Like, low maintenance, decent price, quick, easy, sits well on your skin, and covers imperfections. So when I became more aware of Mascara makeup, I was really intrigued and wanted to give it a try to see if it would work for me.
This post is not sponsored by Maskcara beauty and the opinions are all mine, though it contains affiliate links, and you can read my disclosure policy at the end of this page. Thanks! Now on with the show…
Maskcara Makeup – The History
I began following the founder of Maskcara makeup, Cara Killpack, several years ago, before she even started her makeup line. Back then, she was a beauty blogger, and I first encountered her online persona when she won an award from Allure Beauty in approximately 2014, for her HAC (pronounced ‘hack’) method.
HAC stands for “highlight and contour”, which is basically a way of applying makeup such that you create light and shadows on your face to respectively bring forward and recede the appropriate areas to make your face look more perfectly proportioned.
Today, Maskcara has taken the HAC concept to a new level, and offers a line of highlights, contours, bronzers, illuminators, blushes (which also serve as lip colors), eyeshadows, makeup tools, and even skincare.
Notice I didn’t have a separate designation of foundation. That’s because Maskcara has what they call IIID (3D) Foundation, where the “highlight” and “contour” colors work together to make up your foundation.
For Maskcara purposes and here, “highlights” are general foundation that will go all over your face.
So, you’re applying the Maskcara termed “highlight” (aka, foundation) colors generally all over the face, often using a lighter color under the eyes, down the nose, anywhere you would use a concealer in the traditional highlighting and contouring makeup routine.
I feel like I should say, you may be confused by the term “highlights”, as those are typically referred to in the makeup world as shimmery colors used at the tops of cheeks and directly beneath the eyebrows. Those are the “illuminators” in Maskcara terms.
The concept is generally that, instead of applying foundation all over your face and then going back and applying layers of concealer and contour over that, you have different colors of foundation and put those on in the applicable areas, saving you time and many steps.
Here is Maskcara’s method for applying their products.
Also, they have these beautiful magnetized pallets (they call them “compacts”), so you buy a small tin of the makeup item and snap it directly into your compact.
And they have really nice patterns on the compacts, classy and, honestly, just fun to open and close. It does seem a pretty fabulous company, as it does really seem to uplift women in more so enhancing their natural beauty instead of completely remaking their face and wearing tons of layers of makeup.
It is a direct sales company, so the sellers/distributors are called Maskcara “Artists” and receive a commission on their sales.
On Highlighting and Contouring
First, I should give this a caveat about highlighting and contouring for me. When I, personally, do more than a base of foundation, mascara, and filling in my eyebrows, I feel like I get less…public approval. You know what I mean, not tryna be vain. All that to say, I’m pretty sure HACing doesn’t look good on me personally, at least under my eyes, as I have hereditary eye bags which, well… they’re mine, so it is what it is. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
My Maskcara Experience
So, I’ve been following Maskcara for a while now, watched her introduce her new company, and sat on the sidelines and watched from a distance as it grows.
I have followed numerous of her artists on Instagram, especially recently, and they do so many Instagram and Facebook lives showing you how to use the product, I finally decided it was time to jump in.
Does Maskcara Have Clean Ingredients?
Before I buy any skincare product, I look at the “clean-ness” of the ingredients. I found their ingredients to be the same cleanliness as the below example.
Since Maskcara isn’t explicitly evaluated by EWG, you have to look up ingredients separately then make your own decision.
Per the EWG Skin Deep website, here is a list of the Sandy highlight ingredients and each of their safe ratings from EWG:
Liquid Paraffin- 1-3; Petrolatum- 4; Ozokerite Wax- 1; Beeswax- 1; Cetyl Esters- 1; Lanolin- 1; Zinc Stearate- 2; Phenoxyethanol- 4; Iron Oxides- 2; Titanium Dioxide- 1-3; Ultramarines- 1-4
Here are what the number ratings mean from the EWG site:
Generally, I shoot for products that have a 3 or less overall product rating from EWG.
There are some products in their database that have individual ingredients with a 4 rating and they will still give it an overall 3 rating.So, having a few ingredients rated at 4 didn’t bother me too much. Other non-toxic beauty companies use some of these ingredients as well.
How To Buy Maskcara Makeup
In order to buy the products, you should contact a Maskcara Artist.
Though you can buy directly from the company, I believe in supporting women in business and helping them build. I’d rather someone directly benefit from my purchase, as the Artists get commissions on their sales.
Plus, you have a contact within the company to help you should you have any problems or questions.
Some of the Artists will have direct websites where you can fill out a short questionnaire and submit a makeup-free photo, and others will just have you direct/private message them on Instagram or Facebook.
As I said before, I’d been following several Artists, and I finally picked one that I felt was very energetic, smart, and sweet.
She also gave a lot of tips on how to do makeup for the older face, particularly on how to do eyeshadow on hooded eyes, which I have.
I filled out the form on her website, and she emailed me with colors that she was recommending for my particular skin tone and concerns. She also answered my questions really well.
When you go to their website (each artist has their own personal website, so I won’t provide a link here), you will see that their products are fairly reasonably priced.
The majority of their basic products (foundation, bronzer, illuminator) in the larger tins are $14-16, and they claim that they will last for a few months.
All of the products are very pigmented, which means you will only need a little bit to get the coloring and coverage that you want. Which, in turn, means that your products last longer.
This is approximately how long Maskcara projects that their products will last with regular use:
You can also get a “free” compact to put your tins into by ordering a certain number of products — it varies by the size of the compact as to how many products you need to get it for free, but I ordered 5 tins so I got the basic Quad compact that fits 4 tins.
I figured I’d upgrade to a bigger compact if I liked the product.
I bought 2 brushes, 2 highlights (foundation), 1 contour, 1 bronzer, and 1 illuminator, and got a free compact because I had bought at least 4 tins. I spent $130 before tax, which really wasn’t a bad price, especially because foundations can be significantly more expensive per unit.
Also, I could tell based on how I used them, the bronzer, contour, and illuminator would have lasted me quite a while. I had a beauty blender sponge already, so I didn’t order one of theirs. The packaging is a really nice presentation and makes you excited to try it all out!
What I Thought of the Makeup
My first time using the makeup was really nice. It went on pretty easily.
I don’t generally like to do too much highlighting under my eyes, as that area is already light enough and usually needs a tad bit of darkening to even it up. I just look washed out.
Do I think that the foundation colors will last as long as they say? I doubt it. I had made a pretty good dent in my tin in about 3 weeks, and I didn’t even use it every day.
It did cover fairly well, and while my dark spots didn’t completely disappear, it did cover them to greatly decrease them. (My biggest spot is on my left cheek.)
Please excuse my serious and weird face, I’m not the best at taking selfies but tried to get a good representation of how the makeup covered.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the bronzer that my Artist recommended. Frankly, it looked like I smeared mud on my face, which I think was a combination of it with the foundation colors as well as I fully admit that I may have been using it incorrectly or in the wrong areas.
The contour color I was recommended was okay, but it took a good bit more of the product than the foundation and bronzer before it would show up on my skin.
The Signature Maskcara Brushes
Maskcara has a very unique set of brushes that are specifically designed for use with their products.
They have very similar tips to other brushes, but frankly, these brushes are beautiful in that they’re sturdy and gold & rose gold. They are also all double-ended. Which is really convenient to not have several brushes; but that’s not all it’s cracked up to be…
You can’t really stand them on one end, as that’s not terribly sanitary but also might press one end of the brush into an unwanted angle.
Also, they’re very long, so most makeup brush storage holders for travel won’t fit them without one of the ends being bent.
One hack my Artist imparted was that you can use the individual boxes that they come in to protect them during travel. I thought that would’ve been the best idea, but that would only last so long and I knew I would need a long-term solution.
The brushes I got were the 30 second HAC brush (3rd in the image above) and the B Squared Bronzer and Blush Brush (1st in image above). I only bought the B Squared brush because it came in a bundle with the bronzer I was buying and the combo was significantly cheaper. Plus, I could start building my “stash”.
Overall, if I were to buy more, I would next have bought the Detail HAC brush (last brush in pic above), as it would’ve really helped with the contour application, but I figured I would space out my purchases over a few months.
Conclusion – My Maskcara Experience
I will tell you now, I did, sadly, end up returning everything I bought. And there are a few reasons that led to this decision, but there was one primary reason that was out of my or anyone else’s control.
Maskcara has a 30 day money back guarantee if you are unhappy with the product. They also offer an exchange program where you get 60 days.
It’s always important to check something like this before you spend this much money.
Interactions with the Artist and Color Match
When I filled out her form, she responded via email within about a day with my color match. I could tell that part of it was pre-written text that she sends to everyone, but she also did take time in recommending what she thought would be best for me.
I then emailed a few other questions about their products and applications, and she responded quickly with the answers.
A week later, however, when I contacted her again with questions about adjusting my color match, she became really difficult to get ahold of. I emailed her again, as a follow-up, and she responded promptly and asked if I could take a picture of my face with the makeup on, maybe we would just need a little tweak. (That’s all I was wanting.).
So, I sent her the pictures and waited. After 3 days of not hearing from her, I followed up again, and she responded promptly, apologizing for seeing it but not responding.
She then asked if I could resend her the pictures and info through Instagram. I was a little annoyed, especially since I had sent 3 pictures (two selfies and one of an inside forearm swatch of my usual foundation and powder colors alongside the Maskcara colors), but I complied. After resending the info and pictures on Instagram (IG), she began asking about my makeup application technique.
Then got an email from her (not IG DM, which we were now using) a few days later apologizing for not responding to her previous email, and we had been chatting through Instagram, right? Yes, we had. Sigh.
Now, I know how to apply makeup, generally… it’s not rocket science, and I had watched enough Maskcara and non-Maskcara tutorials to get the gist of it.
Here was my problem with my order: the colors she recommended were too yellow for my skin tone. I needed a bit more of a peach/orange/pink in my foundation, and told her this a few times in my many correspondences.
So, after she asked me a question about my application (completely not understanding at all what I was trying to tell her), I responded. I had to follow up with her yet again 5 days later after not having heard anything from that response.
It is probably difficult to tell because it doesn’t capture well via computers, but over the bridge of my nose and into my temple is the yellowness that I disliked.
She responded quickly and said that when you’re more tan and it shows up too yellow, there is too much product used, and then requested a video of how I applied it.
This confused me, as part of the Maskcara creed that I kept hearing from the Artists is that it is “buildable coverage”, so if you have more imperfections to cover up, you can apply more. So why would applying more change the color??
I told her I could send a video, but the color isn’t as drastic in the photos, and basically, I didn’t want to sound rude, but I wasn’t sticking with those colors. If she had a color chart of all the highlights, she could send it and I would pick my own. (I couldn’t find one online.)
And that’s where our interaction ended. I never did send a video, as I’d sent several pictures already and flat out told her what I wanted in different colors.
She never responded though Instagram showed me that she read the message, and I, also with the main reason I sent everything back, had had enough trying to get ahold of her to tell me which colors might suit me better.
I won’t say that all of the Artists are as difficult to communicate with as this one. She seemed smart and organized, and I’m sure she is. I honestly think she is overwhelmed with all that she has going on — she has a few kids, currently over 40k Instagram followers (I’m sure her DMs and emails are busy) and is also a rep for a hair company (not Monat) that is currently all over Facebook.
So, this is not to insult her or say that you will have the same experience with her or any other Artist. But you might consider picking an Artist with a smaller following because they can likely spend more time with you.
And then maybe follow the ones with large followings to get some really great tips, as they tend to do more instructional videos.
But even all that, as annoying as it was, wasn’t the main reason that I returned the products.
My Skin Reaction
The main reason that I ended up returning the Maskcara was that, as much as I tried to deny it, my face would begin to itch every time I used it.
I’m not sure which ingredient was irritating my skin, and my skin never broke out or turned red with heat, but it itched nonetheless. I was hoping for a while that I was wrong, but the last time I used it as a test, my face began to itch again.
This all made me sad because I would have definitely hung in with it and found the right shades that suited me better by myself if I had to, but alas, it was not meant to be.
I’m not sure it was a full-blown allergy, and I do have mildly sensitive skin which is compatible with most products, but it was enough to be uncomfortable while wearing it.
Would I Recommend Maskcara Makeup?
Absolutely, if you don’t likely have sensitive skin. Regardless of my personal experience with the Artist, color match, and potential allergic reaction, these are no fault of the company, nor are they a reflection on other artists and the product itself.
In addition, the company is uplifting to women and their natural beauty, and I know of many people who are delighted and satisfied with their purchases.
I really did like the way the makeup applied and sat on my skin, the price, generally the cleanliness of the ingredients, and even the aesthetics of the products.
I think anyone should give it a try, hopefully you will have a better experience than I did. Had I not had a skin irritation, I would have stuck with it and bought more. Guess it’s time to explore other options.
Let me know what you think. Have you tried Maskcara? Did you like it? What other brands of clean makeup have you tried and like? What should I try next? Let me know in the comments below, I would LOVE to hear from you!
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