Review: Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Powder Foundation and Airbuki Bamboo Powder Foundation Brush
My love of the Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Full Coverage Foundation runs deep. I have tubes of the stuff hiding around my apartment, like a squirrel burying its nuts for the winter. So when Tarte released its Airbrush Powder Foundation, promising to make converts of the liquid formula, I decided that I should probably try it. I also bought the Airbuki Bamboo Powder Foundation brush to apply the damn stuff because it seemed like the thing to do.
I was already a little apprehensive. I haven’t had good luck with coverage for powder foundations. It’s also a whopping $36 for a measly 0.247 oz, which is kind of horrifyingly expensive… But… but… marketing! The tarte youtube videos said I would like it! The reviews are pretty positive!
The most obvious thing when you get the foundation is how enormous the packaging is. I assume that this is because the quantity you get is so small that they want you to feel like you bought a big thing, even if its bigness is 95% plastic. BareMinerals has slightly more product, but the packaging is approximately half the size. (I will say that I think the Tarte packaging is very pretty.)
The worst part of the packaging, though, is inside. They call it a “custom mesh delivery system”. I read that before I purchased it, but I guess it didn’t full register that they meant MESH mesh. I was imagining a metal sieve or something. But no. It’s mesh. I have a pair of underwear that I bought on sale at H&M for one dollar and that is what it looks like.
The idea, apparently, is that you can kind of smoosh your Airbuki Foundation Brush into the mesh and it will somehow deliver the exact perfect amount of product. What it actually does, though, is completely prevent you from being able to see how much product you have left in the container. It doesn’t really work, since the amount of smooshing affects the amount of product deposited on the brush. It also ensures that you won’t be able to use up the last of the foundation when you get to the end of the product.
The indent on the cap is essential for the concept of the “mesh delivery system” (otherwise you’d spill a bunch of powder on this side of the mesh and it wouldn’t work even more than it already doesn’t work), but it ensures that you have to use the product the way that Tarte envisioned it. My usual method is to dump some product in the cap… but I can’t do that here, because the cap comes out at you.
I purchased Fair Honey, supposedly for “fair skin with peach undertone”. It’s definitely lighter than the liquid foundation in Ivory, and it is much more yellow. This is kind of a bummer because I am pretty pink, so I like the fact that the liquid foundation leans pink. This definitely leans yellow.
Fortunately/unfortunately, it doesn’t really matter because I can’t get enough coverage from it for it to make a difference.
I thought that the Airbuki brush might be the solution to the crappy coverage I usually get from powder foundations, but it seems that I was wrong.
I also want to note that it is really small. It is just a hair wider than the tarte bamboo foundation brush I use for my liquid makeup but it is way shorter. That doesn’t doom it on its own, but it was still disappointed. (I expected it to be slightly shorter and much fatter.) For $26, I wasn’t expecting something that could be mistaken for travel size.
The short, stiff bristles do pick up a lot of product, but they don’t do anything to make the product actually look good on your face. For some reason, I find that I get insufficient coverage and it just kind of looks like my face is covered in unblended white sand. The coverage is uneven and you can still see my acne and scarring. Even when you totally pack it on and ignore the terrible finish, you get medium coverage at best. However, practically, the only thing I can do with this is use a fluffy powder brush to dust is on as a finishing powder.
I think the Sephora website accidentally shows the contradiction between what the Airbuki brush is marketed to do and what it does: “A soft, versatile brush to flawlessly apply Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation.” In other words, it’s marketed as being “versatile” but it can really only do one thing. The super dense bristles makes it impossible to use for anything else. If you try to use any other powder with this brush, you’ll end up as cakey as a French bakery.
I speculate that there are probably people out there for whom this foundation will be less tragic. I think that marketing this as an alternative to the 12 Hour Liquid Foundation was Tarte’s biggest mistake here. People who use the liquid foundation probably are pretty pink and want full coverage. This is yellow and has quite sheer coverage.
The Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Powder retails for $36 for 0.247oz, putting it at a very steep $145.75 per ounce. For comparison, the BareMinerals Original Foundation is $27 for 0.28oz, or $96.43 per ounce.