Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Eyeshadow Pressing Tutorial

Hi everyone!  If you didn't know already, I've been buying a lot of indie eyeshadow and almost all of them are in sample baggies.  I end up pressing all of them for ease of use and convenient storage.  The picture above shows some neutrals from Shiro Cosmetics that I've pressed.  I've been asked by several people how I get them so clean and professional-looking (thanks guys!) and that I should really post a tutorial.  Well, here it is!

What you need:

- Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol (at least 70%; the higher the percentage, the faster it dries)
- Fractionated Coconut Oil
- Tiny spoon (I'm using this little scoop/nail cleaner thing that came with a manicure set)
- Medicine dropper
- 26mm pan

Step 1:

Wipe your pan down with rubbing alcohol to sanitize it.  Then fill it with rubbing alcohol again halfway.

Step 2:

Using the tiny spoon, scoop in the eyeshadow from the baggie and pour it into the alcohol.  Do this slowly to avoid spillage.  Wait for the eyeshadow to soak up the alcohol and add more in.  If there's too much eyeshadow, just drop in a bit more alcohol and continue to add eyeshadow.

Step 3:

Once you can't scoop any more powder out of the baggie, zip the baggie shut.  Then rub it vigorously between your hands to get the eyeshadow loose from the sides.  Snip off a corner on the bottom and pour the remaining shadow into the pan.

Step 4:

Using the scoop again, mix the eyeshadow and alcohol together and get all the lumps out.

Step 5:

Use your medicine dropper and pick up some fractionated coconut oil with it.  Put in two drops of oil into your mixture.

Step 6:

Mix the oil in well.  After you're sure everything is mixed in thoroughly, pick up and drop the pan lightly against your table to pop any air bubbles.

Step 7:

Let your mixture sit to dry for at least an hour or two.

Step 8:

When your mixture is almost completely dry, wrap a patterned fabric around a quarter.  Press this fabric into the pans to soak up all the remaining alcohol.  You can also wrap a quarter in some tissue but patterned fabric gives it a much nicer finish.  I also find that the rough texture makes it easier for my eye brushes to pick up shadow.

Step 9:

There's your finished product!  Let it sit for another hour for it to completely dry.  Once it's dry, it's ready to use!

**The ratio of this recipe is 2 drops of fractionated coconut oil per 1/4 tsp of eyeshadow.**

Be wary of pressing shadows that contain ultramarine blue or ferric ferrocyanide!  I've pressed several shades containing ff, but they were low enough on the ingredient list that I felt safe with trying.  If you would like a list of shadows that didn't press well with either ingredients, let me know!

I hope this helps you guys out there!  Let me know if you have any questions or concerns, or if anything is unclear.  Show me how your pressed products come out :)

**UPDATE 2/9/15**
I can no longer recommend pressing eyeshadows using glycerin as a binder; eyeshadows pressed with glycerin tend to grow mold in humid climates.  Therefore, I have switched to using fractionated coconut oil (found and purchased on Amazon.com).  The tutorial is still the same, with a slight tweak in recipe.  I now use 2 drops of fractionated coconut oil for every 1/4th tsp of shadow and 1 drop for anything containing less (remember, it's always easier to add more later!).  Please feel free to comment or email me if anything is unclear. 

- Jolie ♥


  1. Fabulous tutorial! I've never pressed any of my loose eyeshadows (due to laziness), but your tutorial seems simple and do-able

    1. Thank you! I hope you try it out and show me the results ^_^

  2. Great job! I would love a list of ones that didn't press well. I have all the supplies but still a bit scared to do this. Thanks for the posting!

    1. Thank you! I actually have a few "for-sure-misses" and some are a bit more iffy because I pressed them when I didn't have a dropper yet so the glycerin was eyeballed. For the iffy ones, they might have turned out bad either because of the randomized glycerin, or because they actually don't press well. I'm planning on buying them and pressing them again (this time with the dropper, woot) and seeing once and for all how they do!

      - Shiro - Evolve (don't even attempt at pressing this, EVER)
      - Notoriously Morbid - The Doctor's Wife
      - Scaredy Cat - Kid You Not

      - Shiro - Rattata (I don't remember the new name but I think it's Team Rocket) and Hero of Ages. They seem to have more of a matte texture so that may have affected my pressing. After pressing, the color payoff was not very good and it was hard to pick up color. It can be rectified with a sticky base though.
      - Notoriously Morbid - Mystique (hard to pick up color), Morgana (workable, planning on trying this again), Lycan's Revenge (couldn't pick up color, have to try this again), Crimson Horror (couldn't pick up color, have to try it again).

      A lot of Notoriously Morbid shades contain ferric ferrocyanide (mostly the dark blues or dark reds/purples). FF seems to give shadows a stickier texture, especially with Morgana - the shadow itself goes on a beautiful almost sticky cerulean blue and then there are gorgeous violet shimmers making it an overall blurple shade. I feel that adding binder to an already sticky ingredient just makes the whole product stick together which is why it's hard to pick up color.

      I've actually pressed the other NM shades containing ff including I Am Afflicted and Cry Innocent and they came out fine. It's a bit of trial and error. If you have any shades you're interested in, feel free to ask me and I'll let you know if I've pressed it and how it came out :)

    2. Would you suggest leaving out the glycerine for shades that contain FF? Would that make them less sticky? I'm looking at some Shiro shades that have it, and I'm wondering if I should just avoid pressing them altogether, or if there is a special way to do it. Any tips?

    3. Personally, I haven't tried leaving out glycerin for anything, because glycerin binds the shadow. I just bought pipettes online to hopefully drop in less than one drop of glycerin for shadows that contain FF though. Which Shiro shades are you considering pressing? Maybe I can help :) The only shade I definitely do NOT recommend pressing from Shiro is Evolve - that produced disastrous results for others who have tried also.

    4. Well, I made a Shiro order with only shades that did not have FF, but there were a couple I would have liked to order, and would like to try next time:

      Are You Shear You Wanna Enchant That?
      Lingered in Twilight
      Skull Kid
      Elite Four

      I did a practice run using a sample I had from Dream World Hermetica that had FF in it, and it seemed to go okay! Do you think it's fine as long as the FF is at the end of the ingredient list?

    5. Yes, I think it's okay if FF is not the first 5-6 ingredients. However, I suggest you get another sample as a backup if you're really not sure. I do that with most shadows that contain FF (especially Notoriously Morbid ones). Are You Shear You Wanna Enchant That?, Lingered in Twilight, Skull Kid, and Elite Four pressed well for me. Good luck :)

  3. Great tutroial! What shadows are in the first pic (neutral palette)?

    1. Thank you! The neutral palette actually contains all Shiro Cosmetic shadows.

      Row 1: Cake!, Whiteout, Baker's Boy, Princess, Deku
      Row 2: Slave 23, Small Key, Roadbock, Can't Escape, A Regular Bears' Meeting
      Row 3: Housewife, Detective, King Under the Mountain, Star-Crossed, Badger

      Just a note, a few of these are getting discontinued so you can get them at a discounted price on their site right now. I believe Princess, Deku, and Small Key are going.

  4. Hi! Your tutorial is really helpful! I'll be sure to try next time. Can I ask you a question? I tried pressing the first time, not the same steps as you, because I tried putting couple shadows in a pan LOL And one part is really soft and crumbled up when I tried dipping my brush into it. Is there anyway to save it by dropping more alcohol into it and press it?
    I guess either I added a little more glycerin (I did it first, before adding alcohol, reading from another tutorial ) or probably I tried swatching the shadow only couple hours after I pressed it..... What's your method if you're pressing more than one loose shadow into the pan? Yours look so gorgeous!!!

    1. Thank you! I often have that problem when companies put more than 1/4 tsp in their baggies, but I tend to put 1 drop of glycerin anyway because less is more (you can always add more later, but cannot take away if you put too much).

      I haven't pressed more than one loose shadow into a pan, but if yours are turning out too soft, dropping more alcohol won't help because alcohol is only there for you to mix easier. Whenever my shadows turn out a bit softer, I put some rubbing alcohol and a drop of glycerin into a spray bottle. I shake up the bottle to mix it up and spritz the mixture on top of the crumbly shadow. I then wait for the mixture to seep in and then re-press it and wait for it to dry. If the shadow is still crumbly after that, I repeat the process until it's better. Like I said, it's better to put in less glycerin than more, too much glycerin will make your product hard and you won't have good color pay-off. I hope this helps, thanks again for stopping by :)

  5. Hi, it's me again! That was fast! I already dripped couple alcohol drops and re-pressed it, but I will use the method you suggested it that doesn't work. The thing is I probably didn't put too much glycerin since that particular pressed shadow is pretty soft. I even pressed 1/8 tsp loose eyeshadows, haha. Ditto on less is better than more. Oh the trials and errors, but pressing is fun!

    I have always been a lurker on your blog, reading your posts. As I was re-reading my post, I realized that I forgot my courtesy, oops. Thank you so much for helping me out! :)

    1. Yes, I would suggest putting glycerin in a little at a time. Sometimes companies will give a little more than they state in their samples to make sure they meet the minimum. There are certain shadows that I've had to spritz and press a few times already but I would rather do that than recrumble and putting in another full drop of glycerin. I've ruined a few beautiful shadows with too much glycerin :( And I agree, pressing is definitely fun! It's a pretty fun process and I love admiring the result.

      You didn't seem rude to me at all, so no worries! Thank you for reading my blog every now and then, it means a lot to me :) Let me know if you have any other questions and I'll be glad to help!

  6. Thanks for this tutorial; I'm planning to try it very soon! Does it matter if the eyeshadows sit for longer than an hour or two before pressing with the fabric and quarter? What if I let it sit for more like 5 hours before pressing? Does that matter?

    1. It doesn't matter how long you wait for the eyeshadow to dry, as long as it's dry enough for you to press with fabric and quarter :) I tend to wait longer than usual just to make sure it's dry enough, because I have pressed it while it was still wet and had it spill out the sides. If you let it sit out for longer and it dries completely, then I would advise you to put rubbing alcohol into a spray bottle, spritz the top of the shadow slightly, and it will be wet enough for you to press it with a pattern. I hope this helps, thanks for stopping by!

  7. Ah, disregard my earlier comment. Thank you for this!

    1. No problem! It's actually come to my attention that glycerin may cause mold in humid areas. Fractionated coconut oil and jojoba oil have been recommended as good replacements. Fortunately, I didn't experience any mold, but if that's an issue that concerns you, then I recommend pressing with the oils I mentioned above. I believe the only tweak in the recipe would be 2-3 drops of the oils instead of 1 drop of glycerin. Good luck!

  8. Hi there! A bit late, but I think I'm going to attempt this. I ordered some sample baggies from Shiro and their website says it's 1/8 tsp - will this be enough to fit the 26mm plates? Or do they tend to be a little more? I really hope it'll work. Thanks for making this!

    1. Honestly, I haven't pressed any of Shiro's samples after they changed their sample sizes. However, I know some people have definitely said they're still generous and it's between 1/8th to 1/4th teaspoon. You just have to make your own judgments based on how much you think it looks like.

      Bear in mind that certain colors tend to have more than others! Also, (I will be updating this post as well) I can't recommend pressing with glycerin anymore as it's known to grow mold, I have started pressing with fractionated coconut oil instead and use two drops per 1/4th tsp of shadow.

      Hope this helps and good luck!

  9. Hi! I want to press some loose shadows from Kiss My Sass Cosmetics but I'm not sure if they will work. Have you tried pressing any of their products? If so, which ones work best? Thanks:-)

    1. I've never bought anything from Kiss My Sass, sorry! I would try shimmery non red, purple, and blue shades. My rule of thumb is, if they contain ultramarine blue and/or ferric ferrocyanide, then press with caution. Best of luck to you and let me know the results!

  10. Hi! Do you think that pressing eyeshadows in Z Palette mini round pans would be a good idea if I've never done it before? I have some not-so-full samples I'd like to press for ease of use but I'm worried I'll mess it up!

    1. You've got to start somewhere, right? You can definitely try pressing those as long as you know how much eyeshadow are in the samples. If you're not sure, don't put in too much binder. Remember, you can always add more binder, but once you add too much, you can never take it out!