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Tarte beauty fails minorities with recent product launch

Tarte's newest foundation launch brought the issue of diversity in cosmetics to light. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE

Within society today, individualism and expression go hand-in-hand. The rise in the popularity of makeup trends and influencers on the masses has also brought to light a significant disparity within the makeup community itself.

Over decades, beauty standards around the world have catered to a lighter skin ideal of beauty and due to this focus on solely fairer skin tones very few brands have taken time to set aside a variety of products for people of color.

Brands should be more inclusive in their product lines, stop denying a mass market and cease propagating a lack of diversity.

Tarte, a popular cosmetics company mainly sold in department stores such as Macy’s, Sephora and Ulta, released its much anticipated Shape Tape Foundation online Jan. 21 only to produce a limited shade range to its diverse fan base. When the color swatches of the shade range were revealed to only have 15 shades in total and three shades dedicated to people of color, the brand let down their diverse consumer population.

With industry standards put into place by the rise of Fenty Beauty by Rihanna in the fall of 2017, the topic of makeup equality was brought to the forefront of beauty-related news and set an example for other beauty brands to follow.

Fenty Beauty released 40 shades with a variety of undertones for its consumers. Numerous other brands such as Maybelline’s Fit Me and Bare Minerals’ foundations all carry 40 shades. With a numerical precedent set in place, the audacity of Tarte to simply set aside three shades for people of color is unacceptable.

Several beauty influencers, such as Jackie Aina and Jeffree Star, both having a large presence on YouTube, have also voiced their opinions on the lack of shade ranges via Twitter and posting review videos on the issue.

“If you can not create an all-inclusive shade range, why is the product even being put out?” Star asked in a video review of the Tarte product. “It is literally 2018.”

While their contribution to speaking out against the lack of diversity has created a call to action against Tarte, other influencers decided not to speak up against it for fear of being blacklisted by makeup companies. Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence in the influencer industry.

One example is the beauty influencer Tati Westbrook being exiled from Kim Kardashian West’s makeup launch party after posting a bad review of her contour sticks on YouTube.

Taking this idea into account, should consumers continue to support companies that do not provide diverse beauty options?

Considering that the same three pigments are utilized to create shades for any foundation formula — red, yellow and black iron oxides — the concept of a limited shade range would seem ridiculous.

With apps such as Bare Minerals Made 2 Fit and the more high end option Teint Particulier by Lancôme providing custom foundations for any skin tone, Tarte’s excuse that they did not have the time to create a wide variety of shades for its audience also increases their lack of credibility.

Even though it is just makeup, if discrimination cannot end in the simplest forms how can it be expected to end in society as a whole? The least Tarte could do is create a new formula and provide a wider shade range.


Lyann Lallave-Segui is a junior majoring in Professional Writing and Rhetoric.