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10 Easy Tricks To Prevent Cakey Makeup

And you don't even have to start all over.
PHOTO: getty images

Oh, cakey makeup—how I hate thee. The biggest misconception about cakey makeup is that it's always caused by using too many products, but as someone who routinely uses a zillion formulas at once, I can assure you that ain't true. The trick to preventing cakey makeup, you see, is to use the correct products in the correct amounts, pair them with other compatible formulas, and apply them in a specific way. ...Okay, so, like, a few tricks.

But because I realize all of that is much easier said than done, I've rounded up the best makeup tips, complete with YouTube video demonstrations, for fixing cakey makeup and avoiding it in the first place. The best part? You don't have to wipe it off and start all over if you don't want to. Truly, no one has time for that.


Cakey Makeup Tip #1: Melt It With Setting Spray

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 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.

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Cakey Makeup Tip #2: Keep Blending

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 makeup sponge 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.

How to fix cakey foundation in 3 minutes

Cakey Makeup Tip #3: Hydrate Crepe-y Under Eyes

So you've followed all the under-eye baking steps to a T, and yet your concealer looks crusty, crepe-y, and chalky. Annoying! What you need is to add a bit of hydration back into the skin. This YouTuber's trick: Use a face spray or toner that contains squalane (an emollient ingredient) to hydrate fine lines and dissolve the 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.

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How to transform dry cakey concealer

Cakey Makeup Tip #4: Sponge Off Excess Makeup

Applied too much foundation? Haaaaate. But don't head to the sink. Instead, just press and roll a clean, damp makeup sponge over any areas of your face where you've applied too much makeup (like blush or concealer or even too much finishing powder) to blend down the formula and make your skin look more natural. Then, take a two-ply tissue, peel it in half, wrap it around your sponge, and gently pat it over your skin to pick up any last bits.

How to avoid cakey foundation

Cakey Makeup Tip #5: Finish With Oil

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 facial 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.

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How to not look cakey


Cakey Makeup Tip #6: Powder Oily Skin Before Foundation

Got oily skin? Sandwich your makeup with powder. Here's what I mean: In place of a primer, use your damp blending sponge to apply a finely milled translucent setting powder on areas that get extra oily, like your T-zone. Let it sit for a few minutes, then brush off the excess. Continue with the rest of your routine—foundation, concealer, etc.—then finish with another dusting of setting powder to lock it in.

Matte, sweat-proof, full coverage foundation routine

Cakey Makeup Tip #7: Apply Less Product Where You Crease

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.

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How to stop makeup from creasing

Cakey Makeup Tip #8: Stop Creasing With Eyeshadow Primer

Think about it: Eyeshadow primer works for preventing eyeshadow from creasing and sliding, so it makes sense that it would work for other areas of your face, too. To address smile-line creases, patchiness on your nose, and separation on your forehead, dab your eyeshadow primer over your clean, moisturized skin. Then, brush a teeny amount of loose, invisible setting powder (not pressed foundations or colored powders) to set it. Apply your foundation, using less foundation on your crease-y areas (pls refer to step #7), then finish with a final dusting of setting powder and setting spray all over.

Cakey foundation tips for oily skin

Cakey Makeup Tip #9: Pair the Right Formulas Together

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.

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How to avoid cakey foundation

Cakey Makeup Tip #10: Wait to Set Your Under Eyes

If eye creasing is your issue, apply your concealer in the hollows of your under-eye circles (where you need it the most), then use your sponge to blend it up toward your lashes for a thin layer of coverage. Instead of setting it with powder right away, continue with your eye makeup routine to allow the concealer time to settle into the creases. Once you've finished with your eye look, carefully use your finger to dab away the excess makeup that has pooled in your under-eye creases. Once you've removed the extra product, then you can finish with setting powder.

How to prevent your concealer from creasing


This article originally appeared on Minor edits have been made by the editors.