Baking, also known as “cooking,” is a make-up technique originally used in Drag, now popularised by celebrities and make-up artists. This technique includes applying a heavy amount of translucent powder under the eyes and on the high points of the face.

This technique can be used on a variety of different skin types and shades to highlight the under eye area and high points of the face such as the cheek bones, the bridge of the nose, the chin and the forehead. The effects of the powder are to soak up facial oils and to help the foundation melt into the skin. This prevents creasing in the baked areas while maximising coverage and longevity of the make-up to leave the face looking matte.

The cosmetic technique of baking is a “very old make-up technique”that may be traced back to times such as Ancient Egypt and the early Victorian era.The use of make-up can be traced back to times as early as Ancient Egypt. High class members of Egyptian society would use make-up to display their wealth, beliefs and positions within the community. Cosmetics were regarded as a symbol of high status and a sign of holiness and were often a major part of the burial ceremony along with jewellery. Although Egyptians are renowned for heavy eye make-up, facial products were also used but were mainly focused on cheeks.

Baking was brought into the spotlight by celebrities such as Kim Kardashian whose make-up artistMario Dedivanovic uses the technique to set the famous Kardashian’s make-up for events. He argues that this practice should not be used every day and he only uses it for celebrities that like “a very dramatic, long lasting, matte finish to the face” or if he is working on stage performers. This technique was also brought into light with the increased visibility of the drag community following the popular television show, RuPaul’s Drag Race.

The technique of baking can be seen throughout the episodes when the queens are in the “work room” preparing for the runway. Baking is not just used for drag performers, it has been adopted by many make-up artists and is now used throughout special effects make-up to set bruising and cuts so that the products applied to the face melt in seamlessly and look as realistic as possible.This technique was then popularised further by many bloggers and vloggers who have created videos and pages, teaching make-up enthusiasts and the general public how to bake or cook their face. This type of tutorial has taken over social media sites such as YouTube and Instagram, bringing baking into the mainstream as a new internet ‘buzzword’. These such videos have gathered thousands of views, one of the most popular tutorials, by Heidi Hamoud, managed to gain over 2 million views since its upload in April 2015.

Baking is used by many performers as it increases the longevity of the make-up, meaning it will not rub off during performances.