I can’t believe this day finally came! I’ve been talking about getting Maskcara Beauty foundation for over a year. I feel silly that it took me so long, especially considering how innovative, beautiful, and reasonably priced it is. Two years ago, I tried one of their products and loved it, but never got around to purchasing the full foundation palette. This year’s birthday, I finally took the plunge and couldn’t be happier with the results!
How Maskcara Beauty Came into my Life
I began following the beauty blog Maskcara in 2015. I was really drawn to how kind, honest, and down-to-earth the blogger, Cara, was and still is today. At the time, she had a very small line of beauty products going. They were a couple cream foundations and a tube or two of liquid highlight. I was drawn to the concept of “enhancing” your natural beauty, which is Maskcara’s ultimate goal. Her blog, and makeup line, is a total reflection of that creed.
The Maskcara Beauty foundation (called IIID foundation) is innovative because it is designed to limit the amount of product needed to do a full coverage face with contour and highlight. It was right in the middle of the contouring boom that she created the IIID foundation. At the time (and still now), most makeup lines were advocating the same uniform system. It goes something like this: using concealer to hide imperfections, then creating a “blank” canvas with a single-toned foundation, then setting it with powder, then chiseling out features with a contour product, then accentuating other features with a highlight, and then adding warmth to the face with blush, etc. It’s not a bad system, but it can take forever and requires layers of products (which add up on your skin and your wallet!)
The IIID system, dubbed as HACing, focuses on accentuating features without requiring product layering, setting powders, etc. Cara’s own explanation of the process can be found on this page of her blog. In short though, the contour and highlight are both foundation consistency. That means the part of the face meant to be contoured is covered with the contour cream, and the part of the face that is meant to be bright is covered with highlight cream. There is no “basic foundation tone” in the HAC system. And a few squirts of setting spray takes the place of setting powders and translucent powders.
What intimidated me most about purchasing the IIID foundation was the process of creating my own custom palette. There are a few starter palettes for people who don’t know their skin color needs, but I was DETERMINED that if I was going to spend $48, then the palette had to be perfectly tailored to my skin. I hemmed and hawed over my colors for a year. A YEAR. Really silly, I know.
Then, early this year, Maskcara launched an “artists” program, meaning that her makeup line became an MLM company. I started connecting with artists over Instagram, checking out their own color-matched clients. Eventually, I found Amanda Earnest (@ocbeautymom) and she was fabulous. And I mean fabulous. We talked over the phone and she helped me build my palette based on two pictures of my face in natural light. Before I knew it, my dreams had come true and a custom palette arrived on my doorstep (among other things!)
And now for the final reveal…
My Long-Awaited Maskcara Beauty Haul!
I knew I wanted a full-set of foundation, which is at least one contour, one highlight, one dual lip-cheek color, and one illuminator. Each palette holds 4 of these color pans, and comes in two colors: sea glass and marble. I went with marble, because, duh. The last item I put in my cart was the “30-second HAC brush” which is a dual-ended brush specially designed to speed up the HACing process. The IIID system recommends a blending sponge and a setting spray, but I have both of those already (though in different brands).
The IIID Foundation Singles
My singles, in order from top left to bottom right:
- Pearl- the fairest of the IIID illuminators. Its used in all the normal illumination places: tip of nose, bridge, etc.
- Moonlight- the palest highlight of the IIID system. Meant for the fairest complexions (I use under my eyes)
- White Peach- my main IIID highlight shade (aka foundation). Intended for light skin without a lot of redness.
- Nude- this is the least “colorful” IIID blush because I don’t love blush but HACing kinda requires a healthy color.
- Ash- my contour cream. I got this darker than what my skin “calls for” because I like a defined contour.
- Shadow- I already had this. Its very ashy/grey for realistic shadowing–perfect for brows and severe nose HAC. It’s not pictured because it doesn’t have pretty packaging haha. It’s old.
The consistency varies a bit depending on the product’s purpose. For instance, while both the highlight and contour are “foundation” quality, the highlight is a bit denser for better concealment. <–simply because the highlight is put under the eyes and on the forehead which are two serious points of concealment for many skin types. The contour is ever so slightly less dense, though it still provides plenty of coverage. The blush/lip color is even lighter in its consistency, which makes it blend better atop of the other products. It also makes it comfortable as a lip product (nobody likes goopy lipstick). The illuminator is the sheerest of all, and works perfectly when dabbed at the “highlight” points we all love in the world of slaying.
The 30-Second HAC Brush
Allow me to introduce you to the only facial brush I need now. What I love about this brush is how intensely dense it is. The tapered end behaves just like my Eco Tools foundation brush (but thicker), while the shorter end reminds me of my Real Techniques contour brush. Whenever I see a “specialty” brush sold with products, I’m always slightly concerned that the brush isn’t really that necessary. It feels like those are often being sold as a “necessity” for more profit. I will say, however, that the 30-second HAC brush is legitimately necessary (at least for me) in evenly, quickly, and properly distributing the cream products on my face.
Once all the products are distributed, then they are to be blended with a beauty sponge of any kind. I’m not picturing mine because it’s not part of my Maskcara Beauty Haul, but it is part of my IIID routine now! Once the final look has been achieved, simply spritz with a finishing primer spray (I have found my MAC+ works best) and the makeup is set. I have been told that really oily girls can dab powder where needed, but it’s nice that layers of powder is not required for this makeup!
My Favorite Qualities About Maskcara Beauty
I think this entire IIID system has a lot going for it. While I wasn’t particularly desperate to find “that ONE foundation for the rest of my life,” I have really enjoyed adding Maskcara cosmetics to my collection. And I definitely plan to repurchase, so maybe I really have found “it” or at least a strong contender for the “it” category. I could make an entire post about why I like Maskcara Beauty (and I think I will) but for now here is my basic list of favorite qualities:
- the packaging is gorgeous–not a solid reason to spend $48, but it makes it stand out from a lot of my products
- the HACing system gives me a contoured face in about 3 minutes–which is SUCH a difference from the norm
- the makeup is genuinely enjoyable to put on, and to wear–lightweight and comfortable on my skin
- it’s build able–you can go from light/natural coverage to severe glam in a matter of minutes (and layers)
- the colors are complimentary with each other and my skin–I’ve mixed highlight shades (like others have) and had a lot of success with that. I don’t feel like the makeup line has any weird colors or shade issues. All their options are beautiful and natural looking.
A Few Minor Drawbacks to the IIID Foundation
I call these “minor” drawbacks because they aren’t enough to make me stop using the products. And with the huge industry that makeup is, I find it easy to just dispose of a product when I find one or two flaws in it. There are always other options. However, because IIID is so revolutionary, I can’t just go grab a Maskcara dupe at Target. And I don’t mind that, because having a custom-built palette is just what I was looking for. Anyway, since I’m trying to make this review as well-rounded as possible, I thought I’d mention the few flaws I have found in the products so far:
- cream-based foundations and contours take time to get used to–at least for me. I’m in that process now.
- the coverage is good for any color correction, but it doesn’t hide bumps on the skin (I’m pretty sure most foundations can’t). Like, it won’t make your skin look plastic-smooth if you have some raised skin.
- these first two weeks of wearing it, the makeup lasts for 4-6 hours. When I first put it on, it only lasted for 2. I attributed that to my lack of “piling it on” but it didn’t change the fact I was disappointed. I talked to my Maskcara artist though and she said that it takes about two weeks for many clients’ skin to adjust to the new product. The skin kind of goes through a “drinking” phase where it absorbs the makeup before the day is over. I noticed it gradually stayed on longer and longer, as each day passed, so I think she was definitely onto something about my skin! She also said some clients have ditched primer and found that helped a lot. I don’t know if I can do that because I LOVE the spf 30 in my primer, but I might use my MAC+ spray before and after makeup application.
Would I Recommend Maskcara Beauty to Others
In one word: YES. I think this makeup is beautiful. I think the IIID system is brilliant. And, I think Maskcara Beauty is a wonderful company. Did I mention they have eyeshadows, a brush collection, and innovative 2-STORY PALETTES?? I would highly recommend going through an artist to purchase, because getting color-matched is key to the IIID foundation working properly. (However, if you’re adverse to working with an artist, just get online and order it on your own the way you would order any other makeup online). Follow (or stalk) their Instagram page and see if their work is something you are planning to achieve. You might find a more seasoned makeup artist, or someone who really perfects the IIID look you are hoping for.
Also, I would recommend knowing what you’re looking for in the makeup– do you want an extremely natural look, or a chiseled, “glam” look? Telling the artist your preferences will help decide if you should go with a contour and highlight that are close in shading, or a contour and highlight that a remarkably different. Personally, I wanted a dramatic difference between my two shades, but many, many clients don’t. Your artist will be able to tell you which highlights and contours will work on your skin tone, and often there is more than one shade that you can go with.
But to recap, I would absolutely buy it. Having a palette custom-colored to meet your complexion’s exact needs is a huge step in making sure your makeup is “naturally” flawless. And being able to accomplish a contoured/highlighted face in under 5 minutes is a really big achievement to me–especially as a busy mama. So, if you’re on the fence about trying this, I say take the plunge! I’m really glad that I did.
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for sticking around! I hope that my Maskcara Beauty Haul helped you decide whether or not you should try some IIID yourself! Or, if you’ve never heard of Maskcara Beauty before, hopefully now you’ll be interested to try it. I think this company has a lot more in store for its clients, so I’m looking forward to their next product launch! I know yesterday they produced a new silver-mauve eyeshadow called the “Bend and Snap” which everyone is raving about on Instagram. Let me know if you check it out, or if you’ve tried Maskcara Beauty before! I love reading beauty reviews in the comment section. Thanks for stopping by!
~~Tiny but important note: I was not in ANY way paid or influenced to endorse, recommend, or review my Maskcara Beauty Haul. Similarly, finding an artist to work with is an extremely optional and personal decision, and I was not marketed or pressured in any way to make a purchase I didn’t already want to make. I really enjoyed my customer experience with Maskcara Beauty and plan to remain a client!~~