Thursday, September 11, 2008

Pressing Mineral Eye Shadows

The other day, Vanessa did a post on her blog about pressing her eye MAC pigments. Unfortunately, alcohol won't work on mineral eye shadows - they become hard as a rock and brittle as can be. But it got me thinking... I have all these palettes coming in for the new cream to powder shadows (hopefully, it will be on the website in the next couple of weeks):

eye shadow palette pans, eye shadow tins
What if I end up with a whole bunch of these, and nobody buys the new shadows? It's not too likely though, as they are very cool! I started thinking about pressing shadows as an option for you guys, since everyone seems to be in search of a way to do it - or offering the palettes and tins empty so you can do your own. If you read Vanessa's post, you'll see she made a huge mess! Not being able to use alcohol, and trying to avoid using any dimethicone, I played around with her idea using Jojoba oil. OMG, my thumb hurt so bad putting the pressure on it!

I thought to myself there HAD to be a better way. I'd have arthritis before finishing even one palette! I wandered through Lowe's looking for something round I could use to press into the tins, but to no avail. And the guy who worked there looked at me like I was nuts when he asked if he could help me, and I told him I wander around hardware stores looking for things not for their intended purpose (didja know Slurpee straws make excellent scoops for those 22 Eye Shadow packs?). I could just hear him muttering "women" under his breath. Today, I found myself next to an OSH hardware store, so decided to give it another stab. Up and down every aisle of the store holding my lone sample tin against anything round and flat. 3/4 of the way through the store, a woman employee asked if she could help me. Laughing, I showed her the tin and told her what I was hoping to accomplish. We were on a mission! She was determined to help me find something that would do the trick and not cause arthritis or tendinitis in the meantime. Dowels for closet rods? Nope, didn't fit. The little round thingies with nails that you put on the bottom of chairs? Ugh - close in size, but no cigar. Then we hit aisle 17B, and Eureka! Cork! Found a perfect diameter!

I'm not sure whether I'm going to be doing pressed shadows, but I am fairly certain I'll be offering the palettes and tins empty for those who want to do their own. Don't ask me how much I'll be selling them for - I'm not mentally there yet, but most likely it will be under $10 for the empty palette and 10 tins. Whether you use a dimethicone based binder (I'm opposed to dimethicone is cosmetics in general, but it isn't so bad for the eyes - kinda hard to clog those pores), alcohol on your overpriced MAC pigments (sorry, couldn't resist the stab), or jojoba oil, here's how I pressed mine.

What you'll need:
tools to press your own mineral eye shadows Empty eye shadow tins (the one's I'll be getting are 35mm)

Hand clamp (this one is a cheap, lightweight plastic one that doesn't take any strength to open and locks closed)

Cork (1 3/8")

Mix your shadows with whatever you're using to bind them together. For me, I used 1 tsp of eye shadow with 1-2 drops of jojoba oil. Mix them up in a small ziploc bag by squishing in between the palms of both hands until all the powder has been coated:

Cut a corner of the baggie, and pour the contents into the tin (I didn't use all of it because it looked like it would be too much; I was wrong). Then wrap the cork in plastic wrap and place on top of the tin:

empty coated powder into tin
Insert into the hand clamp, and let sit for a few minutes, and voila!

pressed mineral eye shadowBecause I used jojoba, it doesn't dry as fast as alcohol would. My first attempt after reading Nessa's post, it took a few days to dry. This time, I popped the tin into the oven at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes (or however long it took me to finish this post). It's almost dry. Should be by morning!


  1. That was remarkable,you would also make a WONDERFUL author, I was captivated from start to finish,I would assume that this was a tutorial for how to make your OWN personal pressed mineral makeup, as I would imagine that a large company would have machine's to do the work, of thousands of pressed eye shadows. Is this a correct assumption on my part? Would have loved to have been with you on your hardware trip....Can you explain what jojoba is and where is can be purchased..and is it very expensive? Where did you come up with the 400degrees for a temperature? I believe baked minerals are baked at 450degrees,but is it ONLY because Alcohol drys faster..or could the jojoba be what is making it take so long or perhaps the oven temp? Sorry for so many questions, but I quite enjoyed your story and demo..I just am afraid I might start going through my suitcases of Mineral makeups the loose ones of course and have Hand Clamps, and corks,filling my home up lol..Look forward to your next installment..btw I live in Florida and wondered if perhaps with the humidity here versus I see your in California would that be a problem with the drying period..thanks again for sharing. JPH

  2. Yes, large companies have the $5K-$10K to purchase machines to quickly do the job on an assembly line. I spent $0.89 on the cork, another $3.99 on the clamp. Jojoba is actually a wax, and not an oil (even though it's name is jojoba oil - 'cuz it's runny like an oil). The nice thing about jojoba is that it is absorbed into your skin immediately instead of sitting like an oil slick on your face, and is appropriate for all skin types. You can buy it at many local health food stores (in Calif, it's found at Trader Joes and Whole Foods Market), or online. I prefer the clear jojoba ( carries the clear), as it isn't as thick. Of course, I used the golden one for this trial, since I was more concerned with the pressing than I was with the outcome. No point in getting the right ingredient if my hands were going to break in the process! As for 400 degrees - I just pulled a number out of the sky. It's rare that I ever cook anything above 400 degrees, so it sounded like a good temp to me!

    Once I get the rest of my tins in (the one in the photo was a sample sent to me before I ordered 700 of them), I'll try again with fractionated coconut oil, as well as a binder with dimethicone in it and report back how they do.

    Thanks for the writing style complements. I'm not a blogger by trade, and I usually end up yapping on this thing like I'm talking to someone face to face. Makes for lengthy posts though!

  3. You are most welcome for the compliments they were warranted. :) Wondering if the coconut oil would have the aroma of the coconut on the finished product? Then again MAYBE fractionated means without the aroma would I be correct? I will keep checking back...most enjoyable blogging..keep it going. JPH

  4. Right - FCO (fractionated coconut oil) is not the stuff you buy in the grocery store. That oil becomes rather solid at room temp. You won't smell like suntan lotion with FCO!

  5. HAHAHA, I can imagine your daughter saying "mom please stop, take that mask off!" Oh kids these days! Yeah the rhinestones were a bitch to peel off one by one, but I was determined to make it work! LOL.

  6. Hey Robyn! Excellent post! I am going to have to get all of the apparatus and try this out myself. Thanks so much for sharing. ;-)

  7. Really interesting. I tried pressing mineral eyeshadow dry inside a pot I got with no sifter, its still solidly press until now, if you want something fast and cheap, I only used a quarter inside a plastic bag.

  8. I tried this tonight and ruined a bunch of my pigments...Im not sure what I did wrong. I followed the instructions, but after only 5 minutes in the oven nearly half my shadows were burnt, and many of the remaining ones are now super hard and barely apply!! did I do something wrong, or are your temperatures off?

  9. This post was written a couple of years ago; and was a total experiment. What kind of pigments did you use? MAC's do fine with alchohol; mineral ones do not. I had to bake mine because I used too much jojoba, and they were way too wet. If after you press yours, let it sit for a bit, then run your finger over it and it isn't wet, you don't need to put it in the oven.

    I've since had better luck using a c-clamp and a few drops of dimethicone instead - some others have had luck using Fractionated Coconut Oil. I've inxayed the jojoba because it can go rancid after time. Another option if something is too wet is to put a paper towel on top of the pan before you use the coin/cork/whatever you're using to push the minerals down to help absorb some of the excess. It's quicker and more effective than the oven.


Please let us know what you think about this post! Your tips, tricks, opinions and questions are always welcome.


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