Influencer “Trippin’ With Tarte” trip stirs controversy

Photo credit:, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

From Netflix’s new series “Dubai Bling” to Beyonce’s private exclusive concert, it’s no doubt that Dubai has made its presence in American news headlines. In the beauty world, a group of influencers — including senior Alix Earle — were recruited by Tarte Cosmetics for a luxurious trip.

From Jan. 18-19, the $74 million company hosted a “Trippin’ With Tarte” influencer trip to Dubai, UAEs. Influencer trips aren’t new to Tarte. In 2018, the brand hosted trips to both Costa Rica and Bora Bora with influencers, such as singer Mahogany LOX and YouTuber Eva Gutowski.

While some fans enjoyed seeing their favorite influencers collaborate in an extravagant location, the trips raised eyebrows. Some questioned the act of flying influencers — not makeup artists —round trip in the business class seats. Staying in an expensive hotel with private villas where they recorded “get ready with me” videos for their millions of followers without featuring any Tarte products simply did not add up.

The goal of #trippinwithtarte was to step outside of the norm of product launches.

“[We created] an intimate, open space for content creators, so that they could get to know the brand, they could get to know Maureen [CEO of Tarte Cosmetics] and they could really discover the products more organically and in a meaningful way,” Chief Marketing Officer of Tarte Cosmetics, Samantha Klein, said.

Unlike previous trips with Tarte, the influencers did not connect with the brand in Dubai. TikTok viewers did not feel influenced to purchase any Tarte products after this elaborate collaboration as the influencers did not feature any Tarte products in their videos.

In a viral TikTok video criticizing the trip, Tiktok user @gacourson said, “The girls talking about everything but Tarte makeup on this trip has been killing me.”

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Other users online expressed similar sentiments.

“I love how they don’t use Tarte and mention every other brand under the sun,” TikTok user @hannah1985_ said on the same video.

Fans and critics alike have been suspecting a bigger plot that may be brewing behind the scenes of Tarte Cosmetics. Is this extravagant trip just a big distraction from a scam? Some skeptical of the company’s marketing motives believe that this may be a way for Tarte to have a significant write-off on their taxes..

Additionally, the $74 million-dollar company has a long way to go when it comes to earning their consumers’ trust regarding diversity and inclusion.

“It’s never predominantly Black women or of a darker shade — it’s always somebody who’s mixed. I’m kind of numb to it to be honest. I hope to see more diverse shades of Black women, all shades,” sophomore public health major Guemara Marcelin said.

Like Marcelin, fans hope to see more inclusion when it comes to representation in influencers selected to promote their products and enjoy luxurious free vacations.