Pressing Eyeshadows - Tips and Tricks
It's a sure sign of Spring! As soon as the weather gets milder (and days get longer), pigments are mixed, binder is prepared and I get giddy about making colored make-up.
Above is my latest pressed eyeshadow palette. For this batch, I've tried out a new base powder and have tweaked my binder formula.
Here's how this collection of pressed eye shadows came to be, along with a few of my best powder-pressing tips and tricks.
Tools of The Trade
- Measuring spoons or weight (the measuring spoons below are made for color make-up and from Aroma Zone in France - check the sidebar for links)
- latex gloves
- pans and holder (I am re-using a cool elf container and pans – a gift from the lovely LiisK. The little pans stay put in the container with magnets)
- metal and/or silicon press (in a shape and size that fits into the eyeshadow pan)
- small glass bowls
- waxed paper
- a stiff but pliable plastic spatula
- small tea strainer
- binder (recipe below)
- vice (if you want to get serious about pressing eyeshadow, you will need to invest in some type of pressing tool or you will have the sorest fingers and thumbs on the planet)
Tip: Use dedicated tools for your make-up and keep them separate from your regular kitchen/food tools. I keep all of my make-up tools collected in a plastic storage box
Mix Base Powder with ColorDepending on the base powder mix and color density you prefer, the ratio of base powder to color can be anywhere between 10/90 to 50/50.
This year, I tried out a new Serecite mica powder as my base. Using anywhere from 10% - 100% serecite mica is ok (it can also be used alone as a mattifying face powder).
The pigments and base powder are sifted together thoroughly until the color is even.
What does base powder do?Base powder ensures your color make-up (foundation powder, blush, eyeshadow) is easy to spread/apply and stays where it is applied. Also, it can add a silky, lovely feel to your product.
A base powder can be a single ingredient (like serecite mica) or a mix of several powders such as talc, cornstarch, silica, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, magnesium stearate, kaolin and more – all depending on your desired opacity, function, and effect.
My binder this year is a mixture of 60% fractionated coconut oil with 39% jojoba and 1% vitamin E. This is put into a small spray bottle and kept refrigerated when not in use. I mix binder once a year, and discard any binder older than a year.
Tip: Make binder in small amounts (less than 30 ml) and put a label on the bottle with the ingredients and production date. You may think you're going to remember everything, but trust me, you really won't.
Work Binder into Color MixtureSpray the binder directly onto the waxed paper you will be working on – then add the color mixture.
Work color and binder together with the spatula. Go slowly and work as if you are buttering a piece of bread. This will incorporate the binder into the powder evenly.
Tip: A little binder goes a long way. Take your time when working in the binder and your eyeshadows will not only press evenly, but they'll feel smooth as silk going on.
Test the mixture occasionally while working in the binder by pressing down on it with the spatula.
When the mixture looks even and starts to stick together when you press down on it, it's ready for pressing.
PressMy tried and true best tip for pressing eyeshadow is to build up in layers. If you are patient and press many thin layers, your eyeshadow will pass the all-important drop test with flying colors and reward you by staying in the pan.
My Pressing Method
- Cover bottom of pan with thin layer of color mixture
- Distribute color mixture evenly with cotton swab
- Place a small piece of waxed paper over the pan and press lightly with thumb/finger
- Now place press (metal coin and/or silicone pad) over waxed paper and press harder
- Repeat, building up layers until the pan is half full, then press in vice.
- Repeat until the pan is full, and press in vice again.
Above: see how the silicone pad has an indent from being sandwiched between the vice and metal press? That kind of pressure just can't be achieved by hand. That indent was made by my trusty vice (available at regular hardware stores around the world).
The Drop TestHere's a vine (6-second video) I did of the drop test. It doesn't have to be from a great height, but if your eyeshadow can pass a simple drop test without crumbling and coming out of the pan, then it's not only sufficiently pressed, but also has the correct amount of binder.
Do TellDo you do your own pressed eyeshadows? Which base powders are your favorites? How about binders? Which tools do you use to press?
More Make-upHow I mixed the pigments for this eyeshadow palette
Pressed eyeshadow (series of short videos)
Why patience is a virtue when mixing colors for make-up
How my pressing tool kit was made