The cult-favorite Shape Tape Concealer in the United States has a purple cap thanks to the makeup, skincare, and beauty brand Tarte. 

It is recognized as the concealer that sells every 12 seconds and has amassed over 13,000 reviews and a 4.5-star rating. So, it is well-liked, but is it cruelty-free? Is Tarte generally sustainable and ethical?

Animal rights activists at PETA have rated the brand as cruelty-free, but the ultimate authority, Leaping Bunny, has not given the same certification. Although not entirely vegan, the brand clearly labels its vegan items.

Let’s dive deeper into their products to see if they really care about the environment or if this is just a greenwashing attempt.

Toxic Or Not?

Consider their well-known “Amazonian clay 12-hour full coverage foundation with SPF 15.” It implores you to believe that it is green! It has a beautiful leaf and a bamboo cap, making it appear as though it sprang directly from a tree.

If you add the trademarked phrase “high-performance naturals” to all of Tarte’s marketing materials, the packaging is completely misleading about what’s in the formula.

Friends, this is the very definition of greenwashing.

The SkinDeep database assigns this substance a score of 7 out of 10 for its extreme toxicity. Before you start yelling at me about how EWG is not a reliable source of information, understand that it is merely one part of this greenwashing web of dishonesty.

This formula’s ingredient list for one of their most popular hues is provided below. Tell me how long it takes you to reach all those natural substances (after water)… ready to go!

Ingredients Used In The Products

Contrary to the brand’s claims, the product is not entirely natural.

Numerous goods, like the renowned Shape Tape, include synthetic scents. This is scary because fragrances may contain a wide range of chemicals that we don’t know much about and that may be bad for our health.

A review of their ingredients shows that they also have Cyclomethicone, dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, and artificial dyes, in addition to Cyclomethicone, dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, and artificial dyes. 

We are harder on Tarte for using these ingredients because they are trying to give the impression that they are all-natural and safe. Do not believe that Tarte is a natural or clean beauty brand. It is simply not true.

Lawsuit Against Them

In November 2019, Tarte reached an out-of-court settlement and agreed to pay a total of $1.7 million for falsely advertising their products as “high-performance naturals” when they include numerous synthetic components.

The lawsuit appears to have had little effect on Tarte’s use of this phrase, and the company appears to be doubling down on natural claims.

Heavy Usage Of Plastic 

In a 2012 statement about sustainable packaging for cosmetics, CEO Maureen Kelly said that the brand’s packaging could be “reused and recycled in some way after use.” 

Kelly said that buyers could turn lip gloss packaging into “business card holders, travel jewelry boxes, and handbags inspired by the runway.” 

Kelly also talked about how Tarte’s Amazonian Clay foundation has bamboo caps and how half of the packaging for a blush and cheek tint duo is made from recycled plastic from products that have already been used.

The company hasn’t said anything new about its efforts to use sustainable packaging, and it still seems to use a lot of plastic.

Packaging And Imagery

Tarte gives the idea that its products are natural by using substances such as shea butter, avocado oil, and Amazonian clay. This is even more clear on their social media accounts, where they post pictures that look the same.

The text “Like a green smoothie for your lashes!” implies that the product and brand are natural and safe.

Is It Sustainable?

If you look inside the plastic package of Tarte’s Baba Bomb moisturizer, you will be surprised to find that it is wrapped in plastic.

This example shows how too much plastic is used in a product that should be simple. Most of Tarte’s products come in plastic packaging, but there are a few that come in glass.

The brand contributes to the Sea Turtle Conservancy in an effort to “keep the ocean environment as fed and protected as our marine-derived chemicals keep your skin”

This seems like a false statement since Tarte dumps tons of single-use plastic into the environment every year.

The brand makes no further sustainability claims and has no public plans to alter its business methods to become more environmentally friendly.

Is Tarte Ethical? 

Mica, shea butter, and coconut oil have all been linked to activities that aren’t ethical or good for the environment. Since the brand doesn’t say where some of the ingredients come from, it’s impossible to know if they are ethically sourced. 

Tarte started the 501(c)(3) foundation Heart to Tarte to help “female empowerment, equality, anti-bullying, animal rescue, environmental conservation, and disaster relief.” 

Is Tarte Cruelty-Free And Vegan

The emblem of PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies is featured on Tarte goods.

The animal rights group has confirmed that neither the cosmetics brand nor any of its suppliers do, order, or let animal testing happen. On its website, Tarte states that the company has not tested on animals since 2000.

But the Leaping Bunny Program, which is a stricter certification group, has not said that Tarte is cruelty-free. According to PETA, Tarte is owned by the personal care business Kosé, which conducts animal testing.

According to a 2021 press release, the brand is 85 percent vegan. Although Tarte is not entirely plant-based, their website lists 286 items as “vegan friendly,” including the cult-favorite Shape Tape Concealer. 

Cosmetics that aren’t clearly labeled as vegan may contain cochineal-derived carmine, beeswax (often found in eye products), honey, animal-derived collagen (vegan collagen is labeled as such), or glycerin (animal fat).


Tarte is a cruelty-free business that offers a variety of vegan items, but that is where the benefits end.

They are guilty of greenwashing since they use the slogan “high-performance naturals” for products that are not natural. Also, most of their packaging is made of plastic, and there are no clear plans to change this in the near future.

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