May 31, 2017

Tarte Clay Stick Foundation Review & Swatches

I purchased this item and I receive a small commission if you shop using the links in this post.

Tarte Clay Stick Foundation ($39) (0.32 oz) is a new 12-Hour matte foundation stick that the brand recently released for Summer 2017 in 12 shade selections. I happen to be a rather sympathetic fool for Benefit Play Sticks which is probably why I ended up purchasing one of the Tarte Clay Stick Foundations. I was having a nostalgic moment but also, I tend to forget how much I love the simplicity of swiping on my foundation, blending out, and just going.

I realized that the matte formula wasn’t exactly my ideal pick for foundation since I have dry skin but I had hopes that it would work as well as the Tarte Shape Tape Concealer did. And also, Summer is coming up and I tend to be a bit shiny and oily around my T-Zone so, I thought I might just be able to get away with the matte finish.

Tarte markets these new foundation sticks as a foundation and contouring tool all-in-one just like the Shape Tape Contour. If you’re purchasing a few different shades you can probably easily use these to contour with but considering the size and cost that might be a bit expensive. I purchased it solely as a foundation and that’s how I’ll be reviewing it in this post.

Tarte Clay Stick Foundation comes housed in a dark brown tube with gold accents and a tortoiseshell topper that matches the packaging of the new Clay Play Face Shaping Palette. The twist up barrel holds 0.32 oz of foundation for $39 which does toe the line at high-end pricing. Most mid-range foundation sticks are around $25-$26 at the same size such as Anastasia Beverly Hills Stick Foundation which is $25. In my experience, foundation sticks are never really cheap and most don’t contain a ton of product but Tarte’s near $40 price tag may or might throw you a curve ball. Considering I loved this formula I didn’t mind the price. I’m of the mentality if it’s good, I don’t mind paying the price.

So, this promises up to 12 hours of wear and it has a powder-to-liquid consistency that provides medium to full coverage that’s talc and paraben-free which apparently hydrates or mattifies depending on your skin type. Hmmm a foundation that knows your skin type?

I was a little surprised how much I loved this. It applies and blends very, very easily on my skin and looks smooth, even, and brightening. I didn’t cling to my drier areas and it had a lightly creamy texture that did feel powdery going on but ended up being a lot creamier during the blending process. I actually felt comfortable contouring under my eyes with it as it didn’t crease or cake up. The coverage was very natural and it brightened up my duller skin beautifully. It’s quite pigmented and should provide medium coverage but isn’t quite full coverage. I wouldn’t say I got 12 hours of wear from it but it did wear about six without setting with powder. It was comfortably lightweight without being cakey or mask-like on my skin.

Tarte Clay Stick Foundation (Light-Medium Neutral)

Tarte Clay Stick Foundation Swatches (Light-Medium Neutral)

Tarte Clay Stick Foundation Swatches (Light-Medium Neutral)

I really liked how it worked as both a concealer and a foundation. If you prep well you can easily swipe and blend this under eyes to brighten up the area and use it as concealer. I applied it in the hallows of my eyes to brighten the area up. For those curious, it did not have any fragrance or scent that I detected thankfully because we all know how badly Rainforest of the Sea Aquacealer smelled!

Tarte Clay Stick Foundation was a rather pleasant surprise. I expected this to not work out for my drier skin but it ended up looking and feeling great! The application was simple and the coverage natural and beautiful. If you want a simple way to apply your foundation this is it.

Tarte Clay Stick Foundation is available now at

Tried it?

Do share!

Muse Approved.

I purchased this item and I receive a small commission if you shop using the links in this post.

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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  • Shannon

    I am such a fan of tarte. Will definitely give their clay stick foundation a try!

  • K8

    Yes, and here’s the thing – I think they are way wrong about the finish! I have your opposite skin type – oily to super-oily depending on the day – and it’s very luminous on me. It definitely doesn’t “know” my skin type lol. That being said, the finish is beautiful and it just means I have to blot a bit more at lunchtime. Blends amazingly too!

    • Isabella Muse

      I completely agree, It def doesn’t know my skin type haha! That’s asking too much right? It blended so well on me. I was expected it to drag or even cling to my dry spots but it was smooth and even! I’m so glad you liked it too ;-D

  • Cheryl

    Wow….priced like a cushion compact, with about the same amount of product (1/3 oz.). I’m afraid to try it for fear I’ll really like it and struggle with the concept of spending the same amount for a 1/3 portion as I would for the whole enchilada of a “regular” foundation.

  • Kimmwc03

    Sounds really good; I’ll check this out the next time I’m at Sephora. Anyone know how it compares to the Bobbi Brown or Hourglass stick foundations?

    • Isabella Muse

      I haven’t tried the Hourglass one yet but the Bobbi is a bit creamy and emollient, this is smoother almost velvety yet turns into a light cream!

  • Dee

    I will definitely give this go as I love stick foundations. They are so easy and great for travel . Glad these got a good review!

  • Moi

    Hello all. Thanks for the review; totally appreciate it. What other foundation sticks have you dry skin gals found that you’ve liked? Or is it a matter of adding a bit of oil to your face with one that tends to be a little bit more drying?
    Thanks. Moi from Canada.

  • Penny

    I have to admit, I have been phasing Tarte out of my makeup lineup lately…they kind of lost me with their athleisure and unicorn products…seems like they are targeting a younger audience these days. However, this new foundation did catch my eye so I am happy to hear that you liked it! Perhaps I will give it a try at some point…Always enjoy your reviews! πŸ™‚

    • Isabella Muse

      I agree! Mermaids, unicorns, it’s a bit too silly for me. I can’t believe I’m saying that because I’m a kid at heart but they do kind of turn me off with some of this stuff. Also, they are trying to promote the new Rainforest of the Sea Radiance Drops as giving you a mermaid glow. When I saw that I mentally rolled my eyes. Aw thanks Penny! Let me know when you try! πŸ˜€

  • Jessica

    How does it compare to Benefit play sticks? That’s my fave and I on,y have two left in my stash…. if this is a dupe I’d be thrilled!

    • Isabella Muse

      Much creamier! Dare I say play sticks are a little drier!

  • Bonnie

    Hi Muse! I suppose I will try this one–it sounds like it might be good for me and I love Tarte in general. I was actually going to ask you–my HG foundation was Fresh Umbrian Clay Foundation, and they have sadly discontinued it…do you think this might be an acceptable substitute, or do you know of something else that might be good for oily/acne-prone (yet also aging, yay!) skin? Thanks! Hope you’re having a great summer. πŸ™‚

    • Isabella Muse

      I’ve never tried Fresh Umbrian Clay Foundation so, I’m not sure if the formulas are alike at all. I don’t have a ton of experience with oil/acne prone skin but perhaps something from Clinique might be good like their Acne Solutions Liquid Makeup? Hope this helps!? So far, so good, weather is finally picking up hope yours is going nicely as well!

  • Moi

    Thank you for that review. I’ve not tried a stick foundation before, and so was happy to read your thoughts about Bobbi Brown and this one. I, too, have dry skin, so to hear that it didn’t cling to spots and gave your skin a glow, was nice to hear. Thanks, as always for your detailed reviews. Moi from Canada

    • Isabella Muse

      My pleasure, Moi! πŸ™‚ I hope you like it if you try it!

      • Moi

        Hey Isabella. Sephora just posted this morning that they’re giving a Deluxe sample of the Tarte foundation stick with orders. So perfect time to try, so placed my order and added that to the cart! Serendipity!