I’ve Been Green Washed By Tarte Cosmetics.

I've been green washed by tarte

It’s the weekend and I try hard to put the computer down and engage with my family but this is too urgent.  Ever accidentally find a clue that alerts your attention to something you’re doing wrong unknowingly?  Then after that clue, a deluge of more clues are placed right in your lap?  Then when you realize you must close a door on something that isn’t good, a beautiful window opens?  Well, that’s been my last 3 days.

Last week I wrote a post on 6 products you should replace so you can reduce your daily intake of harmful chemicals.  The 6th suggestion was makeup.  I listed a lot of makeup by Tarte Cosmetics.  Once I finish each post, I promptly Facebook my new post.  This post was a popular one and I got quite a few shares and comments on FB mainly from women telling me my post had been helpful (which makes me so so so happy).  However, there was one comment calling me out for recommending Tarte’s Gifted mascara since it contains propylene glycol-an ingredient I had listed as harmful earlier in the post.  My credibility was definitely being questioned.  Wow, do I feel stupid.  This reader was right and I knew it was time to take a good, hard look at the makeup company I have promoted for the last 2 years.

While the Facebook comment stung, this was something that rang a bell for me.  Tarte not being as natural as they claim is something that has been nagging at me for a while.  In fact, there is a term for when a company uses words and marketing strategies to claim that they are natural when they are not and it is called GREEN WASHING.  Tarte is the poster child for green washing.  With their bamboo lids as well as the maracuja and amazonian clay products, it’s easy to deduct that this is a natural brand.

I am taking full responsibility for being irresponsible for not doing enough research on Tarte before I suggested my readers try it.  Quite honestly I was so excited to find a company that was mainstream that offered natural products that were superior and/or comparable to lines like MAC, Cover Girl, and Benefit.  A huge plus was that they are in Sephora which is convenient when it comes to picking the right colors. Plus, I’m gullible.  In my defense, if you go to the Tarte website they heavily market their products as natural, cruelty free and eco friendly.

How bad is tarte?  Well, it depends on the products.  If you refer to EWG’s Skin Deep website, you will find that most Tarte products are rated about a 2-6 on a scale from 1-10.  10 is a very toxic product.  My beloved mascara is a 4.  My favorite lipstick is a 6.  Tarte is better then many makeup companies but after the research I’ve done this weekend, it’s not good enough for me to be using on a daily basis.

I’d like to touch upon a few other issues I’ve discovered with Tarte.  A company that claims to be “cruelty free” and uses carmine as an ingredient, is not being honest.  Carmine is a “natural” dye used in many makeup products and is actually crushed beetles.  Using propylene glycol is absolutely unacceptable.  They are also using fragrance in several products with no indication that it is coming from natural sources.  Artificial fragrances should be avoided like the plague.  What’s more is that Tarte did not start out as a natural brand.  I can’t help but feel that the “high performance naturals” came into play as a marketing ploy.

I never take to this blog to bash anything or anyone-even my x-husband, lol.  I get products sent to me often and would never write about the ones I don’t like.  I feel it’s just unnecessary negativity.  This is different and I feel strongly that I needed to inform you and apologize.  If you want to know more facts about Tarte THIS article is very informative and where I got the majority of my info.

I will continue to finish up my tarte products.  I can’t stand wasting and like I said, Tarte tends to be more natural then most.  I have decided to give a new cosmetic company a go  100% Pure is a well known company that I know for sure is safe and truly natural.  They do have stores in Chicago, Maryland, Washington and California. Their price point is comparable to Tarte as well.  Check out 100% Pure HERE!

Update: I love 100% Pure and use almost every makeup product they have to offer!  Go HERE for my 100% Pure swap out list!

Sincere apologies, Jenni


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  1. Kerry
    August 29, 2016 / 1:35 pm

    I too, just placed an order from 100% pure after checking this out. While I was a vacation I visited one of their shops-it was so great! Overwhelming good-I just couldn’t make up my mind, since there was so much. Once I saw your post I checked it out once again & finally made up an order. Did you end up ordering more then the things you listed here? Curious if so what you got? Can’t wait to read about it once you receive it. Bummer about Tarte, I was loving the butter lipstick-rather be safe though. Thank you!

    • Jenni
      August 30, 2016 / 9:33 am

      Kerry, I did order a bunch more! I got their vitamin C serum, an eye brow product with brush, another lipstick and a mascara. I will do a makeup tutorial using only their products once I can tell if I like them or not. I’m sure I will but I’m so picky with mascara. I’m glad you ordered too, 25% off is so good. Talk about good timing-I just knew it was meant to be when I clicked on their site and saw the sale!

  2. August 30, 2016 / 3:39 am

    I commend you on your honesty! I actually discovered Tarte because of your blog. And I became really excited about the “Amazonian clay brand”. I personally haven’t been too happy with many of Tarte’s products though. I figured it was simply because I don’t wear makeup often and had to get used to it again. So I kept adding Tarte items I planned to try into my Sephora Loves list. I’m quite thankful you took the time to not only openly change your views about this brand, but also you’ve explained why. I can relate to the Green Washing. After reading this post I immediately deleted all Tarte items from my Loves list. Thankfully 100%Pure offers a Canadian site as well. I am in Ontario. I will slowly replace my arsenal from Tarte to other really natural brands. Thanks again for your educated opinions and experience. The ingredients in 100%Pure are amazing. And totally familiar because I’ve been making my own skincare for years! Don’t you find the knowledge itself so very rewarding?! I love it! 🙂

    • Jenni
      August 30, 2016 / 9:36 am

      Angelique-Thank you so much! I’m honest if nothing else! And you’re right, I feel empowered to have come across the information and then made a decision. Unfortunately, with green washing-it’s hard to make good decisions. !00% Pure is also in Europe! It’s a great company so far!

  3. Alyssa
    August 30, 2016 / 10:33 am

    Thanks for letting us know! Have you ever checked out Honeybee Gardens?

    • Jenni
      September 2, 2016 / 7:10 am

      Alyssa-You’re welcome! I haven’t. I’ll look into it!

  4. Laine
    August 31, 2016 / 1:25 pm

    Hi Jenni! Have you ever made your own mascara? There are several recipes out there. I tried just once… it was such a mess, I even threw out the bowl I made it in! But I’d still be interested in making it, if I could find a more promising recipe and an easier way to get it into the tube.

    • Jenni
      September 2, 2016 / 7:09 am

      Laine-I haven’t because I am almost positive it’s one of those DIYs that is a mess and a waste of time and money-I can’t imagine that a DIY would actually stay on the lashes when I see the ingredients! It’s not something I’ve totally decided not to try so maybe in the future I’ll work on a recipe!

  5. September 1, 2016 / 5:21 pm

    Hi Jenni! Love your transparency. I did a post on this issue awhile back, called “I get drawn in by the naughty names…” where I was shocked to find that the Urban Decay mascara that I felt guilty about using actually rated better than Tarte by the EWG. I was sucked in by Tarte too! I have been very happy, with the products I have tried from 100% Pure, and I am not an affiliate for them. I am also going to try out some Beauty Counter products. While they are not as “natural” as 100% Pure and Annmarie Gianni, all of their ingredients rate a 2 or less by the EWG. And I have heard they perform very well. Thanks for keeping it real like you always do! I’ve told so many people about your eye stick…still think that is an amazing product….and I try a lot of products, just like you !

    • Jenni
      September 2, 2016 / 7:08 am

      Elizabeth-I missed that post-what a clever name!! Wow, that’s crazy that Urban Decay rated better then Tarte-Yikes. I haven’t tried Annmarie Gianni yet. I’ll have to look into it! I love the eye stick too-can’t live without it! Thank you for spreading the word!

  6. September 1, 2016 / 5:22 pm

    oh, correction, meant to say I am NOW an affiliate with 100% Pure. Especially love their shampoo and conditioner!

    • Jenni
      September 2, 2016 / 7:05 am

      Good to know-I’m always looking for shampoos and conditioners!!

  7. Jennifer
    September 1, 2016 / 11:28 pm

    Physicians formula makes a natural mascara. I have used it and like it, with the exception that it is not waterproof. I imagine though that waterproof equals chmicals so I guess I am ok with that. It is part of their organics line and a much more reasonable price than anything else I could find with similar ratings.

  8. Denise Marie
    September 6, 2016 / 10:04 am

    Oh no! I am getting pulled into the magic of Tarte’s Shape Tape concealer…. If anyone can comment, I am looking for an undereye corrector/concealer that works on “mature” eyes. And I need a product to darken my existing too-light liquid foundations. [New to this blog….great content, Jenni! Thank you!]

    • Jenni
      September 15, 2016 / 12:49 pm

      Denise-I’ll keep you posted. I’m absolutely loving 100% Pure but I haven’t tried their concealer. Hope you find one that works!

  9. LizS
    September 13, 2016 / 8:29 pm

    I never got around to trying Tarte but I have used 100% Pure for a few years. They are pricey but I loved the mascara. For foundation next I want to try AnnMarie Gianni. I haven’t tried anything of theirs but they are so passionate and I’ve learned a ton from their blog.
    Just this morning I came across a company called Crunchi. Have you heard of them? I didn’t get a chance to look around much but I’m not paying $30 for 1 lipstick. I only wear make-up maybe 3 days a week so i’m not worried about it. But I think they are worth checking out.

    • Jenni
      September 15, 2016 / 12:34 pm

      Liz-I’m so excited about 100% Pure-I couldn’t be happier with the products I’m using. I haven’t tried anything from AnnMarie Gianni but I’ll have to look into it! Never heard of Crunchi and like you, I’m not interested in a $30 lipstick. I find 100% Pure has great deals that make up for their high prices! I’ll go to crunchi.com! Thanks for the suggestions!

  10. CindyE
    October 26, 2017 / 4:45 am

    I was also greenwashed, but have to say that from the beginning, if you look at being gree as not only good for the human, but good for the environment in general.
    Exactly what is “Amazonian clay”? Does it come from the rainforest once they cut down all the trees? Bamboo is great if it comes from a bamboo farm, but in the wild, it is habitat for animals. Polypropylene glycol IS an anti freeze, but is used when the product might come in contact with food. The stuff you use to keep your car from overheating contains ethanol, which is NOT good to invest, and the two are not the same. The stuff in cosmetics is used to hold water, so your mascara and foundation do not try out. It’s also about how MUCH you are exposed to. It took me a long time to find a mascara that does not irritate my eyes, so will probably still use tarte. I don’t wear makeup every day, so am not concerned it will affect me that adversely. I will say, that my friend’s mother, who was a model and taught modeling, and never went a day in her life without makeup, died from cancer. Many of the people I have known with cancer, were people who used a lot of cosmetics, and beauty products of many sorts. I think it is great that young women are aware of this. Great blog, too!

    • Jenni
      December 1, 2017 / 7:57 am

      Cindy-Great info. and a lot to think about. Thanks so much!

  11. December 29, 2017 / 2:31 pm

    This is so pretty! I love that lip color.

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