August 6, 2013

Adventures in Depotting: Eyeshadows, Blushes, and Bronzers (oh my)!


If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen some recent snaps of my progress with depotting the majority of my drugstore makeup items. IRL friends and IG friends alike were curious about what the heck 'depotting' was and why I was doing it, so here's a quick post about my depotting process and things that I've learned along the way!

First - what is depotting? 

Simply put, you're getting the makeup out of a compact, i.e. giving the eyeshadow (or blush, bronzer, lipstick, etc.) freedom from its pot!! This practice of striping the cosmetics from their bulky original packaging has been used by makeup artists for a loooong time, but is also really practical for makeup enthusiasts (like me!) that would like to de-clutter and condense their stash. Depotting is also really great for traveling - instead of bringing along lots of different palettes, you can arrange all of your most used items into a single "freedom" style palette for a trip! Or maybe there's a particular combo of products you're really into right now - pop all of those pans into a single smaller palette, and that's all you need to do your makeup instead of multiple individual compacts. Cool, right?

the aftermath!

How do you depot?

Describing the process is simple: Heat up the glue holding the pan in place, pull the pan out, wipe it off, and ta-dah! The process itself is really easy, but time-consuming because there's a lot of waiting. I went with The Flat Iron Method because it seemed to be the least dangerous way.
[Other methods include open flames, a pan on the stove, and/or Zippo lighters?! No thanks!]
I am not the originator of depotting, but I'm happy to share some tips I learned while doing it! The first video I watched explaining depotting a while ago was this one from Josh/Petrilude; if you'd like a photo tutorial instead, this one from Bun Bun is really great ((these were my two references before switching on the flat iron)).

Depotting Tools

  • flat iron (duh!)
  • parchment paper* (to protect your flat iron from glue)
  • tack, or similar object for pushing things from the back
  • a thin blade or tool that's small enough to slide between the metal pan of the makeup and the rest of the plastic packaging
  • Tweezers for picking up hot things
  • rubbing alcohol to remove glue
  • paper towels, old magazines, etc. to cover your work surface
  • lots of time and some clothes you don't mind possibly covering in shimmery, pigmented powder and/or tacky glue!
*I recommend parchment paper over wax paper or aluminum foil just because it won't melt to the flat iron (can you imagine trying to protect your hair straightener from glue, and then melting wax paper onto it instead?!) and I feel like foil might get hot? Which isn't fun at all!



Then you just get to it! I removed most of the sticky labels from each item before plopping them onto the flat iron. How long you leave each item to warm is sort of random; some items are thicker and need to sit longer, some glues melt faster than others, etc., so you just have to go with the flow. I got into a mini self-contained factory line: I would remove all the labels from one compact while a different one was warming up, then take the warmed one off and pop the pans out of it while the one that I had just undressed got placed on the flat iron, and round and round. I also found as time went on that the best results for me were to let it warm up slightly, then stick a thin blade into the side and lift out the pan vs. waiting for the packaging to be hot enough to poke the pan out from the other side. The flat iron I used doesn't have temperature degrees on the side, but it does have 20 levels and I was fine using it at level 8 [whatever that means, right? Sorry that's not helpful for your most likely updated and normal flat iron!!]

TOOLS: tack, dull Xacto blade, orange stick, Qtips, fine point Sharpie, zinc washers for pans that aren't magnetized enough

For me the messiest//worst part is getting all the glue off! Most of the other videos and photos I've seen are like "And then you just swipe it with a Q-tip quickly with rubbing alcohol and you're done, yay!". Nope. Mine is like "Pray to god enough dust will land on this glue in the next 5 seconds so that they don't all stick to my hands, and then scrape it all off for the next 3 hours". [Not sure how/why other people have more cooperative glue? But it must just be different brands!] 

this is exactly what the middle of depotting felt like -_-

I've since figured out a system that works, but generally the glue removal has taken me a lot of time (and I'm still slowly working on it). I ~neutralize~ the glue by dabbing some rubbing alcohol on it, then gently scrape starting from one end towards the other with an orange stick; then it balls up into one big hunk of glue and I can put it on a paper towel [and hope I never get it stuck on anything else again]. This method also works best for me on the pans where the glue is still sort of in a dot shape, and not just melted all over the whole back of it (another reason why you don't have to make everything the hottest it can be, you can go with making it just hot enough and that will probably work best). Just be warned that in my limited experience of playing with multiple drugstore brands, the glue stays sticky on the pan FOREVER after you get it out of the packaging; it never dries up or cools down to be un-sticky,  e v e r .

messy pans still waiting for their TLC

As for the palettes, I'm [impatiently] waiting on my order from Coastal Scents to arrive! I went with the palette option that made my wallet happiest, and this large magnetized palette from Coastal Scents ($10) seemed like the best option for me right now. There are TONS of options for magnetized 'freedom' style palettes, tho, so you can shop around and find some you like (check out the beautiful-but-tiny Unii palette or the Z-palettes). Mine are 'branded' and say Coastal Scents on the front, but I am planning to label over that part. I usually am the sort of person that has to see something (and hence would like a Z-palette), but I honestly think labeling will be enough for right now for me to remember what's where. The CS palettes are 9" x 5.9" and I'm hoping to fit a ton of things in one!!

So far I have successfully depotted many eyeshadows, some blushes, and some bronzers. I've done items from Almay, CoverGirl, L'Oreal, Maybelline, Wet n Wild, and some others, too. So far L'Oreal and Maybelline have some terrifying super-sticky orange glue, and the Wet n Wild trios have been the easiest by far to get out of the packaging AND clean up; the WnW 8-pan palettes are such a pain compared to the trios. Eventually I might depot some of my smaller cardboard palettes, like the Urban Decay ones that use tiny round pans in comparatively MASSIVE boxes, but I'm not totally ready to do that quite yet because my preciousssss. Another cool thing about the whole depotting bandwagon is that some brands sell their products in 'pan only' form, which saves you money and saves a little bit of plastic, too!



Please note that while this method is overall safer than say, holding your plastic makeup container over an open flame, there's still lots of melty-plasticy-melty-gluey fumes SO be careful and safe! Do this in a ventilated area, don't do too much at once, pay attention to your flat iron so that you don't leave something on and melt it into a puddle etc. etc. etc. I am not an expert at melting things on a flat iron and I definitely am not liable if you get hurt doing something I simply wrote about myself doing, mmmkay?

TL;DR

  • I found it easiest to warm up the original packaging just enough to be able to pop out the pan; this made the glue clean up easier and quicker for me. 
  • Waiting for it to melt enough to poke a pan out from the back usually takes way longer than just lifting a pan out with a thin blade, like a dull Xacto knife
  • The whole premise is that you're melting both plastic and glue to obtain tiny containers of highly pigmented powder - be safe and prepared! Use proper ventilation and expect to get hot, sticky, and colorful

*This blog utilizes Skimlinks to monetize retail links. I don't recommend things on the blog unless I truly like them and use them myself, pinky promise!

42 comments:

  1. Great guide to depotting! It was really helpful :)

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  2. This is really helpful! I'm planning on depotting some of my eyeshadows soon since I got a small z-palette. Thanks for sharing this! :)

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    1. Thanks! It's really fun to depot!! Let me know how YOUR adventure in depotting goes :)

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  3. I'm still looking for the cheapest dupe on z palette then I will start depotting my eyeshadow ;)

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    1. Yeah, I feel ya! I wish the Z Palette was just a weeeee bit less expensive

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  4. Such an interesting, creative project. Can't wait to see the end result! <3

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    1. Thanks! I will definitely do a follow up post :)

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  5. I want to try it out... it's much easier to carry around a customized palette than many, many mono eyeshadows... thank for the tips! (:

    GIG love <3

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    1. Totally! It's super handy for traveling! I wanted to free up some space in my storage drawers, and this has definitely helped a ton

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  6. Wow, I never even considered this! These are some great tips that I'll have to share for when I'm feeling particularly crafty. ;)

    http://veggiesandglitter.com

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    1. Thanks!! It's definitely an idea for someone with a LOT of makeup that need some streamlining

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  7. Love it! Thank you for this! I have a ton of eye shadows but I'm kind of OCD with keeping things in their packages so that I know the name and brand. But I so wish I could depot things! :)

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    1. Most of the things I depotted were unnamed shadows from palettes, like Wet n Wild shadows, so I didn't really mind. But I used a fine Sharpie and wrote on the back of most of them :)

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  8. I depotted a lot of shadows and made such a mess. Your method must be better but I don't think I have a flat iron!

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    1. Well it turns out the awful mess for me is cleaning all the glue off the back, super shimmery and sticky all over!! The flat iron part was pretty easy. What method did you use?

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  9. What a great idea!!! Love it :D
    xoxo

    novelstyle.blogspot.com

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  10. wow I gotta say...depotting takes up so much commitment! And by the amount of small palettes on your pictures, I'm going to assume you are very dedicated lol :) I was thinking about depotting some of my palettes too...I will try this way, I will let you know if its working out for me as well as it is for you!

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    1. I think I was OVERLY ambitious the first time!! Getting the pans out of their original packaging is really easy, but getting all the icky glue off is a pain. Let me know if you try it out :D

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  11. I love this idea :)
    I've been wanting to try it but I love the pans to much
    GIG
    http://www.betzysmakeup.com/

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  12. That's neat. I had not heard of this before.


    By the way, I have nominated you for the Liebster Blog Award! Congratulations! You can check it all out here: http://wp.me/p1BAZi-Fn

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    1. So glad you liked this post and thank you SO MUCH for the Liebster Award! Woo hoo!

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  13. That is smart though I never have that much make up to carry. But if I decide to do so this would come in handy.
    Living F.A.B.ulously on Purpose

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    1. Thanks Margaret! I did it to streamline my makeup storage, but I do have a little bit more than "normal" people probably do :P

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  14. This is a great guide! Saves a lot of packaging and space too!

    Autumn | Mrs Gaeul

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    1. Thanks so much! I'm really pleased with how much space it's opened up for MORE THINGS lololol

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  15. Awesome guide! Though I'm still reluctant to depot my shadows coz I like them in their original packaging. And I don't have too many eyeshadows anyway, only a few palettes with lots of colors. :)

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    1. I totally understand! I had a lot of inexpensive eyeshadows in bland packaging, so I depotted those. I don't want to depot from my pretty pretty palettes yet :p

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  16. I´ve never heard about depotting before so thanks for writing about the topic.

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    1. No problem! I'm glad you liked this post :)

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  17. I love depotting! Call me crazy but it's fun!

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    1. I think it's pretty fun, too! I was a little overly ambitious for my first time, tho :3

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  18. So, are the rectangular pans, from WnW or Cover Girl, going to fit in the Coastal Scents palette (since it has spots for round pans)?

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    1. Hey! Great question!! I thought I had mentioned in the post but I realized I didn't: The CS palettes do have a round insert, but it's easy to pull it out and then have an open palette. I had read about this in a different review post and that's why I decided to go with the CS palettes because they seemed the cheapest route to an 'open' palette. I'm planning to do a follow up post and I will talk about the palettes in a little more detail :)

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  19. Wow.. these are brilliant tips. I never considered doing it before. Thanks a tonne for sharing it! <3

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    1. Aw, thanks so much for commenting! Glad you enjoyed this post ♥

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  20. That spiderman picture just made me laugh so hard. I'm seriously considering depotting, I have a huge collection that is mostly quads and smaller.. I'm talking eight rubbermaid boxes that fill a full shelf in my linen closet..but I'm so scared because not only do I have a huge amount of money invested a lot of mine are LE (and therefore irreplaceable), it would just kill me if I broke them or they broke later on due to being less secure outside of their compacts.

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    1. Yay! Glad you got a chuckle out of that photo :) Up until writing this post I had only depotted drugstore brand eyeshadows (Wet n Wild, L'Oreal, Maybelline, Covergirl) so I wasn't as worried about damaging them. Those were all plastic compact style packaging which was time consuming, but not challenging. Luckily I had 0 breaks or cracks with my shadows, mostly just some little dings here and there from my nails while I was rearranging them. Today I've been depotting some cardboard style palettes and those are SO much easier. It does feel risky in terms of LE or things that you really love (for instance I am not in a hurry to depot most of my Urban Decay items). In terms of the shadows being less secure, I think once they're in a palette they're equally as safe as they were in their previous compact; you can drop a palette just as you can drop a quad. Z Palettes and Unii Palttes seem really strong (I haven't heard of any pans simply falling out); my Coastal Scents palettes are OK but I will probably invest in a separate sheet of magnetic material for the palette that will house my mid-range priced items. I think it's worth it to try, but I understand your concerns, too >.<

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