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What is baking?
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By Terri Wiebold; courtesy photos

International makeup artist and social media influencer Heidi Moustafa “bakes” her face to add highlight and contour to her features.

As a teenager growing up in the ‘80s, there was one giant taboo when it came to applying makeup: no “cake” face. This phenomenon occurs when too much foundation or concealer is applied and not blended properly, resulting in a chalky, mask-like pancake appearance. It’s ironic that makeup artists and social media influencers today use a cosmetic technique called “baking” (or sometimes called “cooking”) to create a beautiful complexion.

Baking is when you pack loose translucent powder on top of your concealer and foundation and leave it for five to 10 minutes, allowing your body heat to warm it up and absorb it. Once set, you dust off and blend the powder, leaving a flawless, poreless matte pigmentation.

Nothing new, baking has been a technique used by drag performers for decades. It can be thought of as an extreme form of highlighting and contouring, accentuating and adding definition to the face. Here are the steps involved in baking.

  1. Moisturize – Hydrate eye area with cream. Because you are using a lot of powder, it can really dry out your skin if not moisturized well.
  2. Prime – Use a makeup primer to fill in any fine lines or creases.
  3. Conceal – Lay on a thick layer of concealer under your eyes and use foundation to cover any blemishes.
  4. Blend – Use a damp makeup sponge to blend by dabbing.
  5. Highlight – With a second layer of concealer, highlight nose, under eyes, forehead, chin and underneath cheekbones and blend.
  6. Bake – Wet a makeup sponge with water or setting spray (very important that it be wet), then dip it into the setting powder. Generously cover the area where you applied your concealer. Do not blend it; it will look like you have flour painted on your face. Leave it on for five to 10 minutes.
  7. Set – Once the powder is set, dust it off using a clean fluffy brush or one with a little powder foundation on it. Blend away any harsh edges before bronzing your cheeks, nose, forehead and jawline.

The technique of baking is a little heavy-handed and is not best for an “everyday” look, but it is great for taking photos or an evening out with dimmer lighting. It is also used by makeup artists to create special effects like bruising and cuts, and it would lay the perfect foundation for a Halloween painted face mask. It does not easily rub off, making it popular with performers too.

To see baking in action, visit social media – it is flooded with tutorials!



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