As part of a clear-up of my makeup kit, I decided to de-pot my favourite solo eyeshadows into magnetic palettes. I bought a couple of Unii Palettes recently (review here) and will be buying a couple of Z-Palettes when the colours I want are in stock again (I’m not that fussed about colour but I just don’t like the patterned ones).

So many solo shadows, where to start? My ultimate favourite solo shadows are the Urban Decay Deluxe eyeshadows. I have 10 of the old-style oval-shaped cases, but as the product inside is a neat little rectangle, they take up more space than necessary when storing individually.

De-potting is easier than I had previously thought. All I used were tweezers, some Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA), and a metal spatula. I had my hair straighteners on hand too. I’ll tell you why later…


1. Make some clear table space, and lay down some plastic/ waterproof sheeting to capture the mess. I used my childrens waterproof painting mat, which is actually just an old plastic table cloth (from a pound store) cut to a smaller size.

2. Dip the tweezers/ spatula in IPA and allow to dry. If the tweezers then come into contact with the powder shadow, it won’t then contaminate them with bacteria.

3. Once dry (after 30 seconds or so) wedge one edge of the tweezers into a corner of the eyeshadow pan. This should be between the pan and the outer packaging. Gently run the tweezer edge along the long side of the rectangular pan all the way to the edge. You should feel the glue loosen.

4. Repeat step 3 all the way round the rectangular eyeshadow pan.

[If the glue doesn’t loosen just by running the tweezer/ spatula around the edge, switch your hair straighteners on and wait for them to heat up. Then put the hot straightener edge in contact with the metal edge of the eyeshadow pan. This should melt the glue a little and will make prising it open easier. Now repeat step 3 and continue.]

5. Once the pan is loose enough, wedge the tweezer edge in between the edge of the pan and outer packaging and gently prise the shadow pan out.

Fixing broken shadows

At this stage, you may be left with some broken shadows, like above. I had three UD shadows that were really smashed, and one MAC shadow. The others had minor breakage and I decided to fix these afterwards too. 

To fix these and re-set them I used my metal spatula (dipped in IPA to disinfect) and more IPA.

1. I dripped some IPA onto the broken shadows until they were saturated. The shadow now becomes a gunky mush of shadow paste.

2. Using the metal spatula, I re-smoothed the top surface of the shadow, pressing down and compacting them again as I went. This took no more than 1 minute per shadow pan.

3. Then leave to air dry for a few hours. How long depends on how much IPA you used to re-compact/ smooth the shadows. If you used as much as I did in the above picture then 5-6 hours should do it, but if like the MAC Moss Green shadow below then you’ll need to leave it about 8-10 hours.
Keep monitoring it throughout the day, or just leave it overnight.

Once dry, give it a quick spritz with makeup sanitiser and it’s done!

Laying in the palette

Not all shadow pans are magnetic. My Urban Decay ones were not. They were metal, and conduct heat (if you need to melt the glue before prising off) but weren’t magnetic. 

Most magnetic pans will come with an extra magnetic sheet, with one sticky side. These can be cut to size and stuck to the bottom of the pan. Then you’ll see that they adhere perfectly using just the magnetic pull.

The reason I started using Urban Decay shadows was for the rainbow of vibrant colours in the range. Until recently (the last 2-3 years) premium or pro makeup ranges would not carry vibrant colours in their range. They had colours, but you’d be hard pressed to find colours as vibrant as Illamasqua and Inglot carry. Urban Decay were my first ‘brights’ and I still use them today. Now I have them all in one place, it will make much easier when using them on clients.