How to Bake Your Makeup Like a Professional

Ariel Bailey
By: Chief Beauty Advisor  |  Ariel Bailey

Baking your makeup is a great way to secure a photo-finish look for your face.

But is it the best thing you can do for your beauty? Some makeup experts aren’t so sure. And there’s one particular pioneer of makeup-baking that now says she’s sworn it off for good (mostly).

In this article:

  1. What is “Makeup Baking”?
  2. Why Should You Bake Your Makeup?
  3. 4 Simple Steps to Baking your Makeup Like a Pro
  4. To Bake or Not to Bake (the Ultimate Beauty Question)

If you’re curious about makeup baking, then you’ve come to the right place. You’ll learn things about baking your makeup that you never knew were possible!

What is “Makeup Baking”?

In a nutshell, baking your makeup is the process of setting your wet foundation/concealer by dumping an obnoxious amount of translucent powder on top of it and waiting anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes or so before dusting away the excess powder.

We like loose powder especially since it brushes on much easier than traditional caked powder.

According to most professional makeup artists, it’s the best way to make sure you get a flawless, crease-free finish, especially in delicate places like under the eye. It also highlights and brightens the best parts of your face.

When you think of makeup baking and the flawless finish it produces, we bet the first image that comes to your mind are stunning photos of glamorous Hollywood starlets. The Kardashian sisters are particularly well known for sporting this aesthetic. But – to what may be the surprise of many – makeup baking didn’t originate with the Kardashians.

We’re not entirely sure where the practice itself came from.

Granted, we wouldn’t be surprised if some modern-day makeup artists got inspiration from those fabulous Egyptian murals of yore; but the terminology actually comes from the drag queen community.

These gurls know how to werk, and contouring is just one of her many makeup and beauty tricks!

It’s the perfect origin story if you think about it. Who else would know how to create the boldest, most beautiful, most dramatic looks with their makeup (while also covering up even the worst skin flaws in the process)?

Why Should You Bake Your Makeup?

We’ve only hinted at it so far – so now it’s time to go into deeper detail.

In the same vein of makeup magic as contouring and strobing, baking (or cooking) your makeup is a way to bring out the more attractive parts of your face so that you can minimize flaws and draw attention away from the parts you would rather people not see.

Most women’s favorite areas to highlight are the triangle shaped patches of skin under the eye which stretch down to the top of the cheekbone and the apple of the cheeks.

For a more sculpted look, you may also want to tap a little bit of translucent powder on your chin and the deep, rear corners of your jaw. At the end of the day, though, how you bake your makeup is totally up to you.

Maybe it isn’t for every day, but makeup baking certainly does give a flawless final product.

Whether you’re a celebrity, whether you’re going out on the town and want a dramatic look for the evening, or whether you’re getting made up for a special event, baking your makeup can be very flattering.

Many beauty experts wouldn’t recommend it as an everyday part of your beauty routine, though. Given that it can add several extra minutes of prep time in the morning, we certainly understand this recommendation.

But if a baked makeup look is something you want to sport every time you leave the house, more power to you. Once you finish reading our handy guide, you’ll know everything you need to know to bake your makeup anytime.

4 Simple Steps to Baking your Makeup Like a Pro

Step 1: apply your foundation and concealer as you normally would, making sure to highlight the parts of your face that you want to stand out the most (such as your nose, chin, center forehead, and the triangles under your eyes).

Step 2: You have to hurry a little on this next step, because otherwise your concealer will start to crease and make your under-eye area look old and crepey. Use a damp beauty blender (or similar sponge applicator) to apply the translucent “baking” powder to the highlighted parts of your face.

Step 3: Once the powder has been very gently and loosely applied to your skin, give it time to “bake” while you go do other things. The warmth and the moisture of your skin will help the makeup come together and solidify for a nice matte finish. Matte makeup photographs really well and lasts much longer than your typical foundation makeup.

Step 4: Once your makeup is done baking, don’t forget to dust it off with a soft brush! It should ideally be dry and clean, but some makeup experts believe that tapping a little extra translucent powder on will really help perfect the look. You can pick up that tip – with a few other gems to take your makeup baking to the next level – from this very thorough tutorial from

To Bake or Not to Bake (the Ultimate Beauty Question)

Despite how popular baking your makeup is, there are some people who may lead you to believe that baking your makeup is not the best option. Lots of people have opinions on the subject, and many of them are not shy about sharing those opinions.

This includes Kim Kardashian herself.

The celebrity influencer has gone on record as recently as 2017 saying that she hardly ever bakes her makeup anymore.

These days, she claims, she tries to stick to more natural looks.

This pic is a still from the 2018 Holiday edition of Vogue online, where Kim demonstrated her makeup baking skills as a must-wear for the holidays.

Like any fashion trend, it can become tiresome and unpopular when too many people try to jump on board all at once. Maybe this is part of the reason why Kim changed her mind about the trend? Or maybe there’s some sort of financial gain for her as an influencer to promote more natural beauty trends these days?

Only she knows for sure. But no matter what she says, she can’t distance herself from being a pioneer in this makeup trend – nor can she deny how effective it is at brightening some people’s faces!

Makeup is a very personal choice for every woman.

No one should force you to put it on a certain way or coerce you into purchasing products you don’t want to wear. And you should never, under any circumstances, change your makeup routine based on what’s popular if it doesn’t look good on your face.

That being said, we hope you at least try out our quick and easy makeup baking tutorial.

Best of luck, and we hope it turns out glamorous!

Ariel Bailey
Chief Beauty Advisor
Ariel was fed up with all the nonsense information out there. So, she has dedicated over 25 years and written 100's of articles to help millions of people be properly educated from products, to latest innovations, and to anything else beauty related.

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