[name=Olivia J] [description=I am not your average beauty blogger. Blogging since 2009. Editor of The Unknown Beauty Blog -- Read by the Intelligent! Uncredited, copied, and Plagiarized by the Idiots!] [img=https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-lQjJcRIw170/V1OXLv8leSI/AAAAAAAAeLE/6w7gg1uTmFEATqiSoBsIJ8_FH45ZUM84QCCo/s500/Olivia%25252520Denim.jpg]


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How to Use Ben Nye Color Cake Makeup

*Post originally written by Olivia J on The Unknown Beauty Blog. If you see this post elsewhere, it has been stolen.*

Today, pancake makeup isn’t as popular as it used to be which is a shame because it is a very reliable foundation.  Also, a good one is hard to find and the best ones today are made by the one and only pro brand (one of my gateway brands into the pro line of makeup way back) Ben Nye. Just because it doesn't sound exciting or have that fancy PR attached to it, these products are worthwhile gems in the junk chest of cosmetics.  What makes this type of makeup better than some of the products sold today are the other products which aid in making these cakes better than ever!

Since there isn't much hype over cake makeup, you probably think it has become old-fashioned.  After all, some of us remember Max Factor in its heyday.  Pancake makeup was used regularly by pro artist back in the 60's.  I remember Olivia Sr. with her Max Factor makeup.  She actually finished many pancakes way back, leaving me admiring the empty white container.  (I still remember the smell of it.)

I bought three cake items from Ben Nye: two Color Cake Foundations (pancake) and an Aqua Paint.  Compared to some of the ridiculously priced foundations out on the market today, these products are cheap.  This is only in price and not in quality.

The Cakes

The Ben Nye Color Cake Foundations (1 oz.) retail for about $14 at Frends Beauty (no affiliation but a mention of this blog to them is greatly appreciated) and the MagiCake Aqua Paint (0.25oz)  retails for $7.

Cake Makeup is water activated or activated with some form of liquid as you will find out.  You could say this is a water based foundation with some emollients mixed in.  It is a concentrated form of foundation especially if you buy Ben Nye.  In fact, if you run your finger across these products, they feel hard and gritty like sandpaper!  But, once activated they spread as easily as cream and last a very long time. 

Long ago, there was a general rule in the type of foundation used due to the climate.  If one lived in a fairly average climate location or a harsh winter, then a liquid or pan stick foundation worked due to its moisturizing properties.  For humid or fairly warm places, pancake makeup worked because they stayed on the skin without feeling heavy.  This is still true today, so if you live in a humid climate or still want a foundation that works in heat, cake is the way to go.

Ben Nye Color Cake

I bought two colors of the Ben Nye Color Cake: Shinsei Ivory and Navajo Sand.  (For reference, I wear MUFE 120.)  Shinsei Ivory is the lightest color in the yellow based line (Shinsei Ivory, Shinsei Fair, Japanese, Chinese - the names of the Ben Nye Color Cakes.)  Navajo Sand is more on the beige side with yellow mixed in and can look slightly peach, depending on how long you stare at it!

Pancake Foundation

Application is simple, just use a wet sponge or a wet foundation brush and swirl it in the foundation.

How to Activate

What you do before and after can make a difference!

When Olivia Sr. used pancake makeup, there were two products which didn’t exist back then - a primer and a makeup sealant.  With these two products, a pancake foundation can work like any other chi chi priced foundation.

The following foundation pictures are shown on Olivia Sr.

The first set shows one side with primer and one without.  The particular primer used happens to be the Skindinavia Primer.  This one is the best to use under cake makeup because there is no extra layer of film and dries to a smooth finish.

Primer is Important

You can see with the primer there is more smoothness and a slight glow.  The other side looks slightly drier and Olivia Sr. mentioned the skin does feel that way too.  There is also flatness to the color.

See the results of Ben Nye Pancake Foundation with the Artis Fluenta brush

What you do after application is also important and that is to buff it.  This will leave a smoother finish.  You can take just a soft powder brush and just sweep it across the face to smooth out the finish of the makeup.

Now, if you really want too make it budge proof, you should seal it with Blue Marble Selr after you have applied all your makeup.


If you have dry skin, then another way to apply cake makeup is with a mixing medium.  I just use a 1:1 ratio of water to glycerin.  Distilled or sterilized water and a vegetable based glycerin is what I prefer.  (Vegetable based glycerin doesn't feel as slippery and grimy as the animal counterpart.)

Mixing Medium

The glycerin based mixing medium gives the pancake makeup more creaminess yet it dries to a comfortable finish.  It moves with the skin.  Generally, if you have oily skin, just use water alone; and for dry use the mixing medium.

Here is a swatch of the mixing medium and water.  The difference is the mixing medium slightly provides a darker color, but not by much.  It also looks less dry.

Foundation Swatch

Ben Nye MagiCake Aqua Paint in Brown Black

The reason why I bought this product was not only to paint on cat whiskers (okay, I am kidding) but to have an eyeliner I could easily work with.  You know the type that doesn't flake off or dry up in the container or shrink!!  Yes, I got sick of paying for garbage or what eventually ends up there.

Normally, you wouldn't think to use a Ben Nye MagiCake as an eyelining product since there is already a Ben Nye Cake eyeliner.  I prefer this one for its creamy texture when it is mixed with water.  Just makes it easier to work with for me.  Also, it came in a brown black.

Brown Black MagiCake

Using the MagiCake is pretty simple, like any cake eyeliner you just dip your brush in water and swirl in the cake.  Just make sure to wipe off the excess so it isn't too wet.

For this product you can also use water alone or the mixing medium mentioned above.  The result turns out differently if you are using this as an eye product.  With water alone, the color is dark and becomes budgeproof when it dries.  It does give you time to draw a line on your eyes before it completely dries so don't worry about making a mistake, you can reapply over it without a problem.

With the glycerin based mixing medium, the color turns out lighter, more brown but it can also be smudged.  There is a slight tackiness to it, so it has to be set with powder afterwards before applying anything on top.


To make it waterproof, I suggest Blue Marble Selr to seal the deal!

With either of these products, the simplicity of using water makes them worthwhile. Now, if I used Holy Water, who knows what would have happened.  I just didn't have any on hand! The coverage of the foundation can vary from sheer to opaque.  The color of the eyeliner or MagiCake Aqua Paint is opaque only.  For the price, I don't have to worry about treating my makeup like jewelry.  I can use them to my heart's content and even experiment more.  For the quality, these products can't be beat because they are full of pigment and pro-product pride.

And, let's not forget Olivia Sr.'s approval.  She loves this stuff because of the ease in application and the fact there are primers and sealants readily available.  For this reason, Ben Nye Color Cake and MagiCake are wise owl approved.

Wise Owl Approved

Hope this opened your eyes to pancake makeup and stirred your curiosity.  What is old becomes new again.



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