I have sought my perfect concealer for years. I've found plenty that I've really loved, like the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer and the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer, but I've yet to find that one pot or tube that made me say, "Ooooh, yes, that's the one." So when something like Tarte Shape Tape (which is what everybody actually calls this concealer) hits the scene and causes a fervor, I take notice.
Then I actually watched people applying it, and I shrank back. As the name suggests, this concealer is targeted at and marketed for a more "full on" look. That means you apply copious amounts of concealer at strategic points on the face to create shading and highlighting. See how Nikkie Tutorials uses it in this tutorial for a clear example:
Oof. I have nothing against Instagram-style, really dramatic makeup, but I've never been able to do it on my face. It just feels like way too much. And that amount of concealer is definitely going to look bizarre on top of my generally sheer foundations.
Of course, you don't have to apply that much product, and that's what kept me vaguely interested. Promise me "hydrating full coverage" spot concealing, guys, and I'm there. But then I realized that this product was (at the time) exclusive to Ulta, and once again, I was turned right off. I just don't shop at Ulta much, well-loved rewards system be damned. I'm especially unlikely to shop there if I'm only buying one product, since they tack on $5 worth of shipping, and no amount of marketing technique awareness can get me past that. Eventually, I noticed the shade I'd need (Fair) going for a reasonable price on a blogsale, so I went for it. (Side note: the seller apparently reads my blog, so hi!)
Natural light on top, flash on the bottom. From left to right: Tarte Shape Tape in Fair, NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly, Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer in Sx01, Colourpop No Filter Concealer in Fair 5.
Tarte Shape Tape retails for $27 for 0.33oz of product housed in a clear plastic tube. A third of an ounce is pretty hefty for a concealer, though if you're using it as a shaping product a la Nikkie Tutorials, you might go through it faster. The applicator is a large doe foot--more on that in a moment. There is a fragrance here, though I can't put my finger on what exactly it smells like; you can't smell the product after application.
In terms of shade, Fair is very similar to NARS Chantilly and Kevyn Aucoin Sx01. I'd say the Tarte is the same depth-wise, but has a bit less yellow in it. All three shades work well with my NC10-ish foundations. The shade range runs from uber fair to quite deep, but as with most Tarte products, the shade options really taper off at the darker end of the spectrum. I'm hoping they'll expand the range.
This product has a bit of a learning curve. If you want a more natural look, you'll have to wipe off the doe foot as much as you can, then dot the concealer only where needed. This is pretty full coverage stuff, so a little goes a long way. Apply too much over a natural base (which is what I favor), and you'll end up with a weird mask-like effect. The image above shows how much I normally use: two small dots under each eye (with a bit of a dewy corrector in the deepest part of my undereye hollows) and teeny dabs on any redness or blemishes.
Blending can also be tricky. If you have more oily skin or a really emollient base, you might find it easier to pat this out with your finger. I personally like to put a bit of moisture in to the concealer, and again, to make it look more natural. So I start blending it out with a damp Beauty Blender sponge, tap with my finger once the concealer is moistened, then finish with the Beauty Blender again. It sounds difficult, and it's certainly not as easy to apply as my NARS concealer, but it really only takes a few seconds. I think the end effect is worth it.
The biggest issue I have with Tarte Shape Tape, and the thing that made it difficult for me to use at first, is the absolutely enormous doe foot applicator. Again, this is marketed more toward people who want to shape and sculpt with it in a full-coverage look, so I get it. You're supposed to drag the flattened tip across your face to make actual stripes. But if you're trying to be more sparing with your application, this massive applicator makes it tough. It's legitimately huge in comparison to a more standard applicator, like that of the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer. I've taken to using just the very tip of the doefoot and applying almost no pressure to my skin; even then, I can sometimes apply a little too much.
When it's all said and done, I honestly like the Tarte Shape Tape. I think it does a great job of concealing my blemishes without looking too dry or heavy, provided I use a light hand, and the Fair shade is a great match for me. I just wish they'd reconsider the applicator and add more to their shade range.
RATING: 4 out of 5