Besamé is a brand I grow more enamored of with every use of their products. (My lukewarm opinion of their Mickey Mouse Lipstick Set has shifted to full-blown Like, thanks to their magical, comely Ink and Paint shade). So I was excited to receive the item that was highest on my Besamé wish list: the Black Cake Mascara.
It comes in a pretty little burgundy tin with gold-embossed lettering reminiscent of the 1920s, the era that this mascara calls back to. There’s something rather special about being in possession of a product this glamorous yet unassuming. Included with the black cake mascara is a deep purple applicator that, in keeping with the vintage aesthetic of the brand, bears no resemblance to a modern mascara wand. To me, it looks like a doll’s toothbrush, making me all the more curious to give it a try. Also included is a tiny fold-out card with instructions–in English and French–on how to use this product. Based on the instructions, the mascara cake also can be applied as an eyeliner and as eyebrow color. The final cost of Besamé’s black cake mascara, including tax and shipping, came to $31, which is more than I’d normally pay for mascara. So the prospect of getting multiple uses out of this .39 oz. 11g package softens the sticker shock. Now that we’ve been introduced to the product, it’s time to put it to the test.
I studied the instructions closely, wanting to be as precise as possible. (In keeping with a minimalist eye routine, I enjoy a simple yet impactful look for my eyes, which is usually just eyeliner and mascara. But I’ve learned that my ideal eye often requires steady hands.)
I always start with lining my eyes. Following the instructions, I use a fine tip eyeliner brush to apply the makeup. (I’ve found a cheap, effective and hygienically-packaged set of 100 eyeliner brushes on Amazon that work well.) I dip the brush in some water–as if I’m about to apply watercolors to a canvas–then I swipe the brush across the cake. It takes a few swipes for the blonde-colored brush bristles to turn black with makeup. I wisp the brush across both eye lids and wait, per the instructions, for this coat to dry. This, of course, is different from your usual eye pencil or liquid liner, that usually require only one coat. The initial coat is a bit thin, but I chalk that up to maybe too much moisture diluting the color, as the instructions warn against. I dab my brush dry, swipe across the cake again and reapply. This does the trick, creating a dramatic yet accessible eye look. I allow the liner to set for a few minutes before the next step: applying to my lashes.
My lashes get little attention during my beauty routine because they’re hopelessly short and thin. Often, I skip mascara altogether as I’ve yet to find a product that makes a dramatic difference. Sadly, the Besamé black cake is more of the same. In my first trial, I used the included applicator, which I’ve come to enjoy. At first, the applicator was a bit ungainly as I figured out the most comfortable way to hold and use it on my lashes. I decided on a downward stroke, from the base of my lashes to the tip. (At first, I was swiping from beneath the lash, stroking upward, which was ineffective with the Besamé applicator.) For the sake of discovery, I tried my right eye with a more modern rounded applicator and, to my surprise, I prefer the Besamé applicator for the cake mascara. Also, I’ve found that the flat, single layer of bristles works well in applying the makeup as an eyeliner–not for precision effect like a fine line or a winged look, but for a thick, fat kohl look across the upper lids. I like the utility of the black cake as an overall eye product but as a standalone mascara, it’s only average.
I’ve been incorporating the Besamé black cake mascara into my everyday look for about a week now and I really enjoy this product. I think I have my technique down in using it as a liner, a mascara and, to my surprise, a wonderful brow color that gives fuller and bolder-looking brows. (I’ve never paid much attention to my brows, even though they have grown rather thin over the years. I don’t tweeze or thread anymore but it seems like the hair itself has become finer. The joys of approaching middle age!)
I think I’d give Besamé’s black cake mascara a solid B to express my satisfaction and enthusiasm. This is a brand that continues to empress me the more I use it. Initially, I felt as though Besamé was mostly a niche brand for die-hard vintage makeup fans and modern day pin-up girls. But I’m pleased to discover that, while paying homage to early 20th century glamour, it’s more than worthy of a place in your 21st century beauty routine.