Everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY, has dropped or smashed a pressed powder. You have that moment after you drop it, where you think just maybe it survived the fall. And until you flip it over, you let yourself believe it is still intact. Then comes the moment of truth. You open the case, and your beloved product is in pieces. Sometimes even shattered to itty bitty little clumps.
So, what now? You can throw it away, and just say gooodbye to that favorite shade. You can try to keep using it, but really you just end up pushing the broken remains around with your brush. The third option, however, is one that many may not be familiar with. FIX IT! This is not the end for your little shadow, it can be made whole again!
I recently dropped my custom Ben Nye Pressed Eyeshadow Palette, and was devastated to find that a few shades had broken. This included my personal favorite, Eggplant. I stowed it away, not willing to part with it and planning to repair it in the future. One boring Saturday night rolled around, and I found it to be the perfect opportunity for a step by step tutorial.
The steps below follow the images left to right:
Step 1.) Using my metal spatula, I crushed all of the remaining larger pieces into as fine of a powder as I could get it. You may feel like a bit of a coke fiend, but you want to be sure you break up all of the chunks.
Step 2.) Once you are satisfied with the evenly powdered texture, you want to add just a hint of 99% alcohol. You want just enough to saturate all of the powder, which you will then mix into a paste.
Step 3.) As the alcohol evaporates, you want to keep mixing the shadow. Make sure that all of the pigment separation has been remixed, and that your texture is becoming more even.
Step 4.) Once it is almost dry, there are two different ways you can smooth it down. If you have something flat and round that fits snugly into your pan, you can use it as a press. Place it inside the pan and push down to get it to a nice level surface. In this instance, I did not have a press. I used my spatula much like you would when frosting a cake. Spinning the pan around as I went, I used the side of the spatula to smooth down any ridges. I went over it a few times until the shadow was pretty much completely dry.
Voila! Your shadow is now in one piece!
Some artists believe that the alcohol will ruin the shadow, and that you can't get the same texture as it originally had. I both agree and disagree. When eyeshadows are originally pressed, they are not done so with any moisture. It is simply the pressure compacting all of the powder into an almost solid piece. So adding alcohol to it, though it does evaporate, does change the texture of the shadow. However I don't believe it is ruined, and find that it is still quite useable. This method is tried and true for many artists in the industry, and is widely accepted as the best way to salvage damaged product.
I recommend giving this a whirl the next time you accidentally knock your shadow off the bathroom counter. It is definitely a great skill to have, it saves money and is a life saver for those hard to find shades that you're so addicted to!