| |

Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation Review: Why I’ll Never Trust Beauty Influencers Again

Find me

Based on

3 categories

Reviewed by Alizabeth Swain
Alizabeth Swain

Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation

I finally gave in to the hype surrounding the Tarte Amazonian Clay foundation. Spoiler alert: it didn't live up to the beauty influencer buzz. Despite claims of a 16-hour wear time, it fell short, turning patchy and exacerbating oiliness within six hours. The settling into fine lines and poor color matching left me unimpressed. My advice? Stick to trusted foundations like Estee Lauder Double Wear or IT Cosmetics CC Cream for a flawless finish that won't disappoint.

Tarte's Amazonian Clay Foundation
Coverage and Finish 7
Longevity and Wear 7
Formula and Skin Compatibility 8


  • No strong scent, parabens, mineral oil, SLS, SLES, phthalates, triclosan
  • Adorable packaging with a bamboo cap
  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Lightweight and airy formula


  • Formula change with the new packaging
  • No SPF
  • Color matching can be tricky; tends to be lighter than expected
  • Problematic for oily skin; patchy and enhances oiliness

Is the Tarte Amazonian Clay foundation worth the hype? No. Beauty influencers hyped this foundation up too much. I have other foundations I trust my oily skin with way more. 

Are you even obsessed with foundations if you don’t spend at least a month’s salary buying new foundations every year? 

My favorite thing to shop for used to be eyeshadow palettes. I loved looking at the different colors, shimmers, and packaging designs different brands would release. Now that I’m older, my favorite thing to shop around for is a new foundation. 

I love trying new foundations, but I have a list of my all-time favorites throughout the years. However, I’ve somehow never tried the Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation.

And that’s a little crazy to me, considering my skin type. I saw they re-released the foundation with new packaging, so I picked up a bottle for myself. I ordered on Ulta.com and waited a few days for my package to arrive. 

Now that’s here, I’m ready to delve into all of the information you’ve been waiting for by someone Tarte hasn’t bought out for a good review.

All About The Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation

tarte amazonian clay foundation
Photo by: Alizabeth Swain

The Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation retails for $39. This is a full-coverage soft matte mousse foundation with a 16-hour wear time. 

If you go directly to Tarte’s website, you can buy a full-size or a travel-size version (which I love). However, I highly recommend you shop on Tarte’s actual website for this foundation because Sephora and Ulta don’t offer as much variety for the darker tones as Tarte’s website does. There are 46 shade options available, but I want more shade variety for darker skin tones. 

Tarte recently updated their formula for this foundation to remove all oil. This is a vegan, oil-free, full-coverage, long-lasting, matte dermatologist-tested foundation. Tarte claims there’s technology inside this foundation that erases the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and pores. In addition, they claim this foundation won’t crease or cake. 

Out of a study of 32 subjects, Tarte claims 100% of the testers would recommend this to a friend. I’d really, really love to have a conversation with those 32 people. Did Tarte hold them hostage until they said they would recommend it to a friend? Or do those 32 testers hate their friends? 

The packaging for the bottle is soft plastic, so you have to squeeze the foundation (since it’s a mousse). I appreciate the cap on this foundation; the bamboo reminds me of the Amazon rainforest. 

What surprised me was the size of this foundation! The full-sized is 1.7 ounces, which is two times more compared to what you get in other foundations. However, I wonder how much of that is because of the texture of the foundation; mousse takes up more volume than a liquid foundation. 

What’s With the Clay? 

Since clay is the ingredient advertised in the name of this foundation, I wanted to know more about the clay’s purpose. There are a lot of clay face masks out there that work to reduce oil. Tarte included clay in their foundation to provide longer-lasting wear. 

To be honest, I don’t think the clay did much in this formula. 

All About My Skin

my skin
Photo by: Alizabeth Swain

I have oily and acne-prone skin, so finding a foundation that lasts all day seems nearly impossible. Most foundations lift off my skin within a few hours, even if I use a mattifying primer. Plus, I have dark spots I want to cover up too. Since I have acne-prone skin (thanks, PCOS), I need to find something I can trust during breakouts.

Thankfully, I’ve found a few foundations that I trust with my skin throughout the years. The IT Cosmetics CC Cream (I know it’s not technically a foundation, but it’s sooo full coverage), the Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation, and the Rimmel Cosmetics Stay Matte foundation. 

Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation vs. My Skin

I ordered Fair-Light Beige (18B) for this Tarte foundation. I like my foundations a little bit darker to match whenever I use self-tanner. However, I needed a foundation for the times I’m not wearing any (which has been a lot recently). 

I colored-matched online, which was probably a mistake. This foundation was way too light for me. I’ve bought other foundations from Tarte with the same color description on their site, and I’ve never had a problem.

There’s a problem with Tarte’s color match for these foundations; even some of the ones I swatched in-store were too light! My shade was two shades too light, so if you’re looking for an exact color match, I recommend you move up two shades. 

As a heads up, I tested this foundation in November, and I’m located on the East Coast. I keep my house at 65 degrees during the day, but I don’t have a humidifier. Our average daily temperature has been around 40 degrees during the day, so I’m not working in humid or hot conditions. 

I was excited to try this foundation out because I’ve heard so many good things about it. It’s one of the foundations I always recommend because of my oily skin. I opened up the package and got started on applying my makeup!

Application Time

Here’s a picture of what I looked like before I started: 

tarte amazonian clay foundation application
Photo by: Alizabeth Swain

I put on the First Aid Beauty Ultra Beauty Repair Tinted Moisturizer (there’s no color to this) and the Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional Primer. Using a damp Beauty Blender, I applied the Tarte Amazonian Clay foundation to my face. I set with the Too Faced Cosmetics Born This Way Ethereal Setting Powder. 

As I applied this foundation, I noticed it really settled into my fine lines and pores. I had to do a double-take because I wasn’t sure if my primer had been applied. I ended up wiping off the foundation that I did have on and starting the process again. I made sure to apply a thicker layer of primer than I normally do.

Typically, I only put the POREfessional primer on the tops of my cheeks and nose; these are the two spots where I have difficulty managing my larger pores.

However, I put some in my fine lines and underneath my eyes as well. I went back in and applied more foundation; the same thing. It was like I had all of this new texture pop up on my face, even though I don’t see this when I’m wearing my other foundations. 

My fine lines were also a lot more apparent. It’s like this foundation settled into the lowest parts of my face. From the moment I put it on, I hated the way this foundation made me look. I’m 24 years old, and I feel like this foundation made me look like I was getting ready to turn 40. But, I decided to wear this foundation to see if the settling was the only real drawback to this foundation. 

It wasn’t. 

Plus, it was less full coverage than I normally like. I never go back and touch up my blemishes with concealer when I normally wear foundation. But, there was still a lot of hyperpigmentation and acne spots peeking through this foundation. The sad part is it didn’t have buildable coverage either. 

The Wear Test 

tartre amazonian clay foundation applied
Photo by: Alizabeth Swain

After I set this foundation, I applied some mascara and my brows and moved on with my day. I’m not looking for a foundation that’ll withstand a full night of partying and glam. I want a foundation I can live my daily life and still look pretty good at the end of the night. I want a foundation to help me look less tired, more put together, and less like a mom-ster. 

But I do have to say I love the feeling of this foundation. It didn’t feel heavy or like it was bogging down my skin. There was a nice lightweightness to this formula, which I don’t often see in mousses.

But that’s partially because of how watery this formula is. This isn’t like cool-whip consistency; it’s more watery, like a pudding consistency. Most of the mousse foundations I use are thick and heavy. I appreciate the airiness feeling in this foundation, but it may be watered down a little too much.

Typically, I love the mousse foundations I use tend to be thick and heavy, so I can appreciate the airiness I felt in this Amazonian Clay foundation. 

After about half-hour of wearing this foundation, I noticed how patchy my cheeks became. I could see the redness of my natural cheeks underneath the foundation. It was embarrassing to see, but I’m glad I didn’t have any plans to go out for the day. 

Within the next two hours, I noticed a big difference in how matte my foundation didn’t look. I had lost a good portion of my chin (usually the first spot), my T-zone, and my forehead. I was starting to see the shininess of oil peeking through, but it wasn’t enough for me to begin blotting. 

I don’t know what to say to you, folks. I had a terrible time with this foundation. Plus, I don’t have extremely oily skin, so it’s not like my skin is the outlier that would make this foundation wear poorly.

But my skin was SO oily while wearing this foundation! It reached a point where the foundation was sliding off my skin. I wore this foundation for a total of six hours before I had to take it off because it was annoying me so much. At the end of this six-hour wear, I felt like I was wearing goop on my face. 

tarte amazonian clay foundation review

Pros & Cons


  • Doesn’t smell strongly
  • Free of parabens, mineral oil, SLS, SLES, phthalates, triclosan 
  • Vegan and cruelty-free 
  • Super cute packaging 
  • I love the texture and feel of this formula


  • No SPF
  • Tarte changed the formula for this foundation when they released the new packaging 
  • Horrible color matching
  • Terrible for oily skin; it’s patchy and makes your skin look even oilier 

Alternative Foundations to Consider

High-End: Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation

estee lauder double wear stay in place makeup

Love this foundation, but it’s super pricey! I don’t like the packaging for it, though. I love how thick and expensive the bottle feels, but I hate having to pour foundation out of a bottle to get it on my brush.

I do love the coverage of this foundation; it’s full coverage and very buildable. I never have to set this foundation with a powder, because it’s so matte. It lasts me all day, and I never have to worry about it separating! 

Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup | Amazon

All skintones. All undertones. Double Wear is made in your shade. It’s matte foundation that looks flawless and natural—liquid foundation that feels lightweight and so comfortable, you won’t believe it’s super long wear.

Buy at Amazon Buy at Sephora
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/22/2024 07:31 am GMT

Mid-Range: It Cosmetics CC Cream

it your skin but better cc cream

I know this isn’t technically a foundation, but I love this too! I was so skeptical of it before I tried it. I mean, how can a CC cream really be that full coverage? But the coverage from this CC cream is wonderful! I love the coverage of this CC Cream, the pump that comes with it, and how long it lasts me. I’ve never had a problem with this CC cream caking or making my face even more oily.

IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream | Amazon
$47.00 ($43.52 / Fl Oz)

Apply to clean skin for flawless-looking coverage that won’t crease or crack. Provides clinically tested hydration & diffuses the look of imperfections.

Buy at Amazon Buy at IT Cosmetics
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/22/2024 07:11 am GMT

Affordable: Rimmel Stay Matte Foundation

RIMMEL LONDON Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation

This is my go-to matte foundation. It’s got a lovely mousse consistency and comes in a squeeze bottle. It’s less than $10, and there’s a good amount of shades to choose from.

My only complaint with this foundation is that it does settle into my lines/pores, but I make sure to pair up a good primer with this foundation to reduce the appearance of texture.

I always bring this with me in my purse, and because it’s so cheap, it’s easy to find at most drugstores! This is the most full-coverage foundation I’ve ever used. I would highly recommend trying this out if you’ve never used it (and are looking for a full-coverage foundation). 

Rimmel Stay Matte Foundation | Amazon

This liquid mousse blends flawlessly to even out skin tone and stop shine for hours. With a natural-looking yet photo-ready finish, your face will look practically poreless and baby soft all day long.

Buy at Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/22/2024 09:12 am GMT


Question: Is Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation good for dry skin?

Answer: I would recommend this foundation for people with dry skin. I think it did a terrible job with oily skin, but I see some qualities about this foundation that would make it great for people with dry skin. It gives you nice coverage, but there isn’t any dryness. This foundation felt (and wore) more like a CC cream, so if that’s what you’re looking for, I’d recommend you check this out!

Question: Does the Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation oxidize?

Answer: I didn’t have any problems with it oxidizing. I actually would’ve preferred it if it did; this foundation was wayyyy too light for my skin.

Question: Is Tarte Amazonian Clay foundation oil-based or water-based? 

Answer: It’s a water-based foundation, which you can definitely tell by the feel of this foundation. I didn’t notice it contributing to any new breakouts, but I only wore it once before I decided I hated it. 

Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation Review: Final Thoughts

No, I don’t think so. I would go as far as saying this foundation is close to being the foundation of my nightmares. I’m not going to keep this foundation in my emergency foundation stash, either.

I decided to watch some YouTube videos on the old formula and the new formula. My goodness, I am shocked to see how much of a difference there is in the new formula compared to the old Amazonian Clay formula. I’m sad Tarte changed the formula because the old formula looks like it may have actually worked with my skin. Maybe, if Tarte decides to change the formula back, I’ll try the Amazonian Clay foundation out again. But until then, I won’t be touching this foundation.

Thanks to this foundation, I’ll never trust another beauty influencer again. They must have been bought out by Tarte with the re-release of this foundation; it’s awful!

Read More:

Makeup Foundation Guide: How To Always Select The Right Tone

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *