8 May 2013

DIY Experiments in Pressing Eye Shadow

A few weeks ago I set out to try my hand at pressing eye shadows.  Using loose shadows isn't a problem for me, but there are definitely times when having a compact palette of pressed shadows is much more convenient.  Plus, there's something really aesthetically pleasing about looking at the colors all together in a palette.  






The Basics
Pressing eye shadow is awesome because you only need three ingredients: loose shadow, fractionated coconut oil, and rubbing alcohol.  Fractionated coconut oil is coconut oil that's been expeller pressed and refined.  It's food grade, but it has a longer shelf life than unrefined coconut oil and it stays liquid, even in colder temperatures.  You could definitely use another oil, but FCO is great since, with its indefinite shelf life, you don't need to worry about it going rancid.  I used 99% isopropyl alcohol to press these, but anything over 70% should be fine.  You don't want to introduce too much water into your shadow, so I wouldn't recommend going below 70%. 

I bought most of my supplies from TKB Trading, though the alcohol is from the drugstore and the loose shadows I already had in my stash.  In the two palettes I made - one neutral and one with brighter, more fun colors - most of the shades are colors I created by combining multiple shadows, but I didn't make any completely from scratch.

Since a lot of the shadows I was working with were samples, I used small, 15mm pans.  They're roughly the size of a dime, so pretty tiny, though you'll still need a good amount of shadow to fill them - between 1/4 and 1/2 teaspoon.  The amount varies because shadows from different companies will have different ratios of pigment to base ingredients, which makes them compact differently.  In loose shadow terms, a 3-gram jar holds roughly 1/4 tsp, and a 5-gram, 3/4 tsp, so you'll need, at minimum, the equivalent of a 3-gram jar.



Getting Creative
I think the best part of the whole endeavor was taking colors from my collection that I don't use much and turning them into new favorites.  For example, I mixed Noella Beauty Works Milk & Honey, which I find a little too yellow and Silk Naturals Cloudberry, which I've always wanted to have a little more pizzazz and created a warmer, more metallic peach shade.  Neither of these shadows were big hits on their own, but I really like how they turned out blended together!



Does Pressing Change Colors?
When I first started talking about pressing shadows, a couple people asked me if it altered the colors, but I haven't found that to be true.  I didn't have loose leftovers from all the colors, but I've compared those I had, and while the pressed ones are perhaps slightly darker, I don't think it's enough of a difference to be noticeable on the eye.  The pressed also adhere a little better without a primer, as you can see in the below photo (all swatched over bare skin.)  The top row is the shadows after being pressed and the bottom is in their original, loose form.


(L to R) The Starshine Company Sea Foam, Madd Style Cosmetics Hold Fast, Cheeky Cosmetics Sun Goddess, Shiro Cosmetics Master Sword, Shiro Cosmetics Vileplume

The Bottom Line
I'm really happy with how this experiment turned out!  The whole process was a lot easier than I expected and the shadows are smooth and creamy with awesome color payoff.  They do tend to kick up a bit more powder than your regular, silicone-filled pressed eye shadows, but I've found the same thing to be true of natural pressed eye shadows I've bought. 

I'd originally hoped to include some kind of photo tutorial of the process with this, but I didn't manage to get it together in time and I didn't want to delay the post any longer.  Let me know if you'd be interested in seeing a more in-depth tutorial in the future.  In the meantime, Oxana124 has a video on pressing with fractionated coconut oil that you can check out.  I followed the same process, but I used much less oil - only 2-3 drops per shadow, compared to the 12-14 she uses in the video.  

Mixing colors was fun and I have this compulsion to press all my shadows now!  I love looking at the finished palettes, but aside from that and the obvious ease for travel, in a lot of ways I prefer using loose shadows.  What do you think of pressed vs. loose shadows?  Have you ever tried pressing your own?  


22 comments:

  1. Wow great job :) I love your idea of mixing two colors together :)

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    1. Thanks! I had a lot of fun mixing colors :)

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  2. Colour me impressed :) I only started using loose shadow after going "natural" mainly because I couldn't find the colours I liked in the pressed varieties ( all the neutral shades, gets a bit boring). I do prefer pressed for a couple of reasons: it is easier to pick up the right amount of pigment; possibility of a pallet that wouldn't take up as much space as the same amount of colours as the loose variety; and most importantly I am messy! The amount of times I have accidentally tipped the lid that still had powder in it, shook the open jar or the brush that had too much colour and ended up with mineral powder on my bed/carpet/clothes! Not cool...

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    1. I never used loose shadows before switching to all natural products either, but I guess I got used to them at some point! Natural pressed shadows can get so expensive that I pretty much used loose ones exclusively for the first several years after going natural. I've had my share of spills too, but as long as I'm doing my makeup at home, I don't mind the loose. The palettes will definitely come in handy for travel though!

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  3. looks amazing! :) would love to do something like this. does the alcohol sting or dry your lids out? that's my main concern..

    great post!

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    1. Thanks! In theory the alcohol evaporates off, which is why you want to use such a high percentage. If I stick my nose right up to them, they do smell slightly of alcohol, so I guess there's a small amount left, but I don't notice it when I'm using them and I haven't found them at all drying or stingy.

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  4. Do you find that putting oil in the shadows makes them more prone to creasing? I like the idea of pressing my shadows but I'm nervous about the oil as I have very oily eyelids as it is.

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    1. I was concerned about that too, which is why I used less oil than I've seen a lot of other people use. I think they crease slightly faster than than the loose, but as long as you use a primer, it isn't a big difference. Like, I'll get maybe an extra hour or two out of the loose version, but that's all, otherwise they wear about the same.

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  5. I have been meaning to do this with my loose shadows for so long now but keep getting distracted. I need to place an order for some pans, fractionated coconut oil and alcohol and start pressing away! Many times I don't use my mineral shadows because I get so tired of the shadows falling everywhere... it gets so frustrating and is a pain to organize and travel with! I will be excited to have a pressed palette that's easy to carry with me and use. Yours look like they came out amazingly well. How long do you let them dry before you use them? Also, is the staying power any better being pressed or about the same as when loose?

    Thanks for this post because it re-inspired me to start doing this asap!

    xo,
    Britanie
    http://beautybybritanie.com

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    1. Yeah, travelling with loose can be a nuisance! Drying time depends on how much alcohol you use - I didn't make them super wet to begin with, because I found it easier to press when they were more of a crumbly, wet sand texture as opposed to any liquidier. I let them dry a few hours just to be sure, but as long as you do a couple presses with a paper towel, they're pretty much good to use right away since you've sopped up most of the alcohol that way.

      On me, staying power is slightly worse than the original loose form, maybe because of the oil in there. I still get a full day's wear, but I find they'll crease an hour or two sooner than the loose version. Not a huge difference by any means:)

      Happy to re-inspire you :) It seemed daunting at first, but the whole process was a lot easier than I'd expected. Can't wait to see what you come up with!

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  6. This is really fascinating! Thanks for this post! Have you tried using another binder besides coconut oil? Also, is there any concern about bacterial contamination (I am thinking with regards to long term storage of these pans)?

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    1. I haven't! Mainstream recommendations are generally for silicone binders and on the more natural side, fractionated coconut seems most popular since you don't have to worry about it spoiling. I think any other vegetable oil would work just as well, but I'd recommend choosing one with a long shelf life.

      That's an interesting question. I've seen recipes that include rosemary extract or vitamin E, but my understanding is that these antioxidants only slow the oxidation of the oil (which isn't an issue with FCO) as opposed to preventing bacterial/microbial growth, so I did not include one. I don't think bacterial contamination is any more of a concern than with a bought pressed shadow, but if you're concerned, you could periodically sanitize the tops with more alcohol, just like with any other pressed makeup:)

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  7. I'm a pressed shadow girl, it's just easier to travel with and much less fall out. Natural pressed shadows aren't all that pigmented though so I love that you pressed them yourself. They came out amazing, good job!

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    1. Thanks! That's true about the pigmentation of a lot of natural pressed shadows. I think the best I've found, in terms of pigmentation, are from Mineral Fusion and Bare Minerals, but both have one or two questionable ingredients.

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  8. How were the shipping fees from TKB to Canada? Did you have to pay any duties?

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    1. Shipping fees were a bit of a drag! I think I paid around $17 for their cheapest shipping option, but it did get here within 1 day, so that was great anyways. And then I got charged tax and brokerage too, which amounted to another $12 or so. I'd say it's worth it for the occasional, bigger order, but it's not somewhere I'd shop just for one or two items.

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  9. This project turned out great! I like the idea of taking shadows you didn't really like and turning them into new colours.

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    1. Thanks! I had a lot of fun blending colors, plus it's great to get some use out of things that were just sitting here :)

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  10. Oh,I missed this post!! So,in another way of saying:pressing makes it more noticeable(without primer),in my word:pigmented. Right? Good to know this!I always feel like loose powder is really loose,even with primer on.I have dark eyecircles which means dark eyelids also.Loose powder one isn't that pigmented when I wear it,but pressed powder one is different.
    Ah,can't hardly wait to press my loose powders!Thanks for the review,Caitie!:)

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    1. Yup, because of the oil, they end up a little creamier than the loose pigment, so adhesion on bare skin is better...which works out to them looking more pigmented. It's not a huge difference and I always use a primer on my eyes anyways, so I didn't even notice it until I was doing the comparison swatches. Good luck pressing yours!

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  11. LOVE LOVE LOVE the article! I can't wait to start pressing my own. Still researching a bit more since I want it to look seamlessly pressed. The struggle... I love the acrylic palette. Where did you get it? I look to more post on natural makeup and beauty products. Way too much garage in todays makeup. Thank you for creating this blog for people like me who are new to this.

    Take care and talk soon Caitie!

    Karin

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    1. Hi Karin,
      I got them from TKB Trading: http://www.tkbtrading.com/item.php?item_id=1160&page=3&category_id=14
      Good luck with your pressing!

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