Adventures in Pressing: FAQs and Updates

First off, I updated my pressing tutorial to use a little less alcohol during the pressing process. I didn't want any strange reactions between the alcohol and the coating of the tins to happen during the process so that prompted the change.

Secondly, I wanted to write an update on pressing matte eyeshadows. I'd been having inconsistencies with pressing my mattes with sparkle and my homemixed matte eyeshadows so I've been doing a lot of retesting. It turns out that matte or matte with sparkle eyeshadows that are mica based will perform well when pressed and have good payoff BUT ultramarine, iron oxide, or colorant based (any of these powders in this category) eyeshadows don't turn out consistently well with good payoff.

I did test batches with my Aromaleigh Pure Eyes Mattes which are seracite mica based along with Sugarpill's Paperdoll (which is ultramarine based). Paperdoll turned out hard with little to no payoff. My Aromaleigh Pure Eyes Mattes turned out perfectly, firm with good payoff.

So the moral of the story is to check the ingredients list of the eyeshadow you want to press! If it's mica based, it'll most likely turn out fine but if it is ultramarine, oxide, or colorant based, keep it loose! I LOVE Royal Sugar as an eyeshadow and since it's better loose, I'm keeping it loose.

I've had a lot of questions asked about pressing your own eyeshadows so here are some answers!

Q: Do all loose eyeshadows need a binder like the Press-It Binder to stay pressed?

A: Some loose products like MAC Pigments don't need a binder to stay pressed (only alcohol) because they already have binder mixed in the eyeshadows. I will caution you though that I have heard that the MAC Metal pigments will not press right with alcohol. Indie mineral eyeshadows will need the Press-It Binder.

Q: My eyeshadows are turning out really soft. What should I do?

A: Crumble it up again, add another drop of Press-It Binder, and repress! It should turn out a little stiffer afterward.

Q: Pressing... How many times do I need to press? I see some people only press once and let it dry, and other people press every 30 min.. are there any differences in results?

A: It depends on how much you're pressing and the pan size. If it's a particularly large pan and you don't have that much product (say 1/4-1/2 tsp in the square 26mm pans), the eyeshadow doesn't fill up much of the pan so doing multiple layers isn't necessary.

Q: Round pans vs square/rectangular pans? Which do you prefer?

A: Despite the fact that it's more economical to use square/rectangular pans, I actually like pressing round pans more. You have to deal with corners with square/rectangular pans and sometimes it can be difficult to fill the corners evenly. You don't have to worry about corners when using the round pans so I do think you can get a more even press with the round pans. 

Q: Is 70% alcohol ok? I can't find 91% here. Are there any differences between using the two?

A: I've been using 70% and haven't had any problems. Using 91% will mean that you'll have to work faster when mixing the eyeshadow+binder+alcohol mixture but it also means less wait time for the alcohol to evaporate out. Using 70% just means you have to ensure that after you clean your tools and pans, it has to dry before you use it.

Q: Can you press any kind of loose powder? (blush, hd powder!?)

A. Luckily I was able to find some silica spheres and YES you can press them! I imagine you can do shimmery blushes the way you do shimmery eyeshadows but matte blushes may react to the process the same way to matte eyeshadows do. For silica spheres, use 3 drops of binder for every 1/4 tsp of powder.

Q: Do you recommend using tin pans? Do they really rust that easily?

A: I use tin pans because they're magnetic and the only ones sold by TKB Trading. I don't know if they rust easily BUT you can prevent rusting by ensuring that your pans are fully dry after you clean them with rubbing alcohol.

Q: How can I prevent rusting occurring in my eyeshadows?

A: Use aluminum pans. Although aluminum pans are not magnetic by nature, you can add a magnetic sticker to the back to ensure it magnetizes to your storage container of choice. Currently I know that The Conservatorie stocks aluminum pans, I am unsure of other companies. 

Q: Does pressing a glittery or sparkly loose eyeshadow prevent less fallout from happening?

A: It depends. Sparkle dense eyeshadows like Goldilux often fare better loose because the distribution between the eyeshadow base and the sparkle is better when loose. Glitter eyeshadows seem to have the same fallout loose or pressed, I haven't seen it exacerbated by the pressing process.

If you're seeking a glitter fixative or foiling medium, I recommend either Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy or Darling Girl Glitter Glue. If you're the type of person that prefers to use loose matte eyeshadows, I'd get Glitter Glue over Pixie Epoxy but both work excellently with shimmery or sparkly eyeshadows (You can see my comparison post between the two here)

Q: Can you put multiple colors into one pan?


When putting two colors in one pan, you'll want to have the mixture more of a doughy, clumpy sand consistency. When it's too dry, it's hard to spread around in the pan so having it like a paste makes it easier to spread. You can also cut a piece of rigid plastic to use as a separator between the one color as you're spreading in the next color.

The left color is Fyrinnae Gilded Wings and the right color is Fyrinnae Medieval Haunting


Q: You previously included glycerin in your pressing tutorial. Why do you not use it anymore?

A: There appears to be a problem with some (not all) eyeshadows pressed with glycerin, some are experiencing some spoiling/molding problems due to the glycerin's humectant quality (pulling water out of the air and creating an environment for nasties to grow). To prevent this, avoid using glycerin and use a binder such as fractionated coconut oil, jojoba oil, a pressing binder without glycerin, and/or include a preservative. In my tutorial, I recommended a preservative I happen to like.

Q: I've already made eyeshadows with glycerin, how can I best prevent any nasties from growing?

A: A kind reddit user (Immcatulate) suggested baking your eyeshadows to ensure that they stay without moisture and to try to kill or prevent anything from happening. You can set your eyeshadows on a tray lined with foil and bake at 300-350 degrees for 10 minutes. When sterilizing liquids such as milk, the ultra high temperature of 275+ for at least a few seconds is enough to sterilize it so I figure you can hedge your bet by having it bake for a few minutes.

If you have any questions, feel free to comment and I'll update the post with my answers or you can also email me! My email is


  1. Thank you for all your hard work and testing!

  2. I have had issues with TKB trading micas "doming" once they dry. And, after this happens, they almost completely crumble...any ideas on what might be hapenning? I'm using the MyMix Binder- not sure what ratios....I did try a couple last night adding the powder base to see if that would help (about a 1:4 range of base to mica) with 2 drops of binder, one drop of glycerin and alcohol to get the consistency right. This was with a Dash and Pinch measure with the Dash being the mica and the Pinch used for the base....

  3. Thanks for posting this really informative blog on pressing cosmetics haha. I was thinking of attempting to press some broken (already pressed) highlights and shadows into one medium sized pan/palette or a few smaller pans in a palette. They are soft, light and pigmented in formula already (makeup geek and jouer highlights and some foiled makeup geek and Jeffree star shadows). So I'm worried about them drying out or going hard and lacking pigment once I press them. Would this be likely to occur and can I skip heavy pressing or do anything else to prevent it from occuring?

    I have used other formula highlights like Becca pressed skin perfector, and these are much harder pressed unlike the ones I'm intending to use?

    Also can I mix formulas and shades to make a custom colour or no (due to different formulations)?

    I'm also assuming I do not need a binder or preservatives as these will probably already be present in the ready pressed shadows and highlights?

    Another question is can I do the same with cream products like Colourpop highlights or not?



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