Food Babe Selling “Dangerous” Items: Tarte Blush

(Updated 22 Oct 2015 10:30pm)  When caught in the act, Vani Hari occasionally quietly pulls a product from her lineup without explanation.  She appears to have done that with the Tarte Blush described in this article.  Below is a screen snapshot of her shopping page, taken today, with a big red “X” marking the spot where the Tarte Blush was removed.

Compare it to the shopping page snapshot in the article, below, and ask yourself what happened to Food Babe’s new policy on transparency?  Where’s her retraction?  She’s been selling this product for years… 😦    (click photo to enlarge)

now you see it no you don't

Food Babe quietly deleted this product from her lineup sometime after being called out on its sale in my . She continues to sell other items mentioned in that article. (click/enlarge)


Begin original article:

We’ve already once caught Vani Hari (the Food Babe) falsely claiming that vitamin A (retinyl palmitate) causes cancer while at the same time earning a sales commission on a skin care product that contains vitamin A.1

Would she make the same mistake twice?

Yes.  And this one is mind boggling.

First, let’s refresh our memories on Hari’s vitamin A claims.  Here’s a telling Facebook post:2

food babe facebook vitamin a


And from her web site, we have this:3

food babe web site vitamin a


With that out of the way, it’ time to go shopping at Food Babe’s online store.

Oh, that Tarte Blush looks nice!4

tarte blush on

Tarte Blush on Note the encrypted affiliate link. Click image to enlarge.


You can see from the encrypted affiliate link that she earns a sales commission if you buy this item.

But… I wonder what’s in the blush?

The answer isn’t on  Tarte doesn’t list the ingredients there.5  But some digging on the company web site eventually provided an answer:

My apologies, but Tarte goes at this a little awkwardly.  They’re so proud of their ingredients that they list them first.  You must choose an ingredient from a list to see all the products that contain it.  In other words, you can’t just click a product to see what it’s made of.  You must scan a web page for “vitamin A”, then click “vitamin A” to learn where Tarte uses it.  Geez!

Anyway, sure enough, Tarte has products that contain vitamin A.  Unlike Food Babe, they LOVE this ingredient…6

tarte cosmetics vitamin a

The official Tarte Cosmetics web site sings the praises of vitamin A (retinyl palmitate).  Tarte is so proud of their ingredients that you START with an ingredient, then drill-down to a list of products that contain it.  (Click to enlarge.)


… but how about the specific product recommended by Food Babe–the Tarte Blush?

One more mouse click gives us a list of the company’s cosmetics that contain vitamin A–the ingredient that Vani Hari falsely claims causes cancer.  And sure enough:7

tarte blush contains vitamin A

Tarte Cosmetics products containing vitamin A.  Yes, there’s the blush Food Babe recommends. (Click image to enlarge.)


Only $26 for a product that Food Babe repeatedly says will give you cancer.

What percentage of that $26 goes to Vani Hari when you purchase via her web site?

food babe seeing green

Vani Hari falsely says that retinyl palmitate (vitamin A) will give you cancer if you apply it to your skin and go out in the sun.2,3  But she’s earning a sales commission on a cosmetic that contains vitamin A.

So Hari is hypocritical.  If you buy this blush from her web page and wear it in the sun, she, by her own standards, is making you cancer-prone.

But are you really?


In a previous article on Food Babe’s vitamin A hypocrisy, I pointed what experts say about the safety of vitamin A.1  A 2010 study published by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology concluded that there was absolutely no evidence that retinyl palmitate (vitamin A) was implicated in cancer.8

Experts say there’s no proof whatsoever that Tarte Cosmetics Blush–or any other product containing retinyl palmitate–will give you cancer.  Buy from Tarte with wild abandon, and feel safe in doing so.

But please don’t buy via affiliate links on Food Babe’s web page.


You May Also Be Interested In
Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Shampoo

Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Naturally Fresh Deodorant

Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Physician’s Formula Organic Wear

The Food Babe Ban List


Image Credits and Tarte product, and Food Babe screen snapshots are used in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, commonly known as “fair use law”. This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.


Please note: To prevent increasing search engine exposure for objectionable web sites, I use the DoNotLink service to obfuscate their URLs. I promise you are not being redirected to porn.

(1) Food Babe Selling “Dangerous” Items: Kiss My Face Moisture Shave

(2) Food Babe Facebook Post on Vitamin A

(3) Food Babe web site vitamin A

(4) Food Babe Online Shop: “For Your Beauty” (Tarte Blush)

(5) Tarte Blush on

(6) Tarte Cosmetics: Benefits of Vitamin A

(7) Tarte Cosmetics: Products Containing Vitamin A

(8) Safety of retinyl palmitate in sunscreens: A critical analysis




12 thoughts on “Food Babe Selling “Dangerous” Items: Tarte Blush

    • That’s a great question! She never actually cites the paper. Her link (you can get to it via reference #3 in the article) takes you to another pseudoscience page (the “Environmental Working Group”). EWG doesn’t do research, but they do operate a sunscreen store on

      The paper *MAY* be the following. I came up with it after much Googling using likely search terms picked from the pseudoscience articles. This is outside my field of expertise so I will not try to interpret it for you. I’ll just say that the experts I’ve read who examined the vitamin A claim don’t consider it to be valid (there’s a link to this info in my post). Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

      • All that can be concluded from the article is that creams *without* any UV blockers (SPF 0), but containing Vit. A., increase the carcinogenicity of sunlight radiation on the skin – when compared to a control SPF 0 cream with no Vit A. In MICE. It doesn’t answer any questions about what effects it might have on humans, nor does it tell us if Vit. A is still dangerous to MICE if it would be a part of a non-zero SPF product. Never mind that whatever results are there on MICE are merely pointers to further research on humans. And we all know how many volunteers there are for research that would give them skin cancer, never mind the overwhelming approval of institutional review boards. /sarcasm


        • I’m still struck by the burning irony of Food Babe *claiming* there is a danger from vitamin A, then turning around and selling cosmetics and skin care products that contain vitamin A.

          I wish her followers would “investigate” her in the same way she “investigates” the products she’s telling us not to buy!

          Liked by 1 person

  1. For a minute there I was terrified of using my Tarte cosmetics I love so much… Not because of their ingredients, but because Food Beast has had anything to do with them!


    • LOL Stephanie. I hope I’m doing a good enough job of telling everyone how safe the products really are in the conclusions of these articles and I’m glad you haven’t dropped Tarte, despite the Food Babe association. They get rave reviews from everyone I know using them. Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂


  2. *facepalm* This woman makes me crazy. I asked repeatedly for her credentials in science, food science, nutrition, SOMETHING, ANYTHING to show she has a clue. Her “Army” came to her defense faster than the Food Babe can down a green smoothie. HOW DARE I QUESTION SOMEONE TRYING TO UNCOVER THE TRUTH!?! *cough cough* Fearmonger much?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You just cite ONE study. Vit A products, including Retin A, specifically state that you should avoid exposure to sunlight after using them and that you should use a sunblock over it. It also states that adverse reactions increase if you expose yourself to sunlight. Moreover, medications taken by mouth, exactly for the same purpose of Retin A, line Roaccutane have the risk of so many side effects, including tumours, that dermatologists need a especial licence do be able to prescribe them. It the product that she is endorsing does not have a sun blocker it is indeed hypocrytical that she is endorsing it but apart from that is nota a nonsense what she says about VIT. A. Depends on the dose. In fact excess Vit A, can even be fatal.


  4. Pingback: Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Borage Therapy Dry Skin Lotion | Bad Science Debunked

  5. Other ingredients in tarte blush she claims causes cancer: talc, red 6, and it also includes the “disgusting additive” made from sheep’s wool that you should be aware has been contaminating the products you buy. you can literally look up any known substance on the planet except kale and find a food babe article claiming you shouldn’t buy it because it causes cancer yet she sells products conraining most if not ALL the substances she condemns. Hypocrisy at its absolute worst. This woman is certifiably incapable of the judgement it takes to chew a crouton.


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