My Makeup Looks Cakey No Matter What I Do (How to Fix It)

My Makeup Looks Cakey No Matter What I Do

Most of us have been there. We’re trying to make our makeup look perfect and in the process, we try to perfect our routine. Only to find that your face makeup just looks cakey no matter what you do. 

It can be frustrating, devastating after hours of trying and you can even sometimes get the feeling that you’re never going to get the hang of it.

This was something a regular reader of this blog struggled with. She wanted to do her makeup for her wedding and practiced for weeks. She emailed me with the subject: “My makeup looks cakey no matter what I do…”

She said that she wanted to do her makeup but couldn’t figure out how to get everything smooth. So, we emailed back and forth about her routine and we could quickly identify what went wrong and fix it!

That’s when I thought that certainly more people would have this issue, so why not make an article about it? So, here it is!

I’m here to shatter the misconception that cakey makeup always has something to do with using too many products. This isn’t true.

The fact is this: Preventing cakey makeup is a mix of using the right products, the correct amounts of product, pair them with other compatible formulas and apply them in the way they should be applied. Then, and only then, should you have a smooth finish and no more cakiness! (although a cake face sounds delicious, it’s not something you want).

So, here are my tips and trick to combat cakey makeup!

My makeup looks cakey no matter what I do… What to do about it?

Don’t throw in the towel yet. There is hope and you can (and will after this article) give yourself the smooth face makeup you want! Below are my tips and trick to avoid cakey makeup in the first place. A good thing to know is that there are often only little tweaks necessary to get the results you want. You don’t have to start all over again, I promise.

Use a setting spray to combat cakey makeup
One of the best things that you can do when you don’t want cakey makeup, is using a setting spray. When you’re done applying all your makeup, you need to blend it all together and you do this with a setting spray because a setting spray will keep everything together and blend it to one natural look.

It’s really simple: grab a setting spray and hold it 6 to 8 inches away from your face. Then spray all over your face. Make sure you don’t use too much! A spritz or 2 will do the job just fine.

Problems under your eyes? wait with a setting powder
When you notice that your cakiness and creasing are the problems, then the solution is real simple. Apply your concealer in the hollows of your under-eye area and use a sponge to blend it all in. After that, you should wait a bit so that your concealer has time to settle into the creases. Don’t go over it with a setting powder right away. This alone should help you in nu creasing anymore under your eyes!

The right formula is important
At the beginning of the article, I talked about the importance of using the right formulas together is a big deal. Now, I know that not everyone is a fan of primers, but if you have to deal with cakey makeup often, chances are you need one! But, you have to be aware of the fact that not all primers work well with your foundation. The best thing that you can do is match the formulas.

A silicone-based primer works best if you use a foundation that also contains silicones.

Do you always use a water-based primer? Then use a water-based foundation (although a water-based primer can also work with a silicone-based foundation). 

Just make sure that you mix and match as well as possible. This will tremendously help you blend your makeup and avoiding cakiness. 

Your eyeshadow primer can help you stop the creasing
Yeah, I know that it sounds weird at first, but think about it. You use eyeshadow primer to prevent your eyeshadow from creasing and sliding. It only makes sense then, to use it also in other areas of your face! You can use it for smile lines around your eyes and some patchiness on your nose. Dab your eyeshadow primer over your clean and moisturized skin and you’ll see that your creasing makeup is no longer your problem!

Less is more
We hear it people say often: less is more. What I mean by this is the following. Often, when we do our makeup and see cakey makeup in our fine lines, we want to cover those areas with more makeup. But, this is not the solution, and here is where less is more comes in. You want the opposite of applying more makeup. Here’s what you should do:

Apply your foundation all over your face except the problem areas. When you’ve done your whole face, you’re then going into these problem areas with the product that is still on your brush. This way you’ll use significantly less product and the chances of creasing and cakey makeup are zero to none.

Do you have oily skin? Use a powder before your foundation 
You’ve read it earlier. The right formulas in the right order are important for creating smooth-looking makeup. So, if you have oily skin, you should do something about it before you apply your foundation.

Here’s what you should do:
You should sandwich your makeup so to speak. Grab your blending sponge and provide a little bit of setting powder on the areas of your face where the oily skin problem is going on (like your T-zone). 

Then, let it sit for a couple of minutes and after that, you can brush off the excess powder. When that is done you can go ahead and start up your normal makeup routine and when all is applied, you can go over it again with another dust of setting powder. It should work wonders for you!

What to do when you have dry skin?
We just talked about what to do when you have oily skin, but there are also lots of people with dry skin. What to do then?

The problem with having dry skin is the fact that no matter how much prepping work you do, it will always look cakey. Luckily you can easily combat this by using face oil at the end of your routine. Just grab your face oil onto the back of your hand, grab your sponge and dab it in. Then, lightly stipple it over the dry parts of your face. this will help you blend all the makeup products and your cakey makeup is no longer an issue!

When you’ve applied too much makeup
STOP! Don’t rush to the sink and rinse it all away. You can simply combat this by grabbing a makeup sponge, make it damp, and roll it over the areas of your face where you’ve applied too much makeup. 

Under-eyes again
Yep, the under-eye area is a huge problem for a lot of people, so I think another tip for combating creasing and cakey makeup under your eyes is very helpful!

If your under-eye area looks crusty and chalky, you need to add a bit of hydration back into your skin. You can do this simply by grabbing a face spray that contains squalene.

How does it work?

Grab the spray and spray it on a clean makeup sponge. Use the back of your hand to dab it a few times so you don’t use too much face spray. Then, lightly dab it across the areas where your cakey concealer is so that you can fix the dryness.

Blend, blend, blend
Using a foundation requires more than just throwing it on your face. Not enough blending can be the case with your cakey makeup. When you’ve used foundation and it is cakey, you are not done blending. Just go over it again and again until it has set onto your skin. This will take care of the harsh lines that you see and will ensure that every inch of your skin is even and without any cakeyness!

Skincare is important to combat cakey makeup

How Do I make my foundation look smooth?

I hope that the above tips and tricks will help you in making your foundation look smooth. If not, below are some more tips to help you get your foundation smooth after all!

Skincare is important
Besides the fact that using the right makeup and compliment the right formulas is important, skincare is also something that shouldn’t be overlooked.

A smooth foundation always starts with smooth skin. Gentle exfoliation can do wonders for your smooth foundation application and it isn’t hard to do. My personal favorite is the Pixi Glow Peel Pads. these pads (and the glycolic acid in them) help you to remove dead skin cells from your skin.

If you have some dryness around your nose and picked-at blemishes you can use a small amount of Homeoplasmine on a cotton swab. Gently massage into the scab, flaky and/or dry skin and you’ll see that this is often enough to smooth everything out.

Again, more skincare
The most important step in achieving non-cakey makeup is a good skincare routine. When you have dry and sensitive skin, it is important to use products that not only last long but also won’t suck all the moisture out of your skin.

That’s why you should use a small amount of hyaluronic acid such as Vichy Aqualia Thermal Face Serum. This is a serum that helps your skin absorb the cream (moisturizer) better. After the serum, you can apply such moisturizer, and if you want to go for the optimal effect you should go for something like Youth To The People Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream.

The great thing about this cream is the fact that it doesn’t pile up under your foundation. Besides that, it also contains ingredients that nourish the skin and reduce irritation.

What is the best foundation that doesn’t look cakey?

As stated a couple of times already, using the right products and the right formulas will do wonders for your foundation application. You want the foundation to work for you, not against you. It’s therefore essential that you determine what kind of skin type you are and which foundation works best with it. If you have oily skin, a non-comedogenic (a foundation that won’t clog your pores) and oil-free foundation should work like magic for you.

Do you have dry skin? Use a creamy compact foundation. This will make sure that your skin stays moisturized.

Are you in the middle of those above (thus having a combination skin) you should opt for a foundation that offers buildable coverage.

Here are a couple of my favorite foundations of which I know can work wonders for you.

Healthy Skin Liquid Makeup SPF 20 – Neutrogena
Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation – Fenty Beauty
Super Stay Powder Foundation – Maybelline
Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream SPF 50+ – IT Cosmetics
Matte Made Foundation – Covergirl
Luminous Silk Foundation – Giorgio Armani.


My makeup looks cakey no matter what I do is something I don’t want to hear any more from you ;). I hope that you found something worthwhile here and something that you are sure will work wonders for you.

There are a couple of things important when it comes to having non-cakey makeup. It’s about a good skincare routine, about using the right amounts and formulas of all the products and using the products that are great for your skin type! And lastly, it’s all about: blending, blending, blending ;).

Further reading material

If you found this article helpful, I think I have some other articles that you will find helpful too! Simply click on one of the links below and you can start reading further!

How to Keep Your Eyebrow Makeup From Rubbing Off?
What Is Matte Finish Makeup?
How to Soften Makeup Brushes?


Hi, my name is Joy-Lee and I'm the owner of As you might've noticed, I'm a true beauty lover, and made it my passion, my work and my hobby. I love sharing my thoughts and feelings on a variety of beauty aspects and want to thank you for reading!

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