Will You Take a Shine to the Tarte Amazonian Clay Powder and Brush Set?

Published in: Makeup, Product Reviews

About half of the time back in college when I’d go to the library to “study,” I’d actually fall asleep with my face in a book. I’d wake up, peel my face from the paper, and look down to see huge oil spots on the page.


Gross, I know. πŸ™‚

Ah, well… if I’d only known about the Tarte Smooth Operator Micronized Clay Finishing Powder and Brush Set, the one with the power of PM20 ($38, available exclusively through QVC.com).

If I’d had this colorless loose powder and soft, synthetic bristle powder brush with me back then, the only spots on my books would have been from bits of greasy fried chicken (because everyone knows studying chem is more fun with junk food), and NOT my oily skin.

Lately I’ve been dusting the powder on my face to set my foundation and concealer, and it works, keeping the oiliest spots on my forehead and nose matte for a solid eight hours.

The powder contains Tarte’s new favorite ingredient, Amazonian Clay, but it doesn’t contain parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, mineral oil, petrolatum, synthetic fragrance or pthlalates.

And like all of Tarte’s products, both the powder and brush are cruelty-free. πŸ™‚

If you’re not interested in the brush, you can also get the powder all by itself at Sephora for $28.

The only issue I have with the set is actually with Tarte over their claim about “PM20 technology,” which they say reduces the number and size of pores by 20% after four weeks. I haven’t used it that long yet, so I can’t contradict them, but, even if I had been using it for a month, I wouldn’t even know how to measure something like that. I looked and couldn’t find any links to back the claim on either the Tarte or QVC website.


It would be more convincing if Tarte included some numbers to back it up.

Still, I think the duo does a really good job. When it comes to keeping skin matte and shine-free, it’s almost great.

PRICE: $38
AVAILABILITY: Exclusively at QVC.com

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 65 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. Tiffany says:

    Is the brush soft? It looks nice and soft!

  2. AnieJ says:

    It looks cool, but I’m not sold on this powder vs./over others. Think I’ll stick to finishing up all the finishing powder I have around already…
    AnieJ recently posted … elf Tools I Might Never Live Without Again

  3. Rachael says:

    Could this be the Holy grail for those with oily skin???

  4. steph b says:

    Sounds interesting. How does performance compare to Blot or Prep + Prime powder?

    • Karen says:

      It looks slightly less airbrushed on the skin at first, but the difference isn’t visible unless you’re really, really looking.

      I’ve also yet to test this powder in the long-run, so I’m still not sure if it will break me out (knock on wood). The fact that I can wear MAC Blot and Prep+Prime without having to worry about zits one huge reason why I always go back to both…

  5. Tracy says:

    Boy, Tarte has some amazing new stuff, hey? My daughter has oily skin-I think she might like this a lot!
    Tracy recently posted … Lancome Magique Blush Vs Maybelline Dream Mousse Blush

  6. Rae says:

    This set looks fab – thanks for reviewing it! 8 hours of a matte finish sounds pretty darn good to me πŸ˜€ I’ll have to check it out sometime!
    Rae recently posted … Ride off into the Sunset Coral with Clarins

  7. Nina says:

    that brush is lovely! tarte is coming out with some awesome stuff! πŸ™‚

    • Karen says:

      I’m kindasortaobsessed with the brush. It’s soft, the brush head’s a good size and it’s cruelty free. πŸ™‚

      • Nina says:

        its kinda sad that there is no brush only option like the powder only option.

        that brush kinda reminds me of the sephora number 55 but smaller and more compact. and cruelty free.

        i guess im buying the set, huh? πŸ˜€

        • Karen says:

          You’re so funny. I like your makeup logic!

          I looked around three different websites (Tarte, Sephora and the QVC one) and couldn’t find the brush on its own. The closest is this Powder Foundation brush, but it’s kind of hard to tell how big the brush head is from this end. The barrel is also sliver, not gold. It still looks similar though: Tarte Powder Foundation Brush.

          Unfortunately it’s $32, which isn’t as good a deal as the brush/powder set.

          • Nina says:

            i also used my google fu powers to find the brush on its own … but to no avail!

            so yeah — i think i should buy the set. πŸ˜›

        • Emma says:

          You could try the Eco tools blusher brush (this one looks to be a similar size). It’s super soft and cruelty free and I love it. I got mine at Target but I know Ulta also stocks it and amazon.com.

  8. Amy says:

    I’ve been using this for a couple of months now and I really, really like it. I haven’t had any breakouts (and I tend to be prone). Now I want to try the new Tarte Luster lipstains and the Amazonian blushes- both are on the Sephora website but not in stores yet…

  9. Umm hello it’s only $38 and that brush is enough for me to buy it. πŸ™‚

  10. Shannon says:

    I’m really nervous with regard to setting powders. They have a tendancy to make my poors actually look larger πŸ™

  11. I don’t know about the powder, but the brush looks incredibly nice and soft!
    Antonia at Swedish Love Affair recently posted … This is not a fashion blog

  12. Maggie says:

    I’ve been using this for about four months now and it did wonders for me while I was at the beach! My only issue is the packaging. I knew that little screen with one hole in it was going to be a nightmare as soon as I got it home. Once you get the powder down to half of the container or less you’re tilting and shaking the thing all over the place, inevitably wasting half of what you get out down the bathroom sink. πŸ™

    • Shannon says:

      Did it help with pore size – enough that you noticed?

    • Karen says:

      Glad to hear this is worthy of wearing to the beach, Maggie! What kind of skin do you have?

      • Maggie says:

        I haven’t really notice any shift in my pore size, but it sets my makeup so well that I still love it.

        And I’ve got combination oily/dry skin. On the beach my forehead and nose are usually shiny in about twenty minutes but this stuff was great! Half the time I didn’t even wear makeup with it. πŸ™‚

  13. Chris25 says:

    Hmm, I was considering buying MAC Blot Powder, but now Tarte has me entranced…..
    Chris25 recently posted … MAC Deep Truth- Cork- and Charcoal Brown Swatches &amp Comparisons

  14. Meghan says:

    I love the brush!!
    Meghan recently posted … Clinique Milly Pretty in Prints

  15. Britany B. says:

    I’m looking for something to shrink the large pores on my cheeks. πŸ™
    I also have rosacea. Help Karen :'( Pwease.

  16. Alison says:

    I’ve been using this powder for probably around 6 months now, and I really like it a lot! And I’m the kind of girl who just *looks* at a new face product and breaks out. πŸ™‚ I like that it works AND is gentle on my poor skin. But I’ve got to agree with you about all Tarte’s wacked-out, seemingly un-proveable claims. Don’t they also say that their one mascara will make your lashes look 424% thicker? That’s quite an exact number! Haha, oh well… I still love ’em.

  17. LC says:

    There’s no such thing as reducing the number of pores! We have however many pores we have, and that’s that. A product may reduce the *appearance* of pore *size*, but not the number of pores. (Bugs me no end when companies claim such a thing.)

  18. Rosa says:

    Ok, so you like the tarte powder, and you like mac blot for travel. But if jou had to choose just one, ignoring the travel handiness, which one is the absolute best?

  19. Sri says:

    other than Amazonian Clay, is the powder possibly contains Silicon (or any Silica related)?
    Silicon/silica can cause acne on my face πŸ™
    -but I’m still looking for good primer though ;D-

  20. irini says:

    Is it good for normal to dry skins?
    Also, do you have any good foundation recommendations from tarte?
    irini recently posted … the trooper

  21. irini says:

    Do you think it would work for normal to dry skin?Also,do you have any good tarte recommendations?:)
    irini recently posted … the trooper

  22. Kim says:

    I was really surprised by the powder being white. I don’t know why – I just assumed it would be beige. It’s giving me a baking powder vibe in the jar. πŸ™‚ That said, 8 hours of oil control is great. And I know I keep saying this but I’m pretty hot on Tarte because of Smooth Operator. I might have to check this out when the weather heats up and the oil slick begins on my face!

    • Karen says:

      After you mentioned it the other day I dug out my tube and placed it in my everyday makeup stash. It’s such a great product… I need to wear it more often.

      Tarte is one FIRE this spring!

      • Kim says:

        I agree – you’ve had some great product reviews for them! My Sephora order came in yesterday so I have my full size of Smooth Operator. I also have Yeyo on today (yay!). Just in the corners – I’m starting out cautiously.

        And on a sort of funny note, I chose 1 Million as one of the samples. I like it but the Hubs didn’t realize it was a spray cap so when he tried to pull it off, it splashed us. For the rest of the night, I was sniffing us both to see if I could detect a note of “sweat”. Thanks, guest-poster Sam. πŸ™‚

  23. I want the brush! Do you know if they sell the brush by itself?
    Beautiful Canvas recently posted … Soft and Romantic Look for Valentine

  24. Erin says:

    that’s so cool you took chem class, lol I hated it…………I can def understand why you would fall asleep. But yes, would you recommend this or the MUFE HD microfinish powder for setting makeup? I have combo/oily skin

  25. Eileen says:

    I’m I the only one who is disturbed by Tarte’s scientifically impossible claim that it has a “20% reduction in size & NUMBER (my caps) of pores after 4 weeks”. No powder can reduce the number of pores your skin has. There are many excellent powders that, when buffed in, will make the pores look smaller or non-existent if they were small to begin with, but actually eliminate them? Nah! Nor would you want to reduce the number of pores your skin has. They’re necessary to the health and function of the skin. I’d be surprised if Tarte is not reported for false advertising. What Tarte probably meant was that there would be a 20% reduction on the number of visible pores, but still . . .

  26. Deb says:

    I am appalled at the claim for the reduction in size and number of pores. Shame on Tarte. Pore size and an individuals’ number of pores is the result of many factors: genetics, aging, etc. And there is not a finishing powder (or any other makeup product) on the market that can change that. A product may claim to change the “appearance” of said pores…but the actual genetic structure of the skin…..I think not. This kind of stuff really makes me mad. It’s misleading and irresponsible. If Tarte can provide reputable medical research to back this up, then I will stand corrected. Until then, I will continue to believe every dermatologist I’ve ever discussed pores with. And I’ve had several because my pores suck! This makes me so mad, I’ve decided that Tarte will never get a dime from me. I don’t care how good their products are.

    • Eileen says:

      Hi Deb. Eileen here. I e-mailed a complaint to Tarte’s marketing department today to let them know that some of us were on to their fraudulent and misleading advertising. I’m surprised more of the people commenting on the product didn’t seem to notice anything amiss.

  27. AjoyC says:

    I have been reading and loving your blog for a while now, but this is my first comment. I agree with you…I don’t think there is actually any way to reduce the number of pores a person has. It may be more accurate to say it reduces the size and appearance of pores but not actually the pores themselves. Just a thought….

  28. Deb says:

    Eileen, thanks. Good idea. I will do the same. I’m surprised as well. Ladies, pay attention please to what companies are trying to sell you….and do your research. Don’t let them cheat you out of your money by making claims they can’t deliver on!

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