Make up solutions: Cakey Foundation/Base

For any one who has used make up or perhaps are trying their hand on make for the first time, may experience at one point of time the one thing that us women hate — cakey bases or foundation.

Let me just say, yes, I have experienced it. In fact it happened on a few occasions that it shouldn’t have happened on. It’s happened at weddings and once, it even happened on a date. Talk about shock horror right?

First off, cakey foundation has nothing to do with skin texture or issues, but it has a lot to do with products used as well as the tools used to apply the make up. In addition, foundation can cake up depending on how long you where it. If you are wearing a foundation for over 8 hours, there are some that can’t last as long (this includes bases such as tinted moisturizers/bb creams). If you’re seeing some caking at 2 hours, then it’s a product that may do that. So there are multiple reasons for cakey bases/foundations, and I’m hoping to share some solutions that I’ve come across through the help of lessons learned from previous experiences, what I’ve been told by beauty experts, and what I learned on YouTube. Lets face it, I’m not a make up professional. I like to learn how to apply make up, wear it minimally, and see what’s out there in the great big make up world.

While not a make up professional whatsoever, I did want to share some solutions to the cakey foundation/base problem.

First off, tools are half the battle. I am a firm believer of buying make up tools that help you put make up on effectively. It’s not new news, because a lot of people can tell you that. Unlike a lot of things where you have to buy top of the line items to create that flawless look, there are surprisingly a lot of good brushes and sponges on the market that help one create that look. Keep in mind though, there’s absolutely no way to hide the fact that you are wearing a base. The best you can do is blend out your base (bb cream, foundation, tinted moisturizer, whatever…) so that it looks flawless.

My favorite brushes are quite affordable. I’m not really one who likes to buy expensive brushes. For me, as crazy as this sounds, $15 is a good price for me when it comes to brushes. The ONLY exceptions to this is my Shiseido foundation brush and my Tarte powder foundation brushes. I will break bank for the Shiseido foundation brush. My Tarte powder brush, while good, I’m able to utilize other brushes to create the same effect, so it’s one that I don’t think I’d repurchase if I had the chance to. My collection of brushes currently on rotation are ELF Cosmetic brushes, a few Real Technique brushes, and a cheap brand from Amazon which are descent but aren’t the best in the line. For sponges, I am using the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge. As you can tell, I’m not one who likes to spend a whole lot of money on brushes, but I do enjoy utilizing good quality brushes on a budget. Other alternatives to Real Techniques and ELF Cosmetics brushes include Morphe (which you can buy online OR if there is an authorized boutique that sells them you can go there). I know that in Concord, California, Blooming Beauty in Sun Valley Mall does sell Morphe and Sigma brushes, so if you guys are in the Bay Area, definitely check them out. I know I’ve ventured in, and have bought my first Morphe brush (although I haven’t had a chance to use it yet; I did purchase a stippling brush for $10). Sigma brushes are also a good alternative as well.

The 2nd part of that battle is product. I was asked recently about how to prevent cakey foundation, and my first response to the question was “What product are you using?” When I found out that it was a bb cream cream from the drugstore, one that I knew wasn’t a particularly good bb cream, I suggested first to perhaps change the product that fits her price range. I’m not the kind to simply suggest a higher end product, because not everyone can afford higher end products. However, I gave her some of my recommendations of better quality bb creams from the drug store and suggested even utilizing a drugstore foundation and learn to apply using a lighter hand. I do suggest though, that while there are many drugstore contenders for bases, my preference for bases is always to splurge on foundations or bases, because many of the products that are higher end seem to sit better on the skin, has some skin care related products, and for Asian skin tones such as myself, there seems to be ranges that matches better. The thing is, many lines aren’t that expensive and most do last you a good year. I like to take advantage of sales such as the upcoming beauty insider sale for Sephora (15% discount in the middle of November); Ulta sometimes has deals; and boutiques such as Bare Minerals, theBalm Cosmetics also have sales that happen every so often too. There are plenty of opportunities to buy higher end products at discounts.

While many people often go for blush or highlighters and even even eye shadow palettes, my favorite thing to buy from is actually bases. I have multiple bases on rotation. Depending on the season, the products changes. For summers, I go for oil free tinted moisturizer (Favorite is Shiseido’s Tinted Moisturizer), light foundation (Shiseido Synchro Skin Foundation), or powder foundations (Tarte Air Brush Foundation). For the current season (fall and winter); my skin gets a bit drier, especially in the nose. While my skin still does get oily as the day wears on, my current favorites are the bb cream (Shiseido BB Cream, which has been discontinued); tinted moisturizer (Laura Mercier’s Oil Free, although this one does leave me oily for spring and summer months; plus, the color of this base is too light for those months), and on the very rare ocassion, when I want something with a bit more coverage, foundation (Again, the Synchro Skin OR Shiseido’s Advanced Hydro cream to powder foundation).

Before you all judge me about how many bases I have, these are all on rotation. I switch off on products based on season to ensure I get enough wear out of each (as well as use up the product). Also, I do this so that my face has time to rest from one product to the next. Finally, sometimes, I don’t even wear a base to ensure that the pores on my face actually has the ability to breath.

Besides the actual base product itself, I wanted to add that the usage of a primer or good moisturizer is important as well. Sometimes, without moisturizer (even if you wear a BB cream/tinted moisturizer), it’ll cake up in places where one may have dry patches. If this is you (as it is me), the important thing is to ensure that you are taking care of your skin. Whether it’s exfoliating or applying a more hydrating moisturizer or serum, it’s important to ensure that you do this to ensure that your foundation sits on skin. Primers help in smoothing out the skin, but it helps foundation last longer. If you’re like me who doesn’t have much time to touch up your face with powder or need that foundation to apply nicely, primer is awesome for that. Again, just like foundations, quality of product is very important. I’m not saying spend tons of money on primers, but I am saying to find a good primer that will help your foundation stay on your face without causing it to cake.

That leads me to powder. Translucent and setting powders are also one way to prevent foundation from caking. It helps sets it (setting powder) and doesn’t cause a change in color (translucence). If you’re one who runs around (in the clinic for instance) or tends to get oily throughout the day, besides getting an oil free base, setting the foundation with a powder is another solution to cakey foundation. Other options to powders include setting sprays. Surprisingly, there are some good drug store alternatives to my favorite (i.e. Urban Decay All Nighter Spray) such as Wet and Wild’s setting spray or L’Oreal’s Infallible Spray. I personally like the Urban Decay All Nighter because of the fine misting spray. I am also liking the Shiseido Mist Spray, however, I just don’t have this because the price point per ounce is too expensive in my opinion. However, it is such a beautiful spray.

For products, I know I mentioned a lot. From bases to powders to primers, it can be overwhelming to the simple question of “How do I stop my foundation from caking?” You don’t have to go out right away to buy all these products, please don’t do that. I don’t want you to do that. However, what I would like to encourage though, if you are experiencing foundation or bases that cake, is to do your research. Get some samples of products to test the waters. I’m always a big promoter of the notion try before you buy. Yes, you can always return, however, I find that you ought to test out something for a few days before you buy a product. It’s what I did with the Make Up Forever Waterblend foundation, which will definitely be a purchase of mine. I looked at reviews of products — both good and bad (that’s another tip, don’t just look at good reviews, look at the bad ones too). I check out YouTube when I have time on new products or products that I want to try. My collection of products isn’t something that I built overnight, it’s taken me quite some time, and honestly I’ve gotten lucky in choosing some great products for me. I’ve had my misses, trust me. However, do DO research on the bases you put on, especially if you’re looking for an everyday base.

Whether you choose a drugstore, higher end, and hey, even the luxury lines (whatever floats your boat), if your base cakes up, don’t just settle that this is what happens. There are plenty of ways to deal with that. It could be as simple as adding a primer or changing your brush to more complex which is changing your base and adding a good powder.

Hope these tips and solutions are helpful to you! Let me know if you all like this blog post; I’ve always wanted to play around with whether or not I wanted to do a series on this. Let me know in the comments below so I can get an idea of what you all like or not for the beauty and make up realm. 🙂

Happy Wednesday guys!



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