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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Make Your Own Eyeshadows!

One of the most common problems that people have about eyeshadows is that they aren't pigmented enough. All this means is that when they try to use it, the colour that transfers onto the skin is much much lighter than it is in the packaging.

A few months ago, I purchased a few products online and decided that I would try to make my own eyeshadows by mixing pigments and pressing them into pans (the same size of pan that MAC and other eyeshadows are in).

I ended up with many eyeshadows and I picked some of my favourites to show you:

Each of these palettes holds 9 eyeshadows
 If you'd like to know what you need to make your own eyeshadows, I'll have a list at the end of this post!

Palette #1 with flash

Palette #1 without flash

Palette #2 without flash

Palette #2 with flash

Palette #3 without flash

Palette #3 with flash

Palette #4 with flash

Palette #4 without flash

Random swatches (without flash)

Random swatches (with flash)

As you can see, the eyeshadows I have made are very pigmented, and that's because I made them by pressing pigments! Pigments are also known as micas and if you look at the ingredients in any eyeshadow, "mica" will be one of many ingredients whereas in the eyeshadows I have made, they are basically the only ingredient other than the liquid binding agent I used (details below). 

Many brands use ingredients like talc, iron oxides, silica, trimethicone, etc. Most of these ingredients are white and when mixed with the micas, it dilutes the colour. The reason why a lot of these ingredients are used is to help it adhere to your skin (a primer also does this, so I always use a primer when wearing eyeshadows I have made). Other ingredients may be used to create a certain texture or finish (like matte, satin, etc). For the most part, a lot of the ingredients are ones I have never heard of before.

This is why I wanted to try making my own eyeshadows. Not only is it a lot cheaper overall, but you can choose which products to mix in and you'll feel confident in knowing that what you're wearing has ingredients that you're familiar with.

Before I go into what I used to make these, I just want to let you know that the method I used will only make extremely shimmery eyeshadows. This is because the micas are very shimmery and metallic to begin with and I only add two other ingredients to it.

*If you don't want to read all of these instructions, here is a link to a great tutorial on YouTube by BeautyNewbie

She uses some of the same products and techniques that I explain below, but also uses some other techniques which are also great and effective!

What you'll need:

Pigments/Micas (you can use pigments you already have from other brands, but I like using mica samples because no other ingredients have been added to them)
You can purchase mica samples from Coastal Scents and TKB Trading.

Rubbing Alcohol
You can buy rubbing alcohol almost anywhere. It's affordable, but be careful when you use it! Work with it in a well-ventilated room.

Small spoons, jars/eyeshadow pans, pressing tool/a quarter, paper towels
You can buy small spoons from Coastal Scents but you can also use other small spoons you may have at home, or even popsicle sticks. 
You'll need eyeshadow pans (TKB Trading) to press the pigments into, but you can also do this with small 5 gram jars if you have some (Coastal Scents). TKB Trading offers a package that comes with 9 pans and some pressing tools. I definitely recommend this because the pressing tool is easier to use than a quarter, but if you don't have a pressing tool, a quarter or similar-sized coin will work just as well.
Paper towels are a must because working with pigments is messy!

A magnetic palette
If you're familiar with the Z-palette, the palettes I used are extremely similar to them, but a lot cheaper. I found mine at TKB Trading and I'm almost certain they are the same thing.
*If you choose to press your pigments into jars, you obviously won't need to worry about using a palette

Pressing Medium
I used the pressing medium that TKB Trading sells, but Coastal Scents also has one available. Pressing mediums are usually silicone-based which is what will make the eyeshadow smooth and semi-solid once you've pressed it. Please keep this in mind if you have any concerns with using silicone.

Small bowls
You will need bowls to mix colours in.

Gloves and Dust Masks
Gloves are good to use if you're making these for someone else, but not as necessary if you're making them for yourself and you don't mind getting your hands covered in a lot of different colours.
Dust masks are a must if you're working indoors (even if the room is well-ventilated). Micas are extremely powdery and will become airborne very quickly. Breathing in small particles in large quantities may be harmful and it's best to stay safe and wear a dust mask. Also make sure to open a few windows and work on a clear and large surface to reduce the risk of spilling any of your ingredients.

I apologize in advance for not having step-by-step photos of this process. I made these eyeshadows months ago before I started this blog so I don't have any photos at all, but you can check out my tutorial on making your own Pigment Palettes to get an idea of some of the products I used.

Pressing Pigments and Making Your Own Eyeshadows

The most important thing to do when working with pigments/micas, rubbing alcohol and other ingredients is to work in a well-ventilated room. 

1. Place paper towels over your work space.
2. Take one of your 26mm eyeshadow pans and place a few drops of rubbing alcohol into the pan. Swirl it around and wait for it to dry. This disinfects the pan so you have a clean container for your pigment.
3. Create a colour. You can mix a few colours together to see what colour you create, or you can use one colour the way it is. It usually takes about a tablespoon or so of pigment to fill the pan, so keep this in mind when you mix colours.
4. Once you have a colour you like, put more drops of alcohol into the pan, about enough to cover the bottom. Place about 3 drops of the pressing medium into the pan and mix the alcohol and pressing medium together using a small spoon or popsicle stick.
5. Slowly add your pigment, stirring it in with the alcohol and pressing medium mixture. Add more alcohol is the consistency is too dry. You want it to be almost a liquid in consistency.
6. Keep adding pigment and once it starts to get full, pick up the pan and lightly drop it onto the table to even it out.
7. Once it's full, leave it out to dry for a few hours.
8. Keep checking on it. Once it's dry to the touch, take a small square of paper towel and place it on top so that it covers the entire pan.
9. Take your quarter or pressing tool and place it on top of the paper towel so that it covers the top of the jar completely and press down on it. Hold it for a few seconds. Keep pressing it until you feel the eyeshadow is solid enough.
10. Let it dry completely for about 24 hours to make sure all the alcohol has evaporated, and then test it out!

If the consistency of the eyeshadow is too 'wet' then that means you've used too much pressing medium. If it's too dry or powdery, then you haven't used enough pressing medium. It's a lot of trial and error, but you'll eventually get the hang of it.

I hope I've covered everything in this post about making your own eyeshadows! It's a great opportunity to create your own colours, use different sized pans and make your own palettes! 

Let me know in the comment section below if you have any questions :)

Thanks for reading!


  1. What a great idea. I always wanted to try to do this but I thought it would be a huge task, but you make it look so easy. Thanks for this post.

  2. Where did you get the pigments shown? All either TKB or Coastal Scents?
    Thanks, they looks absolutely FREAKING GORGEOUS AND DIMENSIONAL.

    1. I got them from Coastal Scents! I started off with the sample sizes first (which come with enough for about 1-2 eyeshadows) and then I purchased the larger sizes of the ones I liked.