The best Tarte foundation

Jennifer Blair

Tarte powder foundation isn’t just great for oily skin — it can work for many skin types in warm or humid weather.

Foundation is a makeup product that's important to get right. For a truly flawless complexion, your foundation should contain quality ingredients that not only agree with your skin but effectively even out your skin tone and cover any spots. Beauty brand Tarte is committed to crafting formulas using natural ingredients rather than harsh chemicals. You can find their foundations in liquid, powder, cream, and stick formulas to suit nearly any skin type, and many offer SPF to protect your skin while helping it look its best. Tarte foundations carry a high-end price tag, so you definitely want to know you're choosing the right one.

With our buying guide, you can pick up plenty of tips to help you find the best Tarte foundation for your makeup bag. Our top pick is Tarte's Amazonian Clay Full-Coverage Foundation SPF 15, which is available in 40 shades and can last up to 12 hours.

Considerations when choosing Tarte foundations

Skin type

When you're choosing a foundation, your skin type should always be the most important consideration. You want the makeup to look natural on your skin, not heavy or obvious, so you have to match the formula to your skin's needs.

For oily skin, Tarte offers oil-free, mattifying liquid and powder formulas that can soak up excess oil to reduce shine. Dry skin, on the other hand, pairs better with Tarte's hydrating formulas that have a dewy or radiant finish because they don't accentuate dry patches and give you a healthy glow. If you have normal skin, you can choose from any of Tarte's foundation options without having to worry.

Shade range

After matching your skin type, getting a perfect skin-tone match is key. Tarte offers shades that fit light, medium, and deep skin tones, but not all of their foundation formulas are available in the same number of shade options. Some have only 10 to 12 shades to choose from, while other formulas have up to 50.

The more shades a foundation offers, the better the chance you can find a perfect match for your skin tone. Pay attention to the undertone, too -- some Tarte foundation shades are warm, some are cool, and a few are neutral.



Tarte offers five different ways to apply your foundation:

Liquid formulas typically blend easiest and work well on most skin types.
Powder foundations are easy to take on the go and work well for oily skin.
Stick foundations are also handy for travel and are great for dry skin.
Cream formulas usually deliver the smoothest finish but aren't always the best match for oily skin.
Tinted moisturizers are ideal if you prefer a sheer, natural look.


Tarte foundations are available in sheer, light, medium, and full-coverage options. If you just want to even out your skin tone, sheer or light coverage can work well. To cover more obvious blemishes or dark spots, opt for a medium- or full-coverage foundation.

Most Tarte foundations are buildable. This means even a lighter coverage foundation can be layered to give you more coverage when you need it.


Tarte is best known for its use of natural ingredients that not only look good on the skin but are good for it, too. Some ingredients you're likely to find in a Tarte foundation include:

Amazonian clay: helps soak up excess oil and makes the foundation wear longer on the skin
Marine plant extracts: can soften and smooth the skin to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
Plant extracts and oils: soothe inflammation and irritation, as well as moisturize
Minerals: help add color and coverage to the foundation
Vitamin A: helps soften the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and keeps moisture in the skin
Vitamin E: can soothe and protect the skin


Some Tarte foundations offer SPF, so you can get an extra layer of sun protection before you leave the house. Most formulas that provide sun protection have SPF 15 or SPF 20.


Because Tarte is a higher-end makeup line, you can expect to pay between $36 and $39 for a full-size foundation. The brand offers mini sizes of some of their foundation formulas, which you can try out for just $15.


Q. Does Tarte test their foundations on animals?

A. Tarte is a cruelty-free brand, so they don't test any of their products on animals. The company doesn't sell products in China, where the law requires animal testing. 

Q. What's the best way to apply Tarte Foundation?

A. It depends on the formula and the coverage you want. You can apply liquid formulas with clean fingers, a brush, or a sponge, with fingers usually offering the best coverage. Powder and cream formulas require a brush or sponge, and stick foundations blend out well with fingers, a brush, or a sponge.

Tarte foundations we recommend

Best of the best: Tarte's Amazonian Clay Full-Coverage Foundation, SPF 15

Our take: An excellent full-coverage foundation that wears all day, is available in 40 shades, and provides sun protection.

What we like: One of the fullest coverage foundations that Tarte offers. Large shade range makes it easy to find a match. Provides up to 12 hours of wear. Features SPF 15.

What we dislike: Can emphasize fine lines and wrinkles if too much is applied. Blending can be difficult because of the formula's thickness.

Best bang for your buck: Tarte's Amazonian Clay Full-Coverage Airbrush Foundation

Our take: An effective powder foundation that suits most skin types and is a great option for anyone who doesn't like liquid or cream formulas.

What we like: Has a lightweight feel on the skin. Provides medium to full coverage. Contains Amazonian Clay to absorb oil and mattify the skin.

What we dislike: Only comes in 12 shades, so it can be tough to find a shade match. Doesn't always last as long as it claims.

Choice 3: Tarte's Sea Water Foundation Broad Spectrum, SPF 15

Our take: A lightweight liquid formula that offers medium coverage but won't sink into fine lines and wrinkles like heavier foundations.

What we like: Hydrates the skin without being too heavy. Has a smooth, even finish that wears well. Antioxidants and marine plant extracts help treat fine lines. Comes in more than 20 shades.

What we dislike: Doesn't build as well as Tarte's other foundations because it can get cakey. Doesn't last long on oily skin.

Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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