Skip to main content
Advice

How to prevent foundation looking cakey

How to prevent foundation looking cakey
View Holly James's profile

Well applied foundation should be indistinguishable from our natural skin. However, they're not called Makeup Artists for nothing; acing your base like a true pro isn't an easy task, leaving your complexion looking a little uneven from time to time. Arguably one of the worst foundation faux pas, cakey makeup is something that has happened to all of us at some point that we would prefer not to experience again. We have put together our top tips on how to keep your complexion consistent and covered so that you can achieve that desired flawless finish.

Prep your skin

Cleanse

Before you even start applying your foundation, it's important to make sure that you have a clear and even canvas for your makeup to glide smoothly onto for the best result. Ensure that your face is properly cleansed before adding anything else; the first step in any skincare routine, cleansing eliminates any dirt and build up that could interfere with both your skincare and cosmetics products applied afterwards as well as blocking the pores and causing breakouts. Having clean skin makes sure that there is no left over makeup, oil or dirt that could interfere with your foundation finish.

  • CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser 473ml

    CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser 473ml

    4.83 Stars 54 Reviews
    £15.00
  • Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish 100ml Pump Starter

    Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish 100ml Pump Starter

    4.84 Stars 25 Reviews
    £17.00
  • Dermalogica Ultracalming Cleanser 250ml

    Dermalogica Ultracalming Cleanser 250ml

    4.78 Stars 32 Reviews
    £33.00

Moisturise

Moisturising the skin is a key part in prepping it for foundation application. Dry skin often means an uneven texture due to flakiness and bumps. By ensuring that your complexion is hydrated, you are not only keeping your skin healthy, but also setting yourself up for success when it comes to adding your makeup by giving yourself a smooth and even surface to work with.

  • L'Oréal Paris Hydra Genius Liquid Care Moisturiser Combination Skin 70ml

    L'Oréal Paris Hydra Genius Liquid Care Moisturiser Combination Skin 70ml

    4 Stars 9 Reviews
    £9.99
  • La Mer Crème de la Mer Moisturising Cream (Various Sizes)

    La Mer Crème de la Mer Moisturising Cream (Various Sizes)

    5 Stars 4 Reviews
    £65.00
  • VICHY LiftActiv Collagen Specialist Daily Moisturiser 50ml

    VICHY LiftActiv Collagen Specialist Daily Moisturiser 50ml

    4.71 Stars 7 Reviews
    £26.25

Prime

A good primer is essential for flawless application. Blurring any imperfections as well as reducing the appearance of pores, a good primer provides a smooth and even base for your foundation to glide onto. Enhanced with Vitamin A and Vitamin E, the Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer is infused with antioxidants that help protect the skin from stress and damage, also disguising wrinkles and helping to prevent cakey makeup application.

  • Smashbox The Original Photo Finish Foundation Primer 30ml

    Smashbox The Original Photo Finish Foundation Primer 30ml

    4.86 Stars 21 Reviews
    £29.00
  • Illamasqua Hydra Veil Primer 30ml

    Illamasqua Hydra Veil Primer 30ml

    4.58 Stars 45 Reviews
    £34.00
  • NYX Professional Makeup Bare With Me Hydrating Jelly Primer 40g

    NYX Professional Makeup Bare With Me Hydrating Jelly Primer 40g

    4.63 Stars 8 Reviews
    £15.00

Pick your foundation

To match your foundation to your skin as seamlessly as possible and avoid it looking cakey, there are two main factors to take into account when choosing the right formula for you.

Skin type

Your skin type plays a big part in how certain foundations will look on your skin as they can affect the finish. For example if you have dry skin, some foundations may highlight any flaky or dry patches, so stick with a creamy formula that will help to keep your complexion hydrated. Alternatively for oily skin, opt for an oil free formula that won't add to your shine as well as something with a matte finish to control natural sebum production. Often suitable for all skin-types, a liquid foundation such as the MAC Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15 Foundation offers 24 hours of coverage and contains oil controlling ingredients to limit shine, giving off a stunning, glowy finish.

  • MAC Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15 Foundation (Various Shades)

    MAC Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15 Foundation (Various Shades)

    4.66 Stars 148 Reviews
    £27.00

Shade

Once you've identified which foundation is best for you, it's time to pick your true shade match. Using the wrong shade can make your complexion look patchy, uneven and orange, resulting in a cakey looking finish. To make sure that your shade suits your properly, first identify whether you have a warm or cool skin tone. Warmer skin tones are identifiable by green looking veins on your wrist, whereas cooler tones tend to look more blue.

Next, pick the shade that appears closest to your natural skin colour and test it out. Make sure to do this in natural light so that you're getting the most accurate comparison. Test your shade by applying a small amount to the jawline, blending it in as you would when wearing it and allowing it to set for a minute before establishing if it's right for you. You're looking for the one that is completely unidentifiable from your natural surrounding skin.

  • Chantecaille Future Skin Oil-Free Foundation 30g

    Chantecaille Future Skin Oil-Free Foundation 30g

    4.25 Stars 8 Reviews
    from
    £68.00
  • Illamasqua Beyond Foundation 30ml (Various Shades)

    Illamasqua Beyond Foundation 30ml (Various Shades)

    3.56 Stars 9 Reviews
    £33.00
  • Burberry Matte Glow Fluid Foundation 30ml (Various Shades)

    Burberry Matte Glow Fluid Foundation 30ml (Various Shades)

    4.4 Stars 5 Reviews
    from
    £19.00

Application

Arguably the most important step for avoiding a cakey finish, if there's one key to applying your foundation, it's to blend! When applying your chosen foundation, make sure that you are in natural lighting so that you can clearly see what your makeup will look like outside of your bedroom!

Make sure that you consider the type of foundation that you have gone for when deciding on the correct tool to apply it. Brushes are often better for heavier foundations as they evenly spread the product. The type of brush you will want also depends on the foundation; for example whether it is a powder or liquid.

  • Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge

    Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge

    4.76 Stars 89 Reviews
    £5.99
  • Real Techniques Expert Face Brush

    Real Techniques Expert Face Brush

    4.79 Stars 185 Reviews
    £8.99
  • Bobbi Brown Full Coverage Face Brush

    Bobbi Brown Full Coverage Face Brush

    5 Stars 8 Reviews
    £33.00

The key to making your foundation look natural and not cakey is to make sure that you only apply it to the areas where it's truly needed such as on blemishes or uneven patches of skin. By doing this and blending these parts into your natural skin, you get the most authentic, 'I woke up like this' look. Starting from the centre of the face, blend your foundation outwards towards the jaw and hairline, making sure to fully blend the product over these areas. This stops any build up on the jaw and hairline that can make your foundation look cakey and unbalanced.

  • Shiseido Synchro Skin Self Refreshing Foundation 30ml (Various Shades)

    Shiseido Synchro Skin Self Refreshing Foundation 30ml (Various Shades)

    4.64 Stars 22 Reviews
    £39.00
  • Maybelline Fit Me! Matte and Poreless Foundation 30ml (Various Shades)

    Maybelline Fit Me! Matte and Poreless Foundation 30ml (Various Shades)

    4.35 Stars 54 Reviews
    from
    £6.99
  • L'Oréal Paris True Match Liquid Foundation with SPF and Hyaluronic Acid 30ml (Various Shades)

    L'Oréal Paris True Match Liquid Foundation with SPF and Hyaluronic Acid 30ml (Various Shades)

    4.51 Stars 49 Reviews
    £9.99

Set

Not only does a good setting spray or powder help to give you your perfect chosen finish, whether that be matte or dewy, it also helps to keep your foundation from budging throughout the day. This helps to stop your makeup running or smudging, which can cause it to look uneven and cakey. New to the range, the benefit Porefessional Super Setter Setting Spray keeps your makeup looking flawless for up to 16 hours. The revolutionary spray helps to blur the appearance of pores and hydrates the skin to keep it healthy and balanced, maintaining a smooth and healthy finish.

  • benefit Porefessional Super Setter Setting Spray 120ml

    benefit Porefessional Super Setter Setting Spray 120ml

    5 Stars 10 Reviews
    £26.00
  • Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder 29g (Various Shades)

    Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder 29g (Various Shades)

    4.81 Stars 260 Reviews
    £32.00
View Holly James's profile
Working with brands at LOOKFANTASTIC for over two years I have developed my knowledge of all things beauty from key skincare concerns to niche makeup tricks and haircare hacks. I have a major passion for finding effective solutions that are easily accessible to everyone so that we can all achieve our best, glowing complexion.
lfint