is tarte cruelty free
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Is Tarte Cruelty Free: Should You Support This Popular Brand?

Tarte is one of my favorite brands ever. I have extremely sensitive skin, especially sensitive eyes. I’ve tried a variety of Tarte products throughout the years, from their foundation to their mascara. They’re usually the first brand I gravitate to when I need makeup.

Are you interested in trying Tarte products? Maybe you already love Tarte products. Either way, you probably want to know if Tarte is cruelty-free. So many beauty enthusiasts want to buy from brands that don’t condone animal testing at any stage of production.

Unfortunately, 88% of the biggest beauty brands fund animal testing in some way. That’s why guides such as this one are important. Is Tarte cruelty-free? Continue reading my guide and discover the answer!

Bottom line up front:

While Tarte as a brand is cruelty-free, its parent company, Kose, isn’t. Because of this, I don’t feel comfortable saying Tarte is 100% cruelty-free. However, Tarte is still certified by PETA as cruelty-free. Tarte sold their brand to Kose in 2014. Before then, Tarte was 100% cruelty-free.

About Tarte

Tarte is a beauty brand founded in 2000 by Maureen Kelly. Kelly was dissatisfied with the cosmetics market, specifically with the sketchy ingredients found in beauty products. Because of this, Kelly started creating her own products — ones that focused on ingredients that were good for your skin. She also strived to make makeup products that weren’t boring.

Today, Tarte is a highly respected beauty brand sold all over the world. So many of their products, such as the Amazonian Clay Foundation and Shape Tape Concealer, became a sensation in the beauty world. They feature so many of my favorite beauty products of all time, especially their Maneater Mascara, Lash Paint Mascara, and their H2O Lip Gloss.

One of the reasons why Tarte creates amazing products is they use high-performance naturals. These are fruit and plant extracts that are clinically proven to improve the skin. Tarte is also eco-friendly and they make a combination of makeup and skincare products. Tarte products also don’t contain specific ingredients that are harmful and aggravate allergies.

Tarte’s Parent Company

Tarte was sold to Kose in 2014. Kose is a Japanese multinational personal care company. They own a variety of skincare, makeup, and haircare brands. This was an important move for Kose, since purchasing Tarte helped them enter the U.S. market. However, Tarte received criticism for this move. I will explain this more later.

Is Tarte Cruelty-Free?

Yes and no. Tarte started out as 100% cruelty-free and has stayed that way, even today. Cruelty-free means no step of the product production process involves animal testing and no third parties test on animals for them. They also don’t sell their products in countries where animal testing is required.

Here’s the run down of Tarte’s cruelty-free stance:

  • Don’t test ingredients on animals
  • Don’t test finished products on animals
  • Third parties don’t test on animals
  • Suppliers don’t test on animals
  • Not sold in countries where animal testing is required

Cruelty-Free Certifications

Tarte is certified by PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies program. Keep in mind that they’re not Leaping Bunny certified, but because Tarte never finished the application.

Is Their Parent Company Cruelty-Free?

Tarte’s parent company, Kose, is not cruelty-free. Tarte received some criticism for this move; even though Tarte is cruelty-free, by supporting them, you’re supporting their parent company which isn’t cruelty-free. This breaks my heart — I try to support cruelty-free brands and buy vegan products whenever I can, which is one of the many reasons why I loved Tarte.

However, Tarte is still on PETA’s cruelty-free beauty list as well as various other cruelty-free lists.

Is Tarte Vegan?

No, Tarte isn’t fully vegan. Some of their products contain animal-derived ingredients, such as honey and carmine. However, a big selection of their products is vegan. You can shop their vegan products section.

How to Know If a Brand Is Cruelty-Free

In addition to reading guides such as this one, the best thing to do is to search on the brand’s website. Most brands will have a section on their website dedicated to their animal welfare practices — if they have any.

You can also find different certifications on the product packaging, such as the Leaping Bunny and PETA’s Beauty Without Bunnies logos. You can also search PETA’s database of cruelty-free brands. If there’s a brand you want to support and you can’t find their stance on animal testing, reach out to them and ask.

Where to Buy Tarte Products

Here are different places where you can buy Tarte products:

My Favorite Tarte Products

While Tarte’s cruelty-free stance is a little hazy, you may still be tempted to buy products from this brand. Here are my favorite Tarte products.

Amazonian Clay 16-Hour Full-Coverage Foundation

While Tarte changed the formula for this foundation (I prefer the old formula), I still like this foundation. My issue with this revised formula is the foundation smears and creases, something the old formula didn’t do. However, the foundation still offers impressive coverage, looks natural, and is easy to blend. Plus, Tarte offers an impressive shade selection.

Amazonian Clay Matte Waterproof Bronzer

I have Tarte’s cream bronzer. It works well, but the lightest shade is a little too orange for me. I’m pale, so I didn’t feel comfortable choosing the darker shade. Because of this, I wanted to offer another Tarte bronzer as a recommendation.

This bronzer is stunning. It has a matte finish, which is perfect if you’re like me and you hate sparkling face products. The bronzer is available in two colors: Park Ave Princess (a universal bronze shade) and Hotel Heiress (deep bronze). I suggest choosing Park Ave Princess. But if you have a darker skin tone or you want a more intense contour, I suggest choosing Hotel Heiress.

Shape Tape Concealer

This is one of Tarte’s most famous products. While it has received some complaints, such as how it smudges a little bit, it is a great concealer and probably one of the best on the market. I don’t suggest this concealer for those with oily skin, since this has been the group who complained the most about this product. I also suggest choosing your shade carefully, since this one does oxidize (change color over time).

Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush

This blush is on sale and is only available in one color (Bloom, a soft coral) but it received no bad reviews. Reviewers are saying this is a beautiful color though I recommend this to those with olive undertones and/or medium skin tones. This blush would be way too harsh on my pale skin.

H2O Lip Gloss

While I don’t like spending a lot on lip gloss, this one is a great option. It’s available in a variety of lovely colors (I have Zen, which is a neutral beige). The gloss isn’t sticky, which is a big plus for me. I suggest choosing your color carefully.

Some of these colors aren’t accurate to the website’s descriptions; for example, some look too brown or too orange. I think Zen is pretty accurate to the website description.

Knockout 10% Acid Complex Serum

I have to admit, I haven’t explored Tarte’s skincare line too much. But this serum looks intriguing and it received five-star reviews across the board. Knockout is infused with alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) so your skin looks more youthful.

Reviewers have said their skin looks great after using this serum. This serum is gentle enough to use nightly; Tarte recommends applying 1-2 drops followed by your favorite moisturizer.

Tartelette In Bloom Eyeshadow Palette

I honestly never tried Tarte eyeshadow palettes. But looking at the In Bloom palette as well as the Maneater palette, I want to try both. When I worked at Sephora, Tarte eyeshadow was popular among the clients who didn’t want any crazy colors on their eyes. They also offer plenty of matte eyeshadow, something I don’t see much of from other makeup brands.

In addition to these benefits, this Tarte palette won the Best Palette Award from the Allure Magazine Readers’ Choice Award in 2021. Reviewers are saying the colors are not only lovely but the texture is also popular since all of the colors are really soft and easy to apply. The Amazonian Clay also helps the pigment last longer and prevents smudging.

At $42, this palette is more affordable than say the Naked palettes from Urban Decay (those average around $50). But this may still be expensive for some, especially since brands like NYX have high-quality eyeshadow palettes at cheaper prices. Some reviewers also complained that this palette is prone to breaking, so be sure to handle this palette with care.

Tarteist Lash Paint Mascara

First, I have to say I seriously struggled to decide between the Lash Paint and Maneater mascaras for this review. I use both and they’re equally amazing. I’m only mentioning Lash Paint because it’s the one I’ve been using a lot lately.

There are many reasons why I love this mascara. First, the black is very intense. The mascara is best for lengthening and curling, but it doesn’t make your lashes look thin. The mascara also lasts all day. It doesn’t run and doesn’t give you those ugly spider lashes. It does flake a little bit but not as bad as other mascaras I’ve used.

Amazonian Clay BB Tinted Moisturizer

I first have to mention that the BB cream I used from Tarte has been discontinued. That’s so sad because I loved that BB cream. However, this one is also popular. The problem is that this BB cream has lighter coverage than the one I was using.

With that being said, this product is still a good option if you want something on the natural side. You can wear it as a foundation if you only want light coverage or underneath your foundation as a primer. I suggest doing the latter if you have dry skin. If you do wear it as a foundation, you will need a setting powder over it.

There are some problems with this BB cream. For a product with light coverage, it is expensive ($36). You can spend a fraction of that cost on the Garnier BB cream and honestly get better coverage.

Frameworker Brow Pomade

I have to be honest, I’ve never tried Tarte’s brow products before. This brow pomade received excellent reviews, yet I don’t think Tarte is known for its brow products. Reviewers are saying the pomade works great but you need the right tools. The formula seems to be more finicky than alternatives from competitors, such as Anastasia Beverly Hills (I’ve been using their eyebrow pencils for years). However, reviewers also said the pigment is perfect and the pomade lasts all day.

I like their shade selection. They have colors for those with warm and cool undertones, which is something I don’t see often from competitors. However, reviewers have complained that the colors are too dark, which can be a problem if you have blonde eyebrows.

Cruelty-Free Alternative Brands to Tarte

If you’re not comfortable supporting Tarte, here are some brands that are cruelty-free and are owned by a parent company that doesn’t test on animals.

Laura Mercier

Laura Mercier is a renowned makeup artist. She revolutionized the makeup world with her impressive artistry techniques and her iconic products represent her skill as an artist. I honestly haven’t used much from Laura Mercier, but what I’ve used I’ve loved.

For example, I pretty much replaced the Makeup For Ever Setting Powder (they’re not a cruelty-free company) with the one by Laura Mercier.

Not only is Laura Mercier cruelty-free but so is its parent company, Shiseido. Neither Laura Mercier nor Shiseido conducts animal testing on ingredients and the final product. They also don’t work with third parties that test on animals and they don’t sell their products where animal testing is required by law.

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BareMinerals is one of the most recognizable, award-winning brands and the one I recommend most as an alternative to Tarte. Their makeup products are ideal for those with sensitive and problematic skin. BareMinerals is a hit or miss for me. Some of the products I’ve used are amazing and others are less-than-perfect.

BareMinerals is not only 100% cruelty-free but their products are also free of phthalates, parabens, chemical sunscreen, formaldehyde, triclocarban, triclosan, mineral oil, propylene glycol, microbeads, and coal tar. They’re also owned by Shiseido, which is cruelty-free.

KVD Beauty was originally owned by tattoo artist Kat Von D. They have always been cruelty-free and recently emerged as a 100% vegan brand. This is the best brand to support if you want makeup with intense pigments to give you a fearless look. I love their lip products and their eyeliner especially. KVD Beauty is now owned by Kendo Brands. According to PETA, Kendo Brands is cruelty-free.

Hourglass Cosmetics

Hourglass Cosmetics is another brand I haven’t used too much. They not only make innovative and luxurious products but also products that are good for your skin and are never boring. They’re a 100% cruelty-free brand and have an entirely vegan line. Hourglass Cosmetics is owned by Unilever Brands. They have admitted on their website that they’re cruelty-free.

CoverGirl Cosmetics

If you’re looking for a cruelty-free company that’s affordable, CoverGirl is a company that’s popular among so many people. They offer everything from face makeup to lipstick, and many of these products are comparable to professional makeup. I’m honestly not the biggest CoverGirl fan and my skin has never reacted well with their foundation. That’s why they’re toward the bottom of this list.

CoverGirl is cruelty-free and is certified by Cruelty-Free International’s Leaping Bunny Program, but only their clean line is vegan. CoverGirl is owned by COTY, which also holds a Leaping Bunny Certification.


A better drugstore makeup brand is e.l.f. While I never used their foundation, I love all of the products I used from them. They have a variety of makeup and skincare products. Their product quality is comparable to that of professional brands and some e.l.f. products are dupes for expensive products. e.l.f. is not only cruelty-free but vegan and clean. e.l.f. is owned by W3LL People and Keys Soulcare, both of whom are cruelty-free.

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100% Pure

This is a company I’ve been wanting to try for a long time! They’re not only cruelty-free but are a natural beauty brand (hence the name). They make both makeup and skincare products. 100% Pure is owned by Purity Cosmetics, which is also cruelty-free.

Cruelty-Free Parent Companies

Here are cruelty-free parent companies:

  • Shiseido/Orveon photo from site
  • Kendo Brands
  • Unilever
  • COTY, inc.
  • Keys Soulcare
  • Procter & Gamble

Keep in mind that some of these parent brands support companies that aren’t cruelty-free. I think this is different from supporting a cruelty-free company whose parent company isn’t cruelty-free — when the parent company is cruelty-free, the money you’re spending isn’t going directly towards the non-cruelty-free companies. But I understand if some consumers are still uncomfortable supporting cruelty-free parent companies who also support non-cruelty-free businesses.

In addition, some parent companies used to test on animals but are currently cruelty-free.


Question: Are Tarte foundations and concealers vegan?

Answer: The products I mentioned (Amazonian Clay BB Cream, Amazonian Clay Foundation, and the Shape Tape Foundation) are all vegan. It does seem like the majority of their foundations, concealers, and powders are all vegan. If you’re unsure of which Tarte products are vegan, their website clearly defines which ones aren’t made with animal-derived ingredients.

Question: Does Tarte sell their products in China?

Answer: No, Tarte doesn’t sell their products in mainland China or other regions that require animal testing. Keep in mind that China ended mandatory animal testing for cosmetics in 2021.

Question: Is Tarte canceled?

Answer: Tarte did receive some backlash for posting a meme that said “ching chong,” which upset their fans of Asian descent.

Is Tarte Cruelty Free: Bottom Line

Tarte’s cruelty-free practices are unclear. While they, as a brand, are cruelty-free, their parent company isn’t. Kose may test their own products on animals and/or they may support third parties such as suppliers that conduct animal testing for them. The problem is that Tarte creates high-quality products made without allergens, perfect for people like me with sensitive skin. I have been using Tarte for years and they’re one of my favorite makeup brands.

Until I can find a comparable brand, I will continue buying from Tarte. But I understand if some people don’t want to buy from this brand any longer. Understand that, even though a company is cruelty-free, your money is still supporting the parent company that conducts animal testing. It’s also important to note that while Tarte isn’t vegan, a large portion of its products is made without animal-derived ingredients.

Continue reading our blog to discover more vegan and cruelty-free brands.

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