How to Fix Cakey Makeup Like a Pro

April 15, 2020
Sarah Ferguson
By: Sarah Ferguson | Makeup.com by L'Oréal

Your makeup can start out looking as flawless as can be, and suddenly, some time around lunch, your makeup starts settling into lines you didn’t know you had and appears thick and cakey. Sound familiar? It’s happened to the best of us. Thankfully achieving that coveted second skin look and making it last isn’t an impossible feat. Here, NYC-based makeup artist Jonet Williamson walks us through her tips for avoiding and fixing cakey makeup. 

Step #1: Prep Your Skin and Products

According to Williamson, cakey makeup is most often caused by one or both of the following: “not prepping the skin properly and using dirty brushes or sponges.” This is why the prep you do before applying your makeup is so important. Start by cleansing your skin. Every few days, follow with an exfoliator to remove any dead skin cells or surface debris, and then finish with a moisturizer and lightweight sunscreen. A solid skin-care routine will give you a fresh, smooth canvas to work with. 

Williamson also recommends cleansing your makeup brushes or sponges at least once every two weeks. “Clean brushes and sponges apply makeup much better,” she says. 

Step #2: Apply 

A third common cause of cakey makeup? Applying too much product. “Try applying foundation and lip products in thin layers so that it all sets properly without looking cakey,” says Williamson. Another tip for a flawless application is to use liquid foundation and concealer that contain hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid. “If using a cream formula, I'll let it melt down a bit to a more liquid consistency before applying,” she says.

Step #3: Refresh

If you follow the steps above and your makeup still turns cakey mid-day, a quick refresh is all you need. Williamson suggests spraying a beauty sponge with a hydrating face mist or setting spray (try the Urban Decay Quick Fix Hydra-Charged Complexion Prep Priming Spray) and gently dabbing it over any cakey areas. This will absorb any excess product and re-blend your makeup. “If the cakey-ness is primarily in the under-eye area, try removing the makeup in that area, re-hydrating, then reapplying under-eye concealer,” she says.
Photo: Chaunte Vaughn