10 Tricks to Fix and Prevent Cakey Makeup *Fast*


You might not be able to explain what cakey makeup is per se, but you definitely know it when you see it on your face: the dreaded lines of demarcation, the patchy, textured skin, the pores and fine lines that look more intense and obvious than they really are. And even though your middle-school days might tell a different story, full-coverage foundation isn’t always the culprit—it’s often how you’re applying products, the formulas you’re slathering on top of one another, and the techniques you’re using.

Basically, cakey makeup isn’t the result of using too many products but from using too much product. See the difference? I’ll explain a little more in-depth, below, with all the best makeup tips and video tutorials, so keep reading so you never have to deal with cakey makeup again.

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What does caking mean in makeup?

Cakey makeup mostly refers to foundation that looks thick, heavy, and noticeable, but it’s also kind of a catch-all term for uneven, splotchy makeup that’s creasing, sliding around, breaking up, flaking—basically anything other than makeup that looks ~flawless.~ And because cakey makeup can appear in so many different ways, the list of causes can be pretty long, too.

Sometimes, the reason for cakey makeup is way too much product or not the right products, and other times, it has more to do with your actual skin, like skin that’s too dry or too oily, or skin that hasn’t been prepped properly. So with all that in mind, let’s go over a few pro tips for how to refresh cakey makeup and how to prevent it next time.

Cakey makeup tip #1: Melt it with setting spray

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If you’re still not using a makeup setting spray, why tho? When you’ve finished all your contouring, bronzing, setting, and highlighting, and your face looks like a powdered donut, you need to melt allll that powder into your skin. A setting spray will not only lock your makeup into place, but it will also take away any powdery residue and set everything into your skin for a more natural finish.

Cakey makeup tip #2: Keep blending

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An even foundation application requires more than just rubbing it on and calling it a day. If your foundation looks cakey after you’ve applied it, then you’re not done blending. Use your damp Beautyblender to gently stamp your foundation (or BB cream, or tinted moisturizer) into your skin over and over again until it has basically set (about three minutes). The blending and stippling will eliminate any harsh lines and ensure every inch of your skin is covered and even, without the cake.

Cakey makeup tip #3: Hydrate crepe-y under eyes

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So you’ve followed all the under-eye baking steps to a T, and yet your concealer looks crusty, crepe-y, and chalky. Ugh. What you need is to add a bit of hydration back into the skin. This makeup artist’s trick: Use a face spray or toner that contains squalane (a moisturizer) to hydrate your fine lines and dissolve powdery residue. But don’t just mist it all over your makeup—spritz it right onto your clean makeup sponge, dab it a few times on the back of your hand to tap off the excess, then lightly press it over your cakey concealer to fix the dryness without ruining all the work you did.

Cakey makeup tip #4: Finish with oil

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Dry skin has a way of looking cakey and flaky no matter how much prep you do. If you’ve finished your makeup and your bronzer looks muddy or your foundation looks chalky or cakey, help give it a skin-like texture by adding in an oil at the end of your routine. Just drop a few dots of face oil onto the back of your hand, stamp your beauty sponge in it a few times, then lightly (lightly!) stipple it over the dry parts of your face. With this trick, all of your products will marry each other and become one with your skin.

HOW TO AVOID CAKEY MAKEUP

Cakey makeup tip #5: Don’t skip skincare

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Your hairstyle might work better on slightly dirty hair, but the same is not true for your face, bestie! Ya gotta do all the skincare steps in the right order (except for the ones that dry out your face, like acne spot treatments) to create the best canvas for all that makeup you’re about to paint on it.

First step: Wash your face with a gentle face wash or micellar water. If you have dry skin that flakes with foundation, be sure to exfoliate your skin on a regular basis to remove any dead skin (some even swear by shaving their face and peach fuzz for the smoothest finish) that could cause your foundation to look scaly. Then, you have your optional toners and serums.

If you have a dull complexion, you might actually find a hydrating face serum to be helpful in adding a little glow. And for oily skin, a toner might be helpful for removing excess oil without stripping the skin. Then, follow with a lightweight moisturizer (like one that contains hyaluronic acid) and allow it at least five minutes to sink in before moving on with your sunscreen and makeup.

Cakey makeup tip #6: Powder oily skin before foundation

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We all remember the five-step foundation process that went viral on TikTok during quarantine, right? Well, here’s a refresher. If you have oily skin, follow this product order: moisturizer, setting powder, setting spray, primer, foundation. While this might not work for all y’all with dry skin, TikTok hack has plenty of success stories and fans who swear this technique keeps their foundation long-lasting and crease-free.

Cakey Makeup Tip #7: Powder your nose

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If the rest of your face is fine, but your nose is always on the shiny side, here’s the trick for you. After you prime, press your nose with a damp sponge and tinted translucent powder in a shade that matches your skin tone. Then, use whatever foundation is leftover on your brush after applying it all over the rest of your face to lightly cover your nose, followed by a little more powder. The idea here is to let the powder give most of the coverage, not the liquid foundation. This will help create an even base and also prevent the product from sliding around and breaking up around your nose.

Cakey makeup tip #8: Apply less makeup in your creases

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One annoying symptom of cakey makeup is when it settles into your fine lines, making them look like full-blown wrinkles. The tendency is to cover these areas with even more makeup to hide them, but you actually want to do the opposite. Instead, apply your foundation all over your face, avoiding the areas that crease (around the eyes, forehead, and around the mouth). Then, use whatever product is left on your makeup sponge at the end to very lightly cover your creases.

Cakey makeup tip #9: Pair the right formulas

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Not everyone’s a fan of makeup primers, but if you’re regularly dealing with makeup that creases and moves around, you’ll benefit from using one. However! Not all foundation formulas are compatible with all primers. As explained by the Reddit makeup geniuses, silicone-based primers work best with foundations that contain silicones, while water-based primers are a little more versatile and can work with either water- or silicone-based foundations. Just check the ingredients list: If you see anything ending in –cone near the top of the list, you’ve likely got yourself a silicone primer or foundation.

Cakey makeup tip #10: Strategically place your concealer

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If creasing of your under-eye products is your main gripe because you smile a lot (smiling is good! Keep doing that!), apply your concealer only in the inner corners of your eyes and blend it outward into just the hollows. In other words, don’t paint a large swipe under your entire eye and avoid applying any product at all by the outside corner. With this technique, you get the coverage where you need it most without all the buildup where your face naturally scrunches. Because as you know, creasing can make your makeup look cakey even when you didn’t pack on the product.

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