"How much powder do I use when I'm baking to avoid looking cakey?"

- Anonymous

If you have to even ask this question, I think you already know the answer: you should be using less powder than what you've been trying! There are a few other things to consider though, so keep on readin'. If you read this question and thought "What the HECK is baking?" you can read about it in the Beauty Dictionary here. Basically, baking is achieved when heavy amounts of powder are allowed to rest on top of your concealer for several minutes so that the powder 'bakes' into the makeup beneath, before the excess is swept away. Although baking stems from the drag community, it literally blew up once the Kardashians got a hold of it, and now has become a mainstream trend in makeup...The only problem is, when you combine a liquid or cream product (like your concealer) with a powder product (like heavy loose powder) you have the ultimate recipe for cakiness! Eeeeeeek!

I'm pretty sure nobody is going for that fresh-baked-cake look, so how can you still bake and reap the benefits of the long-lasting, smooth matte finish it offers? The answer is to lighten up on the product load, and to make sure the products are really worked into the skin. Allow me to elaborate, friends.

Most baking tutorials online are using a TON of product (both concealer and powder) to achieve their results. But guess what? If you paint your entire under-eye full of concealer and then plop a buncha powder on top, you've got a whooooole lotta product just sitting on the surface of your skin! I recommend cutting both the amount of concealer AND powder you use in a technique I invented called 'baking light' (which I actually use for red carpets)! Apply your usual amount of concealer (most people who bake add extra because they need it to absorb the heavy powder), and then use a sponge to pick up just a bit of powder. Then, directly press this powder into the concealer, using a fairly firm hand. You can see this fully demonstrated in my 'How to Stop Concealer Creasing for Good' tutorial if ya can't picture what I'm saying. The goal is to only use the amount of powder that is immediately absorbed into the concealer, rather than having a pile of it on top that you sweep off after. Also, pressing the powder into place really works it into the concealer and skin beneath, so that it's waaaaaay less likely to sit on top and look cakey. I guarantee if you have been trying your hand at baking and can't seem to get away from a cakey finish, you'll like this technique much better. For those of you who find baking dries out their skin like crazy, 'baking light' will help resolve this issue too, since you're using less powder.

The last thing to remember when it comes to baking is that at the end of the day it is a trend, and even though it could be great for some people, it is absolutely NOT for everyone! On some women baking is really going to bring about more problems than it does solutions. The good news is that it is totally optional! You never ever have to adopt this technique, and if you have given it your best shot and it's still not working for you, you can literally forget about it and keep doing your makeup the way that best works for YOU! The real problem is when we get caught up in dying to have what we see looks good on someone else, and thinking we HAVE to do that one thing or else!!! Never forget that makeup is totally personal and unique—just like you—so if baking just ain't your cup of tea, it's totally cool to just move on :)

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