The Fenty Effect: The Tarte Shapetape Foundation Controversy By: Kashia Wells

If you are an avid makeup enthusiast, you already know that Tarte has been cancelled in the eyes of many following the release of their much-anticipated Shapetape foundation. If you don’t already know what happened, here is a quick run-through on why people have parted ways with the beloved brand. Tarte released their Shapetape foundation, a play off of their Shapetape concealer, in mid-January. The release was met with disappointment once consumers discovered that out of the 15 shades Tarte released, only 3 of them catered to women of color. In response to the backlash, the brand released a statement ensuring consumers that they would be releasing 10 extra shades at a later date. Now that we have the facts, let’s talk about why the makeup community isn’t being receptive of Tarte’s explanation and what Fenty has to do with any of this.


In September 2017, Fenty broke the Internet when they released 40 shades of their Pro’Filter foundation in their first launch! While some high-end brands do have a wide shade range, there is an assumption made by many brands that women of color will not buy their products. While this has been disproven time and time again, Fenty has put those assumptions away once and for all. Darker shades in the Fenty foundation are constantly out of stock due to the high demand of a foundation for women of color. Many brands have succumbed to the pressure that Fenty has placed on the industry and are being forced to cater to this once invisible demographic.

Living in a post-Fenty world, brands are expected to at least appear to have taken women of color into consideration when releasing complexion products. This is why when Tarte, an established and financially capable brand, launched a new foundation that seems to have ignored dark skinned women almost completely, people have responded fervently in showing their disapproval. Many beauty bloggers, such as Jackie Aina and Alissa Ashley, have called out the brand and made it clear that releasing shades for darker women at a later date treats these women as though they were an afterthought and that is not acceptable. Hopefully, future brands will learn from Tarte’s mistake and we will not have to continue having this conversation.

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