Review: Tarte Clean Slate Primer $30 for 1.16 oz

Since I am on the hunt for a natural primer, I also checked out Tarte’s Clean Slate.

I really enjoy the feel of silicone-based primers. They just seem to work, slide on better, and do the job.

Being a fan of Smashbox’s Primer for a while now, I figured it was the closest match.

What it is formulated WITHOUT:

– Parabens
– Sulfates
– Synthetic Fragrances
– Synthetic Dyes
– Petro-Chemicals
– Phthalates

The Good Things:

  • Feels JUST like a Smashbox Primer going on (same slippery feel)
  • Cheaper than Smashbox by $9 and you get 0.17oz more to boot
  • My skin looked instantly dewy and soft, rather than shiny and oily

The Bad Things:

  • Umm…….? It has silicones in it?

Tarte versus Smashbox

For the most part, it looks like the Tarte Clean Slate has more oils from fruits and flowers than Smashbox.

The two major ingredients that cannot be removed are Cyclomethicone and Dimethicone Crosspolymer — those are the silicones that give that great, slippery feel to the primer and make them work so well.

Tarte is also paraben-free, which is a plus.

The In-Depth Verdict:

I covered my face half with Tarte’s Clean Slate on the right, and Korres Vitamin E Cream Primer on the left.

It feels much less oily than the Korres side, I also don’t feel it being as heavy on my skin.

When I move my face, I can almost feel the Korres side pulling with the weight of the product on there, but the Tarte side feels light and free.

The real test came when I put on the Bare Escentuals.

Both sides looked perfectly dewy with the Bare Escentuals on.

In fact, Tarte Clean Slate seemed to do slightly worse, but maybe it’s just because that side of my face is not as smooth and poreless as the other.

So far, after 4 hours, both look fine.

No makeup has melted off, and both sides of my face look a little shiny, probably from the SPF moisturizer I have underneath.

I did notice that the Tarte side seemed to have hold on the blush just a tad better, but it might be just be as a result of my amateur makeup application skills.

The first application of the Tarte Clean Slate, made my skin feel and look less shiny, but now when I look in the mirror, both sides of my face look exactly the same.

When I rub my cheeks, the left side with the Korres is slightly oilier which I am not a fan of.

No makeup has melted off, and both sides of my face look a little shiny, probably from the SPF moisturizer I have underneath.

I think Tarte is great if you want something that is…

  • slightly cheaper as a natural primer, in comparison with Korres
  • significantly cheaper than Smashbox’s Photo Finish Primer
  • going to feel exactly like Smashbox’s Photo Finish Primer (silicone to fill in the lines)
  • won’t make your skin feel oily to the touch after application
  • want something that is not a cream that will absorb into your skin

I think Tarte is not to hot if you…

  • are uncomfortable with silicones
  • want something with vitamin E, jojoba oil and all this other great-for-skin stuff
  • don’t moisturize beforehand (moot point for me, I need SPF on my skin at all times)


(I ended up buying the Tarte Clean Slate primer)

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.