11 Super ways to avoid cakey foundation: Fix it like a pro

Looking picture-perfect with flawless makeup is an underrated talent. And the first rule of makeup for any occasion is to avoid cakey foundation. Learn how to set your base with super easy tricks in under 5 minutes!

Written by Anubhuti Mishra , Relationship Expert
Updated on Nov 17, 2022 | 05:09 PM IST | 2M
11 Super ways to avoid cakey foundation: Fix it like a pro
11 Super ways to avoid cakey foundation: Fix it like a pro

Makeup 101 - the foundation is the basis of your makeup, period. It seriously has the power to make or break your overall look. However, a lot many people struggle with an unwanted yet highly common issue when applying foundation, i.e., they can not figure out how to avoid cakey foundation. Although pretty bothersome, the cakey foundation look is quite an easy thing to address.


Contrary to the popular belief, people consider a full-coverage foundation the culprit. But, it is not so. Often how you apply the makeup products, the formulas that you slather on top of one another, and the makeup techniques you use are to be blamed in reality. As frustrating as all of this sounds, there are ways and tips to avoid cakey foundation (sigh). So, if your makeup is making your skin look worse instead of better, and you wish to get a well-blended finish and flawless skin, we bring you this ultimate guide!


Today, we'll talk about cakey makeup, what causes it, how to prevent it (or avoid it), and how to fix it. All we ask is a little bit of patience, and you are good to shine. Ready?


What exactly does cakey makeup mean? What is the cakey foundation look like?

11 Super ways to avoid cakey foundation: Fix it like a pro


In practicality, the primary secret to landing an unblemished makeup look is to get your base right. Most often, we make the same silly mistake of choosing the wrong shade or directly applying the base on dry patches of skin - eventually becoming prey to cakey makeup and making our skin suffer. To check if you are another victim of a cakey makeup look, check if your face has enlarged pores, the dreaded lines of demarcation, flaky skin, or textured foundation looks post your makeup routine.


In simple words, any cakey makeup generally refers to the foundation that looks heavy and thick. It is also a kind of a catch-all phrase for uneven and splotchy makeup that is hugely visible (or noticeable), like breaking up, creasing, sliding around, and flaking.


What causes cakey foundation?

11 Super ways to avoid cakey foundation: Fix it like a pro

Cakey makeup can literally appear in many diverse ways, generating a list of causes that is pretty long. Sometimes, the reason behind a cakey makeup look is either using way too much product or the wrong products. Other times, your actual skin has more to do with a flaky finish rather than the product itself. For example, if your skin is too oily or too dry, your skin is dehydrated, you did not properly clean the last makeup and have dead skin, or you did not properly prep your skin before applying your makeup coat. All of these can again result in a cakey foundation look.


Additionally, some base foundations are cakey from the very get-go, whereas others gradually build on their cake factor as the day wears on. And the longer you wear it, the more your dream of a flawless finish will continue to fade. Also, there are a few foundations that bring about an uneven appearance, i.e., they may look great on certain parts of our face and heavier and flakier on others. This again will make you insecure, and you will try to search (or add) even more foundations (or products) hoping that together they will work out better - but, in fact, your face will only end up looking like an over-plastered wall.


Basically, long story short: cakey makeup or cakey foundation is actually not the result of using too many products BUT from using too much makeup product (somewhat like an overdose). The only solution is to learn the tricks to avoid cakey foundation looks.



Why does your foundation get/look cakey?

11 Super ways to avoid cakey foundation: Fix it like a pro

There are numerous reasons as to why anyone's foundation or makeup looks cakey. We have already discovered the various reasons that cause cakey, thick, and heavy makeup. Now, we will further unveil all the reasons (rather questions) behind cakey makeup or foundation. Below are some of the most common questions as asked by dermatologists and professional makeup artists. Find out if you are making any (or all) of these mistakes by answering these questions yes or no.


  • Did you prep your skin before the base coat?

Don't you prep beforehand while cooking food - you do, right? So, why not follow a correct skincare routine before loading your skin directly with makeup products?


  • Did you let your primer dry?

I mean...isn't it a rookie mistake? When you let the primer rest on your skin for a couple of minutes, you are actually setting your skin towards a smoother finish.


  • Did you let your foundation dry or set?

Like any other step in your makeup routine, letting your foundation set is crucial. Do not rush the process by immediately applying any other product on top of the unset foundation or using brushes to apply color. The only thing that will happen is that the foundation will become uneven and set unevenly, resulting in a cakey makeup look. And no amount of highlight will be able to save it.


  • Did you apply your moisturizer correctly?

Choosing the right moisturizer as per your skin type is highly crucial. An oily skin type and a dry skin type do not require an equal amount of moisturizer, plus you may need to add a few drops of hydrating liquid too if you have over dry or chapped skin.


  • Did you exfoliate?

Any amount of dead skin will ultimately lead to an uneven and cakey look. So, exfoliation is a must to avoid cakey foundation.


  • Did you apply the right shade of foundation?

Again...a rookie mistake. Applying a foundation that does not match your skin tone will never give a flawless makeup look. On the contrary, your face will look disproportionate and unnatural.



  • Are you using the right formula?

Skin type is yet another highly critical factor when deciding upon a foundation. For example, use a foundation with a hydrating agent to avoid dry skin from cracking. Similarly, use cool foundation ingredients if your skin is comparatively warmer and vice versa. One another thing to consider here is skin allergies. If you suffer from redness, itching, pigmentation, acne, blemishes, dark spots, or any other skin irritation, try using a foundation with color-correcting ingredients. Apply on a small patch to see if it suits your skin, then go ahead and apply it on the entire face.


  • Is the formula too thick and heavy?

These two words literally define a cakey foundation. Not every day is a heavy makeup (or glam makeup) kind of day, so choose wisely. Follow a minimalistic or slightly glowy makeup for a daily routine so that your skin also gets a chance to breathe.


  • Does your foundation suit your lifestyle?

For a natural finish and a long-lasting smooth look, select a foundation that suits your lifestyle. For example, you need to be on your foot constantly in your job. Will wearing a foundation that is not sweat-proof help you to avoid cakey foundation?


  • Are you overusing your products?

Too much foundation anyway never makes sense, especially if you opt for a powder-finish product. In reality, both over usage and under usage of the makeup product will give you an uneven and patchy finish. So, practice a bit and be a little patient with yourself. Makeup is an art, and you will get there, trust us!


How to avoid cakey foundation? 

11 Super ways to avoid cakey foundation: Fix it like a pro

Below are the tips you should take care of to avoid a cakey makeup look.

1. The foremost step is to maintain a GOOD skincare routine.

...and make it a habit to follow it consistently.

2. Always exfoliate

We have already told you the reason above.

3. Keep your skin hydrated.

You can also use essential oils to avoid chapping of overly dry or sensitive skin.


4. Moisturize your skin before jumping to any kind of makeup.

Remember to use only a small amount of light moisturizer when applying it to your oily skin.

5. Primer - The first makeup step

Do not miss primer at any cost as it holds a lot of benefits, like skin prep, smoother look, long-lasting finish, dewy complexion, easy blending, etc. Use a hydrating primer for dry skin types and a matte primer for oily skin types.

6. Create the RIGHT foundation formula.

Once again, the decision comes down to your skin type, color, and lifestyle. You can also use a combination if any one particular foundation does not 100 percent suit your requirements. Easier said than done, but no pain, no gain, right?

7. Makeup tools and techniques

You can apply foundation either with your bare hands, a makeup sponge, or a foundation brush. Now, the question is: how will you know which way works best for you? We suggest you try all three ways, use a few techniques, and decide for yourself!

8. Apply your foundation in layers

...rather than one thick coat to avoid cakey foundation. If you are not sure about it, seek the help of a professional. Understand how they do it, and next time you can try it yourself.

9. Do not use dry foundation

The simple explanation is that the drier the foundation, the tougher it will be to blend it smoothly across your face. Result = bad cakey spoiled makeup.

Also, remember all the foundations dry or set on their own time. So, be careful while blending it. If you take too much time and the foundation starts drying on your face, you won't get a flawless finish.

10. Combine foundation with face powder

...this goes specially for people who have super oily skin. When you combine your foundation with face powder (or a blot), you will get a smoothly brushed matte kind of finish.

11. Lastly, use a makeup spray.

Why? It preserves your final look and maximizes your chances to avoid a cakey makeup look as the day proceeds. Plus, it gives you a more natural-looking finish - matte, shimmery, glam, or minimalistic.



How to fix a cakey foundation like a pro?

There are times when you end up with a cakey makeup look. For example, you are rushed, you did try your best but in vain, or you are a novice makeup artist who is beginning to learn. If you too fell victim to this, worry not. We have a few quick and easy ways to help you fix your cakey foundation. Just make sure you remember these by heart (wink)!


  • Use a makeup spray

Yes, makeup sprays not only help to set your foundation but also help to melt away the excess foundation that makes your makeup look cakey. Plus, they will also take care of the powdery residues to give you a much better and cleaner look.


  • Blend-Blend-Blend

Use those arm muscles until you achieve a crystal clear blended even finish.


  • Add hydrating agent

...especially to your under-eye region to avoid cakey foundation and to achieve a finer look.


Yes, you read that right. Once you are done with your makeup routine, lightly apply a teenie-tiny amount (a couple of drops, maybe) of face oil on your face with the help of a damp makeup sponge. It will help your makeup blend into a smooth, silky texture, making your face glow and your makeup last longer.


  • Powder your nose

Imagine how would it look if your nose is the only point of attraction rather than your entire face. Weird, right? Nobody wants a super shiny nose. The trick to avoid this is using a powder after your primer is set. Use a damp makeup sponge and dust your nose with a tinted powder (similar to your skin tone). Once done, move towards applying the foundation. This trick serves two purposes -

  1. Firstly, your nose won't be all shiny and glittery because of the liquid foundation.
  2. Secondly, your foundation won't start chipping off from the curve of your nose as the powder will provide an even surface for the foundation to hold on to.


  • Decide wisely

You know your face, your fine lines, creases, and wrinkles. Yes, you would want to hide them (flaunt them actually, especially the ones that come out of your smile). But, the more layers of foundation you put on them, the more cakey the overall look will be. As a result, people will be more drawn to look at the places you were originally trying to cover up with the foundation. Epic fail!

Instead, apply only a slight amount of foundation to your creases, and let your whole face speak for you.


What is the one makeup trick that works best for you when you wish to avoid cakey foundation? Tell us in the comments below!

ALSO READ: 7 fascinating truths about the shape of your face: An exclusive guide


Which is the best primer to avoid a cakey foundation look?
You can use any lightweight primer to get a smoother finish. However, remember if you apply too much primer, it will backfire fire, and you will end up with cakey makeup.

How to avoid cakey foundation on dry skin?
Keep your skin well hydrated.

How to avoid cakey foundation on oily skin?
Use face powder to wipe (or reduce) down excess oil from the face before starting with your makeup routine.

Why does my foundation get cakey?
The most common mistake is the wrong choice of foundation as per your skin type and complexion.

Should I use a primer first or a moisturizer?
Moisturizer is a pre-makeup essential step. Wait approximately 5 minutes after moisturizing your face (to let your skin absorb it), then start with your makeup routine. When you do so, always use a primer first, followed by your foundation - this ensures

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About The Author
Anubhuti Mishra
Anubhuti Mishra
Relationship Expert

A marked inclination toward understanding human emotions and relationships led Anubhuti to become a certified Relationship Expert. With dual


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