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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Eyeshadow Pressing FAQ

So you've pressed some eyeshadows, or you want to, but you have a few questions. I'll answer some of the more common difficulties about pressing.

Q. Where do I get the stuff I need?

A. Most likely you can buy all of the stuff you need locally. All you really need is rubbing alcohol, a binding agent, something to stir it with, and something to put it in. You can use food grade glycerin which can be found at drug stores, or fractionated coconut oil which may be found at health food stores. I use toothpicks for stirring my eyeshadow because they're disposable and inexpensive. 91% rubbing alcohol can be bought at drug stores. You can use any container that you like. The standard eyeshadow pan is a 26mm round. If you don't want to buy new pans you can clean out an old palette that you've hit pan on. The only other stuff you really need is something to press it with (ex. a quarter) and something to soak up the alcohol (ex. paper towel).

If you want to get fancier and don't mind buying online you can buy a pressing kit from websites like TKB Trading or Coastal Scents 

Q. What kind of pan should I use?

A. You have two choices here, tin or aluminum. They both have advantages and disadvantages. Tin will stick to magnets which makes it easier to use in magnetized palettes, but it can potentially rust. The way to avoid this is to use a high proof alcohol that's at least 91%. Use 99% if you can find it. Aluminum won't rust, but it also won't stick to magnets and will need to be glued into the palette.

Q. I want to press (insert here) will it work?

A. Not all eyeshadows press well. Eyeshadows high in oxides, ferric ferrocyanide, or ultramarine do not press. They turn into hard discs with little to no color payoff. You want to look for eyeshadows with mica as the primary ingredient.

Q. Do I really need a binding agent?

A. Maybe, maybe not. MAC pigments already contain a binding agent and won't need any extra. If you're pressing an eyeshadow that you bought and broke you probably won't need one either since it should be in the formula already. Carnauba also acts as a binding agent so you may not need it if the shadow contains a fair amount of this. But it certainly won't hurt to add a little glycerin or fractionated coconut oil.

Q. How much binding agent should I add?

A. I like to add 2 drops from an eyedropper per 1/4 tsp of eye shadow.

Q. I added too much rubbing alcohol, what do I do?

A. You can either add more eye shadow if you have it, or wait and let some of it evaporate. Don't try to press it if it's soupy because you'll just lose it to the paper towel or pressing ribbon. Let it sit for 30 minutes or an hour and press it once it's firmed up a bit. You're going for a wet sand or dough consistency.

Q. My mixture looks/feels like clay, what's going on?

A. Eye shadows high in mica tend to mix like wet sand. Eye shadows high in oxides mix more like clay. Oxides do not press well, but if the eyeshadow also has a lot of mica it will probably turn out okay. But it won't have as much payoff as one with fewer oxides.

Q. How much eyeshadow do I need per pan?

A. If you're using a standard 26mm pan then you'll need roughly 1/2 tsp. Eyeshadows vary in density so some will need a little more and others will need a little less. But 1/2 tsp usually fills the pan at least 1/2 - 3/4 of the way.

Q. Can I fill the pans all the way?

A. Yes, but not all at once. You want to do it in at least 2 layers. Otherwise you might press the top very hard but the bottom will still have pockets of rubbing alcohol that eventually evaporate and create a fluffy base that can crumble. If your goal is to fill the pans I recommend using a pressing tile or quarter instead of a tamper for the second half since it will be less likely to slip and gouge your eyeshadow.

Q. I've got a bunch of pressed eyeshadows, now what?

A. You can re-use an old palette, buy a new one online, or stick them on a magnet board. Another Soul sells some really pretty palettes on Etsy, or you can buy blank palettes or pods at TKBTrading or Coastal Scents.

And if you're feeling extra crafty you can even decoupage your own palette using my tutorial

If you have any other questions post them in the comments and I'll try to answer them.

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