Going, Going Green: Tarte Changes It’s Colors

ChameleonI can’t stay away from Sephora.  It used to be difficult, being a green makeup artist, walking into Sephora and wading through pretty products with toxic ingredient labels.  But things are changing:  a line you didn’t like last year might just be unrecognizable today. Of course, there’s also something so satisfying about being left alone to PLAY in an entire store full of makeup.  To test the density of eyeshadow color, to feel a foundation’s  slip and texture…to SMELL the lipglosses.

Unlike buying  makeup from a department store, (where you’re stuck with it as soon as you use it)  Sephora’s generous return policy allows shoppers to relax about makeup.   So, with a relaxed frame of mind I recently waltzed down the Tarte aisle and was struck to see Sephora’s  green leaf   “Naturally Sephora” label hanging over the entire brand.  I’d previously tried only three of Tarte’s products, all from the “Health Couture” line: Lash Hugger Eco Mascara, Glam Gams, and Eco Cheek stain.   The rest of their products were heavily tainted with petrochemicals, parabens, and other less than sundry fillers (In fact, the Tarte brand scored a whopping 7-8 rating on the Skin Deep toxicity database)….and then suddenly……

Sephora labelA big green sign. What gives?  My heart pounded.  Could it be?

“Yes,” she said.   A rep for Tarte happened to be in the store and was as excited about the change as I was.  “The formulations changed at the beginning of the year, but we couldn’t advertise it until about a month ago—after we changed the packaging with the old ingredients list.”   She told me that Tarte’s products are now ALL paraben free, with many products free of dyes, fragrances, petrochemicals and phthalates as well.

Tarte SetI think my hands were shaking a little as I approached Tarte’s Natural Beauty 7 Piece Combination Set in FAIR (they had me at FAIR!)

It includes the new Age-Rewind tinted moisturizer (spf 15),  with a Foundation Brush, Pressed Powder, Pressed Bronzer, Concealer Wand, and Face Primer.  The seventh piece is the see-through recyclable zippered pouch everything fits into.

I read the ingredients a few times.  I wouldn’t eat the stuff, and you know my feelings about makeup.  I like to be able to eat it.  But it is FAR and AWAY cleaner than most cosmetic products on the market, and a VASTLY cleaner line than it used to be.   And I think that’s worth celebrating.

And yes, it all WORKS really well, too.  The Age-Rewind glows on the skin, feels silky smooth, and provides more coverage than any other tinted moisturizer I’ve tried, ever.   Comes in shades from Fair to Deep.   Blends easily, feels light, and pumps from the airless container.   Foundation brush is a nice touch.  The primer is professional quality: it actually feels like a slippery silicone base, and keeps your makeup in place all day.  (I still prefer aloe based primers,  but this one works really well).  The concealer wand is great for touchups , but it’s lightweight.  (Tarte’s got a great new pot concealer, though, that has fantastic density).  The powder and bronzer are small, but separate (important) and potent.  A little dab’ll do ya.  The bronzer’s not orangey, either, but it is highly pigmented, so use a light hand.

The new Tarte also has a “clean” waterproof mascara, called “Lights, Camera, Splashes” which I’m eager to try out on a few sobbing brides.   (Until now, clean waterproof mascara was an oxymoron!)

tarte eyeshadowsWhile I was there, I picked up the limited edition REFILLABLE Tarte eyeshadow palette called Femme Fatale.  The colors are dense and blendable and the palette comes with a two ended eyeliner as well as a nice double ended application brush.  Several shadows can also be used as eyeliners (with a small wet brush) or can be dampened for a fabulously bold effect.  I was surprised at how much I missed pressed shadows (I have a large green kit full of loose ones in every color); I vow to use this palette til it’s gone!  I love the refillable aspect, too–you can choose your own colors!

As usual, my enthusiasm comes with a grain or two of salt.  You STILL have to read the label, girls. There’s no getting around it.  Tarte has really cleaned up its act, but there a few products I just can’t get behind (for example, the Celebutante Dry Oil Shimmer Spray, which still contains BHT, a fragrance/masking ingredient used as a substitute for toluene.  BHT gets a 7-9 on SkinDeep.  Such a shame.  A fabulously delicious smelling product with avocado oil and gold shimmer.  Were it clean, I’d coat my body in it everyday of my life—alas).   So yes, Tarte is well on its way to being green, but tread carefully, friends.

Why do I bother reviewing anything that I wouldn’t eat?  Because, like you, I want to know what’s OUT THERE.  I want to know who’s trying to move in a greener direction, and how their products stack up. Perhaps you’re the kind of woman who can stick to a clean (organic, even) purely mineral line like Larenim or AfterGlow, and be a happy, healthy camper from there on out.  But there are some women who simply WON’T put up with powder all over their bathroom sinks, or whose complexions will not tolerate a plethora of powder.  I keep my eyes peeled for options.

Some people (like me) won’t be happy unless a cosmetic product is food safe.  Others just want something paraben-free.   It’s up to each of us to decide where to draw the line—we are all different shades of green.

Here are the specs provided by Sephora on the $54  Tarte Natural Beauty Combo Set

This set contains:
– 1.16 oz Clean Slate T5™ Infused Natural Primer
– 1 oz ReCreate™ Natural Anti-Aging Foundation with Wrinkle Rewind™ Technology in Warm Bisque
– 0.19 oz The Eraser 4-in1 Natural Concealer in Bisque
– 0.15 oz Provocateur Pressed Mineral Powder in Light
– 0.15 oz Mineral Powder Bronzer in Park Avenue Princess
– Travel Foundation Brush
– Reusable 7 Recyclable Makeup Bag

What it is formulated WITHOUT:
– Parabens (all)
– Preservatives (Primer)
– Propylene Glycol (Primer, Concealer, Powder, Bronzer)
– Petrochemicals (Primer, Concealer, Foundation, Powder)
– Phthalates (Primer, Concealer, Foundation, Bronzer)
– Sulfates (all)
– GMOs (Primer, Concealer, Powder, Bronzer)
– Triclosans (Primer, Concealer, Powder, Bronzer)

What else you need to know:
All products are free of fragrance, talc, MEA, DEA, TEA, and animal testing.

Here’s what Tarte Founder Maureen Kelly says about the brand now on their website:

Nine years later tarte is the leader in earth engineered™ beauty offering the widest selection of natural cosmetics full of skinvigorating™ ingredients including our proprietary t5 super fruit complex™ (a blend of the five most active, free-radical fighting super fruits), vitamins, minerals and natural fruit and plant extracts. But it’s not just about what’s in our healthy formulas; it’s what’s not in them that really sets us apart! We are 100% free of parabens, petro-chemicals, phthalates, sulfates and synthetic fragrances, just to name a few.

We don’t just stop at the formulas – our chic, runway-inspired cases and compacts are more then just pretty packaging. We’re helping reduce green house gas emissions one mascara at a time by creating components that are made from recyclable or post-consumer recycled material and can often be re-used to help reduce environmental waste. We like to say we’re doing the ‘leg work’ to help all of us minimize our carbon footprints.

Chameleon photo by Flickrs Kaibara87

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10 thoughts on “Going, Going Green: Tarte Changes It’s Colors

  1. I used to feel the same way about Sephora once I went green. I actually haven’t been in a Sephora store in years. But now, since reading this post and a few others too, I see that Sephora is carrying more and more organic beauty products. Needless to say, I will be visiting a Sephora store soon to do some research! LOL

    • Sephora is a great place to find green SKINCARE, with lines like Nude, Skyn Iceland, and the ever popular Juice Beauty, among several others. But as a makeup artist, I’m always scouting for green COLOR. Thankfully, they’re making great progress on this front! Happy hunting!

    • Love it! Also relieved that OPI FINALLY pulled toulene, formaldehyde, and phthalates from their polishes. It is IMPOSSIBLE to dissuade women from our ritual mani/pedis…so now we can worry a little less– and even bring our own polish!!

  2. Thanks for your really interesting articles. I am a make-up artist and I find that alot of the organic/natural cosmetic foundations don’t have the coverage and longevity of standard foundations.

    Do you find this to be true? What is your favourite foundation?

    • I think we all felt the same way about clean makeup, back when there were just a couple of lines to choose from. Everything was so sheer, and without all the usual preservatives and fillers, it seemed to just fade away in a few hours. Things have really changed in the last few years, though, especially with the advent of mineral makeup. With lines like Larenim, for example, you can have eyeshadow shades that are as densely pigmented as MAC– something which is impressive for a really clean line! (and mainstreamers will love Tarte’s shadows–the bonus? No mess with pressed shadows; also, with a wet brush, it goes on like gangbusters and lasts a really long time. Tarte also offers a green eyelid primer).

      As far as foundation, I find Dr. Hauschka’s to be long lasting (especially with an aloe based primer beneath), but the line is limited in shades. I love hand mixing a matching shade for clients with a tricky-to-match skin tone. Favorite tip: start with a mineral line like Alima or Larenim or Afterglow, mix a little of shade or two with a moisturizer with spf (like Kimberly Sayer’s 25), or a stick balm (like Deep Steep or Merry Hempsters) and then YOU control not only the color, but the density of the foundation! You can make your own tinted moisturizers, foundations, or foundation sticks, depending on your client’s needs:)

      I love the flexibility and customization that these new products allow. If you want to stay on the side of premixed, long lasting green foundation and don’t want to bother with powders (although I still love Larenim’s and ZuZu’s pressed foundation- which you can also use with a moist sponge or soft dry brush for varied application), you can always stick to Sephora’s green selections: Korres has several foundations, ranging in density, and Tarte’s Age Rewind foundation has spf 25, great coverage, and lasts all day. (With any of these products, for extra longevity I always recommend using a primer)

      Happy Hunting!

  3. Great post! Thanks for discussing in detail — really appreciate it! I love makeup, and it’s really good to know what we should watch out for everytime we buy beauty products. It’s a good thing too that several cosmetic companies have decided to go green! =) We love that there are so many mineral makeup choices nowadays — we even wrote a post about it in our blog series, 31 Days to become Greener and Healthier. The title? Pretty up with mineral makeup! Thanks for reviewing Tarte — really helpful! would love to get one for myself!

  4. Great article! I had the same experience walking through Sephora, trying to find a green alternative to what I was using at home. I wrote an article for Babmu Batu about the toxic chemicals on the ingredients list of my makeup bag (http://www.bambubatu.com/blog/2011/05/ ) and began to have anxiety attacks over what I was slathering onto my face. They have yet to carry many of the natural lines at the Sephora here in San Luis Obispo, but I hear they are coming!

  5. After trying different professional organic/cruelty-free lines like Juice, Jane Iredale, Zuzu, and a few mineral powders (they ALL make me break out :()… I decided I could not give up this ONE THING (all of our food, cleaning and personal products are organic).. Perfect foundation! I use Acure skin care and love it, but organic foundations suck and I need good, silky, full-coverage foundation. I left Clinique’s (eww) BB cream for Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Foundation- same perfect, full coverage for my huge pores and spotty skin and lovely, creamy-but-not-oily texture. I’m mildly curious how toxic it is but I just can’t be happy with naked skin.

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