A Multicolored Primer Stick Made Of Clay And Magic

This Tarte formula obscured my blemishes without further help from foundation or concealer products, but without an obvious and unwanted change to my skin color.
Publish date:
April 17, 2014
primers, Tarte, clay

Makeup, I love you and I hate you. I love when you are everything that I want, and hate when you are more than I bargained for. I love when you correct my blemishes without making it look like I am wearing anything. I hate when I wear more of you and people notice.

But what I love most of all: when you bless me with something new and exciting that does just what I want.

I am a minimalist about makeup most days. I depend on a good eye-brightener, a strong brow, and a curled lash on the regular, but am open to a bit of coverage when I have the mean reds. I break out monthly with my cycle, and am often treated to simultaneous scars and active zits, which causes me to look for something to help gently mask them.

I was using a BB cream with SPF 30 after my skincare routine. It was just OK; it slipped off of zits unless set with powder, but that made me feel too covered.

For the level of coverage I was seeking, the Tarte Colored Clay CC Primer stick appeared that it would suit my needs. With a $34 price tag, though, I knew I wouldn’t jump right in to buy it, so I started to see what others were saying about this product, checking out reviews on many different platforms. Most people that liked this product were into its "blurring" effects and seemed to be, like me, a less-is-more complexion makeup seeker.

This product is not simply a primer. It is a chubby twist-up with four quadrants of colored clay. One purple, one green, and two in your own personal shade. Color theory stands true no matter what the application, and red skin or patches could use a bit of green to cancel it out (just the same as "chlorine green" blondes need a tomato juice rinse). The purple clay helps to soften yellowness in skin, and aids the flesh tone in matching skin like mine, which has an olive/golden undertones.

I waited until I knew I was getting my sweet birthday discount at Sephora and set out to snag what I hoped would be my new favorite product. Imagine my joy when either by glitch or act of awesome manager god I was given a double birthday discount for 30%! WAHOO! I ran home with the sounds of chirping birds in a bustling city, optimistic and armed with my new purchase.

I tested it out as a singular product for everyday minimal coverage, and with it’s intended purpose as a primer for other products to rest on.

Here’s what I looked like before application:

And this is what it looks like after a light application:

By itself, I really loved the softened effect that this product provided. As per advice of the salesperson at Sephora, I applied in a circular motion to the T-zone and cheeks, and swiped once lightly under each eye. When using this stuff by itself, I have been blending it with my fingers and applying an extra bit of the flesh and green colors to any blemishes. I find that it has the soft, silky texture of a primer, but also the awesome effect of a pore-minimizing balm.

This really did behave as a multi-purpose stick for me, since blemishes and scars were obscured without further help from any other foundation or concealer products, but there was no obvious change to my skin color.

When applied under my own version of a full face, which consists of BB cream, brighteners, highlighters, pressed powder, and a bit of blush, I did look a bit more made up--but hey, I was! And you know what? Everything stayed put!

After a full two weeks of using this product (mostly by itself), I can also lovingly conclude that this product has NOT been aggravating my existing acne or causing new zits. The colored clay used also has refining properties that help the product to actually settle into the skin without clogging pores. It is nothing short of radical that this baby also happens to be cruelty-free and vegan!

The ingredient list isn't too frightening, and has some exciting ingredients like antioxidants and minerals. This line is also formulated without SLS, triclosan, and plasticizers. I know not everyone cares about these buzzy "no-no" ingredients, but I try to limit my exposure with my regimen, so I am happy with this formulation.

I really wanted to like this product, and I really do! It is great for my day-to-day light duty use, and suitably supportive to a full-face application. You really can’t go wrong!

Photos by Darnell Scott