Tarte’s limited shade range

For a long time, racism has made its way into every possible aspect of society, and the makeup industry is no stranger to it. The idea that the purpose of makeup is to appear fair skinned and conventionally beautiful has been ingrained into almost everyone’s thoughts. Although there has been significant progress in eradicating this evidently flawed mentality, there’s still a long way to go.

About a year ago, Tarte, a popular makeup brand, launched a new collection, the Shape Tape Foundation, inspired by the Shape Tape Concealer which was an overwhelming success for the brand in 2016. The Shape Tape Concealer had an acceptable amount of variety in the shades that it was produced in. However, for some bizarre reason, the foundation, which came in two different formulas, hydrating and matte, only offered about three shades for women with darker skin tones in the fifteen shades that were launched.

Obviously, this was met with immense backlash. They were criticised for having had the time to come up with two different formulas but not enough shades, and with new technology, it isn’t very hard to create a few more shades. People with darker skin were having to purchase two or three shades to match their skin tone, and they weren’t entirely happy with the result either.

Youtubers such as Alissa Ashley and Jackie Aina used their videos as a platform to express their views. Although they appreciated the formulae, they did express their disapproval of the shade range.

Tarte then eventually announced that their plan all along was to launch about 25 shades, and that ten more shades would be launched soon. They even turned off comments on a Shape Tape related post on Instagram. ‘We all just got so 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, and 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 apologise. We’re doing everything in our power to bring those unfinished shades to market as fast as we can, at any cost. We CAN and WILL DO BETTER.’ In my opinion, this seems like a pathetic excuse for having committed such a blunder. People with darker skin shouldn’t need to be an afterthought in response to objection.  

Having learnt from this experience, Tarte has recently announced that they are launching a new collection of Shape Tape Foundation with 50 shades and five undertones on 17 February.

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Cailin Cron

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June 2022
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