Crumbled eye shadow rescue

If you’re an occasional klutz, like me, you’ll know the frustration of dropping an eye shadow compact on the hard, unforgiving tiles of the bathroom floor. Open the compact and you’ll find a coloured, powdery eye shadow mess that’s easy to spill and hard to use. Having searched the web for ideas on how to resurrect smashed eye shadow, I trialled a few. Here’s a step-by-step guide to what worked best for me.

Oh, no! What a waste! Smashed eye shadow

Oh, no! What a waste! Smashed eye shadow

You will need

  • Piece of paper
  • Tissues or clean rags.
  • A spoon, preferably with a small, flat end.
  • Small containers, such as makeup pots (if you can’t re-use the original eye shadow compact/container)
  • Rubbing alcohol (>70% isopropyl alcohol – safety precautions below*) or vodka
  • Coins

1. Gather the remains

Pre-fold some clean paper (I used some that had been printed on one side). Using the end of the spoon handle (or hair pin or similar) scrape the remains of the eye shadow out of its container or compact and onto the paper. If the container or compact itself isn’t broken, you might like to reuse it. Clean it out thoroughly, giving it a final wipe over with alcohol, which will also kill any bacteria hanging around in the container. I re-used a cleaned but empty lip gloss pot.


Pieces and powder onto the paper

2. Powder the eye shadow; pour into container

Crush the eye shadow to powder on the paper using the round back of the spoon. Using the fold of the paper to channel the powdered eye shadow, pour it into the new container.

Pulverise to remove lumps

Pulverise to remove lumps

3. Mix with alcohol into a paste

Add a few drops of alcohol – enough to mixed the eye shadow into a paste, stirring with the end of the spoon or a hair pin. If there’s not enough space in the container for mixing, use a small separate intermediary bowl, then scoop the paste into the container.

Mix into a paste with alcohol

Mix into a paste with alcohol

4. Put eye shadow paste into its tray

Scoop the paste into the compact or a small clean makeup pot. Gently tap the paste into an evenly spread layer. Leave it for half an hour or so to allow some of the alcohol to evaporate.

A pot of pasty eye shadow...

A pot of pasty eye shadow…

5. Press

The eye shadow pat can be compressed into its container with any hard object that’s a similar shape and slightly smaller size than that of the container. A coin can do the trick for round makeup pots. For the square eye shadow duos I rescued (see pic later), I used a lipstick in a square tube that happened to be just the right size. Wrap the coin in a tissue or clean piece of cloth and firmly press it into the eye shadow.

Using a coin wrapped in tissue to compress the damp eye shadow

Using a coin wrapped in tissue to compress the damp eye shadow

6. Leave to dry

The remaining alcohol will soon evaporate.

On the window sill drying

On the window sill drying

7. Voila!

Much nicer and neater! And greener and cheaper than throwing it away and replacing with a new one (particularly if you manage to reuse the container). I tried the fruits of my labour this morning. While I’ve tried to keep using crumbled eye shadow in the past, it was harder to control and keep subtle, hard to keep off my fingers (only to be smudged elsewhere later) and was easy to spill onto clothes. The newly compressed eye shadow is MUCH easier to use.

* Isopropyl alcohol is sold in chemists and hardware stores as a solvent or cleaner, or in a slightly diluted solution as ‘rubbing alcohol’. It is used as a hand sanitiser, surface cleaner/disinfectant or for cleaning makeup brushes. Handle with care: it is volatile, flammable, irritating if it comes into contact with eyes, should not be swallowed, and is quite drying to the skin. It has a strong odour and is an indoor air pollutant, so ventilate during use and remember to put the cap on the bottle. Full MSDS for high concentration isopropyl alcohol via here.


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