Is Baking The New Contouring?

Photo: Courtesy of YouTube.
Did you think the terms “baking” and "cooking" were reserved exclusively for culinary activities? If so, maybe you haven't been spending time geeking out 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, but it isn't a recent discovery. “Baking, or letting your makeup 'cook,' is a term that has been used in the drag community for many years,” says makeup artist, Tonee Roberio. He also teaches at the Illamasqua School of Make-Up Art, where he instructs a drag queen make-up course in London. “It's used as a way of really setting the foundation into the skin so it lasts longer, without the need to reapply powder constantly while performing." Makeup artist, Mario Dedivanovic, has also been known to use this technique on Kim Kardashian.

Here's how it's 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, explains makeup artist, Wayne Goss (of YouTube fame). “You can't really bake with a pressed powder, because you really have to build the product up," says Goss. He recommends using an “ultra-finely milled loose powder” that's a shade or two lighter than your skin tone, like Make Up Forever Super Matte Loose Powder or Nars Light Relecting Loose Setting Powder. Check out this video by Curls N Lipstick, or this one by Huda Kattan, if you need a visual.

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.

Wayne Goss
Although some of these Instagram photos and YouTube videos may make it seem like baking was sent to us by the makeup gods (who doesn't want sky-high cheekbones?), both Goss and makeup artist, Elisa Flowers, are quick to point out that it isn't for everyone. The technique can produce incredible results for photography, theater, or even a night out, but it's not suited for daily wear. “This is a way to set your makeup when standing under hot lights,” says Flowers. “It might look good in an Instagram picture, but in person, it's harsh and heavy.”

Flowers also warns those with dry skin to steer clear of baking. “What I don't like about it, is how dry it makes the skin look,” she says. Goss adds that “the overapplication of powder will have a much greater effect on mature skin because it will collect in, and exaggerate lines.” Though Goss is not such a fan of baking, he says the key is to do it selectively, if you must. “Bake under your cheekbones or on your nose, as opposed to under the eyes, where people tend to have more lines,” he advises. “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.”

Goss suggests using a tinted moisturizer or light-weight foundation like MAC Studio Face and Body Foundation, followed by concealer, and then powder, for baking. This will help relieve some of the evident texture of layering a full-coverage foundation, concealer, and powder — thus avoiding the infamous “cake face.”

Whether you're pro-baking or not, at the end of the day, it's makeup - so have fun with it and experiment. As Goss aptly says: “What suits one woman doesn't suit another, and your style might be totally different from the next woman's style. Sometimes people take makeup too seriously, when in reality, with just a tiny bit of soap, the whole thing can be gone.”

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Photo: Courtesy of YouTube.

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