Cakey Foundation? This Common Summer Makeup Mistake Is To Blame

Beat the heat.

by Natasha Marsh
Originally Published: 
how to fix cakey makeup
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When summer temperatures skyrocket to 90 degrees and above, with humidity often none the better, it can become a lesson in trial and error in getting your face to stay on point. “Makeup can often look cakey when too much product is applied, specifically too much powder,” says Naseeha Khan, makeup artist. “This can create a thick outer layer that sits on top of the skin which sinks into the fine lines of the face, magnifying creasing.” So how do you fix cakey makeup?

According to Hillary Clark, esthetician and founder of Beauty HAC, the main culprit of this issue is too much product, the wrong products, or layering incorrectly for your summer skin. Unfortunately, if you’re not ultra selective with your product assortment, both makeup and skin care, you risk the chance of makeup cracking, running, and sliding off when you sweat. “If your natural skin is very oily or very dry, and not properly prepped or treated with the right products, it can make the makeup on the face look extremely cakey or have under-eye creases,” says Manuel Espinoza, StyleSeat makeup artist.

The easiest way to combat ultra-thick makeup is to opt for lightweight moisturizers and sheer blush in the summer. Sweat proof and waterproof cosmetics are also high on the list this season. But what other tips will yield crease-free makeup in the summer? And are there any additional beauty tips that are essential during the warmer months?

To find out, TZR tapped six celebrity makeup artists for their expert insight on fixing cakey makeup and all the other beauty woes that come with rising temperatures. Plus, all the products they swear by for a long-lasting glowy finish.

Summer Makeup Tip #1: Believe In Exfoliation

“Summer’s golden rule: your makeup won’t look good if your skin doesn’t,” Clark says. The best makeup application will always start with healthy skin as its canvas. Make sure your skin care regimen is armed with an exfoliation step to remove dead skin cells from the top layer of the skin. “Exfoliating once or twice a week can also help keep skin fresh and clean,” Espinoza tells TZR. Doing so will not only allow skin care products to penetrate better, but present a smooth surface for makeup to glide over instead of sit on top. And Emma Peters, founder of Aleph Beauty agrees. Creasing and caking can often be due to extra oil skin or products not absorbing into the skin, leaving an oily film. By exfoliating weekly, you guarantee that the products will better penetrate.

Summer Makeup Tip #2: Don’t Skimp On The Moisturizer

Although cleansing is necessary to remove debris, pollution, dirt, and makeup off your face, cleansing also strips the skin of natural oils and hydrators that keep the skin smooth. To combat, apply a moisturizer directly after cleansing and before you apply makeup to ensure a healthy skin barrier, the ideal environment for even makeup. “Dry skin will absorb all the products because it’s so thirsty,” says Fatima, MAC celebrity makeup artist. “When you feed the skin with water and a hydrating moisturizer it will allow the product to avoid over absorbing the skin — creating creases.” Just remember to wait a couple minutes before applying your foundation and other cosmetics to avoid pilling.

Summer Makeup Tip #3: Never Skip Sunscreen

Hopefully this one is a no-brainer. Sunscreen will not only protect the skin from UV damage but it will help mattify (think less oily and shiny) the skin when the weather often makes it sweat.

Summer Makeup Tip #4: Prime The Face

This is the last step before actually applying makeup. Similar to base coat nail polish, primers help prep your complexion for long-lasting makeup wear. Bina Khan, MUA and Just B Cosmetics co-founder says they will help smooth out the face and will allow the makeup to stay longer. Plus, it gives the makeup something to hold onto, preventing it from sliding.

Summer Makeup Tip #5: Opt For Powder Over Liquid Foundation

For the center of your forehead, sides of your nose, and center of your chin, Espinoza recommends using a powder foundation. “Using more powdered products such as powder foundation or finishing powder can help ensure makeup stays on and does not run off your face,” says Espinoza. “Whereas, oil-based products can smudge off more easily.” And when you are selecting your powder formula, make sure to use the product for what it’s designed for. “People can want a lot of coverage but use a medium coverage foundation and pile it on,” says Fatima. “You should look for buildable foundations that feel like a second skin and use a product for what it’s designed to be used for.” Bonus: if you’re worried about your eye makeup running, you can apply translucent powder under your eyes to keep things in place.

Summer Makeup Tip #6: Invest In A Setting Spray

Setting sprays do just that, set the makeup for an all day look. “Setting sprays will lock your makeup into place while softening any powdery residue for a more natural finish,” Clark tells TZR. It reduces shine and makes your makeup stay longer.

Summer Makeup Tip #7: Go Waterproof

According to Maxine Christians, celebrity makeup artist and Jillian Dempsey ambassador, the best way to avoid a smudge, raccoon eyes, and cakey makeup, in the summer heat is to use waterproof products. It’s long-lasting and won’t have to be applied several times throughout the day.

Summer Makeup Tip #8: Choose The Right Tools

Whether you opt for a dewy glow or a Europhia-inspired makeup trend, steering clear of cakey makeup all hangs on the tools you apply it with. The wrong tools can cause makeup to slide off the face. “Oftentimes, the foundation can look cakey if it’s not blended or put on correctly — even when it’s perfect for your skin type,” Espinoza says. To determine the best brush you must understand your skin’s texture. For example if you have acne or hyperpigmentation, you might opt for a flat brush to even out the texture. If you tend to have smoother skin, you’d probably prefer a fluffier brush that collects less pigment. And for those that want full coverage, Fatima suggests a beauty blender and a dual fiber brush for a sheer look.

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