According to the cosmetics brand Tarte, one Tarte Shape Tape Contour Concealer is sold every 12 seconds. It’s that popular. I’ll admit it, I drank the Kool-aid. There is something special about Tarte Shape Tape concealer that makes it my go-to for covering those dreaded dark circles and blemishes on a daily basis. It has incredibly pigmented coverage that also targets discoloration and pigmentation.
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Tarte Shape Tape Contour Concealer is loved by many and as a result, other brands are trying to steal some of the spotlight with their own version of this cult-favorite beauty product. As an experiment, I tried four drugstore concealers to see if they could be drugstore alternatives for the iconic Shape Tape and was actually impressed with a few. But first, let’s talk about why Shape Tape is so popular.
First, the packaging. The tube is huge at .33 ounces and the extra-large doe concealer applicator holds quite a bit of concealer to make depositing it under your eyes a breeze.
Tarte Shape Tape is full coverage and creamy yet dries to a matte finish. It not only acts as a concealer but also can contour and highlight. It won’t flake or crease and provides illumination to the skin creating a lifted appearance.
Tarte Shape Tape is formulated with shea butter to support skin elasticity, mango seed butter for moisture and protection from free radical damages and licorice root extract for brightening dark circles and color correction. With these ingredients alone, the formula would be rich, but it also contains sunflower seed oil and olive fruit oil and a host of skin-conditioning plant extracts.
Color Matching and Under Eye Coverage
The most difficult part of this entire experiment was finding the best concealer shade for my skin tone. For reference, I use Shape Tape in Light-Medium. For this test, I focused on applying the concealers to my under eye area, since that area is my biggest concern, more so than blemishes or discoloration. Under my under eyes, I like to use a shade that is a bit lighter than my foundation shade to brighten up dark circles. The skin under my eyes has thinned as I have aged, so dark circles are a fixture on my face until I get the nerve to do something more permanent than makeup.
I had to try a few colors in some of these concealers to get the best match for my under eyes, so you’ll see the variety in shades that I purchased in the images below.
I’ve seen quite a few drugstore concealers advertised as drugstore alternatives to Tarte Shape Tape Concealer, so I purchased both newer launches and a few that have been around for a while.
There has been a lot of talk about e.l.f. 16HR Camo Concealer being an inexpensive alternative to Shape Tape with it’s up to 16 hours of wear. It’s packaged like Shape Tape with its extra-large doe applicator and large tube. It’s creamy pigmented formula is touted as a matte finish that won’t settle into fine lines. It comes in 18 shades and is full coverage.
I really liked the coverage of this concealer. It took a few tries to find a color that would work well under my eyes. I ended up purchasing 3 colors – see images above in Light Beige, Medium Peach and Medium Beige since those were the colors available at my local pharmacies. I settled on Medium Peach but Light Beige also worked.
Wet vs. Dry Formula
It’s crazy how the colors appear completely different when wet vs. when dry. I’ve never seen a cosmetics company provide wet/dry concealer swatch images like these. They show you every color in the range both wet and dry so that you can see the clear difference between the two for each color. As if it wasn’t confusing enough to find the right color!!
The only drawback to this concealer (which seems to be a running theme with most drugstore concealers) was the creasing and cracking. This formula didn’t hold up under my eyes in that respect. Perhaps the thinner formula lends itself more easily to creasing and cracking.
When Makeup Revolution launched it’s Conceal & Define Full Coverage Concealer it was quickly dubbed an inexpensive alternative to Shape Tape. The tube weighs in at less than half of the size of Shape Tape at .14 oz and the applicator is much smaller than Shape Tape. I actually like the smaller applicator which allows you to cover small blemishes and other imperfections easier.
The color range is a whopping 50 colors. As a result, I found the best color match of all the concealers I tested. I use C4 for light skin tones with a pink undertone. The coverage was nice but unfortunately, after a few hours of wear it felt dry and my under eye area started to show creasing. While it wasn’t my favorite for under eyes, I’m keeping this one handy for blemishes and small areas of discoloration or hyperpigmentation.
L’Oreal Infallible Full Wear More Than Concealer is a full coverage concealer than can be worn up to 24 hours. This matte finish concealer can be worn to hide imperfections as well as for contouring and highlighting.
L’Oreal suggests going 1-2 shades deeper than your usual color to contour. For highlighting and brightening, they suggest going 1-2 shades lighter. This concealer has an extra-large doe applicator and large tube just like Tarte Shape Tape. The waterproof formula is available in 25 shades.
I’m not sure about 24-hour wear, but I did find that this is a full coverage concealer that dries to a matte finish. Be sure to apply this sparingly, otherwise, you may see creasing and cracking if you have fine lines under your eyes. I like that the formula is highly pigmented, and this works best for my blemishes and discoloration.
COVERGIRL TruBlend Undercover Concealer is a lightweight concealer formulated to cover dark circles, bags, and other imperfections. It also has an extra-large doe applicator and tube similar to Shape Tape. It dries to a matte finish and comes in 30 shades to match 99% of skin tones.
I found a great color match to my overall face color in this concealer in M150 Buff Beige. As a result, the concealer was slightly darker than I’d prefer for under my eyes. I thought the coverage was medium. This also creased and cracked after a few hours, but less so than some of the other brands tested. I will continue using this concealer for touch-ups, blemishes, and other discoloration.
Although not reviewed for this experiment, my holy grail drugstore concealer continues to be Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Treatment Concealer. The coverage, color and wear really works for my under eye area. I use the color Light. As I’ve previously mentioned in this post on Drugstore Beauty Must-Haves, the only drawback is the cushion applicator. After removing the applicator, I dispense the product onto my fingers and then apply the concealer to my face. I know it’s not intended to be used this way, but it works for me.
Drugstore concealer formulas are so much improved from even a few years ago. I really like the larger applicators (for under-eye application) and the larger tubes. Unfortunately, none of the drugstore concealers had the super creamy application of Shape Tape. As a result, I saw more creasing and cracking since the formulas were drier and more matte.
I loved the color of Makeup Revolution and I liked the coverage of L’Oreal and e.l.f. CoverGirl had less creasing than the others. Did I find a drugstore product to replace Tarte Shape Tape Concealer for under my eyes? Not quite, but these formulas are good and I will definitely keep them on hand for touch-ups, blemishes, discoloration, and pigmentation.