Maskcara IIID Foundation Review: Do You Need a Contouring Foundation Duo?

I Bought It

Maskcara Blogger Foundation Review

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.

Mascara's 3d foundation

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.

Maskcara Foundation in Light

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

Maskcara Foundation Before and After Pictures

The Foundation

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.

The Blush

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.

The Illuminator

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.

Maskcara Foundation Ingredients

I Bought It



  1. January 13, 2014 / 4:41 pm

    I'm very interested in a product like this, but the light definitely looks too dark for me ๐Ÿ™

  2. January 13, 2014 / 5:20 pm

    I'm having the same issues! I really {really} want to love the foundation because I love Cara, but the finish sits on top of my skin without blending in entirely {and even settles into rough patches/lines-ack!}. I've too tried different techniques and moisturizers but with no difference. This is my first cream foundation so I may just be experiencing a learning curve but I'm glad to hear that I'm not alone.

  3. January 13, 2014 / 5:35 pm

    I'm so happy that someone whose opinion I can trust has finally reviewed this! I follow Maskcara too, and I have been wanting to try it. The idea of how this works sounds so interesting and revolutionary, but I just don't see it working for me. Now that you've reviewed it, I kind of maintain that opinion. My skin tone is about the same as yours if not a tad bit darker, but I normally get a line on the side of my cheek if I'm even slightly off in my match. I love the idea, but I don't think I'll be picking this up!

  4. January 13, 2014 / 6:46 pm

    Great review! I think it looks beautiful on you. I looked into buying this when it came out, but decided not to. My skin is so dry that the only foundation I can really use is a tinted moisturizer so i'm glad I decided not to purchase this. Although, like you said i'm sure it works great for others!

  5. January 13, 2014 / 10:07 pm

    Great review!!!! I appreciate your honesty. I am extremely picky when it comes to my foundation as I consider it to be an extension to my skincare as well as the canvas for my makeup. A little trick I use to create my highlight/contour illusion is using 2 different shades of foundation. Lately I have been using the IT Celebration Mineral foundations. I use the medium and tan shades and the look is flawless. I finish it off with a dusting of the Dalton Mirage Powder. Thanks again for the great review!!!

  6. January 14, 2014 / 12:20 am

    Mine just arrived in the mail today. When I saw the contour color I thought ummm this is going to be way too dark. I glad to hear it's subtle. Thanks for suggesting another application in case I find her way doesn't cut it.

  7. January 14, 2014 / 1:35 am

    I'm totally on the fence with this too. I'm a huge fan of cream blushes and I don't have the hang of these (I ordered the peach and got the pink in my kit). I haven't decided what to do about reviewing. I haven't used it much yet so I'll keep trying.

  8. January 14, 2014 / 7:19 am

    I'm really glad you reviewed this! I've been toying with the idea of grabbing it but the medium is always out, while in everything I am light I'm so pale that I'm probably translucent the light seems to yellow for me and I think the medium would cover my redness but I keep going back and forth because I tend to like a not so natural contour… Not drag queen chiseled but I want to see it.. If that makes sense? And in every review I just don't see the shading the contour should be giving. I'm thinking I just need to grab the illuminator and move on. Unless medium ever comes back in stock! Thanks for the honest review!!

  9. January 14, 2014 / 2:40 pm

    The only difference I really see in your face is your eye makeup. The rest looks the same. Your skin is already beautiful so not sure why it needs foundation. You're doing the "make the sad face first and then the happy face to show there is a difference" but honestly… there isn't much. This is not a criticism of you – I just don't think you need it. You're already so pretty. I think foundation is mostly a scam. Just my opinion.

  10. KP
    January 14, 2014 / 3:08 pm

    Someone in my FB feed linked to this product right after it was launched. I devoured her website. Her makeovers are amazing. I literally went from never washing my makeup off, 2 months ago, to now subscribing to 30 beauty gurus on YouTube and having a complete skincare routine. Her blog has changed my life when it comes to skincare and beauty.

    But I have had the same issues as you. I have tried over and over to use this foundation and I cannot get it to blend in. It looks cakey on me. I don't love using brushes, and I use my Beauty Blender. Like you, I've tried different moisturizers, primers, etc. and can't get it to work. And I'm sad that I spent $30 on something I can't use. I just came to the conclusion that with so many great foundations on the market, I shouldn't have to work so hard to use a product.

    It's too bad, because for the people it works for, it seems to really work!

  11. January 14, 2014 / 5:17 pm

    This foundation duo honestly confuses me. I've seen SO many pictures on IG and Twitter and I still find myself asking "But where is the contour?!" I understand that the product isn't designed to chisel jawbones out of nothing but I seriously can't figure this out. It's a little *too* subtle for me, unfortunately.

  12. January 21, 2014 / 5:43 am

    Hey beautiful! Thank you so much for your review of the IIID! While I wish that my first attempt was a TOTAL home run for everyone like it was for me, I am still so completely grateful for every bit of info I can get about how it works for others. It is so valuable to me and I feel very lucky to have people like you who are willing to write your review so thoughtfully and thoroughly! Thank you so so much for taking the time to do that! I love your blog!!

  13. January 21, 2014 / 5:51 pm

    I have the exact same issues! I was planning on covering it for Gouldylox, but you've said it so well already!! I really wanted to love it. The way it sits on the skin is my biggest complaint. It just wouldn't settle down for me. It always looked like I had something on. It didn't offer much coverage for me or contour. I'm usually the lightest foundation shade available (or close to it!), so I think this is the right color. I do love Cara…maybe I'll write a review – you've inspired me!

  14. March 10, 2014 / 2:48 am

    I just had to return my Maskcara HAC pack. The contour in the Light just isn't dark enough, even if you want to look natural. It does not cover blemishes at all, and any concealer and powder you put afterwards just slides off, and leaves your blemishes exposed. Worst of all, it pools in each pore, exaggerating them, and any pore Minimizer or powder you put afterwards, which usually work, cannot help at all.

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