About a month or so ago, Winnie of all styled up sent me a bunch of samples of MAC pigments. I hadn't tried MAC pigments before so it was new and exciting. All of the colors that she sent are so pretty but the one that I fell in love with was Violet. In fact, I loved it so much that I ended up at the MAC store and picked up a full jar of it. I had heard that you can press pigments into pans which makes it much more portable and less messy to use. Thanks to Google and YouTube, I searched around, read up and watched different tutorials and decided to take the plunge as it seemed simple enough.
First step products used:
First step was deciding what I wanted to press it into. I didn't have any empty MAC pans and I wanted to press it into something smaller than a MAC pan since this was my first time doing it. I didn't want it not coming out right and feeling like I wasted a whole bunch of pigment. I decided to depot a tin from an old eyeshadow palette that I haven't used at all (it's at least 5 years old). Again, having read up on all of the depotting methods, it seems that the heat method is the best but I think that it's pretty scary using a candle or any form of fire. I came up with the idea of using my embossing heat gun instead. This is a craft item that is used to melt embossing powder when you're doing rubberstamping projects. (You rubberstampers out there will know what this is.) Similar to a hair dryer but it blows air concentrated onto a smaller area and it's very hot air. As I used the heat gun on the back of the palette, you could see the plastic starting to warp. That's when I stopped and used the cuticle nail scissors to lift out the pan. I used alcohol to clean off any residue glue on the back of the pan, broke up the unwanted eyeshadow and cleaned the inside of the pan to remove any traces of the old eyeshadow. Using the 70% alcohol, I pour some into the plastic container and throw the pan into the alcohol to sanitize it. I also use an old, clean, t-shirt which I have cut up into a small section and I spritz that with alcohol as well to sanitize it. Pictured is a Coffret D'or (I think) lipstick which closely fits the size of the pan. Normally with MAC pans, you would use a quarter to press it.
There is a pretty, raised design on the cover which does imprint into the pressed pigment. I also sanitize this cover with alcohol.
Next step products:
I also sanitize everything that I use in this step with alcohol. I really feel you can't sanitize too much since you are making something that will be used on your delicate eyes. Here I have a blue shop towel (it's basically a paper towel but it doesn't shred or break apart, a small plastic cup, 90% alcohol, wooden craft picks, pipettes and my MAC pigment. I forgot to take a picture of the cotton pads that I use. I didn't use cotton balls because I didn't want wisps of cotton to be left on anything that I used and then get pressed into the pan as well. I used the cotton pads, which were soaked with alcohol, to clean the inside of the cup, the outsides of the pipettes and wooden picks.
Basically working over the shop towel, I poured some pigment into the cup, using the pipette I drop 90% alcohol into the cup and mix it using the wooden pick. In this step I used 90% alcohol instead of 70% because it makes your drying time a lot quicker. 70% alcohol can be used instead of 90%. You want to try to get the consistency of the pigment/alcohol mixture to be almost a very slightly runny pudding consistency. Just keep on adding drops of alcohol until you get the desired consistency. If it's on the more liquidy side, that's okay, it'll just take longer to dry. Fill your prepared pan with the pigment. On a hard surface, you'll want to tap your pan to even out the mixture as this will also remove any air bubbles. Set your pan aside for approximately 45 minutes to an hour (or longer) depending on how wet your mixture is. Test your pigment by gently rubbing your finger over it. If it's powdery, then it is ready for pressing. If it still is damp, then you'll need to let it dry longer.
To press, I pulled the cap off of the lipstick and tightly wrapped the t-shirt piece over it, making sure that it was smooth on the bottom surface where it will be placed on the pan. With the pan on a hard, flat surface, I place the cover over the center of the pan and pressed down firmly several times.
Sorry, you can't see the design of the cover in this picture because I already used it. I forgot to take a picture of the final product before using it. I then set it aside over night. The next day I cut a piece of magnet tape and applied it to the bottom of the pan along with a sticker with the name of the pigment.
I was really happy with this first attempt being successful. I found that by pressing the pigment, I didn't lose any color intensity. My MAC pigment is now travel friendly and I find that I actually use it more than trying to remember to use my pigments.
Another travel-friendly hint for pigments if you don't want to press it is to use contact lens cases. I use it for storing my cream concealer, cream foundation and have put Barry M pigments into it. In fact for my cream concealer, I actuallly use a lighter color for under my eyes and a darker one to conceal my spots. I put the lighter color in the "L" compartment, which then makes it correspond to "light". When Winnie sent me the different MAC pigment samples, she also sent it in contact lens cases, which you can see in my post here. I don't wear contacts so I buy lens cases at the drug store.
Next I want to try to learn how to press Barry M pigments as I have a couple of them. There is a different procedure for doing it and it seems like it might be a bit more complicated.
Since I'm also a crafter, I think that it was easier for me to utilize some of my crafting supplies into doing this pressing project. As I had mentioned, the heat gun is used mainly in rubberstamping and I have a ton of pipettes because I was doing a lot of melt and pour soaps before. If anyone is interested in purchasing pipettes, please let me know. I was going to put it up into our Galpal shop but haven't done so yet. Of course, you don't need to use a pipette for the alcohol, but since I'm used to using pipettes, it's what I find easiest and most sanitary.
I hope that this was helpful for anyone else who has been wanting to try to press MAC pigments but hasn't tried it yet.