November 18, 2008

MAC Pigment Pressing: The Muse No Likey

Late Sunday night I decided to dive in and try out MAC Pigment Pressing for the first time. Um yea can I tell you how horrifying pigment pressing is for a makeup junkie?

Ok, first off let me explain that I thought pigment pressing was going to be some sort of major mess but turns out it’s actually quite easy, fuss and mess free! I had zero mess to clean up and didn’t get pigments on my fingers or anywhere else thankfully!

What was it horrifying?

The problem with pigment pressing is if you’re emotionally attached to your MAC LE pigments and you’re planning on pressing them you may be in for a shock at how much product you have to use to get a single press! I had no idea I would have to use SO much pigment! I used MAC Pigment in Mutiny because I sincerely adore this color. I was smart enough to realize when to stop but if I kept going I’d have used up over half of my jar of Mutiny before getting a full press!

Holy cows!

I had no idea that I’d need to use so much pigment to get a full press of shadow from the jar! If you want a full press of a pigment you have to use at least half a jar of pigment or more! See where I am heading with this?

If you’re really attached to your pigment in loose form chances are you’re going to be upset when using a half a jar of a favorite LE pigment! On top of this the chances of messing the press of the pigment are very real. I was trying to press MAC Pigment in Blue Steel and completely screwed it up! Ahhhh! Imagine taking a very valuable LE pigment and screwing up the press? It would be like going to a funeral!

I guess if you’re using pigments you can get from MAC anytime then I’d recommend pressing them out as it makes application quite easy considering how much fall out pigments create however if you have vaulable LE pigments that you’re not willing to part with I’d totally avoid pressing them (unless the Muse is the only one emotionally attached to her pigments)!

This was an experience the Muse didn’t enjoy and won’t be doing again as most of her piggies are LE!

These are about a quarter jar of pigment each…as you can see the presses are not even half full!!!!!!

What do you think of pigment pressing?

Tried it?

Willing to use your LE pigments to do it?

Tell the Muse!

Making the Most of Urban Decay Primer Portion


About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

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  • Vivian

    I’ve seen so many reviews on how to press pigments- MAC or not. I never thought of trying them since I have to buy a lot of stuff in order to do that. half the pigment is gone in the process, so I see your point…

    btw, where did you get that squeeze tube thing? thanks 🙂

  • the Muse

    hiya vivian!

    Totally a NOT for me. Tried it once to experience it and although it seems like a super idea my le pigments are too precious for me to attempt it again 🙂

    the eye dropper you mean? CVS has ’em for $1.99 for two 😉

  • Makeup Junkie

    Hi-i just came across your blog. 🙂 I am loving it!

    Anyway I actually just tried this this moring for the first time! uhh, not sure what to say about this. lol.. I actually have heard people say that they like to mix it right into the container they are using because it is easier and less mess. So I did it this way since I didn’t have anything else to mix it in. I just have to say I had one hell of a mess! I actually pressed a bronzer that i have had for a really long time from Avon, I never used it because it had a rolly ball thing on the end of it and when you rolled it on your face it left it really dark where you rolled it. So I took that off this morning and it took half of that to fill the container that I was using. But I actually found it very messy to do this with the loose powder! Just my opinion.. I think in the future if I want to have a “wet/smooth” use for my pigments I am just going to wet my brush or find something else to use to make my pigments wet because I just didn’t like it. 🙂

    (Sorry for the book.. hehe)


  • the Muse

    Hi Trisha!

    Thanks love! So glad you’re enjoying Musings 🙂

    I’ve heard people say the same thing and honestly I think that’s a disaster! I didn’t even attempt that as I knew I’d make a mess. I went to a fast food place and just grabbed up some of those little ketchup containers to mix in and thankfully no mess at all!

    The bronzer is a fabs idea 🙂 If you aren’t using it it would make a great press for a shadow!!!!

    I think if you get a container and miss in the container you should have less of a mess but my main problem was it takes WAY too much product to press one pigment ahhh! I was literally crying about how much mutiny I had to use!

    oh no no 🙂 not a bible 🙂 love hearing your thoughts and experience with piggie pressing!

    Thanks for the comment 🙂

    Looking forward to getting to know you!


  • the Muse

    lazy! guilty as charged here lol!

    It took me months to finally sit down and try this out 🙂

    Clumsy..check check 🙂 the muse is all that 🙂

    fearful..hells yes I was crying that I had to use so much Mutiny 🙂

  • Anonymous

    I hate wasting pigments when I screw up on the mixing ratios too. One thing I would recommend though if you are going to try it again, maybe use a small, shallow glass or plastic bowl to mix instead of a paper cup. That way you can scrap off the excess a bit easier and waste less of the piggies 🙂

  • Sher

    mutiny is gorgeous! but Im sure it will last much longer pressed than they would loose right? 🙂

  • the Muse

    hey anonymous!

    Cheers! Good tip! I felt like it was really hard to scrap all the piggie out of these little cups 😛 Next time I think I’ll use those little sample plastic containers that piggies come in!

    Thanks for the tip!

    I have to say that blue steel pressed like crap so wasted a ton to press 😛

  • Decorative Diva

    I like pressing 🙂

    I’ve done it to varying degrees of success with MAC and L’Oreal Hip pigments and mineral makeup.

    If the binding doesn’t hold, you can just put the makeup back into its old container, because the alcohol will have evaporated (that’s what I did with my mineral makeup stuff that didn’t work).

  • Connie

    oh man!! I already have the stuff to press pigments but seeing this post, I’m totally dreading it! 🙁 I’m gonna try with my NYX ultra mania shadows. Looks like it’ll need me to use the whole bottle!

  • Aline

    hey muse!

    ive pressed some things before, although they were broken shadows and i even pressed bronzescape solar bits..

    the solar bits i was very happy with the result, because now the application isnt as difficult as it is when its in bit form.. and i bought back ups of each color so im good lol..

    the one thing that sucks about pressing is sometimes it lifts some of the dyes in the pigment up into the paper towel you use to press it down…

    i had a cargo “aegean” e/s that broke the day i got it.. i was contemplating exchanging it for another, but since it was broken into two clean pieces i thought it would be a shame to return it, only to have this pretty es thrown away.. so i kept it, but eventually it started to break into smaller pieces that would fall out everytime i opened the tin.. so i decided it was time to repress..

    well, when i was trying to press it down into the pan to make a smooth even surface, the paper towel kept sucking up this blue dye.. and after the shadow was done drying, it didnt look nearly as pretty as it did before.. it looked like a more greenish teal, with barely any hint of golden shimmer to it… i was not happy

    i know from reading another pressing tutorial that this happened with the “nightlight” and “sweet sienna” pigments too.. and it dramatically changed their color as a result..

    anyway.. if you could point in the direction of the japanese buying guide id really appreciate it muse.. i keep trying to do a search on your site but for some reason the server keeps timing out.. i know of a couple etailers that sell japanese brands, but they dont sell lunasol.. and im just DYING for that l/s!!

    thanks a bunch, and take good care muse!!

    hugs and kisses


    • Jessica

      Hey there, to avoid the problem of paper towels or fabric soaking up the dye you should really look into the press kits from The are like 3 bucks, come with 9 tins, and perfectly sized acrylic plate on a handle to press with! No dye getting sucked up!

  • the Muse

    hey dd!

    Mostly I’m emotionally attached to my LE piggies hehe which is why my experience was rotten with it 😛 I think if I did it with regular general catalog stuff of minerals I can easily get I’d give it a raving review but with my le’s iffy lol!

  • the Muse

    hey connie!

    honestly it’s a good experience so long as you’re using colors and items you can easily get but I wouldn’t attempt it with LE stuff..I dunno I’m kinda attached to my le piggies and using an entire jar to create one press was scary to me lol!

    You need more then half a jar of mac pigment to fill an entire pan…scary for me 🙂

  • the Muse

    hey aline!

    I don’t mind using stuff I have readily available but my LE’s are kinda iffy 😉 I think I might try with my solar bits as I’m not fond of how they apply loose!

    This happened with blue steel..the dye completely leaked out onto the paper towel 😛

    thankfully it kept the original shade but I can understand how you felt as it wasn’t nearly as vibrant once pressed!

    I noticed this on ‘nes’s blog..with a few shades being different or even VERY different when pressed.

    that’s weird about the time out! Here’s a linkiee for you:

    anyway.. if you could point in the direction of the japanese buying guide id really appreciate it muse.. i keep trying to do a search on your site but for some reason the server keeps timing out.. i know of a couple etailers that sell japanese brands, but they dont sell lunasol.. and im just DYING for that l/s!!

    Hope this helps darlin’!

    Big hugs!

  • LostinBubbles

    I loved the idea of pressing because I have a serious issue with pigments and loose powders and I end up with it all over the place. I’m a pretty clean and neat person, so I am not always sure how I achieve this…lol. So I had a box of pigments and random loose shadows and figured I’d give it a go. I had nothing to lose really since I never used them, they just sat there.

    I agree that it was a heck of a lot cleaner than I expected it to be. My first pressing I tried some cheapo brand of loose shadow that I had gotten from Walmart, heaven only knows how long ago I bought it. Well low and behold, it worked, quite nicely I might add. And the color looked great and actually stayed better than just finger swatching it loose.

    So I kept going and I will admit, some of the ones I had used up the whole container in some cases which I was a bit bummed, but some I got like 3 or 4 pans pressed. All in all it was kind of fun to do, I only have two MAC pigments and I couldn’t build up the courage to use it on those, yet…lol. I will say the ones I used to never use, I have actually used on several occasions now. I did have a couple that did NOT want to be pressed and they just crumbled up after the pressing process. It’s a trial and error thing I think, but pretty clever none the less 🙂

  • the Muse

    hiya lostinbubbles!

    I think I generally love the idea so long as I am doing it with piggies I know I can easily get again or have back ups of as it makes application much easier minus the crummy fall out problems that occur with piggies 😛

    It really was kinda neat and tidy..I was shocked as I thought for sure I’d have pigment everywhere plus have it on my hands and clothes too 😛

    But I didn’t get any of it anywhere!

    I totally really depends..and it’s trail and error..most times it’s not even your fault if they come out’s just the formula of the pigment itself and whether it’ll be a good or a crummy press.

    Overall, I’d def do it again just not with beloved LE’s hehe!

    Thanks for sharing your experience lovie 🙂

  • Nosh

    I don’t have any full size pigments, just sample jars I’ve gotten from places like Do you think it’s worth it to even try? I have serious space issues so I was debating just jumping in and doing it after all. But if that is not enough pigment, then I won’t even bother buying the materials (I’ve read that pigment samples have enough pigment to press but what you posted just negated that).

    Also, what if you used plastic wrap or something instead of a paper towel to press? That way the color won’t get soaked up? Or is there another reason that you have to use a paper towel?? I am probably missing something =)

  • Paige

    I’ve had limited experience with pressing pigments and I gotta say I reserve this process only for when I break a shadow in the efforts to restore it. Other than that I gotta go with Trish…If I want less fall-out I use a mixing medium for the application or begin with my eyes than put on my foundation after cleaning off the fall-out. Plus, I’m busy (read as lazy)…I still have a ton of NYX singles waiting to be depotted and transferred to a palette:P Have a good rest of the week and thanks for sharing your experience!

  • beetrice

    that’s a lovely shade of sparkly blue btw… 🙂

    i found it easier when mixing the pigments up in the pans itself, or a plastic container – less wastage of pigment that way…and if you use the quilted thick paper towels, it won’t pick up too much pigment or stick.

    of course, there is the other equivalent of baking your eyeshadow…gently warm the pan with heat from your hairdryer on low setting (don’t burn your fingers though!) – a little more time consuming, but works wonders for evaporating the alcohol.

    after that, all you need is a little wax paper to compact everything in! 🙂

    *phew*..sorry for taking up so much space!

  • the Muse

    hey nosh!

    No sadly not worth it. Those sample size don’t have enough product inside to create a full press 🙁 Honestly you can try one and see what happens but you really need ALOT of pigment to get a nice full press of product and if you don’t have enough sometimes the press comes out crumbly 😛

    Plastic wrap…hmmm I don’t think it would work so well b/c it would kinda smoosh and create a mess..the towel soaks up any access alcohol.

    I think paper towel kinda removes any alcohol and makes it dry out quicker 😉

    Hope this helps!

  • the Muse

    hi Paige!

    I agree…mixing agent is the way to go! Or I just prep really well prior to application because honestly I can’t be arsed to do this again 😛 or forsake my beloved piggies to do it 🙂

    My pleasure hun! Thanks for taking time to comment 🙂


    Have a good week!

    Happy Hump Day!

  • the Muse

    hi beetrice!

    My favvvvvvv piggie every Bee 🙂

    I agree about mixing in a smaller pot…although the little cups I used were good I did notice it was a pain to get it scrapped all out:)

    I was going to try the hair dryer trick b/c I was impatient to see how the press came out but in the end I just said meh I’ll let it dry 🙂

    no no all your tips are awesome! Thanks for the fab comment 🙂


  • Carmen

    Hi muse…
    I had a question about pressing in general. Can you press any loose powder shadow or is there something in pigments that makes it ideal for pressing? I know you couldn’t speak for all make up companies but in general? I have a couple of NYX and some jane’s that I would like to try but I would rather not waste them if possible.


  • the Muse

    hi carmen

    how are you?

    You can press anything really..a broken shadow…loose pigments…even loose blush 🙂

    It’s a hit or miss with items since some have a different texture and formula but honestly you can press just about anything..many people will press items that broke this way they don’t waste the product by tossing it 🙂

    so yes sure you can try out your Jane or NYX 🙂

    Hope this helps!

  • Anonymous

    I’ve only pressed one pigment and won’t be pressing others anytime soon!! It was Mauvement (LE, but the recently released one, not the older one) and I didn’t use too much, but the problem was the color! It completely shifted on me…my pretty silver-ish mauve turned into this ugle blue/silver metallic color 🙁 The longer I let it dry the more the color shifted, so I tossed it. I hope others have more luck with their experience, though.

  • the Muse

    hi anonymous!

    Ditto!!!!! I pressed three and that was plenty for me 😛

    Interesting..some piggies are known to shift colors and become vastly’s possible the purple was heavily dyed in mauvement and the alcohol simply drained it all out.

    Not all piggies do the same..but some have been known to do so!

    Don’t let this sway you from trying it’s rare this happens 🙂

  • Ghoulina

    I’m waaay too scared to ever try pressing any of my MAC pigments! I think I’d cry if I saw my jar half-empty afterwards 🙁

  • the Muse

    omg I’m emotionally attached to my piggies…lol def crying if I end up with a half empty afterwards!

  • Krystal

    For some reason, it doesn’t take as much for me. If I measure out exactly one teaspoon it fills up an empty pan completely. But you have to make sure and pack the pigment into the teaspoon to where you can’t fit any more into it and then level it off. I use the pans from Coastal Scents which are not as deep as Mac’s, but there isn’t that big of a difference. My jars look like I could get several more pans from them.

    • the Muse

      cool krystal…I’ve never been success with pressing but sounds like You have it down 😀

  • electronicfly

    Super late to post, but I just got into pressing pigments recently.. I think it might be because you were mixing in paper cups? Try using plastic/glass/metal containers. Then you can really scrape everything out.

    I’ve tried a few 26mm pans so far, and I think I only use about 1teaspoon or so for a full pan?

    Or you could get smaller pans, just to press that little bit for travel 😀 That way you’ll still have your LE piggies left 😀

    • the Muse

      I tried in small glass contains as well electronicfly. One teaspoon is ALOT of pigment 😀 particularly for LE’s 😀 smaller pans sound fun but I think I’ll just stick using piggies from the jar, easier and less clean up hehe and waste!

  • Dana

    GREAT IDEA .. I’m doing this to all my broken blush. I get so heartbroken when I drop it and all of sudden … shatters.

    • the Muse

      aw dana me too. always do it too b/c my bathroom floor doesn’t have rug so plenty of crack-age going around here!

  • neonpinksapphire

    Oh man this was deep muse! you poor thing! I have pressed pigments before but I never use my expensive ones. I love to press my NYX ultra pearl mania ones because they are cheap and their bottle is hard to get into anyways. But you are not the only one attached to your pigments. its traumatic lol

    • the Muse

      LOL neon I thought I was nuts! It’s like half a jar or more you have to use for a single press! ARRRRRRR!

  • Senem

    Muse hi, im from turkey
    pigments texture or color will change or not by this way?
    many thanks

  • LadyB87

    Hey Muse! When I was a student nurse I used to use those little with “pill containers”. It was when I would crush the pills and mix with pudding to give to patients..but I noticed half the medicatation was getting stuck in the crevices of the container!!!! Long story short, try using those clear containers that come with cough syrup (I think they are 1 oz containers) that is what I am using now to mix my pigments and i get very little waste 🙂 Hope this helps!!!

  • bridgette

    Hey muse! Okay Ive mixed quite a few pigments but the first matte I used was mac I neon orange and I used some fractionated coconut oil as well like I usually do and it almost immediately turned into a rock. It is completely solid and a bit oil on top. Completely unusable. Do you know why this is? Can you not use matte??

  • roslynd

    You’re doing it the hard way! I usually mix 1/4 to 1/2 a tsp, pit it in the actual pan, put alcohol, and mix with a toothpick.

    Nothing is wasted. If you use it up, just use your coveted pigment and do it again 🙂