Tarte’s Pricey Influencer Trip Sparks Debate

You may be looking for a career change after this.


Makeup brand Tarte shelled-out to fly top beauty and lifestyle content-creators out for luxurious Dubai getaway. The US-based company provided each influencer with a business-class Emirates flight to Dubai, a luxury villa at the Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach, free makeup products, and a plus one. 



While fans of the lucky influencers invited may be happy for the influx of travel vlogs, critics have suggested this trip was “tone-deaf” in the cost-of-living crisis. 

Alix Earle, a UMiami student turned internet starlet with four million TikTok followers, posted from her luxury villa. “My jaw dropped when I saw this room,” said Earle, “ It was so decked out.”  Beauty influencers Monet McMicheal and Meredith Duxbury also posted from the trip, with Tarte likely eager to partner with today’s most influential beauty creators. 

@alixearle Beyond grateful to do this .. I love you all. Thank you #trippinwithtarte #dubai #umiami ♬ Sia - Xeptemper

While many struggle to heat their homes this winter, Tarte’s extravagance strikes many as unrelatable in this economic climate, leaving some with a bad impression of the brand. To many, one influencer’s three-day vacation could equal university tuition, a new house, or an escape from debt. The expense of one return plane ticket, as pointed out by Vogue Business, is $13,254.

“Am I the only one who thinks this is a really weird marketing move from Tarte?” asked TikToker Lindsay Borow. “It makes me not want to use Tarte.”

@lblikes #stitch with @christineabrahamm ♬ original sound - Lindsay Borow

The Tarte CEO, Maureen Kelly, is aware of the backlash. “We’ve never done traditional advertising, and instead, we invest in building relationships and building up communities,”  the CEO and founder said in a statement. To companies like Tarte, the money spent on influencer marketing is simply a drop in the bucket. 

Content creators can’t be faulted for seizing opportunities, especially when internet fame is such a finite commodity. However, many call for brands to simply read the room. 

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