Review and swatches: Cargo ‘Key Largo’ blush and MAC Prep+Prime BB Cream

Cargo Key Largo powder blush and MAC Prep+Prime BB Cream
Cargo Key Largo powder blush and MAC Prep+Prime BB Cream

I’ve been loving a couple of new makeup lately, the Cargo ‘Key Largo’ powder blush (didn’t these used to be called beach blush?) and MAC Prep+Prime BB Cream (the liquid version).

The Cargo blushes have achieve legendary status amongst beauty addicts and the beauty blogosphere, but I wasn’t too impressed with my first one that I did not bother to buy another. But a recent Hautelook sale brought me ‘Key Largo’ which looks absolutely ravishing online that I must have it. It does not disappoint although time will tell if I am keeping this, as I have several blushes already yielding the same color when applied on the cheeks.

I am also not a fan of BB creams in general for various reasons that evolved over the many years of observing the BB cream hype. I still think ‘BB Cream’ as a marketing jargon rather than a functional product category but I’ve found myself not as averse to them as previously. In my mind, however, they are tinted moisturizers.

With that said, I tried the MAC Prep+Prime BB Cream (the liquid version, not the compact) at a MAC counter recently. It was in the early evening after a tiring full day of left-brain activity. My makeup has faded here and there, and I let the beauty associate put the bb cream on my face (shade medium plus, applied with the MAC 130 brush, which I’m now contemplating to get). Voila, my face was instantly brightened  and smoothed. Alas, I went away with a tube, and have been using it almost exclusively for more than a week.

I use the shade medium plus, and it matches my facial skin tone relatively well although it is slightly darker compared to my neck. However, two of my favorite face primers/bases have a slight white cast, so he end result is good. What I like most about the MAC Prep+prime BB is the oil control, which is excellent amongst tinted moisturizers and foundations I’ve ever tried. Shade comparison with other foundations is below.

Comparison swatches
Comparison swatches

The coverage is sheer but buildable to medium, and the finish is quite natural. The strange thing is that I’m able to coax stellar performance out of my tub of Chanel Universal Loose Powder when used with this BB cream, which I have not been able to do by pairing it with other foundations/bb creams. Until now, I’ve  been one of those people quite puzzled by the hype surrounding this  powder, but now I understand – the powder does set and prolong makeup.

I am currently trying out Paula’s Choice Resist Triple Action Dark Spot Eraser 2% BHA Gel, so my skin is  bit raw and plenty red. But below you can find the evolution from bare skin, to a layer of the MAC Prep+Prime BB Cream (applied with a skunk brush), two layers, and the finished result with the Cargo Key Largo Blush and Chanel Universal Loose Powder (in shade 30). It is quite a natural yet sufficiently polished everyday-look for me, which takes less than 10 minutes to achieve (including a smudged taupe smokey eye).

Left to right: bare face with a swipe of MAC Prep+Prime BB Cream; with one layer; with two layers.
Left to right: bare face with a swipe of MAC Prep+Prime BB Cream; with one layer; with two layers.

 

Done! With Cargo Key Largo powder blush and Chanel Universal Powder shade 30
Done! With Cargo Key Largo powder blush and Chanel Universal Powder shade 30

 

 

 

 

Complete 18 shades swatched: L.A. Girl Pro Conceal high definition concealer

L.A Girl HD Pro Conceal high definition concealer complete swatch
L.A Girl HD Pro Conceal high definition concealer complete swatch of 18 shades (click to enlarge)

I don’t really use concealers to conceal; I haven’t got the patience for micro-concealing. A good foundation that evenly covers everything, and that would be a wrap for me, in terms of coverage. Sometimes I would do some under-eye dark circle concealment, but that’s once in a blue moon.

I do,  however, understand that concealers can be good stuff. I haven’t tried a lot of concealers, but the L.A. Girl Pro Conceal high definition concealer gets high raves online that it’s hard to give it a miss. I first tried it in ‘pure beige’, using it as a foundation. It was really good, though the shade is a bit dark for me, but the tone is right. I next tried ‘creamy beige’ and it’s such a good match as a foundation that I am keeping it in my personal arsenal.

What I like about this product: its price (cheap!); its creamy texture that blends well and gets along with other liquid makeup (foundation, tinted moisturizer, sunblock) so I can use it to tint, lighten or darken them; and it’s portable size. I can hardly think of a con except for its brush applicator tip, which will need to be cleaned once in a while.

My favorite way to apply the L.A. Girl Pro Conceal as foundation is to use the Beauty Blender sponge. You can build coverage from sheer to medium; I guess you can do full coverage but I think it will look a bit heavy as this product is thick. Applying with a brush also works if you thin this product first (with your facial serum, moisturizers or other creamy liquids), but if you’re aiming at getting full coverage, take care since the buffing may make your skin feel raw. I found that using my toners as a mixture with this product will not work, as this stuff is very creamy, and substances that are too watery can’t blend well with it. Ditto with spritzing my face first, which can lead to streaky results.

The L.A. Pro Conceal comes in 18 shades and it can be mind boggling to pick a shade. I can only find one complete set of swatches on the internet, so here’s an additional reference by yours truly. In the picture above, I swatched all 18 shades, and also included three of my foundations as comparison (Tarte Maracuja Miracle foundation in ‘light’, Guerlain Parure Gold Foundation in 02 ‘Beige Clair’, and MAC Studio Fix Fluid in ‘NC40’ which i use on other darker people). Note I am yellow-toned around MAC NC 25-30.

If you’re still not sure which shade to get, you can get a couple of colors, one light and one dark in the color family that you need, and mix them up as needed. Below a few results of mixing some of the shades.

L.A. Girl Pro Conceal high definition concealer mixed shades
L.A. Girl Pro Conceal high definition concealer mixed shades (50:50 ratio)
L.A. Girl Pro Conceal high definition concealer mixed shades
L.A. Girl Pro Conceal high definition concealer range of shades by mixing ‘beautiful bronze’ and ‘natural’ at various ratios