StyleBible Preview

What Is "Baking" and Why Does It Make Your Makeup Look Airbrushed?

No oven required.
What Is "Baking" and Why Does It Make Your Makeup Look Airbrushed?
IMAGE YOUTUBE/americanvogue, Sephora
No oven required.

"Baking" holds an entirely different meaning in the beauty world. It doesn't require an actual oven or flour, but it does require you to cook something—that something being your makeup. Difference is, you technically don't need kitchen skills to do it. Baking is simply a term for this beauty technique... and the likes of Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, and even Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray swear by it! 

What does "baking" your makeup even mean and what is it for?

"Baking" your makeup is a fancier way of setting all the products you've applied. The term was derived from the way drag queens powder their faces, which involves patting a thick layer of loose powder onto their skin to basically "cook" their base underneath. It's also meant to create a shield under their eyes that'll catch any fallout from their eyeshadow while setting their undereye concealer! They leave this layer of powder on for a few minutes, or as long as they want before brushing it off. See drag queen Valentina demonstrate how she bakes below:


Meanwhile, other drag queens use baking to set and brighten the center of their face for an intense contour and make their skin look practically airbrushed. They pat the powder under the eyes, on the nose bridge, center of the forehead, and the chin. It's a lot of product to put on your face for the average person, but when a photo of Kim Kardashian with a drag-inspired undereye bake circulated online, everyone's perception on baking as being exclusive to the drag community changed. In fact, this photo of Kim led to banana-hued powders to sell out everywhere in the US. This bright undereye look soon became Kim's signature look, too, to the point where her beauty brand KKW Beauty has its own baking collection!

Recommended Videos

So how do you "bake" your makeup?

Step 1: Apply all your liquid and cream products.

Before you bake, you have to finish applying your foundation and concealer first. That's because once you apply your powder, any wet products will look awkward on top of it. So when you're done with your base, grab your favorite loose powder and start cooking!

Step 2: Apply the powder.

For a brighter look, you can opt for a powder in a shade that's slightly lighter than your skin tone. But if you prefer a more natural finish, go for a translucent one. To start baking, deposit some powder onto the lid of your powder of choice. And then with a brush or a makeup sponge, pick up as much of the product as possible, and gently press it onto the areas you wish to set and brighten. As mentioned above, the usual areas are the undereyes, nose bridge, chin, and forehead. You can also apply the powder under the hollows of your cheekbones to sharpen the line of your contour! See the image below for a visual:


Step 3: Leave it on for a few minutes.

Once the powder is applied, leave it on for a few minutes to let the powder "cook" and do its thing. How long this takes is entirely up to you, but five to 10 minutes are common time frames! While the powder sits on your skin, do your cheeks, brows, and eye makeup to pass the time!


Step 4: Remove the excess powder.

When you feel that your bake is done, remove the excess powder on your skin with a fluffy brush. You can apply more brightening powder on top to intensify the look, but you can definitely stop there.

Of course, we think it's also best to see how it is in action. Below, Kim and her long-time makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic show their popular take on the baking technique:

Itching to bake your makeup? Shop some of our loose powder picks below!

PHOTO BY Sephora

FENTY BEAUTY Pro Filt'r Instant Retouch Setting Powder, P1800,

PHOTO BY Sephora

TOO FACED Peach Perfect Mattifying Loose Setting Powder, P1900,

PHOTO BY Laura Mercier

LAURA MERCIER Translucent Loose Setting Powder, P1950, Glorietta 3

Related Stories from

Hey, Preview readers! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Tiktok, and Twitter to stay up to speed on all things trendy and creative. We’ll curate the most stylish feed for you!