What Is Baking Makeup? How The Technique Gives You A Flawless Complexion

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A red haired woman having a beautiful makeup

​Image Source: Pixabay

Although the term “Baking Makeup” may conjure up images of aprons and making brownies while applying lipstick, it is actually a cosmetic application technique that gives you a flawless complexion. So, what is baking makeup, why would you want to do it, and how is it done?

The first thing you probably already know is that there is no oven involved. In fact, we won't be instructing you to enter the kitchen at all. Set yourself up to “bake” wherever you regularly apply your makeup, and we will guide you in the steps to complete this technique that results in a flawless complexion. By following simple steps, you will see how setting your makeup in this way will keep it looking great and lasting much longer than a fresh batch of brownies.

How Can You Tell If Someone's Makeup Is Baked?

gorgeous woman with makeup

​Image Source: Pixabay

You know when you watch television, or you're at an event, a play, or fashion show, and the performers look more amazing than you think should be possible? Although they have been pampered by professionals, they have probably also been on their feet for hours practicing a routine or studying lines to be ready to go when the lights come on and the cameras roll.

In the case of film and television, the actors have to be in their makeup and wardrobe all day so they look perfect as the director calls for take after take to get each shot just right. While the lighting and angles may change, the actor must not. These are the times when the process of baking makeup is extremely beneficial.

You Have Those Times, Too

You may not be Cher or Elton waiting in the wings to step on stage, but in real life there are many times you have to be just as ready to hit the ground running. Special life events often demand you start super early in the day, with no time to touch up your makeup later or even pause to look in a mirror again.

When you're part of a wedding, for example, you have to be ready for pictures even though the ceremony isn't scheduled to begin for another three hours—and then you have to go directly to the celebration still looking as fresh as your bouquet. You're lucky if you get to reapply your lip-gloss in the reflection of a parked car window, let alone put on a fresh face of makeup.

Besides big events like a wedding, there are the everyday routines. You, too, have a life filled with days, nights and moments in which you want to feel confident and selfie-ready at all times. You absolutely don't want to look half-baked when a camera is pointed in your direction! The need for baking makeup isn't unique to entertainers, although the technique did get started backstage.

A Bit of Foundation Information

Before we dive into the details of what is baking makeup, it helps to understand how the term and the technique were cooked up.

It's Kind of a Drag

In the world of entertainment, the Drag Queen is looked upon as a sort of king when it comes to applying makeup. In the world of drag, putting on makeup and designing costumes to create a standout look is considered an art. In the dressing room, the performers are known to prepare together, always reminding each other--after hours of preparation--to “bake their face”.

Both the term and process caught on. Professional makeup artists followed suit, using the technique on celebrities and anyone who has to look picture-perfect, especially for an extended period.

Baking Has Become a Basic

Today, anyone who is applying makeup (to themselves or someone else) is catching on to this trend that is becoming a common practice. To learn how to create a flawless and long-lasting impression, instructional videos abound in which makeup pros and enthusiasts describe what is baking makeup, and demonstrate the technique.

So, What Is Baking Makeup and Is It Hard to Do?

In fact, baking your makeup is quite simple, and you don't need to wear a lot of makeup to enjoy its benefits. There are no fancy products needed either, so you don't have to worry about spending a lot of money. You likely already have everything you need to get started and create a beautiful finish.

The Tools to Bake Your Makeup

The first thing to do when prepping to apply and bake your makeup is to get your cosmetic application tools and products in place. You will need moisturizer, concealer, foundation, loose powder, setting spray, a makeup sponge and a good size fluffy brush.

How to Do It: A Simple Process With a Twist

Clean and Moisturize

Begin with a fresh clean face and moisturize. Take special care to apply moisturizer around your eyes. Read your labels to be certain the moisturizer you use is indicated as safe for use around the eye area, as some are not.

Add Concealer

Dab your concealer around your eyes. It is recommended to apply concealer under the bottom lashes in the shape of an upside-down triangle, with the point facing downward. It is also recommended that most people use a lighter shade concealer than their foundation to compensate for the appearance of any darkness or circles beneath their eyes.

It is fine to use one shade of concealer under your eyes and a darker shade concealer that matches your foundation to hide any facial scars and blemishes you want to camouflage. Once you have dabbed on the concealer around your eyes, blend the edges of the triangle with your makeup sponge, smoothing at the corners, but not too much at the center of your triangle. You don't want to remove the product: just smooth out the transition from one product to the edge of your skin or foundation.


​For baking, all concealers and foundations must be liquid. The technique will not work with powdered makeup, so you might have to adjust your routine there. Choose a matte finish liquid foundation for best results. We will discuss how you can add a little glow later to complete your look.

​Apply Foundation

​Once your concealer is on, apply your liquid foundation. So far, the process is likely the same as you are used to, and that is correct. What is baking makeup? It's not reinventing your look; it's improving and making your desired look last longer than it would without baking. This is true for both natural and dramatic application.

Time to Bake

​Now for the frosting on the cake (or, rather, the baking of your makeup). Using your blending sponge, generously dab loose powder over your concealer. Baking is primarily targeted for use under the eyes and over spots you want to reinforce the concealer you've placed over flaws, but you can bake anywhere and everywhere on your face. There are no distinct rules as to where you should not bake.

​Let it Rest

​Finish the rest of your makeup, giving time for the loose powder you've dabbed on to sit on the skin. While you are putting on your eye shadow, liner, and mascara, the moisture and warmth from your skin is what is baking makeup into your face, doing the job to create the desired appearance of a flawless complexion.

​Finishing up your Finish

​After you're done with your other makeup application, use your loose fluffy brush to whisk away any excess powder that remains sitting on your face. Simple as that: your makeup is now baked.

Extra Touches

woman having a makeup session

​Image Source: Pixabay

Blush and Contour

When you are done baking the areas of your face you want set, you are free to use your other powder products. Swipe the apple of your cheeks with a rosy tone blush to bring out a healthy, youthful appearance. Contour with shading and bronzer; products that come in many shades of matte or shimmer. Add highlighter at the crest of your cheeks and at the side of your eyes for a bit of shine that will catch the light. Try a stroke of gold over your shadow for a sparkling evening eye.


Completing Your Look With Lipstick

After your face and eye makeup is baked, set and completed, it's time to make your final statement with the perfect lipstick. Depending on your mood and the impression you want to make, choose from your natural go-to shade or reach for a more daring eye-popping color and complementary lip liner.

In Conclusion

Now that what is baking is no longer a question, you can decide the answer of whether the technique is right for you. Experiment with how your face looks and your makeup lasts after baking. If you decide you need or want to purchase products for baking your makeup, most cosmetic brands sell loose powders of every shade and type to best match your skin.

As mentioned earlier, if you still want to see the technique in action, explanations for what is baking makeup and how-to tips for application can be found easily on YouTube and Instagram. Once you get the hang of it, we think you'll find baking your makeup to be as sweet a solution as that pan of fresh-out-of-the-oven brownies.

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