Tarte Cosmetics denies using a filter in ad, fans remain unconvinced

Tarte Cosmetics is facing backlash after customers accused the company of using a filter on an ad for its newest product drop.

In the ad in question — an Instagram Reels video posted by Tarte Cosmetics — a woman close to the camera applies what is presumed to be Tarte’s new Timeless Smoothing Primer while a voiceover describes the product as “like a filter, without a filter.”

But fans of the brand have started to complain that they noticed a filter being used to smooth the appearance of the model’s skin in the ad. Tarte has since deleted the video from its Instagram, but plenty of screen recordings of the clip have circulated on TikTok and Twitter.

According to BuzzFeed News, a spokesperson from Tarte said, “We can confirm that a filter was not used in this video and we did not retouch it in any way.”

However, some Instagram users began posting slow-motion versions of the ad in which they claimed the filter was more apparent.

One of these users was makeup artist Kait Kelly. “You can see the blur filter activate and deactivate,” she captioned her slowed-down version of the video on TikTok.


Proof of #tartecosmetics using a blurring filter on this “unfiltered video”. Slow mo is powerful 😅 U can see the blur filter activate on and off.

♬ Oh No (Instrumental) – Kreepa

James Welsh, a skin care influencer with over 1.3 million subscribers on YouTube, reposted Kelly’s video in a tweet and called it “awful.”

“This is not allowed,” he said. “And shouldn’t be allowed. Her face/skin literally glitches.”

The Tarte spokesperson credited the “glitch” to the company’s production team working from home, telling BuzzFeed News, “a lot of our team is still working from home part-time, so our team member shot this at home using a ring light and her iPhone, which will automatically go in and out of focus depending on what’s at the forefront of the video.”

iPhones do have a passive autofocus feature, meaning the iPhone camera determines the proper focus point by analyzing the surroundings with a camera sensor. If the surroundings keep changing, the camera will adjust. However, there is a way to turn this off.

Later on, Tarte released another video on its page to combat rumors that it had used a filter.

“No filter!” the video claims. “While nothing out there can ACTUALLY shrink our pores, our Timeless Smoothing Primer does a lot to help blur their appearance and can be used under or over (like Shanna did here!) your makeup.”

The company also announced it would give away 100 primers to select followers who commented on the post, but viewers still seemed unconvinced and disappointed.

“This looks nothing like the first video though,” someone wrote. “I’m disappointed in Tarte’s marketing department tbh. Honesty is integrity.”

“The first video there was def a filter,” another added. “Why not post the real thing to start off with?”

“If it was not a filter, why [did you] delete that video?” a commenter asked.

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