April 4, 2016

Tarte Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation Review & Swatches

This was provided to me by a brand for review and I receive a small commission if you shop using the links in this post but all opinions are my own.

Tarte Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation

Tarte Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation ($39) is a new full-coverage gel foundation that launched with the Ulta Exclusive Tarte Double Duty Beauty Collection for Spring 2016.

Double Duty Beauty Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation is available in 10 shades with a creamy gel formula that’s oil-free and promises 12 hours of wear with a hyaluronic acid to keep skin moist.

This is a formula I was very, very excited about because I have drier skin, and this is marketed for skin types like my own.

Know what the good news is?

It didn’t disappoint!

Wow! Wow! I am even more excited after trying this as I adore it. I wasn’t sure what to expect from it, but I was a little worried this formula would be too heavy. But that wasn’t the case at all! It almost felt like I was applying moisturizer.

Tarte Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation7

Truly this was an impressive formula and Tarte did a great job on it. If you have drier skin, and you’re looking for smooth, soft, lightweight coverage, this is the way to go!

Tarte Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation comes housed in an elegant gold topped glass jar that holds 1oz of the foundation. I have to admit this seemed much larger than it is but the good news it’ll likely last me a long time as I tend to use a very small amount of foundation. I think the jar packaging will turn people off but on the upside, Tarte sells a Foundation Brush & Spatula that was created exclusively for use with this formula which I’ll review in a later post. It has a slanted brush on one side and a tiny hook on the other side which acts a spatula to scoop the foundation out so no need to touch it with your fingers.

Tarte Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation6

At a glance, I loved the creaminess of the product but a little worried it would be heavy and mask-like. It isn’t! This is a creamy gel consistency that applies and blends just as easily as a hydrating moisturizer leaving behind gorgeous, soft, smooth, hydrating coverage. They call it full coverage, but I think it runs to more sheer or medium depending on the amount applied. There’s enough pigment here to hide blemishes, redness, darkness, and other imperfections though so don’t let the lack of full coverage get you down!

Tarte Double Duty Beauty Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation

Tarte Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation Swatches (Fair Light Neutral, Light Sand, Light Medium Beige)

Tarte Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation Swatches (Fair Light Neutral, Light Sand, Light Medium Beige)

Tarte Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation Swatches (Medium Honey, Medium Neutral, Medium Tan Honey)

Tarte Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation Swatches (Medium Honey, Medium Neutral, Medium Tan Honey)

The thing I loved most about this was the natural coverage it provided. It very seamless and it doesn’t stick or adhere to drier areas. Add in the fact that it’s lightly moisturizing and you’ll find that drier skin will look brighter, smoother, and almost like you’re not wearing foundation. I blame the natural finish on the moisturizing formula. I didn’t like Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Water Foundation as much as I had hoped I would. This was because it seemed to set to a more demi-matte finish and accentuated drier areas on my face. I thought this formula a nicer one for oily or combination skin where as Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation was better suited for my drier skin. I didn’t get the same natural, flawless look using Rainforest of the Sea Water Foundation that I did with Empowered Hybrid Gel. The foundation promises 12 hoyrs of wear and I got about 8 myself without setting with powder which I thought was pretty good. This does have a rose fragrance that was pretty subtle but worthy of a mention for sensitive users.

Tarte Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation2

Tarte Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation3

I only tried six of the shades but I found a good match in Light Medium Beige for those curious about the shade I thought was good for my skin tone.

If you have drier skin and you’re looking for soft, lightly hydrtating coverage that eases dullness and gives tired, dry skin a brighter appearance I think you’ll love Tarte Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation! I can see this becoming a potential HG (holy grail) foundation.

Muse Approved.

Tarte Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation is available now exclusively at Ulta, Ulta.com, and tarte.com.

Tried it?

Do share!


This was provided to me by a brand for review and I receive a small commission if you shop using the links in this post but all opinions are my own.

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

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  • Robin


    I’m curious about this one and the Rain forest one. Hydration/moisturizing foundations scare me a little since I have normal to oily skin. I’m curious to see if it would make me look like an oil slick. Will try to test it out next time I’m in Ulta. It looks very nice.

  • Phyrra

    I wonder if Fair Light Neutral would be light enough! It sounds great for dry skin.

  • Sarah

    Ugh, I just wish that the lightest color was lighter. I am hoping that they will add more shades to this line as I, too, have dry skin and have been eyeballing this product.

  • Caitlin

    Is this an Ulta exclusive or will it eventually be offered at Sephora? Also do you know where Tarte products are made? I heard conversations about some lines being manufactured in China.

    • Isabella Muse

      It’s available at Ulta exclusively and on Tarte’s website. It won’t be available at Sephora, Sephora got the Rainforest of the Sea Collection which includes the Rainforest of the Sea Foundation where as Ulta got the Tarte Double Duty Beauty Collection which includes this foundation (I mentioned in my post/this review that this was an Ulta exclusive). Tarte was purchased by Kose in 2014 which is a Korea brand https://www.musingsofamuse.com/2014/03/kose-buys-tarte-cosmetics.html some of their products are made in the US others are not. This foundation is made in the US and cruelty free according to the box. Hope this helps!

      • blee

        Muse, thanks for the past update. It’s sad to me that USA CO’s sell out to other countries . I’ll keep my mouth shut! Grrrr!

  • blee

    This stuff is great. I need that brush now. I picked it up in med and tan honey when it 1st came out. Love how wonderful this is for dry skin. 🙂

  • Gillie

    I wasn’t super interested in this collection until I read your review. You’ve sold me! 🙂

  • Carlie Morgan

    I love this foundation.. but I don’t get 12 hours of wear out of it.

  • Deb (MrsTheDoll)

    I bought this foundation about a week ago and have been wearing it everyday since. I agree it is good for someone with dry skin. Also, I am an older person (55) and I feel like it is perfect for mature skin as well. For reference for anyone reading the comments here, I am in the shade Light Neutral and my MAC shade is NW20. Matches perfectly! Really loving this foundation!

    Deb (MrsTheDoll)

  • StellaDiva

    Do you think the brush is a must with this? At first glance, I thought oh no, not another brush (I am probably alone in that despair) but I now realize it’s available without the brush.

    • Isabella Muse

      Naaa! Not at all. You can apply it with fingers! I just liked the finish with the brush but no way fingers are fine!

  • Keara

    Just wanted to chime in and say that my mom swears by this stuff. She is 73 with combination skin and some pretty significant sun damage, and she uses it with Benefit’s Porefessional (I prefer MUFE Step 1 Smoothing myself, but to each his own and all that) and she looks fifteen years younger in about five minutes. She had the same reaction as you did when the lady at Ulta opened the jar, but I glared at her until she tried it anyway. I actually bug her to wear it more often because she looks so amazing. I sometimes steal the brush to use with my UD HD powder foundation and it’s so plush it goes on beautifully.

  • Lauren Ferrari

    I adore this foundation!! My skin is dry to normal, and much drier in winter months, so when I tried this in February, I was instantly a convert. It goes on beautifully, my face feels like silk, and gives me great coverage. With powder to set it, I look great 12 hours later. No flaking or streaks.