I consider myself a fairly low-maintenance gal when it comes to makeup. I keep my makeup choices muted or neutral, usually opting for an enhanced, polished fresh face with the occasional smokey eye thrown in for a night out. Over the years, I’ve amassed a small collection of makeup palettes because they are a no-brainer way to pair complementary colors and also great to travel with. The downside is that I’ve eschewed buying single shadows, and when it comes time to get ready at home, I become overwhelmed by the choices and fall back to the same palette.
I have only recently heard of depotting makeup and thought it might be a great option for me to be able to see at a glance most of the shadows I own. I’m also on a de-cluttering kick and the thought of getting rid of all those sized palettes was so appealing. After a ton of research and some failed DIY, I’m sharing my tips and tricks below.
* You will need: A box cutter (I tried using a small kitchen knife, and after breaking the tip of my J. Henckels paring knife, decided a box cutter was a better choice), rubbing alcohol, a dropper (last used to administer oral meds to the pup), empty palettes, patience.
* Deciding what to depot: I wish I had taken some before pics of all my palettes. I had a few Clinique palettes (acquired during Clinique bonus time), two Laura Mercier palettes, a Benefit palette, a Bobbi Brown palette, and a Nars palette. The only one I hesitated to depot was my Nars 15th anniversary Love palette, but ended up doing so towards the end of my depotting frenzy. I did NOT depot my Urban Decay Naked palette or Laura Mercier Master Toolbox, because I preferred to keep those colors together.
* Doing the deed: There are countless Youtube videos explaining how to depot MAC shadows, but curiously, I found few on Nars and none on any other makeup brands. So I basically figured it out on my own. Several sources will tell you to use some heat source (like a flat iron, hairdryer, or oven) in order to melt the glue holding the pans to the plastic palette portions. Frankly, the thought of breathing in plastic fumes terrified me, so I opted for the alcohol route. No, that doesn’t involve enjoying a cocktail while making a night of depotting (although this may have occurred at some point over this two-weekend project). First, I used the blade of a box cutter to see if the pan would easily pop out on its own (a few did, since they had very little glue attached). If the pan did not easily come out, I used the dropper to drop rubbing alcohol around the perimeter of each pan. After a few minutes and using the box cutter, I carefully wedged the blade between the pan and pot (there is usually an open space on one side or corner that you can get into) and used leverage to slowly pop it out. In most cases, this worked well, and I was able to remove leftover glue by generously placing a few drops of alcohol on the underside of each pan, and scraping off the leftover glue after a few minutes. A few of my shadows cracked even after removing them gently, so I followed this general repair tutorial and it seemed to work well. Laura Mercier palettes were the easiest to depot. Nars was a bit more difficult, and Clinique and Benefit was the most difficult (they use a TON of glue and a few of my pans got bent or cracked upon removal).
* Organizing your pans: Once I had depotted most of the makeup from the palettes, I had to organize the pans. I turned to Z Palettes for a few relatively cheap empty palettes. The bottom of each palette is magnetized, and most metal makeup pans will automatically stick. I still need to purchase some magnet paper for the few pant that did not stick at all. I ordered my empty palettes from beauty.com with a discount code, and through double cashback on ebates. I’m pretty happy with them so far…love that you can see through the clear top and although they are cardboard, the construction is sturdy and the size is great.
* Travel: I had originally wanted to retain my empty Nars palette as a travel option to house my pots, going so far as to buy magnet paint for the interior. Alas, none of my pots will stick to the bottom, and I am stuck with a full jar of magnet paint! I am hoping that some magnet paper will fix this, but if not, I plan to buy a Unii Palette for travel. I did buy a small size Z Palette for weekend trips, which you see in the picture collage…you can also see a sample of what I might take with me on a weekend trip (Nars Powder Foundation, Laura Mercier blush, Clinique shadows, Bobbi Brown lipstick). For the bigger Unii palette, I would probably store a few travel-sized Laura Mercier brushes right inside the palette.
I consolidated my depotted pans in 3 large-sized Z palettes. In the pic collage, you can see that the top left palette contains my neutral shadows (browns & greys), the top right palette contains my pink and purplish shadows and lip products, and the bottom palette contains my blushes, bronzers, and Nars powder foundation. This arrangement has already simplified my makeup application, and I know it will be perfect for travel!