"Quite baffling fr": Tarte Dubai trip influencers controversy explained amid viral cost theories 

Tarte Cosmetics
Tarte Cosmetics' Dubai influencer trip sparks debate online (Image via tartecosmetics/Instagram)

Beauty brand Tarte Cosmetics is making headlines with their recent sponsored influencer trip. The company reportedly took 50 women to Dubai, which has raised eyebrows among TikTokers. Many have speculated that the country’s tourism board helped the organization financially, however, the brand’s founder has since debunked the same.

Tarte has built a reputation online for taking influencers on lavish sponsored trips to exotic places like Fiji. However, their recent “Trippin’ With Tarte” Dubai holiday left netizens weary.

On January 18, TikTok creator and Barstool Sports journalist Jack Mac took to the video-sharing platform to speak about the brand’s recent trip. He started off by saying that something wasn't quite right with the trip, adding that “the economics of this trip do not make sense.”

It was revealed that each of the influencers was allowed to invite another person to the trip. It was also reported that the travelers were flying business-class in Emirates to Dubai. According to Vogue, a return flight from Dubai to New York costs $13,254.

Who all went on Tarte’s Dubai trip?

Jack Mac went on to share that each influencer was staying in a separate villa once they arrived at their hotel, the Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Beach. He added:

“This is one of those hotels you can’t even find out how much it costs to stay there, you have to like call somebody.”

According to his rough estimation, the entire trip per person would cost $65,000 which would be equivalent to a “Harvard education.” This would include jeep adventures in the desert, other private excursions, Tarte makeup, jewelry, gifts and goodies from other brands.

While the entire roster has not been revealed, influencers like Meredith Duxbury, Christine Abraham, the Miam Twins, Alix Earle, Xandra Pohl, and Monet McMichael are just a few among the many who have posted about their Dubai travels.

TikTok creator @tinfoilcouch speculated that Tarte may have partnered with the UAE’s Tourism Board in hopes of covering up the issues which are currently taking place in Dubai and Qatar. Several others found the trip “tone-deaf” in America’s current economy and doubts of an upcoming recession. TikTok user @lblikes wrote online:

“Like, in this economy and everything, this is just so unrelatable.”

Several people noted on social media that they were barely able to afford daily groceries, let alone a makeup product the brand was attempting to promote.

As several people debated over the expenses of the trip, some noted that the large expense that went into funding the influencers’ trip does not come as a surprise. TikTok user @jill_justine, who revealed that she used to work with a magazine that hosted similar sponsored trips, shared that the trip might not be as expensive as one might think as the stay, excursions and meals are “most of the time” free. She explained:

“Because we’re partnering with the hotels, because we’re partnering with the event, because we’re partnering with the experience. Because all of them are getting exposure as well.”

Tarte Cosmetics founder defends the recent Dubai trip

Maureen Kelly, the founder of Tarte Cosmetics, sat down for an exclusive interview with Glossy and addressed concerns about the finances of their recent trip. She revealed that their organization never spent money on traditional marketing methods. Instead, they chose to build relationships with influencers.

While defending the lavish Emirates travel expenses, Kelly said:

“You also have to consider that we’re inviting people to take time out of their jobs and life, and get on a long-haul flight for a quick three-day event. That can take a toll on anyone, no matter how excited you are for a trip."

Speaking about the rumors of Tarte partnering with Dubai’s Tourism board, Kelly said:

“I have to laugh at some of these conspiracies. I will say, people are creative! But no, I can confirm that we definitely didn’t have help from any tourism boards.”

However, the brand did partner with Sephora Middle East. It remains unclear whether the latter held any financial responsibility for the trip.

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Edited by Karishma Rao