UPDATE: This is a review of the original Maskcara foundation. You can find my review of the updated Maskcara IIID foundation here.
If you’ve ever been on Pinterest, chances are you know who Cara from Maskcara is. She’s all over the site, and she also won the Allure Beauty Blogger of the Year. (Disclosure: I’m a big fan of Cara, and I did vote for her repeatedly to win the Allure BBoY. And for those of you that have asked, I’m not eligible for that contest as I’ve run ads and have formal relationships with brands.)
Anyways, so like all of Cara’s fans, I was very excited when she announced the release of her products. I had read the Makeover Monday posts, she was using this foundation to create an amazing look, natural but fresh and so much more finished looking. I was really curious how the products would work for me, a non-makeup artist who isn’t contouring her face every morning like Cara. So, when the products went up for sale on Black Friday, I immediately ordered the entire set.
Here you can see all of the products available. The main attraction is the contouring foundation duo, which comes in 3 shades. Cara’s used the product on woman of all skin tones, and says that these 3 work on almost everyone, though she’s working on a 4th (darker) shade. The cream blush is available in 3 shades and there’s a cream luminizer/highlighter as well. I opted to try the foundation in light (most people will be medium according to Cara) and the blush in Shortcake.
Here’s a peek at each of the shades. You can see that the light foundation is pretty light, though if you’re really pale it pretty possible that it won’t be fair enough for you. I’m usually not quite the lightest foundation shade, instead I’m about 1/2 shade darker. The light foundation is a perfect match for me, and the contour is surprisingly very subtle. I admit I was a bit worried it would be too much and there would be people walking around out there with bad 1980’s stripes under their cheek bones. Not so much, instead
You don’t use this foundation like other products. You apply the lighter shade all over the center of your face, adding shading in to certain areas with the darker tone. I’m not going to go into specifics, Cara has an amazing series of posts about how to use the foundation and even how she recommends changing up your shading depending upon your face shape.
You can see that the coverage is light to medium, I don’t think it really builds. I’m wearing only the foundation in this picture, no powder or concealer. I’m one of those girls that definitely needs more coverage with my undereye concealer.
I have to admit that I’ve used this foundation quite a bit in the last 5 weeks or so, since it arrived on my doorstep. I’ve alternated between loving it, hating it, wondering why I bought it. I’ve come to the conclusion that it isn’t quite right for me, but could work pretty well for other people.
My main issue is the finish. I started out by using the same dual ended IT Cosmetics foundation/concealer brush that Cara recommended (it was already sitting on my vanity, like her I’m a big fan of the IT Cosmetics brushes). I watched her how-to videos, read her posts, and experimented quite a bit with application. I’ve applied the foundation over many other products, different lotions, and different primers. I’ve used the brush, other foundation brushes, I’ve applied with my Beauty Blender, I’ve just blended with the blender, I’ve tried blotting with a tissue… I’m sure there were other makeup tricks, but I’m forgetting them now.
When applying the foundation, my foundation had a lot of problems with blending into a flawless finish. You could easily see it sitting on the top of my skin, like it had just been smeared on to my skin. After experimenting with products and application techniques, I’ve decided that it is best to be simple. I use a lightweight lotion and I give it quite a bit of extra time to sink in, a good 10-15 minutes, before applying the foundation. I stipple it on using the IT Cosmetics brush (it’s my fave foundation brush), and let it set for a minute or two before pouncing a dry (not damp) Beauty Blender over areas that need blending. Then I can go back in and apply concealer, apply the contouring foundation and set with a small amount of powder in my t-zone.
When I was initially using the foundation, staying power was also an issue. I could apply at 7 am, but by noon most of my foundation was gone. With the above technique, I can get the foundation to still look good at 6 or 7 pm, but I need a pretty good touchup if I want it to look good beyond that time.
I admit that I tested the foundation for so long because I’m a huge fan of Cara and I wanted (really wanted) to love the foundation. I think it’s fine, and will occasionally grab it from my vanity, but not super often. I need more coverage and since the light tone of the foundation is a perfect match for my skin, it isn’t really highlighting. Instead it’s a matching foundation and a contouring product. If there was a slightly lighter shade, it would probably work a bit better for me.
This is a cream blush, though it has the consistency of a non-sticky lipgloss. It is much easier to use by just dotting onto the apples of your cheeks and then gently blending with a fingertip. It does work with a brush, I’d apply it to the back of a hand first, but I do think I get better results with dotting and fingers.
The blush has a super pretty flush, it’s just very pretty and glowy. I’ve found that without a setting powder, it disappears after about 3 or 4 hours. A little powder and maybe a very light 2nd layer of blush and it lasts all day. The blush is a definite winner.
I haven’t even mentioned the Illuminator yet, and the truth is that this is probably the best product. There’s only 1 shade, and in the swatch I haven’t really blended it out at all. Why? When blended you don’t see it on the skin, instead it just perfectly highlights and barely catches the light. Super easy to use, it is highlighting without being shimmery glitter, it’s perfection.