To Bake or Not to Bake — Is This Makeup Technique Right for You?

No one wants to apply makeup only to have it slide off a few hours later. While it’s not a new concept, “baking” burst onto the makeup scene and became the go-to option for makeup lovers everywhere who wanted a flawless makeup look that lasted. Countless Instagram and Youtube videos were dedicated to highlighting the best ways to set your makeup by relying on this technique. But is baking ideal for all skin types and are some people better served by avoiding this theatrical makeup trick?

What is Baking?

If you hear the word “baking” and think about making baked goods, this is not that. Baking refers to applying a thick layer of setting powder to strategic locations where you’ve previously applied concealer such as under the eyes or along the bridge of your nose. 

As opposed to simply applying powder and moving on, you apply the layer and let it sit for anywhere from five to 10 minutes. Then, using a brush you remove the excess powder. When done properly, baking can help to keep your concealer from sliding throughout the day. Likewise, it can help to prevent shine in key areas. 

When is Baking Beneficial

It’s important to note that baking is an old makeup trick that has a history in the television and film industry. Hot lights and — these days — HD cameras can be unfair to your skin and either cause makeup to melt off or magnify imperfections. 

If you’re aiming for a long-wear makeup look, baking can be helpful to set your makeup so that it lasts throughout the day. As fantastic as this technique can be, depending on your skin, and the products you use, your results can vary. Common issues with baking include caking and cracking under the eyes, or magnifying fine lines and texture. 

Powder Matters

Baking is usually performed by applying a loose setting powder over your concealer. But the type of powder you choose can directly impact how well baking works for you. Specifically, you’ll want to opt for a finely milled setting powder. 

This type of powder is less likely to settle into fine lines. And as a result, this translates to less texture and cracking throughout the day. Additionally, a finely milled powder is less likely to dry out your skin, which can also make baking a more challenging trick to achieve. 

How the Condition of Your Skin Impact Baking

Another major issue beauty lovers need to consider is the age and condition of their skin. As a general rule, people with mature skin should avoid baking as the technique can highlight fine lines and texture. Mature skin is also often drier, which can break down makeup in the under-eye region faster and amplify blemishes. In this scenario, baking can backfire and magnify problem areas — especially in the under-eye region. Even opting for a finely milled powder may not be enough to counteract this common drawback to baking. 

Things to Consider

Keep in mind that this is a method designed to mimic a natural, flawless effect under harsh lights or cameras that might otherwise wash out features and magnify problem areas. But like many makeup tricks that have trended in the last decade, baking is another technique that might appear heavy and unnatural in real life. 

Also keep in mind that baking requires layering a lot of powder on top of either foundation, concealer, or both. So, as with any other makeup look that requires an intensive amount of product. You’ll want to ensure that your makeup removal routine is effective and fully cleanses your pores or you could encourage breakouts and other skin issues. 

Should You Bake?

Ultimately, you’ll need to test out if baking is right for you and see if your experience is positive. But if your goal is a flawless makeup application, there are countless ways to do this that don’t require piling on powder, letting it set for five to 10 minutes, and then brushing it off.

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