Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation

Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation, $36

Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation…so refreshing to have a product with an absurdly long name! It’s been a while.

I’ve never been a fan of caking on product to hide problems. Even when I was in the throes of ridiculous skin woes, I wouldn’t do it. That doesn’t mean I’d go bare-faced…but troweling on Instagram-ready, drag-worthy makeup does not seem like a healthy choice for problem skin.

The Purchase

Over the holidays, I finally ran out of the powder foundation I was using on lazy (read: most) mornings where blending a cream or liquid product was out of the question. Armed with a 20% off Ulta Platinum voucher, I picked up Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation. I like the idea of mineral powder foundations; even though bareMinerals didn’t blow me away with its lofty claims, it is a decent product that is user friendly. My hope was that I’d find a better shade match and a similar level of user friendliness in this Tarte product.

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Worth it? bareMinerals Original

In spite of my love of sleep, I always look tired whether I am or not. Being a quasi-professional 8-to-5 sort, I became concerned that this was giving a poor impression to my superiors based on being asked constantly if I was tired, if I was OK, etc (despite the fact that my performance had not suffered). Lacking any significant experience with makeup at that point, I needed help evening out and brightening up.

Last December-into-January-ish, having been inspired by a friend who took the plunge, I wanted to try BareMinerals by Bare Escentuals. I was attracted by its promise of quick, easy application, lack of potentially messy liquids that I didn’t know how to use properly, etc. Oh yes–and it is just so good for your skin. “You can sleep in it,” their marketing frequently suggests. It doesn’t irritate even sensitive, acne-prone skin. It has SPF! This product calms your skin while delivering a beautiful, flawless, radiant finish.

I bit. Potholes in the ordering process aside (that is another discussion entirely), I received my kit which contained a few things but most importantly their Original foundation in Medium Beige (for reference, I am NC15-20ish when I am super pale. Or so I think) and the appropriate tools. Having watched their application video a few times, I was ready to tackle this. After having used it for a while – daily for a few months – here is my assessment:

The products work fine, they are easy to use especially for beginners. Their claims:

Quick application: Yep, it takes less than one minute to do my face with concealing. Nice!

Easy application: Absolutely; you really can’t mess this up. It would take more time and effort to do this poorly than to do it properly. You also do not need any crazy fancy tools or pro skills to use it and achieve a decent result. You can use their brushes or ones you already have.

Flawless, Radiant finish: Debatable. This is going to rely largely on technique and how much you build up your coverage. If you apply too little, you risk not applying enough to cover problem areas such as broken capillaries, etc. On the other hand, though, since this is a loose powder product, it is really easy to look caked-on and not cute if you do not approach with a VERY light hand. Also, “radiant,” in this case is a nice way of saying, “shiny.” If you are oily, go with the matte variety. (I am Combo w\ Oily T-zone and some days the Original can be a little more dewy than I like.) If you will be having serious-business photographs done, grab a different product; it will not look flawless or radiant in high-definition photography, especially since it contains SPF. Otherwise, it does a decent job for day-to-day wear and I was not dissatisfied.

Calms skin: I didn’t have anything to calm down, so this is my own speculation: this glorified dirt probably isn’t going to save the world. There are clay and mineral masks that can, but their compositions and applications differ substantially.

Non-irritant: This is not a hypo-allergenic product. Sensitive-skin users should proceed with caution, as both the Bismuth and cornstarch used in BareMinerals has a history of breaking otherwise-clear users out. This is not common, but it is something to be aware of, especially if you have a known allergies to either.

OK to sleep in: NO. Do not do this! Not even if they beg you. While it is possible (I lack the resources to verify, either way, for science) that it is better for your skin than a traditionally-concocted liquid product, it is still very important to wash it off before bed. It still can and will clog your pores or leave you with other issues (especially if you are prone to irritation) not to mention the fact that your pillowcase will be less-than-pristine. You should not sleep with any makeup on!

All in all, the claims behind BareMinerals are not so ridiculous that you shouldn’t bother. It is a quick, user-friendly solution for day-to-day makeup if that’s what you’re into. I still use it and am happy when I do. But it is neither a miracle product nor is it an acne or troubled skin-remedy. As always, it is important to have realistic expectations. Proceed with caution if you have certain allergies, or if you have sensitive, stubborn skin. Do some homework and try to establish a good skincare routine for your needs – the highest quality makeup in the world can only get you so far.

Have you tried BareMinerals Original or Matte foundations? What was your experience? Share in the comments!