Makeup Baking or Cooking in Makeup
So the latest trend in makeup is “baking” or “cooking”. Just as you would bake something in the oven and wait for it to cook. Baking in makeup is virtually the same thing. It’s using the natural oils and body heat to cook the powder into the skin alongside the foundation and concealer.
As we know, contouring adds depth and highlighting adds prominence. Baking emphasises those highlighted areas even more. So the effect is quite dramatic depending on the length of time you cook for, or rather: leave the powder on your face.
Again this is a drag technique that has popped up into mainstream makeup; where men use baking and contouring to make the facial features more lifted and feminine. This technique is fantastic for under eye areas as it evens out the skin and helps to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
The process requires a generous amount of loose powder on the higher points of the face. The usual areas you would highlight to make more prominent like the forehead, bridge of the nose, under eyes, cheeks, chin etc. Understanding face shapes is a good idea so that you can adjust your application accordingly. Just as in highlighting the baking process can be used to hide imperfections and change face shapes. So really it is a technique to contrast the contouring we do in makeup – but on a more dramatic level due to the final results.
Of course the foundation and concealer should be a creamy consistency in order for the powder to work its magic. The powder slows down the oxidisation process of foundations reacting with the skins natural heat. Therefore allowing the areas to be much brighter and flawless for longer.
The usual powders we use on a daily basis generally tend to have reflective properties in them. The final result depends on the type of powder you use. Powders with reflective properties will make the baking process more sensitive to flash photography. Simply because they are designed to add a glow and illuminate your skin. As the baking method requires a lot of loose powder this effect is amplified and therefore results in a white cast or a ghost like appearance in flash photography.
The best powders to use are silicone free, finely milled loose matt powders. Some powders do have reflective properties so you may want to dilute the properties by mixing them with powders that don’t. For example, Mac ‘Prep and Prime’ CC cream tends to be very reflective under photographic lighting. Due to its silica content. Any powder can be used as long as you understand the result you will get. Which you can only do by practicing beforehand. The most popular powders are:
- Ben Nye Banana powder.
- Mac Prep and Prime CC powder.
- Veil powder
- Air Spun loose face powder
You should apply the makeup as normal. Then apply the loose powder with a makeup sponge or powder puff. Place it firmly onto the skin without moving the foundation or concealer. Using blotting motions. The sponge applies a light application and a powder puff applies a heavy application. It depends on how heavy and highlighted you want the specific areas to look.
Baking is usually done for 5-10 or a maximum of 20 minutes. The longer you leave it the sharper the highlight and smoother the skin looks. And the more time it has to react with the skins natural moisture and absorb into the skin. This seals in the makeup without leaving a cakey effect. All these ingredients “cook” up on your face with the skins natural heat and oils. Creating a flawless base that seals in the makeup this in turn, reduces creases, wrinkles and pores. The overall effect is a matte and flawless base that is longer lasting. Brilliant if you want to get that HD effect in real life.
Finally, you need to buff off the loose powder with a large soft brush like
- The Sigma F15.
- Real Techniques F25 tulip brush
- Mac large 150 powder brush
To mute the effect of the baking process I would recommend that you use a natural toned loose powder to buff off the baking powder. If you haven’t used a flesh toned one already. Of course you don’t have to if you want to have that dramatic structure to the face. You do have to be very careful if you want a subtle finish. Although it is not impossible. A good tip would be to use a flesh toned powder to buff away the baking powder. This will help mute the baking and make it a little more toned down.
Seems like the perfect answer to every oily, aged face with under eye issues and imperfections right? Wrong. In fact the technique creates an automatic brightness to the baked areas of the face. So these areas will stand out if you don’t balance it out with good contouring. Don’t forget the white cast in flash photography so you really do have to know what you are doing and have good knowledge of the products you use.
Get the effect wrong and you will definitely look like you’ve stuck your head a bowl of powder. It really does depend on what powders you use and how well you do the technique. Practice before hand with new products. Know and understand the result you will get before you try it out on a client.
I wouldn’t recommend baking for everyday makeup. Simply because of the dramatic results. Too dramatic for your everyday makeup. Furthermore you do have to have the confidence to carry off such a dramatic look. It is a technique best left for special occasions, bridals and photo shoots.
So I tried the technique myself. I have not done this before so I was quiet intrigued as to how I could carry it off. I also wanted to test out –
- The theory of whether it would only work with cream foundations.
- If I would have a white cast seeing as I’m Asian with a neutral undertone. So getting the foundation to match is a struggle in its self…
I began with moisturising my face with E45. Yes it’s a moisturiser. I also applied a heavy application of under eye moisturiser as the powder would absorb moisture and I did not want that delicate area to dry out more than it needed to. The key to the technique is to apply a lot of moisturiser due to the powder absorbing it. The baking process does dry you out. Also note that some powders tend to be more drying than others. But remember all powders do absorb a certain amount of moisture and oils from your body.
Then applied a layer of Kryolan stick foundation and contoured with the darker shade. After applying the rest of my eye makeup and blush, I blotted on the powder. Under my eyes and t-zone and under my cheek contour.
I did feel my skin to be quite dry. My ‘wrinkles’ had not vanished if anything they were more obvious. So I had another go. This time I used Kryolan cream foundations. The results were better. Under flash photography and natural bright day light my skin looked absolutely flawless. Hence the HD effect.
Would I do it as part of my daily routine? No. as it was a heavy look. I simply don’t have the time to do the full works.
In conclusion. If I could wear it every day, I would. It’s most definitely a technique worth doing with brides just to add that extra finesse.
There was no white cast and no ghosting effect. I was lighter and brighter and flawless.
Don’t forget there are a lot of factors that can affect the results
- You skin condition – dry skin will be exaggerated so you must use a lot of moisturiser.
- The type of foundation will be the same as dry skin. With powder on top, the skin will become dehydrated.
- Finally the type of loose powder you use. Whether it’s highly reflective or highly absorbent.
Unfortunately you may not realise it until it’s too late. So always check the combination before you do it on a client. You may walk away thinking she looked amazing until she sends you images like you’ve thrown bread flour all over her face. Hence the work “baking”, you need to get the combination of ingredients correct. So, practice makes perfect.