social media and YouTube. In a community where everyone is different but all the same in that they are human beings, shouldn’t brands cater for that diversity? This has been a question that has been brought to the forefront in the wake of Tarte Cosmetics releasing its new Shape Tape foundation, the lack of shades for darker skin tones being obvious. YouTube has been flooded with opinions on this launch and it’s lack of diversity with beauty gurus like Jackie Aina, Jen Luvs Reviews and drama channels like Peter Monn speaking out against Tarte.
Being a lady with a pale complexion I know how frustrating it can be to find a makeup shade that works with my skin tone which is a thing that the Makeup brands are addressing. However, I never felt ostracised from being able to wear makeup as all the makeup companies did have a foundation that was a close match to my skin tone and at least wearable; this is where I feel that Tarte cosmetics have made a catastrophic mistake.
I have been a victim of bullying in the past and know all too well how it feels to be ‘left out’ and ostracised by my fellow human beings because that is what we all are; we all deserve to be treated with the same respect and dignity as anybody else. Releasing a load of pale shades and then throwing in three darker shades is tantamount to ostracising people of colour; are they not worthy of the right to shades that will suit their skin tone? Imagine if, as a teacher, I only taught students from a certain background while leaving a minority to a lack of education and lack of hope. In releasing your shade range, maybe too quick, as your press release suggests, you have put the message across that a person of colour does not matter; how dare you treat other human beings, who have not done anything bad to you, so inhumanly.
Some of you may be thinking ‘chill out Mrs T, it is only a foundation’, I would say to you, it is the principle. Why should anybody in our society feel like they are not catered for; we are all human and all deserve to be treated with respect. I cannot tell you how it feels to be a victim of racism but I can empathise as someone who was left out and treated differently for my identity.

My belief is that makeup should be accessible to everyone so what Tarte has done goes against all of my principles and beliefs; my mother taught me that we are all equal no matter what and that I should treat people the way I want to be treated. The term ‘if you can’t say/do anything nice, do not say/do anything at all’ is often used within my classroom and is a message I teach my own children.
Some people have made the argument that ‘darker shades are harder to formulate/take more time to develop’, to which I say, get real and stop defending what is a blatant disregard for people who do not have pale skin. The term ‘whitewashing’ has been used to describe various companies that do not include people of ALL races and walks of life and it makes my blood boil that after years of oppression and fighting for the right to be treated equal, that big beauty companies think that this type of behaviour is acceptable.
This again all comes down to something that I dislike, consumerism and business; Tarte rushing to get the shades out as quick as they can to capitalise on the success of their concealer. To Tarte, this seemed good business sense and a way to make lots of money as quick as they can by apparently mixing two current formulas together and just renaming it Shape Tape. This is the thing I hate about business, it revolves around money and does not take into account the feelings and needs of us as human beings.
I have never bought a product from Tarte and after this fiasco, I do not ever want to line their pockets with my hard earned cash. It is sad that Tarte is not just the only company that is guilty of excluding people from their buying their products and marketing campaigns. You may be thinking that this is an insignificant thing to get annoyed about but it shows what is wrong with the world and society in general; we are not showing respect to each other. We are all human, we all deserve respect from each other and we should respect that we are all different and we should not exclude people just because of their differences, we should celebrate it by embracing everyone, even if it means you have to spend more as a company or take longer to release a product; surely treating people equal is more important than money, isn’t it?
What do you think about this recent beauty scandal; are there any other companies that are guilty of the same practices?

20 Comments Add yours

  1. ZoBeautie says:

    I think MOST brands are guilty, and most have no intention of changing their ways. I’m also a very pale person, so I understand how frustrating it can be to not find your shade exactly, but at least I HAVE a shade. Inserting the obligatory “mahogany” is something too many companies do, and I hope the beauty community learns from this flop big time.

    1. lifewithmrst says:

      It is definitely something that needs addressing and I think the more we put pressure on these companies the better. There are lots of brands like Fenty that cater for everyone, it is not a hard concept

      1. ZoBeautie says:

        Exactly. Hell, Fenty made a foundation pale for me, so there’s really no excuse for established brands to not have at least 35-40 shades TO START WITH.

  2. Yes, yes, YES to this post!! So many people are focused on the justification that other brands have trash ranges like this whole conversation hasn’t been going on for months, if not years. Like I said in the post I wrote about it, Tarte added gasoline to a fire that was already going. In this post-Fenty Beauty era the industry is in right now, the excuses brands formally used to justify releasing inclusive ranges in bits and pieces is no loner acceptable. Yes, other brands have inclusive ranges, but very few provided options for the extremely fair and deep on their initial launch. That’s why I’m participating in the #1530Challenge that Georgia Harris created, in which we as creators only feature and purchase from brands that have inclusive ranges (I posted her video yesterday if you’re interested). The only way these brands will change is if we hit them in their pockets. Thank you, Mrs. T, for actually ‘getting it’. xoxo (Sorry for the long comment, hun.)

    1. lifewithmrst says:

      I will definitely check your post out. The whole beauty industry needs to wise up and change its ways and cater for everyone. Thank you for your support

      1. I hope you enjoy the post. Yes, the beauty industry in its entirety needs to get it together and provide products that EVERYONE can wear, no matter how pale or deep their skin is.

  3. Everyone should have a foundation that works perfectly for them. It’s not right for anyone to be left out

    1. lifewithmrst says:

      Indeed, companies are doing so much to release very pale shades but why are they not releasing shades for everyone

  4. Anastasia Nicole says:

    Thank you so much for speaking out on this despite having your shade available. In 2018 there really is no reason for a beauty brand to ignore a huge segment of the population. For years the excuse was that darker toned women didn’t spend as much on makeup so they didn’t make the shades — ummm can’t buy what you don’t sell. But with the Fenty launch that has been disproven. The sad part is tarte has worked with and gotten endless shout-outs from creators of color who they sent foundations to that could not possibly match their skin tone. At this point I assume brands are doing this as a PR stunt and I refuse to give them any energy or money until they stop using discrimination to garner press and start being more inclusive.

    1. lifewithmrst says:

      Brands like fenty huda and makeup forever have done great things for expanding the shade ranges of foundations. I feel like somebody should make a list of companies like this so I can stay away from them and not give them my money

  5. im very pale too.. like only one brand of drugstore makeup makes a foundation white enough for me…. I know the struggle..and its real!

    1. lifewithmrst says:

      Companies are making a real effort to start introducing very white foundations but it’s a shame that they won’t do it at the other end of the spectrum and cater for all shades of people in society

  6. April says:

    I am a shape tape user. I was totally unaware of the lack of color options for darker tones. It makes sense though because I’m medium : fair in skin tone. I use the lightest and second darkest sometimes for highlight & contour. If I can use that second to darkest and make it work / they’re obviously lacking a proper range. In their defense – they’re not the only ones. Great post. ❤️

    1. lifewithmrst says:

      I know I wish someone would make a handy list of make-up brands that are more ethical so I knew where to buy from it’s the same with cruelty free I’m forever having to try and research companies to make sure that they do not test on animals

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