Tarte’s Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder.
At over $30 a container, it’s not the cheapest powder out there but it’s the best one I've found when it comes to delivering a long-lasting matte finish. In my experience, most loose powders start off great, giving me the soft, shine-free look that I'm after. But then, an hour or two into my day, the shine starts returning and by the end of a work day, I look like I never even applied powder in the first place.
But that’s not the case when I use this product. While it doesn't keep me completely shine free for eight hours, it does make it to the four-five mark, which it better than any other product I've tried. And even once the shine does start creeping in, it does so at a reduced rate. While I don’t agree with Tarte’s statement that this product “…mattifies skin by removing excess surface oil” (how would it remove the oil and where would that oil go) I will say that it does, for the most part, successfully absorb oil, resulting in a mostly shine-free face.
Now, I do need to point out that I've yet to test this product in a Toronto summer. But I'm really hoping that it can hold its own in humid, 40+ weather because in addition to loving its shine-fighting powers, I also love how this product feels and looks.
Its fine, silky texture makes it a breeze to apply while its translucent colour means that I can use it year-round without having to worry about whether or not the shade is too light or dark for my skin. I know a lot of people are hesitant to use translucent powders because they are worried about ending up with a chalky or just plain odd looking complexion but I didn't run into either of those issues when using this product. Instead, what I always end up with is a soft, smooth finish that is perfectly matte (though I should add that I do have pale skin so appearing “ghostly” isn't really a risk for me).
I also love that like all Tarte products, this one is free of triclosan, parabens and phthalates, among other things.
What it does contain is mostly silica and kaolin, the latter item being of course a fancy word for clay. I have no idea if this clay is actually from the Amazon, I just know that it does a great job of mattifying my skin.
Tarte touts that it has other benefits and that it “…acts as a total skin balancer, by hydrating all skin types, reducing the appearance of dry, flaky skin, improving clarity and texture,” While it certainly doesn't highlight dry, flaky skin (or fine lines for that matter), like some powders can, I don’t think its preventing these or any other skin care issues (besides of course shine). But really, that’s fine by me because this product excels at its primary job, which is: “…keep(ing) makeup in place and diffuse(ing) imperfections.”
Would I buy this product: Yes! While it’s not cheap, it does the job and a little goes a very long way.
Should you buy this product: Yes! Though if you have darker skin, it’s probably best to test this product out first, just in case it’s not quite as transparent as it claims to be.
Also, as a side note, I noticed that some people have complained online about getting this powder out of its container. I'm still working on my deluxe sample (like I said, a little goes a long way) so I can’t comment on this issue since I don’t have an actual container yet.