Does that really work?

Anyone who carries their makeup around on a regular basis is likely to be familiar with the terrible realization that your favorite eye shadow, face powder, or other powder favorite has exploded.   I experienced this cocktail of emotions (ranging from annoyance to absolute gut-wrenching devastation) when I managed to drop and shatter an eye shadow single I am quite fond of. (The item in question is a Wet n Wild Color Icon eye shadow single in Kitten – I would have linked to it on their site, but this color is no longer available!)  This misfortune seemed like a great opportunity to test out the idea I’ve seen around the web that you can reconstitute a broken powder with a little alcohol and some patience.

I always love reading lists/articles full of helpful tips and things that supposedly provide quick fixes for problems that you might never have thought you’d experience. However, we all know that some of these are simply not truly quick, or truly helpful.  So I decided that since my whole goal in being here is to be helpful, that I should test tips and tricks, and let you all know how it goes.

Step 1: Assemble your materials.

I much prefer assembling all my tools/ingredients before I start a project. Generally you’ll be grateful if you did! Thankfully for this one, its not all that much:

the TOOLS!
Rubbing alcohol, toothpick, and several tissues.

I wound up pulling in another tool, but we’ll get to that. I would also note that there is a clear plastic cover on my table cloth which is VERY easy to clean, so if you do not have that, you might want to put down some paper towels or newspaper.

Step 2: Finish breaking it.

Might seem counter intuitive, but to properly rebuild the shadow, you need to make the powder as even as possible, since there were still some chunks of unbroken powder in the container, I used a toothpick to finish breaking it up:

shattered, i mean eye shadow.
shattered dreams…er, i mean eye shadow.

Obviously, on something like a face powder you might want a larger tool, but for this small eye shadow, the toothpick was fine.

Step 3: Mixing

For this step, you add several drops of alcohol, depending on how much powder you have, until it mixes evenly. I used the cap of the bottle to make sure I didn’t accidentally drown my shadow. I think I wound up using about 3 drops total to fully wet the powder. I used the toothpick to mix it up, and when it was fully incorporated, I started trying to smooth it back down into the pan.  At this point, I found the toothpick stopped being helpful, and I wound up grabbing a flat bottomed makeup brush to finish tamping down the product:

time to let your inner perfectionist shine-the smoother the better!
time to let your inner perfectionist shine-the smoother the better!

At this point, you see that it got kind of messy, but I was able to contain the mess without too much difficulty. Perhaps there is a better way to do this, but I never saw a particular tool recommended when I saw this tip online. Please leave a comment if you know an ideal tool for the job!

Step 4: The wait!

The next step is simply to allow the powder time to dry, which will likely vary depending on the size of the item being repaired.  But once it dried….


As you can see, it looks almost normal again! Of course, any design embossed in the powder will be long gone, but I was able to swatch it just like any other shadow, and apply it using an eyeshadow brush.   I would note that the shadow is now softer than it was prior to repair, and more prone to kicking up excess when you dip your brush in, but I think that’s a small price to pay to get a favorite product restored.

In conclusion, is the repaired shadow as good as new? Honestly, no. Is it worth doing?  I would say yes, especially for an expensive or hard to replace favorite. It was restored to a usable state, for only a small amount of effort. The whole project probably took about 30 minutes including drying time.

Do you think this is worth the effort? Can you remember a shadow disaster you wish you’d known about this for? Leave a comment so we can trade methods, or at least commiserate the loss of our beloved powders!

4 thoughts on “Does that really work?

  1. Is there a way to resurrect cream eyeshadows? Or should I just buy a new one? I have a pot of 24hr Colour Tattoo in a lovely neutral metallic champagne, but it’s shrunk into the center of the pot and gotten all cracked and crazy. I can KIND OF still apply it, but it gets weird and chunky. I barely used any before it got like this and I hate to throw it away and have to buy more. Is there a way to fix it?

    (or is this a whole new post, plus experimentation?)

    1. In my experience, when color tattoos do that, it is possible to mix them up to correct that. If however, when you push into it and start trying to mix it, if it appears to be dry completely, all the way through? Then you may need to replace. Also make sure the smell hasn’t changed. But if you can use a small tool (the back of a brush may even work) to mix it up inside the jar, you can likely get a little more life out of it! And always make sure they are tightly closed. 🙂

      1. Dangit, mine is completely hard/dry, I think. I don’t get it! I keep them closed tight and at least one has gone all Sahara on me.

        1. That one may have been faulty, or sitting for a while before you purchased, have you tried mixing it up? sometimes that helps. 🙂

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