Did you think the terms “baking” and "cooking" were reserved exclusively for culinary activities? If so, maybe you haven't been spending enough time on your beauty Instagram feeds or YouTube makeup tutorials lately. Otherwise, you may have spotted this trending technique used to set your base makeup, create a poreless-looking finish, and highlight the high points of the face.
Baking (also known as cooking), is currently having a major social media moment, and is used as a way of really setting the foundation into the skin so it lasts longer, without the need to reapply powder constantly. Here is how it is done: After you apply your foundation, add a thick coat of light-colored powder with a sponge or powder puff to the face, usually under the eyes, and other places you want to be more prominent, like the cheekbones, the bridge of the nose, forehead, and chin. Leave the thick coating of powder on the skin to ‘cook’ between 10 to 30 minutes, and then sweep it away with a brush.
But not just any powder will work for baking, you can't really bake with a pressed powder, because you really have to build the product up. For this technique, you have to use an ‘ultra-finely milled loose powder’ that is a shade or two lighter than your skin tone. Now, some of these Instagram photos and YouTube videos may make it seem like baking is a wonderful invention for those who want sky-high cheekbones, however makeup lovers should be warned that the technique isn't for everyone. The technique is a way to set your makeup when standing under hot lights. It might look good in an Instagram picture, but in person, it is harsh and heavy.
Women with dry skin should also be wary of baking as it makes the skin look dry. Also, be warned that the overapplication of powder will have a much greater effect on mature skin because it will collect in, and exaggerate lines. The key is to work the technique selectively; bake under your cheekbones or on your nose, as opposed to under the eyes, where people tend to have more lines. You don't have to bake to the same intensity that you see on YouTube. Balance it out, so you don't have too much texture on the skin.
It will help the process if you use a tinted moisturizer or light-weight foundation, followed by concealer, and then powder, for baking. This will relieve some of the evident texture of layering a full-coverage of foundation, concealer, and powder — thus avoiding the infamous ‘cake face’. Whether you are pro-baking or not, at the end of the day, it is makeup - so have fun with it and experiment.