Clean Slate Timeless Smoothing Primer has its share of strengths and weakness that land it a middle-of-the-road rating.
The good? The silicone-rich formula really does blur the appearance of large pores, fine lines, and wrinkles, as claimed. It has a spongy, spackle-like texture that gives skin a soft-focus finish and tempers oily shine, at least for a little while.
The not-so-good? The fact that the formula contains fragrance means it poses a risk of irritation to skin (see More Info for details). Also, despite the fact that Tarte makes big claims about this primer boosting skin with antioxidants, peptides, and "naturally-derived elixirs" (whatever that means), the benefit to skin is practically nil because those ingredients are present in only minute concentrations. Even if they were present in greater amounts, the jar packaging allows the air- and light-sensitive ingredients (antioxidants) to break down.
The other tricky thing about this primer is how makeup blends over it. We noticed that applying liquid foundation over this primer had somewhat of a dragging effect, which in the end took more blending than usual to even out. And, if you happen to have dry, flaky areas of skin, forget about it! This primer clings to those areas instead of smoothing them.
The ideal candidate for this primer is someone with normal to oily skin who won't be applying a liquid or cream foundation over it and wants a soft-matte blurring effect. But even then, the fragrance and jar packaging issues are disappointing, and for this price, you really should expect better! See our top-rated foundation primers for superior options.
Irritation from High Amounts of Fragrance: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes chronic irritation that can damage healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin’s ability to heal. Fragrance-free is the best way for all skin types to go for all skin types (Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2008 & American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003).
The sneaky part about irritation is that research has demonstrated that you don’t always need to see it or feel it for your skin to suffer damage, and that damage may remain hidden for a long time (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008).
In fact, the effect of inflammation in the skin is cumulative, and repeated exposure to irritants contributes to a weakened skin barrier, slower healing (including of red marks from breakouts), and a dull, uneven complexion (Aging, 2012 & Chemical Immunology and Allergy, 2012).
- Spackle-like texture blurs imperfections.
- Soft-matte finish tempers oily shine.
- Fills in deep wrinkles (at least temporarily).
- Fragranced formula poses a risk of irritation.
- Tiny amount of antioxidants is compromised by the jar packaging.
- Causes other makeup to drag over it, making blending more of a chore.
- Clings to dry, flaky areas.
Tarte Cosmetics At-A-Glance
Tarte Cosmetics CEO and founder Maureen Kelly started Tarte in 1999, out of a desire to create a cosmetics line that would prove that glamour can be good for you. This comes in the form of products that highlight naturally-derived ingredients in their marketing campaigns, and occasionally taking swipes at the concept of synthetics in makeup.
This is ironic, as Tarte uses more than a few beneficial synthetically derived ingredients in their formulassilicones, synthetic fragrances, preservatives and on and on. However, well forgive them that as whats ultimately important is whether their products meet your needs, and to that we can say the brand excels in many areas at what they do.
However, a few products are a bit on the pricey side and there are a few iffy shades and textures to consider among their foundationsnoted in their respective reviews. A few caveats aside, most of Tarte's foundations, blush options, eye pencils and an ever-expanding range of innovative products demonstrate that color is what they do best.
For more information about Tarte Cosmetics visit www.tartecosmetics.com.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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