tarte Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation in Light Neutral

tarte — Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation (Light Neutral) Review

Last month, I jumped on tarte’s Custom Beauty Kit deal and chose their Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation as part of my set.

From tarte:

A poreless, full coverage gel foundation with skin-smoothing hyaluronic acid.

tarte only offered a limited number of foundation shades as part of the deal (which strikes me as very odd, as wouldn’t you want as many people as possible to be able to try out your foundation during such a sale?). Luckily, I was able to find what I thought would be a good match in Light Neutral, which is described as light with pink and yellow undertones.

I’m about an NC25–30, but there was no Light-Medium Neutral, and Medium Neutral looked too deep. Normally I would also have gone with Light Sand instead, which is light with yellow undertones, but I found myself having issues with too-yellow foundations of late, so I went with the neutral shade, instead. I can’t remember whether Light Sand was one of the sale options, either.

So, before the foundation arrived, I was worried that Light Neutral might be too light (as I often find myself in between the Light and Light-Medium shades of foundations) and too pink/peach.

tarte Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation in Light Neutral

I swatched it when it arrived, and on the back of my hand, it did appear a bit too beige for my skintone (though happily, not too pink nor too peach):

tarte Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation in Light Neutral, swatch

I had to remind myself, however, that my hands have gotten a bit tanner now that it’s spring/summer, and also a little more yellow-toned than my face.

Here it is spread out a little more on my hand:

tarte Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation in Light Neutral, swatch

tarte Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation in Light Neutral, swatch

I initially did not love the texture of the foundation. It has a gel-like texture, as advertised, which felt a little “wet” and cool—and didn’t seem to sink very well into the skin.

But, of course, hand skin is not the same as face skin, so I was still eager to try it on properly.

The Color

I love Light Neutral! I really did not expect this, but it is a really good match for my skintone. I guess I was not far off when I was feeling annoyed about some of my other foundations looking too yellow.

The Texture & Application

While the gel texture feels lovely and luxurious, I don’t especially like the way it sort of sits on top of my dry skin. It doesn’t meld in nicely. I have found that it looks a lot better if I’ve used more layers of moisturizer, first, so that’s what I have to remember to do whenever I use this. It’s a bit annoying since I don’t like to use as many layers in the morning, now that it’s summer.

I have also decided that this foundation looks best used with a dry/drier makeup sponge (I use a beautyblender) or simply applied with fingers. I have not tried a makeup brush, but with a damp sponge, this foundation streaks badly. I think it works best patted on with a dry sponge, so it won’t streak. You also use less product that way, so win-win. If you can finally get the foundation to apply smoothly and evenly, it does give you a very pretty satin finish. Not too matte, not too shiny!

The Coverage

I’m not sure I’d call it full coverage, but it is definitely a good medium coverage foundation. It’s not very layerable, though I guess you could try getting sheerer coverage out of it by mixing it with a moisturizer.

The Wear Time

I don’t know if this is because I’m wearing it on top of a serum (or two) + moisturizer + sunscreen, but it just doesn’t set. Touch it and it wipes away. So this means I also have to set it with some face powder—which, to be fair, I tend to do, anyway. But then it loses that nice satin finish. I could possibly try a primer underneath, but I’ll be damned if I have to add another layer to my face just to use this foundation.

Longevity is not something I usually worry about too much with foundation, due to having drier skin. Yet, this foundation doesn’t wear very well on me. After about six hours, it starts to look weird: like it’s unevening itself all over my face. This is both with and without powder on top. It’s not horrid—it doesn’t make me look like the swamp monster or something—but it’s definitely not a long-lasting formula on me.

The Packaging

Finally, let’s just talk a little bit about the packaging. The jar is glass and the lid has a lovely design on it—as usual, tarte’s package design is beautiful!

tarte Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation in Light Neutral

I don’t think jar packaging is ideal for foundations, though, mostly because it’s a little unhygienic, messy, and clumsy to use. The texture of this foundation would easily lend itself to a squeeze tube, which obviously doesn’t look and feel as luxurious as a glass jar, but it would be the most functional.

My Verdict

I’m happy enough to use up this foundation, especially since I love the color match for my skin. I just need to remember to touch it up more often. But the formula simply isn’t right for my skin type and I would not repurchase it.

The very good color match does make me want to try the same shade in other tarte foundations, though!

The Ingredients

For the shades fair-light neutral, light sand, light neutral, light-medium beige, light-medium honey, medium honey, medium neutral, medium-tan honey, tan sand, deep sand:
Water/Aqua/Eau, dimethicone, octyldodecyl neopentanoate, glycerin, SD alcohol 40-B (alcohol denat.), butylene glycol, PEG/PPG-18/18 dimethicone, stearic acid, aluminum hydroxide, glyceryl polyacrylate, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, glycosphingolipids, hordeum vulgare extract, rosa canina fruit extract, nylon-12, kaolin, sodium hyaluronate, sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer, caprylic/capric triglyceride, palmitic acid, atelocollagen, zea mays (corn) starch, hydrolyzed corn starch octenylsuccinate, hydrolyzed corn starch, pentylene glycol, disteardimonium hectorite, methyl diisopropyl propionamide, ethyl menthane carboxamide, menthyl lactate, lauryl laurate, pentaerythrityl tetraisostearate, silica dimethyl silylate, sodium chondroitin sulfate, acrylates crosspolymer, triethoxycaprylylsilane, methicone, dextrin palmitate, xanthan gum, sodium chloride, disodium EDTA, sodium dehydroacetate, ethylhexylglycerin, hexylene glycol, caprylyl glycol, phenoxyethanol, mica. (+/-): Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), iron oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499)

For the shades porcelain, fair beige, light-medium sand, medium sand, medium-tan sand, mahogany, deep honey, chestnut:
Water/Aqua/Eau, dimethicone, glycerin, PEG/PPG-18/18 dimethicone, octyldodecyl neopentanoate, butylene glycol, SD alcohol 40-B (alcohol denat.), aluminum hydroxide, stearic acid, alcohol, acrylates crosspolymer, atelocollagen, caprylic/capric triglyceride, caprylyl glycol, dextrin palmitate, disodium EDTA, disteardimonium hectorite, ethyl menthane carboxamide, ethylhexylglycerin, glyceryl polyacrylate, glycosphingolipids, hexylene glycol, hordeum vulgare extract, hydrated silica, hydrolyzed corn starch, hydrolyzed corn starch octenylsuccinate, kaolin, lauryl laurate, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, menthyl lactate, methicone, methyl diisopropyl propionamide, mica, nylon-12, palmitic acid, pentaerythrityl tetraisostearate, pentylene glycol, phenoxyethanol, rosa canina fruit extract, silica dimethyl silylate, sodium chloride, sodium chondroitin sulfate, sodium dehydroacetate, sodium hyaluronate, sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer, triethoxycaprylylsilane, xanthan gum, zea mays (corn) starch. (+/-): Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), iron oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499)

formulated without parabens, formulated without mineral oil, formulated without phthalates, formulated without sodium lauryl sulfates, formulated without gluten

tarte Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation in Light Neutral, label


tarte Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation contains 1.0 fl oz / 30 mL and retails for US$39/CA$51. It is made in the USA. tarte is cruelty-free.

tarte was founded by Maureen Kelly in 2000. The company is based in New York, NY, USA.

🇺🇸Made in USA
🇺🇸Company based in USA

9 thoughts on “tarte — Empowered Hybrid Gel Foundation (Light Neutral) Review

  1. Too bad that it didn’t work since the Shape Tape has taken over the beauty world!
    Anyways, wasn’t annoying picking product off of the tub?


  2. The colour looks pretty good – not too peachy. I often worry about that with non-Asian brands.
    Hmm the formula sounds tricky though. I’m not a fan of foundations that don’t dry down. Maybe this is better as a winter foundation?
    The packaging is eye catching but yeah… tubs aren’t the best. I have that Revlon creme foundation in the tub – I really like the foundation but not the packaging so much.


  3. I love the packaging of this and how compact it looks but I agree with you, a jar foundation does seem unhygienic. The colour seemed like a good match for you 🙂


  4. That is really too bad that it just doesn’t seem to dry down! I hate that feeling on my skin.
    It does seem like a good colour match for you though. Maybe it will be better as a winter foundation?


  5. How annoying that it just sat on top of your skin – I would have expected a gel to absorb and melt into your skin. I have combo skin that leans to more dry and I always have great results with gel moisturizers so I would have assumed this would have worked well. Pretty packaging though!


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