Makeup Monday: Tarte Shape Tape Foundation

Emma Frankart Henterly

Ever since the Tarte Shape Tape Concealer—part of the brand’s Double Duty Beauty line that’s exclusive to Ulta—launched in 2016, it’s been my go-to for hiding blemishes and undereye circles. Insanely high-coverage and long-lasting, without being cakey, the concealer fast became a cult favorite. I’ve even been known to blend the stuff over my whole face as foundation on days when I just don’t feel like putting in a lot of effort.

So I, like the rest of the beauty-obsessed world, freaked out when Tarte announced the upcoming release of a companion Shape Tape Foundation ($39 at Ulta and

The launch was rocky from the start, receiving tons of criticism for its limited shade range: 15 hues in the matte formula and 15 in the hydrating one, though thanks to a strange semi-overlap, the full line comprised of only about 20 shades total. Tarte added three shades to each formula this month, which—for now, at least—are online-exclusive. With the new shades, the line has 26 unique shades, the vast majority of which cater to those of us with white or Caucasian skin. Rumors of even more shades continue to circulate, but as of yet, no definitive announcements have been made.

Shade issues aside, I’m foundation-obsessed and fair-skinned, so I was among the first in my nearest Ulta to find my match in both formulas when the lines debuted in-stores on Feb. 4. I ended up taking home Porcelain in the hydrating formula and Fair Sand in the matte one. Both shades are the lightest in the respective ranges. I tested both extensively over the last two weeks, and I have to say: I am not impressed.

Let’s start with the hydrating formula.

Put simply, this foundation is not full-coverage by any stretch of the imagination. It builds well, but even after applying three layers, my redness and a few spots on my cheeks were showing through:

The promise of a 12-hour wear time is something of a joke, too. A common issue I have when wearing my Shape Tape concealer with less long-lasting foundations is that the foundation will fade, leaving me with a reverse-raccoon-esque ring of pale concealer under my eyes. The same issue happened with the hydrating foundation:

The matte formula faired a little better for me; I was able to achieve full coverage after building it up slightly, but had to mix with a fuller-coverage option or top with a colored foundation powder to achieve full-coverage with one layer:

Wear time was slightly better as well, but ultimately, I found myself staring into the same reverse-raccoon eyes well before the promised 12-hour mark:

With both foundations, I used my go-to primer and setting spray (both from Milani), and tested setting with both a translucent powder (Ben Nye) and a colored one (Bare Minerals). I found that applying with a brush similar to the one launched with the collection worked best, but had decent results from a flat kabuki brush as well. I didn’t even bother testing with a beautyblender, because that sheers out every foundation I’ve ever tried, and the formulas were already too sheer to be called “full coverage” to begin with.

The verdict? I can’t recommend either formula, unless of course you’re looking for a medium-coverage option that will last maybe five to seven hours at best … but if that’s the case, you might as well save your money and opt for one of the excellent drugstore options from Catrice, NYX, Wet’n’Wild or Maybelline.