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How Do I Choose the Best Pancake Makeup?

By Dee Jones
Updated May 21, 2024
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Pancake makeup — which is sometimes called stage makeup or greasepaint — is a type of foundation that provides full coverage, evens out the skin tone, and can cover skin imperfections like blemishes, discolorations, scars, and even tattoos. When choosing this makeup, look for a brand that is water resistant, and can withstand weather conditions like extreme heat. While some brands can look thick and somewhat unnatural, it is possible to find brands that don’t look as heavy or opaque. It’s important to consider the amount of coverage needed when choosing a pancake makeup. Those who need a lot of coverage should choose a pancake foundation with high amounts of pigmentation, while others might prefer a lighter, less opaque makeup.

There are many other things to consider when choosing pancake makeup. For example, a foundation that is mineral based acts as a natural sunscreen, and will protect the skin from sun damage. Some pancake makeup, especially thicker or heavier brands, can be difficult to apply, especially for those with little experience with using this type of foundation. Look for a pancake makeup that is reviewed as being easy to apply, even for beginners.

While choosing the right pancake foundation is an important first step, choosing the right sponge is almost as important. The sponge used to apply the makeup can determine how easy it is to apply, and how the foundation will look after application. Latex sponges work well with cream-based foundations, and provide a smooth, even finish, and can be used to apply makeup with precision. Those who are allergic to latex can find similar sponges made of other things like cellulose or polyurethane. Hydra sponges have larger pores and a rougher texture than latex sponges, and are most often used to apply and blend cake makeup.

Before using pancake makeup, it’s a good idea to exfoliate the skin, removing dead skin cells so that the makeup will go on more smoothly. Use a wet sponge to apply the makeup as quickly as possible. As the makeup dries, it will become harder to smooth and blend, and might also start to come off on the sponge. Instead of applying pancake foundation all at once in one thick layer, apply several light layers, which will look more natural and make the foundation easier to blend. This type of makeup can be used anywhere on the body, including the face, neck, chest and back.

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Discussion Comments

By candyquilt — On Feb 05, 2013

I used to have a problem with pancake makeup looking too dry and not going on smoothly. I asked my best friend about it who is very good at makeup and she told me to wet the sponge before applying. I run the sponge under the faucet, squeeze out excess water and then pat it on the makeup and apply it.

It makes such a difference! It goes on very smoothly, covers perfectly and looks great now. I also make sure to moisturize my face properly beforehand. Pancake makeup is very good when applied this way!

By literally45 — On Feb 05, 2013

@donasrms-- Yes, pancake makeup is still used. I work in theater and I know many still wear pancake makeup.

Pancake makeup is longer lasting and is better at preventing shine and sweat on stage. It's superior to liquid makeup in my view.

Of course, the brand and the way it is applied is very important. Some brands are more prone to applying heavily and looking unnatural. Furthermore, the sponge is very important like the article said. A latex sponge is best for applying cake makeup.

By donasmrs — On Feb 04, 2013

Does anyone still use pancake makeup? I thought that this is an old makeup type and that stage artists now use liquid makeup.

In fact, when someone's makeup looks unnatural and heavy, they say that it has a pancake or cakey look.

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