How To Fix (& Prevent) Cakey Makeup, According To A Makeup Artist

An expert weighs in.

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For many makeup lovers like me, taking the time to apply glam and playing with new products is truly a form of therapy. And even with a serious knowledge of beauty à la working in the industry for years *and* countless hours spent watching the OG beauty YouTubers (anyone else?), some days, a new combination of base makeup can leave me looking a bit more cakey than I’d like ... Which, of course, is never the goal.

No doubt — a lot of people who wear cosmetics have been there. But as your skin does change throughout the years (and depending on the weather), even the most tried-and-true makeup routine can read a bit too heavy when a new product or environmental factor is thrown into the mix.

To give the girlies what they want and need when it comes to natural foundation techniques, Bustle tapped Benjamin Puckey — a global color director for Clé de Peau Beauté, and a pro makeup artist who has worked with the likes of Anne Hathaway, Kate Hudson, and Kendall Jenner. So major.

To clarify what exactly it means to have cakey makeup, Puckey shares that the cause is “an excess of product.” And in short, he explains that the key to that barely-there look (without sacrificing any coverage) is to “build up a natural-looking base in thin layers using as little product as possible.” What’s more? Primer is *key* as it “smooths the skin and leaves you needing less foundation.”

How Do You Prevent Cakey Makeup?

“Always let your foundation and concealer set for a few minutes before powdering, that way you’ll prevent your base from absorbing too much setting powder. During the day, mostly blot with tissues or my favorite Shiseido Oil Control Blotting Papers instead of powder. The more you keep blotting shiny skin with powder, the more chance you’ll have of cakey-looking skin. Regularly cleaning your makeup brushes and sponges will help prevent the accumulation of old makeup and oils, which can cause your makeup to appear heavy and caked on.”

If Makeup You’ve Already Applied Looks Cakey, Can You Save The Look?

“I like to take Clé de Peau Beauté’s The Serum and spread it out evenly over my fingers before pressing it gently onto the skin. This will soften the look of a cakey base, subtly re-emulsify any excess foundation or powder, and leave you looking fresh again.”

What Are Some Pro Tips For More Natural-Looking Foundation?

“For natural-looking skin, I suggest first using a primer and then applying a light coverage foundation to the back of your hand, [taking] small amounts and gently brushing it onto areas that need coverage. Always start in the center of the face and work your way out, [and] wherever you don’t need coverage, don’t apply foundation as the perfect shade of foundation should seamlessly blend into your skin. Next, only apply the concealer where you need extra coverage using a concealer brush. This is a very painterly way of working, but it yields the most natural results. I would also suggest working with daylight or a good makeup light. Once you’ve let your makeup set for a couple of minutes, go over your base with a light dusting of loose powder on areas that tend to get shiny. As a final step, I like to spray a hydrating toner on the skin and dab the skin with a tissue. This sets your makeup and picks up any excess powder.”