Never under estimate the powers of snazzy marketing cushioned by rave social media hype because that's exactly how I got absolutely obsessed with getting my hands on this Tarte Rainforest of the Sea foundation. It had all the right adjectives; lightweight, full coverage, hydration boosting plus a selection of shades based on undertones – yup, I was hunted this down in every local Sephora in town until I finally made the purchase online. Now the true test is winning me over in real life but things aren't always what they seem...
Product: Rainforest of the Sea Foundation
Shades: 21 Shades (shown: Fair-Light Neutural)
Price: $39 USD / $51 CAD
Details: Made in Korea
Would I repurchase: Probably not.
This is a creamy yet fluid foundation that has a serum like consistency to the touch yet dries to a soft matte finish. The dropper style dispensing system not only works well with the formula but I also secretly wish that all foundations went this route because it keeps the product hygienic as well as giving me ample control over how much I want to use each time. There is an ever so slight scent from the actual ingredients but no additional fragrance. The overall design and aesthetic is on trend without being garish plus that purple and gold ombre theme just looks beautifully stylish paired with the slim frosted glass bottle.
This Rainforest of the Sea foundation imparts a light to medium finish with a water light feel yet a natural looking matte finish that does not need to powdered. For best results, I recommend starting off with very well moisturized skin and tap on using your fingers, a beauty blender or an oval type brush with dense bristles. This formula dries down pretty quickly so work swiftly and focus on one area of the face at a time. My pick of the shade Fair-Light Neutral (fair to light skin with yellow and pink undertones) seemed to be a great match for my skin tone as the next shade Fair-Sand might just be a little to yellow. I'm impressed with the thought that Tarte put into their shade selection based on undertones so that even if you had to purchase online (as I did since it was perpetually sold out in my local Sephoras), you can still get an easy match. None of those silly sudo terms like Alabaster or Sunkissed Beige which granted can be entirely different things from brand to brand.
With all the technical information aside, this foundation really threw me in for a trip because it's a love-hate, kinda but not, this yet that type of product. Essentially, I've worked out that you need to have slightly oily, evenly textured, smooth skin in order to love this product and here's why:
- It does not sit well over the tiniest bit of flaky skin.
- It catches over dry patches or exfoliate really well.
- It looks great as a single or double layer but building additional layer towards full coverage makes it look heavy and cakey. So its never going to be a beautiful looking full coverage on my skin.
- Works best in controlled environments with little temperature fluctuations, ideally mild to slightly colder seasons.
BEFORE | AFTER
Essentially, this is why it took me so long to write up a review because I kept hoping it would be better if I tried it again. When my skin was a little worse, this foundation looked quite unforgiving and while it does look better now that my skin is also in a good phase, it's still not wow-ing me.
What really left me flustered with this foundation is that despite its serum texture, it really isn't a great one to use alone if you have skin texture issue, dehydration lines, pore issues and the like. Of course, a primer might help smooth over the issues but I prefer to rate my foundations as stand alone items. I also noticed that wear time is only about 4 hours before it started to break up on my forehead and wrinkle up around the corners of my eyes despite it being the middle of winter and I was only going for a few hours on a grocery trip. I can't imagine how this would be in the heat of summer. Granted, it never got as far as a complete mess and my face stayed at that same level of broken down until about the 6th hour when I decided it was uncomfortable and took it off. Fortunately, this didn't cause any breakouts or clogged pores, seems sensitive skin friendly and actually appeared to leave my skin a little hydrated after removal.
THE FINAL VERDICT
Tarte's Rainforest of the Sea foundation is a lightweight, light to medium coverage slightly buildable foundation that imparts a very pretty naturally matte finish if with used with a light hand. It does a much better job of hiding skin tone unevenness and colour corrections tasks than covering skin texture but it does catch on dry patches easily so do prep extremely well with a primer/moisturizer or skip this altogether if that's your main concern. For most people, a powder is not necessary which cuts you that extra minute in the morning. I'd recommend this for those who work in an office environment and as a springtime foundation. While many of its likeable properties makes it a favourite for some, unfortunately, it's not the right one for me.