Tarte Cosmetics’ Founder On The Shape Tape Concealer, Vegan Skincare, And Being A “Social First” Brand

Few concealers have had the resounding success of Tarte’s Shape Tape — launched just 2016, it quickly became a beauty holy grail among YouTube and Instagram makeup artists, and a fierce fanbase that was all too eager to spread the news online, i.e. the stuff of overnight sensations.

Easy application, perfect high-coverage creamy texture that doesn’t budge, what’s not to love? Needless to say, the people’s favourite concealer flew off the shelves, and is still going strong even today. It’s said that one tube of Tarte’s Shape Tape Concealer sells every 26 seconds, which isn’t even enough time for you to finish your concealer application.

tarte Shape Tape Contour Concealer, available in 28 shades at $42 each

It’s the kind of product that’s so hyped about that you start doubting whether it’s even worth it — until you’ve tried it for yourself, that is.

So of course we did. The vegan-friendly concealer has a creamy texture that applies like a dream and blends easily. As for how it edges out the competition, we’d argue that it serves some pretty heavy-duty coverage — masking dark spots, undereye circles, and blemishes — while still remaining lightweight and crease-free. Those with normal/oily skin would love this!

And we all have one person to thank: tarte founder & CEO, Maureen Kelly.

tarte Founder & CEO, Maureen Kelly

Back in the late 90s, she envisioned a beauty brand that delivered on its claims, with easy-to-apply and effective products. tarte was birthed in an NYC apartment, with its first product being a cheek stain that gives you a natural, fuss-free finish — this launched at department store Henri Bendel in 2000, and since then, the brand has been doing right by its claim of “high-performance naturals”.

What this means is that tarte’s products work great, and are also good for your skin; their formulas are free of parabens, sulfates and other “nasties”, while also filled with naturally-derived ingredients that care for your skin. You’ll see this even with makeup, particularly the Shape Tape Concealer. It contains Amazonian clay as well as mango seed and shea butters that condition your skin along the way.


Over here, we just had to jump on the opportunity to ask Maureen why the Shape Tape Concealer’s the sensation that it is — what exactly did she have in mind while creating it, for instance. We’ll leave Maureen telling you more about the famed product, how best to use it (you can use it to contour too!), and how she often listens to you guys (yes, you) for her latest innovations.

1. We all know the hype surrounding the Shape Tape Concealer — why do you think there’s such positive feedback? 

We’re so humbled by all the love for this product. I like to joke and say that “shape tape is my cardio” because you don’t have to lift a finger — shape tape does all the work for you. It conceals, highlights and contours. That’s what I call a workout!

2. What did you have in mind before creating the now-iconic concealer? Was there a problem you tried to solve? 

With shape tape I wanted to create something that tackled a range of what I like to call “beauty boundaries” — things we feel hold us back, whether that’s dark circles, pigmentation, or acne spots. When I road-tested this with all my friends, family and employees before it launched, each person that tried it felt instantly more confident about whatever issue they were facing.


tarte Shape Tape Contour Concealer, $42

3. Were there any challenges when conceiving the product? What do you feel was the hardest part to perfect?

We really wanted to get the ingredients right for this formula, so finding the right ones with the benefits we were looking for was a delicate process. We ultimately used licorice root extract to brighten dark circles and color correct, and mango seed and shea butters to moisturise skin.

4. Would you recommend more than one concealer shade for someone (just for concealing) — if so, why and how would someone go about choosing them? 

One shade should be enough, although personally I use the same shade as my foundation for spot coverage and 1 shade lighter for dark circles.


5. What’s the best way to apply the Shape Tape concealer? 

I’m not a makeup artist, but I’ve picked up a lot of tips and tricks from artists along the way! I like to use shape tape to cover my dark circles, blending it out with a damp quickie blending sponge. Then, I’ll apply concealer directly to any imperfections and blend it out with a sponge, or my finger if I’m on the go!

6. You can also use it as a contour / highlight, take us through how that works!

The great thing about shape tape is that it’s creamy and super blendable so it works perfectly for contouring and highlighting as well. Typically I’ll go 1 to 2 shades darker to contour, and 1 shade lighter to highlight.

tarte Shape Tape Contour Concealer, $42

7. There’s also a whole ‘Shape Tape’ line now! Why did you consider those particular products important for base makeup, are they meant to complement the concealer? 

Our shape tape™ line is all about makeup that does it all! It’s a part of our larger double duty beauty™ collection which focuses on multi-tasking makeup that’s effortless and lasts all day. We just launched a few new shape tape™ products earlier this year, like our shape tape™ pore & prime balm, and base tape hydrating primer. We’re continuing to look at how we can take the classic shape tape™ formula you love and bring it into other formulas in the future!


tarte Base Tape Hydrating Primer, $39 ; Shape Tape Pore & Prime Balm, $35 ; Shape Tape Contour Concealer, $42 ; Shape Tape Setting Powder, $50

8. With social media being the norm now, how responsive do you think tarte is when it comes to meeting consumers’ demands? 

One of the amazing things about tarte is the fact that we’re truly a “social first” company. So many of our new product launches are inspired by our tartelettes — we’re constantly gathering feedback across our social channels and sending that info directly to our product development team to ensure our followers are being heard.

Our tartelettes really resonated with our tarteist™ pro remix palette. We saw comments bubbling up on social from tartelettes looking for more colourful eyeshadow palettes from tarte, and knew we had to incorporate this feedback we’d been seeing on social in our next collection launch — resulting in our most colourful palette yet! Our fans have been loving the colours and are wanting even more.

tarte Tarteist™ Pro Remix Amazonian Clay Palette, $76

9. What do you think is a key makeup trend for 2019, something the industry is moving towards?

I’m really embracing fun colours right now. I love swiping on a bold blue or green with my fingers, or using an electric purple as liner to remix my look. The tarteist™ pro remix palette is jam-packed with bright colours. It has 20 shades and 6 different finishes, so you can experiment with a new look every day.

I also think that monochromatic looks will continue to be big. There is something so fresh about seeing the same hue on eyes, lips and cheeks. I use our Amazonian clay blushes on lids & cheeks — they last all day, even on oily skin, because of long-wearing Amazonian clay.


tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush, $47 ; in Exposed, Peaceful, Dollface

10. Do share with us any news you can for tarte’s upcoming launches!

We have been focusing a lot on our vegan skincare. We just launched our first-ever vegan collagen serum earlier this year. We’re really excited about diving into this collection and you can definitely expect more coming soon!

We’ve also been playing a lot with bold colours. The tarteist™ pro remix palette we launched earlier this year is our most colourful palette yet, and it’s just the beginning. We’ll definitely have some really exciting new palettes for you later this year, so stay tuned!


tarte Deep Sea Collagen Super Serum, $64


tarte Cosmetics, available exclusively at Sephora