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Breaking Down Beauty: Fixing Broken Powder Cosmetics


By Sheila Arkee

So, you have a favorite eyeshadow, pressed powder, or blush you absolutely cannot live without. Life happens, and sometimes before you even realize it, you find yourself the owner of your favorite product, smashed into 5 million little pieces.

When your powder cosmetics are broken into 5 million pieces, you can always put them in a small container and use as a loose shadow, but you DO have the option of fixing the products so it’s almost as good as new.

It’s easy! I mean it! You’ll thank me!

The only extra product you’ll need is Rubbing Alcohol that you can get from any old drugstore.

Here is a lovely L’Oreal H.I.P. #319 eyeshadow that was sadly broken upon arrival.

Step 1: Dump the shadow into a small bowl. You can use an extra makeup brush to get the original container clean.

Step 2: Use the back of  a brush to crush the shadow into a fine powder.

Step 3: I used the cap to my rubbing alcohol as a measurement and poured it into the container with the shadow. Make sure to mix well until you end up with a paste! Start off by slowly adding the alcohol, to make sure you don’t make the mixture too watery. In the case that happens, it’s all good – it will just take a bit longer for the shadow to dry down.

I used a wooden stirrer that I had lying around, but you can use a spoon or anything you want.

My assistant insisted on helping out.

Step 4: You’ll have a paste that you will mold into the original shadow container. Try to make it as even as possible! You will be able to make little adjustments later!

Step 5: Place the shadow where it will not be bothered for the next few hours. In my case it’s where a certain assistant can’t reach my makeup brushes, either!  

Step 6: Time goes by ….. and after a couple of hours you can see the powder coming together. You can use a piece of fabric (or in my case a paper towel), tohelp mold the shadow and also give it a nice finish. Afterwards, leave it alone for several hours.

Step 7: All set! When all is said and done, it took around 8 hours or so to complete! Not bad!

Product provided by PR for consideration.
  • KPH

    Could we use some other alcohol like vodka for this if we don’t have rubbing alcohol?? Sorry, this is a really stupid question but I’m desperate!

  • Sheila – Painted Ladies

    It could possibly work, but I wouldn’t recommend the risk. Proceed with caution!

  • Karen Elizabeth

    Is rubbing alcohol safe to use on your face daily in makeup? Sorry, I don’t know these things, but I just want to make sure that what I’m putting on my face is okay!

  • Sheila – Painted Ladies

    It’s a small amount so its ok. If you have sensitive skin you need to do a patch test on a small area of skin to make sure its ok.

  • Jessica

    i love these tips can I get them in email

  • kk

    If you let the powder dry completely then the alcohol will have all evaporated. i.e. it shouldn’t irritate your skin.

  • http://www.facebook.com/laurenojeamakeup lauren

    I have totally used vodka to do this, haha. Worked like a charm.

  • Annmarie

    could you just use water instead of alcohol? Would that affect the way the powder dries? Just curious…not too keen on putting alcohol on my eyes/face…even though its just a little bit.

  • melody

    Well the alcohol will evaporate to nothing that is why she said use it and not water. I tried this and it worked great. They already have tons of chemicals in them to begin with propolen glycol for one is already in there to begin with.

  • Faye

    What about fixing a dried and cracked cream shadow??

  • Princess

    Can you do this with foundation as well?

  • White Rabbit

    This is also perfect for customizing compacts! I want to break some of my own to do this with. X3

  • http://pintrest.com denise hughes

    i love the idea have to try soon!!

    thanks for the tip!

  • http://www.aplace.com Bob Dobolina

    To the person asking if its ok to use rubbing alcohol or any type of alcohol– Alcohol evaporates over time. That process allows this to work. It wont hurt you. Other types of alcohol are less pure, but they still evaporate.

  • Sara

    it is alcohol…it evaporates.

  • http://Stumbleupon Char

    Can you use this just with eyeshadow or maybe powder cover up?

  • http://Stumbleupon Char

    Can you use this tip only with podwer eyeshadow or could you use it with powder coverup ?

  • http://Stumbleupon Char

    Or could you do it with foundation?

  • Sheila – Painted Ladies

    Yes, it works with other powder products, too. :)

  • Geri

    So if I decide I don’t like those loose mineral eye shadows for example, that you see so often advertised, I could make it into more of a solid with some rubbing alcohol? Loose eyeshadow always goes all over the counter, drives me nuts…but love the shades.

  • http://www.quirkyquail.blogspot.com vikki

    Genius, I am definately going to try this.

  • Jadie

    Does it have to be alcohol? Or can I peroxide? Just curious. I have hydrogen peroxide in the old medicine cabinet but I’m all out of rubbing alcohol. I can get some but thought I would ask just in case. Thanks for the tip! I found this post via Pinterest and now I’m a little smitten by your blog!!!

  • Sheila – Painted Ladies

    Thank you so much! :) I wouldnt recommend hydrogen peroxide – alcohol works best.

  • Plaigh

    AWESOME IDEA! I read that a lot of people are asking if something other than alcohol will work & my guess is NO because I can’t think of anything right off hand that will evaporate as quickly as alcohol. Peroxide doesn’t evaporate/dry quickly & you might risk ruining your makeup entirely because it foams up.

  • Amy

    I am a make up artist and this idea is by far the best! The alcohol will not effect or dry out your skin. Once it dries and is powder the liquid , which is rubbing alcohol has evaporated and is not in the product as an active ingredient. I wouldn’t worry . Estheticians sanitize everything from brushes to sponges to bowls with no less than 70% rubbing alcohol. I spray it on my make up after clients to sanitize it. Directly on the shadow , blush , lip eye pencil it dries almost instantly and doesn’t alter the make up at all!!

  • shayla

    Can i use water or hydro peroxide please help?!?! sorry if i spelt it wrong. :]

  • http://www.painted-ladies.com Sheila – Painted Ladies

    Shayla – no, unfortunately those don’t bind the powder effectively.

  • Erica

    Shayla, hydrogen peroxide will turn to water when exposed to air. Water is a big no-no because it makes a great environment for germs to multiply.

  • Tiff

    So glad I found this! My daughter broke my compact the other day and it’s currently in a plastic baggy so I can still use it lol. I’m so trying this as soon as she’s Down for her nap!

  • angie

    Freaking brilliant… I am forever in your debt for this trick.. I am going to use it to customize my pressed powder color as well a repair dozens of broken shadows I’ve been collecting and mourning for God knows how long… I am so happy my shadows are not dead…”muahahahahahaa(evil laugh) THEY LIVE” sorry about the dramatics I’m just so flipping excited. Thanks

  • http://bzaleel.com Bzaleel

    Remarkable, going to try it asap.. Thank you for sharing

  • http://beezbuzz.moonfruit.com Becky

    Faye:
    If you have a cream product that dried up chances are it’s just the top so use the back of the brush “crush” and mix thoroughly! This worked like a charm on my mac paint pot!

  • http://www.bestantiwrinklecremereviews.com/ Elaine Edwards

    I tried this method and it is really effective. Great post mate!

  • http://www.neversaydiebeauty.com Allison@neversaydiebeauty

    Wow, wish I had seen this post before I threw away a mattifying powder that got crushed in my suitcase. Sharing this!! Thank you

  • marilyn d.

    i would not use vodka for this–it has a potato content. vodka is fine for diluting scent and essential oils, because it only goes on the skin. but in makeup, the starch, even though it’s a small amount, would be a medium for bacterial growth, something we try to avoid in our makeup. stick with rubbing alcohol. it’s simple, basic, and will evaporate completely. and it’s cheaper than vodka!