Okay so I’m 44 – not a spring chicken by any means but I’m decent looking and I love makeup. For the past couple of months (I suppose with my daughter’s wedding looming closer) I’ve been checking out Youtube videos in search of a flawless face or at least as close to flawless as I can possibly get. First of all, it is NOT inconceivable. As I walk around the streets of NY on a daily and the streets are talking (shout out to Erica Mena) in the form of beautiful, flawless, forty something year old women everywhere. Yes – today’s woman, be she a young lady of 16 or the housewives of NYC in their upper 40’s or incredibly, Cynthia Baily or Jennifer Anniston whom (I dare only whisper) are 50 – well these women have got it together! They look amazing and I’m only speaking about their face. IF we go into the body, I’m gonna need some alcohol, a box of Kleenex and therapy to get into all o’ dat!
Lastly and by no means unimportant – my own madre, who is let’s say above 70 (while I’m shouting my age from the rooftops my mammy is from the era “it’ ain’t polite to ask and it certainly ain’t ladylike to tell”) well her face is beautiful and this is a women who was always quite moderate with makeup. Her biggest and most long lasting product is baby powder. Her tool of choice that never changed over time is the almighty “powder puff” (no pass, feel me?) Yeah so I know obtaining a flawless face is not an impossible quest.
So I began the agonizing process of trial and error. I peeped what seemed like a million different Youtube videos, discovered a favorite makeup artist: Shayla among others, tried my hand at a myriad of techniques, spent some (for me) fat dollars on makeup (any product that cost more than $20 is a whole lot to me) and studied my face both before and after like I would have to describe myself as a suspect down the road. Yeah, it was like that.
After all of these months, I’ve finally discovered a technique that I use for special occasions, which is called “baking your face.” Yes you read that correctly. This interestingly enough is NOT a new technique that these Youtubers have come up with but in actuality an old term dubbed by the drag community to set your powder on your face for a flawless finish. My thought process, if this can make a man look like a beautiful woman, then there’s hope for me yet!
You can bake your face heavy (for weddings, parties, special occasions – whatever) or bake your face light if you want to wear the look everyday.
The main ingredients for baking is loose face powder and setting spray – which is something I didn’t even know about. The spray/mist actually fixes makeup flaws to some degree and then sets your makeup to give you the “just applied” look. Your makeup doesn’t fade or move the entire day. And I work ooookaaaaaaaaaaaaaay. I sit in my office for 8 hours a day doing this, that and the third, go home, prepare lunch, run around doing my errands, that’s most of our working women’s lives. But hey, if we can look like all we do is pop bonbons wrapped in a feather boa and pink slippers, watching soaps all day – hell I’m good with that.
I put on my big girl panties and walked into the lion’s den – most commonly referred to as Sephora. The first thing I saw when I walked in was a single brush for $36 – my courage dropped a few pegs and I almost walked out. The resounding “nope, not about that life” voice kept replaying in my head. Somehow I managed to ignore it and press on. Courage my girl. Walk on duckie. I then started to see items for less than $20 and felt much more at ease. A few of their lovely ladies asked if I needed help. Quite a loaded question if you ask me but I shook my head and politely declined, pressing on.
I took my time perusing the aisles. I had two items in mind to purchase, a setting spray and translucent powder. My daughter mentioned to me that a yellow based powder would probably look better than a pink based powder so I aimed to find it.
Let me warn you, the sheer amount of product choices are unbelievable but I used cost as the ultimate decider. I read reviews on the best setting spray and Urban Decay, Loreal Infallible and NYX were among top shelf but I decided to try Lock-It Matte Spray by Kat Von D because I also bought her yellow based translucent powder and I didn’t want to mix brands. These two products cost me about 50 smackers but this was no time to balk at the counter. I was all in. Of course being uncertain if I wanted the matte look or the dewy look, I went down the road to Duane Reade and bought for about 8 smackers, the NYX Dewy spray finish as well as some brushes. No way I was going to spend Sephora money on that! It was still an expensive enterprise. This was the first time I’d spent such coin on makeup and I’ll be honest, I felt quite empowered. I felt like in my zebra tagged bag I had the power to transform myself. I started strutting down the street like John Travolta himself during that scene from Saturday Night Fever. Oh Lawd – somebody help meh.
The next morning I put on my Youtube bake your face video, followed the steps as best I could. The results were 50/50. I saw that my face looked smooth but my contouring was half past a cow’s ass and the overall facial palette was a bit off.
Case in point:
I have to say my peeps from FB were entirely too sweet and supportive – caused they liked my profile pics anyway. (Fist to the chest – chest tap salute twice).
I went back to my research and watched a few more videos. Clearly, I was missing something. And that’s when I began to realize that you could use any face powder to bake your face – it doesn’t have to be expensive, it doesn’t have to be that pink or yellow base, it simply has to be loose powder.
This time I went to Walgreens, got some regular Cover Girl 115 face powder which best matched my own natural color, bought a Wet and Wild You Are Natural concealer stick and a Milani Contour and Glow stick and a new foundation and concealer combo by Milani 07 Sand.
The next morning I went to town.
I applied the new Milani foundation not with an oval brush as I had been using but with my regular “paint brush” and after, as per usual, I use my fingers to smooth it out the edges of my face just a little bit. I applied the wet and wild concealer like primer on my eyelids and did my brows as I had been taught by Shayla. I love her method of doing brows, for me, it’s a flawless method each and every time. At last I did my eye-makep as per usual, but applied mascara only to the top lashes.
Finally I set to baking my face. First I applied the concealer stick (since it’s daytime , I chose to bake light) under my eyes and across my cheeks.
Then I use a damp pink beauty blender to tap in the concealer. Your face will start to look flawless already.
Then I wash the beauty blender, dampen it again and dip it into the loose powder, then tap into my face (just under the eyes and across the nose to cheek area – the point is to tap into the area that you just used the concealer on.)
Then do your hair or something else for 5-10 minutes. I usually give it about 5 min. This allows your body heat to “bake” the concealer and powder.”
Come back to your face and with a brush and sweep away any excess powder.
Apply your contour, blush and highlight as you would normally.
Apply mascara to the bottom lashes.
Apply your lipstick.
Close your eyes and use whichever setting spray you prefer, matte or dewy.
Sometimes I use the matte and then decide my face would benefit more from the dewy look so I spray a little of the dewy finish spray on top of the matte spray. Odd I know but it works.
Now with the color palette just right I look like this:
OMGosh I didn’t think I would ever get it right – but finally finally finally, I have and I’m feeling good!
Try it and see if this works for you!
Now if only I could get that whole cut crease technique…lol
For my daughter’s reception and wedding I baked my face more thoroughly. Below you can see the difference in the two pictures. My face is much brighter, you can’t really see any discolorations or marks or flaws, all of which I absolutely have. It really is a smooth and flawless coverage. Your face doesn’t look powdery or harsh or feature cracks. Baking your face in my opinion optimum for special occasions. It brings out the best in you without appearing overdone. I must admit that I tried two makeup artists prior to Dev’s wedding and the first artist made me look like a powdered wonder. I hadn’t realized the extent of the horror and made the mistake of visiting Walgreens for some supplies and quite literally scared the hell out of the cashier.
Thank goodness I’d known him for years and after he saw me and visibly blanched, he had the good grace to continue the small talk as if Mrs. Frankenstein weren’t standing in front of him. The second makeup artist was quite wonderful but I still thought I looked too powdery and felt with a little practice and some more Youtube video instructions, I could probably make myself look better than anyone else could make me.
And I am happy to report, I was right. This process is not easy or instant. You have to dedicate some money and try out different products, some time to view Youtube videos and then more time to practice the techniques until you hit your stride and discover what works for you.
Below you can see the items I purchased to achieve my look. I hope you find out what works best for you and have a ton of fun in the process.
List of items:
From Pharmacies such as Duane Reade, CVS or Walgreens:
Highlight from Milani
Milani Conceal + Perfect 07 Sand – Foundation and Concealer makeup
Milani Contour & Hightlight Stick
Loose Face Powder – Cover Girl 115
Wet & Wild Baton De Maquillage Blush Stick (By the by, important side note that my sister found out – the brand Wet & Wild is cruelty free and always has been. I’m going to have to look into more makeup options from this particular brand as I love the furballs and would feel better if they’re not harmed in my beauty process!)
Wet & Wild Baton De Maquillage Corrector/Concealer Stick
Olay Total Effects Anti Age Moisturizer
Pink Beauty Blender (any brand)
NYX Dewy Finish Setting Spray
Lock-it Setting Spray – Matte Finish
Below are the brushes I use for application. I think everyone has to find their own brushes that they’re comfortable using. I purchased a couple of different sets before I saw Shayla’s budget friendly recommendation for the Vanity Planet brush set. When my brush set has worn out, which shouldn’t be anytime soon, I will purchase the Vanity Planet brush set – especially since it’s featured on Amazon (come on, you guys done know that I check Amazon before anywhere else) for a mere $32.48! $32.48 for every single brush that you will probably ever need.
If you need a brush set allow me to forward Shayla’s recommendation.
Click below to be taken to Amazon for the Vanity Planet Brush set:
Best of luck! I know you’ll look amazing whatever you do.