There's a running joke among the ladies here at the office of who has the heaviest handbag. It's easy to blame our back-breaking loads on iPhones, magazines or heels. But when we dump the contents of our purses out in search of gum, those aren't the only things weighing us down... it's our makeup.
Between toting around an average of three lip balms, two lipsticks, bronzer, eyeliner and brow pencils, I'm like a traveling Sephora store. So we think it's time to try the space, time and money-saving beauty trick that the pros swear by known as "depotting."
Depotting is the practice of removing a makeup product, such as eyeshadow, blush or lipstick, from its original container and placing it into more practical packaging.
Makeup artists since the early theatrical, film and television era have practiced depotting, according to Make Up For Ever director of artistry Jenn Karsten. She explains, "The necessity arises from the need to reduce bulky marketing-based packaging, that really has nothing to do with the function of the actual product, to something more packable and stackable for the traveling performer or makeup professional."
"Depotted products are simple and stripped down, and it enables consumers to combine all their favorite makeup brands into one easy-to-carry container," adds UNII Cosmetics founder Minna Ha.
Using a custom magnetic palette like this one can also save consumers money when they purchase refills instead of the standard product. Ha breaks it down: "There is a $3 differential between the MAC eyeshadow and the MAC eyeshadow refill. For consumers who purchase multiple products a year, the savings will begin to add up!"
The technique typically involves applying a form of heat to the bottom of the packaging to help the product come out. The ease of depotting may depend on the brand, says Ha. "Some products will pop right out of their packaging, while others are very stubborn and require a more careful approach."
"Pressed powder type products like eyeshadows (like the one pictured above) and blushes depot best because they are contained in a separate pan than the outer pack," says Karsten. "Lipsticks also work well because they tend to be stable with few active ingredients that might react to a foreign plastic or metal palette."
Yet Karsten cautions against depotting foundations and concealers unless they come in the same type of plastic packaging. These products have very active ingredients and are in the pack or bottle they are in for stability reasons. Volatile silicone-based products can have a bad reaction to plastic.
A few other depotting dos and don'ts:
Do decide on a method most suitable for you. "Do look up tutorials if you are trying this for the first time," says Ha. "There are many instructional videos available on the subject. YouTube features many depotting tutorials, as well as repair videos in case you have a mishap. If you don't have access to adequate ventilation (for example, you live in a crowded dorm room), do not use the candle method."
Do invest in high-quality palettes to protect your efforts and product. "Be aware that cosmetics have a limited shelf life," says Karsten. "So when you mess with them, you are exposing them to non-tested conditions and foreign packaging that could alter the performance or quality."
Don't start with brand new makeup. Ha recommends practicing with colors that you don't like until you're comfortable with the process.
Don’t rush the process. Never use dirty hands, towels or spatulas to depot. "This practice isn't risk-free as products can break or change," Karsten adds.
Check out the best depotting makeup tutorials on YouTube and some magnitized palettes to try it out!
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