...and realized I still had twenty pans to go. Then I got real, said "Forget that!" and came up with this easy, no-crush, no-mess method for saving my damaged eyeshadows.
The best part of this method is you only need one "special" tool: a new eye dropper (available at drugstores).
A few other needed items you probably already have:
Isopropyl alcohol: Some tutorials say 99 percent is best, but I already had rubbing alcohol in the house, and it worked just fine. If you want to use 99% isopropyl alcohol, it's available at professional beauty supply shops and some drugstores. It's highly flammable, so you'll probably have to ask the druggist for it and may have to answer a question or two so they know you're not running a meth lab or something.
A piece of baking parchment or waxed paper, for parking your shadows on to dry
Paper towels or paper napkins
Optional for pressing round eyeshadows: A quarter or nickel, which you’ve wiped off with alcohol and set aside to dry
Now choose a firm surface in a well-ventilated area. Alcohol is extremely flammable, and there are fumes. You’ll be parking your finished eyeshadows here to dry for 24 to 48 hours, so be sure your surface is well away from cats, kids, dogs, birds, fish, ferrets, fish, errant raccoons…I used the back corner of a kitchen counter next to an open window, at the opposite end of the kitchen from the stove and water heater.
I recommend starting with your least favorite colors so you have the hang of it by the time you get to your favorites.
Have everything ready? Here we go:
Wash and dry your hands thoroughly. Set the damaged shadow, still in its pan, on a piece of parchment or waxed paper. If the eyeshadow broke into crumbles, use the straight edge of a small piece of paper to shovel the crumbles back into their pan.
1. Using the eye dropper, dribble alcohol evenly over the eyeshadow until it’s saturated but not flooded.
2. Tear off and fold a piece of paper towel or paper napkin large enough that when folded into a two- ply thickness, it’s slightly larger than the eyeshadow. Fold and place this two-ply thickness atop your alcohol-saturated eyeshadow.
3. Through the paper towel, use your fingers and thumb to press the saturated eyeshadow evenly into the pan, like you’re pressing dough into a pan.
If you’ve used the right amount of alcohol, it feels exactly like smooth, stiff dough. If it feels lumpy or doesn't feel the eyeshadow is pressing together, remove the paper towel and dribble more alcohol over the eyeshadow, then press again with another piece of paper towel. If you’ve used too much alcohol, no worries. The paper towel will absorb it.
Optional: If you have a round eyeshadow, you can create a more finished look by placing a quarter or nickel (whichever fits best) over the napkin, and pressing on the quarter. (I didn't bother with this after the first one.)
That’s it! Carefully peel off the napkin, clean up any “overflow” edges, and set the little eyeshadow pan on parchment or waxed paper to dry for 24 to 48 hours.If you have more shadows to do, wash your hands between colors. Your fingers will get stained, and you don’t want to transfer the pigments to other colors.
Dispose of any alcohol-soaked paper towels sealed in a large ziplock bag full of water, so it can't spontaneously ignite in the trash. Store your bottle of alcohol in a cool, dry place away from sunlight, heat sources, or flame sources such as pilot lights, stoves, or water heaters.
Depending on the eyeshadow formula, some of your repaired eyeshadows may not look as smooth and pretty as with the “crush ‘em up and mix” method. But this quick method took less than half the time of the traditional crush, mix, and crush method--and it was a lot less messy.
Using this method, I barreled through the whole batch in less than an hour. In fact it was so fast to do, and I got on such a roll, I forgot to take photos of the process. But you get the idea.
If you de-pot, please recycle your plastic packaging through Terracycle's Personal Care and Beauty Product Brigade, which turns typically unrecyclable cosmetics packaging such as lipstick tubes, mascara tubes, and plastic makeup compacts into things like park benches and trash bins for parks. We do! (Don't let the 12-pound minimum frighten you: it's easy to gather that much if you get your friends and co-workers involved, but smaller quantities still ship free if you're not collecting points for charity.)
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