The beginner’s guide to baking

How this extra step will leave a flawless makeup finish

Beauty Crew Editor / July 21 2016

For the last year or so, you would have heard the term ‘baking’ thrown around as a new beauty trend to get to know. So what is it exactly? A technique that’s largely associated with celebrity makeup artist Mario Dedivanoic and Kim Kardashian West, it’s essentially using a loose powder to set your foundation or concealer on certain areas of your face, then dusting it off for a smooth, flawless and almost airbrushed finish. It also works a treat to brighten and illuminate skin. 

And lest you think it’s some flash-in-the-pan technique that’s just having a moment, Bobbi Brown International Pro Makeup Artist Amy Conway tends to disagree. 

“Baking is a very big trend,” she says. “And it actually make sense, because makeup needs time to set. It doesn’t need long, just a good 30 seconds to sink into the skin and that’s pretty much what baking does; it just allows the makeup to really sink in.” 

Full disclosure: baking does leave a heavier finish and takes some time to do, so if you’re looking to up the ante on your nighttime makeup or ace your selfie game, here’s how you can bake your foundation and your undereye concealer for a flawless result.


Apply your foundation

To really get the most out of your baking, Conway stresses pressing your foundation into your skin – even if you’ve started the process by applying it with a brush. 

“A really important tip is not to skip literally pressing in your foundation. Using the warmth of your hands and literally press the makeup in. Never underestimate the power of your fingers to just warm the skin and really cement that in, so it sits really smooth for you.”

TOP TIP: Follow this same pressing technique when applying your concealer under your eyes.


Follow with your powder

Next, use a powder brush, and take some translucent or retouching powder and gently push it onto the areas you want to set for a more flawless finish – usually this will be your T-zone and underyes, but Conway says there’s a growing trend for brightening the cheeks. 

For those concerned with dark circles, press the powder over the concealer that you normally apply under your eyes for a brighter result. 

Wherever you decide to apply your powder, you’ll want to be able to see the layer, so make sure you’ve got enough on your brush.


Leave the powder to set

Once you’ve pushed your powder in, Conway suggests letting it sit for about 30 seconds. If you want, you can leave it on for a few minutes longer while you do the rest of your makeup.


Dust it off and buff it out

After you’ve let the powder sink in, dust off the excess and gently buff the area for a flawless result.

Image credit: @kimkardashian

Carli was BEAUTYcrew’s Editor from launch in 2016 until May 2020. You can find her words right here on BEAUTYcrew, and previously on beautyheaven.