Cara Brook wants women to know she’s just like them. Women might be more interested in knowing, though, that they’re just like Brook. At least they can be, if they follow her hair and makeup tips.
The popular maskcara.com beauty blogger and Las Vegan is one of 10 finalists in Allure magazine’s Beauty Blogger of the Year competition. Presented with weekly beauty challenges for five weeks, bloggers are competing to win, among other prizes, a trip to New York City’s Fashion Week. Brook has already won the first two weeks’ competitions.
Her high cheekbones, pouty lips, big eyes and voluminous hair may look about as attainable as Ryan Gosling, but she teaches her readers it’s all an illusion.
“People see models and think there’s a world between them and the models,” she says. “It’s just one moment of artistic creation. It’s not the way someone looks on a day-to-day basis.”
That includes her. Brook has no qualms removing every last dab of cosmetic armor on her face, snapping photos and posting them on her blog. It’s the only way to get her message through to women: You, too, can have this.
“I think what helped my ability to grow is that I’m so relatable,” she says, “especially when I’m dressed down. I feel like I’m pretty average, but I can up my game.”
Another draw among readers has been her beauty philosophy. She comes from a place of enhancing beauty, not hiding “problems.”
Beauty blogs aren’t hard to come by, but successful beauty blogs are. Brook started maskcara.com two years ago while living in St. George, Utah, from where she recently moved to Las Vegas. She wasn’t working as a professional makeup artist, but as a customer service representative for a website design company. She was just a woman with a longtime love for all things beauty-related — and a big dream.
Brook saw a void in the beauty industry and developed a product idea. Realizing she lacked capital, connections and credibility, she honed in on the one “c” she saw a way of earning fast: credibility. After six months of dilly-dallying on her blog, she got serious. The new mom began helping women discover their own beauty.
It took just one viral video tutorial, a how-to on Victoria’s Secret model Marisa Miller’s hair, to make a name for maskcara. Soon after, she rolled out a video on highlighting and contouring — the makeup process of defining and accentuating features is her specialty — and readers were hooked.
Now her popular posts get more than 300 comments, her YouTube channel has close to 13,000 subscribers and her Pinterest account has 34,244 followers. She’s monetized her efforts through advertisements and affiliations with beauty companies that come from product recommendations.
The good fortune sprinkled over into her personal life, too. Brook married professional golfer Nick Killpack six months ago. The two were friends before they started dating. When Killpack heard about her blog, he took it about as seriously as men take the Lifetime network.
“I thought, ‘Well, girls do blogs to pass the time,’ ” he says. “Then when I saw her YouTube videos and the number of views they had, I realized there was some serious potential there.”
Killpack was doing marketing for a weight-loss shake at the time and reached out to his old friend Brook, to see if she’d give his product a plug. Negatory. She has to firmly believe in something to put her name behind it, even if her future husband’s pitching it.
“I think people really trust my recommendations because I’m so picky,” she says. “That’s what blogs are for. We all have magazines and commercials if we want to see what someone’s paid to tell us.”
In less than two years, she got the credibility she sought. Brook soon quit her customer service job, not to become a full-time makeup artist, but to become a full-time blogger. Now, beauty companies want her endorsements and she gets daily, unsolicited product shipments.
She also gets hundreds of emails from readers that end like this one from a woman named Reilly: “Please keep doing what you are doing, because I am sure my life isn’t the only one you have changed!”
Although most of Brook’s makeup jobs now are for friends and family, she has a feature called Makeover Mondays on which she’s considering featuring readers. For locals interested in getting a makeover from Brook, she expects to have details posted on maskcara soon.
Readers will also be the first to find out about her very own beauty product, too. Brook has been working on developing the supersecret item for months and hopes to unveil it soon. She wants to one day develop a full makeup line. Her chances for that could greatly improve if she wins Allure’s Beauty Blogger of the Year.
For Brook, though, all that’s like the free gift with purchase, just the bonus that comes with doing what she loves.
“I really just want to help as many women feel comfortable with beauty as possible,” she says. “So many women are overwhelmed by it.”
Contact Xazmin Garza at xgarza@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0477.