Why Does My Makeup Look Cakey?

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Why do you wear makeup? Most of us do it to make ourselves look and feel better. Makeup can give you brighter and smoother skin. It can draw focus to your eyes and accentuate other areas of the face.

Additionally, it can also hide flaws that you don’t want anyone to see. 

However, sometimes we just can’t make our makeup look as great as the beauty gurus we follow. One common problem is having cakey makeup.

Have you ever asked, “Why does my makeup look cakey?” The most common reason for cakey makeup is applying too much product. However, that is not the only cause. 

Today, we are going to tell you the different reasons why your makeup can look cakey. Figuring out why will help you know what to do to prevent makeup from caking up on your face again. 


Cakey Makeup: How Does It Look?

Before we get into the different reasons and solutions for cakey makeup, let us first define what cakey makeup looks like. In that way, you’ll really know if you are dealing with cakey makeup or not. 

Cakey makeup doesn’t look good because it is unnatural-looking. It looks thick and unflattering. The typical goal of makeup is a flawless second skin, cakey makeup is the opposite. 

With cakey makeup, the blemishes, wrinkles, fine lines become more obvious. There are also creases on the face, which could look like wrinkles or lines.

These are far from the luscious, smooth skin you want to achieve when you decide to apply makeup.

Why Does My Makeup Look Cakey? And How Do I Fix It?

No one can blame you if you don’t want to apply makeup again because it always results in a cakey finish. Cleaning everything off and restarting is a pain!

However, before you banish your makeup in the trash bin, you should first try to find ways on how to avoid that from happening. 

To do that, you must first figure out what causes your makeup to look cakey. Finding the cause and doing something about it will help you achieve a more flawless look. Here are the common reasons why your makeup is cakey. 

Dry Skin

Full coverage foundation

When your skin is dry, even your full coverage foundation  cannot cover that. If you place a lot of product over your dry skin to try to compensate, it backfires and ends up being cakey.

Apart from being cakey, your skin can end up being dryer than before.

The Fix: To fix this problem, you have to do the obvious and that is to keep your skin hydrated and moisturized. You can do that in a variety of ways.

L'Oreal Moisturizing Product

First, you can include moisturizing products  in your skincare routine. Second, you should also drink plenty of water to keep the body hydrated. 

The skin also tends to be dryer in the colder days so try to adjust the products you use depending on the season. You should also avoid using products that could further dry up your skin.

Sometimes, your skincare regimen may also not be enough. You may also want to further moisturize the skin by using a moisturizing primer.

Oily Skin

Another reason for cakey makeup is oily skin. Oily skin could be difficult for the foundation to sit in. It will simply slide off then become cakey. 

Apart from being cakey, oils from your skin could also oxidize the ingredients in foundations, which can change the color so your foundation won’t match your skin.

The Fix: Even oily skin still needs to be moisturized. However, there are products that you should avoid to prevent the skin from becoming too oily. Such products would include oils and heavier or thicker creams. 

The Foundation Isn’t Set

Setting Powder

Setting your foundation keeps it in place. Whenever you apply a liquid or cream foundation, it is best to use a setting powder. This will sep the oils so your foundation stays put. 

The Fix: Use a setting powder  after you apply your foundation. The best ones are those that are lightweight and translucent. 

Remember that you should apply the setting powder only when you’re done applying the cream contour or cream concealers. If you use powder before those, you’ll also end up with cakey makeup. 

See also: Liquid Vs Powder Foundation, What’s The Difference?

Wrong Makeup Application

Makeup Sponge

Sometimes, it isn’t the makeup product that is the problem but the method of application. To do that properly, you have to have the right tools. 

Some can get away with just using their fingers, but this will only be ideal for lightweight products. And make sure your hands are clean before you touch your face. 

The Fix: The best tools to apply your foundation would be to use a brush or a sponge . You could use your fingers initially to spread the product.

However, using a dampened sponge afterward will create a smoother appearance. 

Too Much Product

Applying too much product is one of the most common reasons for cakey makeup.

When you already have textured skin, slapping on thick consistency products may seem the best solution. 

However, it is the opposite.

Applying too much or too thick of a product whether you have smooth skin, to begin with, or not, will cause a cakey makeup look. 

The Fix: The best thing to do is to use a thin layer. Resist the urge to add more after you’ve already used powder. That will just end up making your makeup look cakey. 

Work in small sections and blend, blend, blend away. If there is too much product in an area, you can spread it out to thin it. Also, always remember to use clean tools so as not to cause more problems. 


We all hate it when our makeup turns cakey. It looks overdone and the makeup looks too obvious. Furthermore, the textures and blemishes that we desperately try to hide become even more obvious. 

There are many culprits to cakey makeup.

The most common of them all is too much product. However, there are still others like dry skin, oily skin, wrong makeup application, and not properly setting the foundation. 

See also:

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).