I’ve been doing a lot of de-potting lately and thought I’d share my de-potted palettes with you along with some information on how you can de-pot your own make-up.


What is De-Potting?

De-potting is literally taking the product, be it an eye shadow or a lipstick, from the original bulky and separate packages and condensing it into palettes of your own design. This enables us to easily access our favourite or most used products from different brands or releases all in one container and saves a lot of space in our drawers and make-up kits.

Make-up artists have been de-potting products since the early theatrical era when Leichner first invented grease paints.  Product packaging as I’m sure you know can be very bulky and heavy and thus quite quickly becomes unwieldy when putting together a kit for a travelling MUA or artiste. Foundations in separate heavy glass bottles, 3 shadow shades in one brand and half a dozen in another, several lipsticks and your kit already weighs too heavy and seems huge until you take it apart.

What Can You De-Pot?

Almost anything can be in some way de-potted or condensed to make it smaller to fit into a kit! Products that come in metal pans you can lift out of the packaging and cream products that don’t dry out are some of the easiest to work with but there’s a solution to pretty much every problem.

I de-pot several types of product:

Water Activated Make-Up


Eyeshadow pans

Blush & bronzer pans

You can buy pre-made palettes to put your de-potted products into, Z-Palette, Crowd Colour and Unii Palette produce a range of magnetic palettes suitable for pressed powder pans and Vue Set produce an array of plastic boxes and palettes for storing small items and cream products such as lipsticks or grease paints.

Vueset_Tahiti_24_Sections__94351.1388514188.600.600My favourite of the Vue Set palettes is this one, the ‘Tahiti’. The wells are the perfect size for holding a lipstick or a refill of Kryolan Supracolour.
My water activated paints are in an acrylic box sold as a bead box in Hobbycraft! It works so well I’ll be going back for another.


Should I Be De-Potting Too?

If you have a huge collection of single eye shadows that you don’t use because they’re too much hassle, de-potting them into a palette could be the answer. If you’re running out of space in your kit or your storage, de-potting some of your products could help you. If your kit is too big and heavy de-potting is your friend!
If you buy a product for the enjoyment of its packaging then leave it as it is or if necessary use a de-potting technique that will not harm the packaging so you can pop the pans you want to take with you in your Z-Palette in and out of it when you need to.

I don’t de-pot everything by any means, sometimes its just too heartbreaking to take a product out of it’s house – especially lipsticks! As a result I only de-pot the lipsticks I want to have in my kit and there are methods that allow you to put some product into a palette to take with you and have the bullet at home still intact and usable.

10 Tips Before You Start

  1. Do your de-potting in batches, it makes life so much easier!
  2. Make sure your hands and equipment (palette, spatulas etc.) are clean.
  3. If you are de-potting creams plan which one will go where before starting
  4. Be safety concious! If you are using a heat based method to remove pans from their packaging be careful with your heat source and beware of melted plastic.
  5. Put the sticker from the product packaging on the back of the removed pan or on the26962099571_ab0c70abba_z back of the well in your cream palette or write a new sticker an apply it to the product.
  6. If you bend the metal pan when de-potting eyeshadows or blush pans the product will crack and break, the bigger the pan the more likely this is to happen. It’s worth researching methods others have used to de-pot a particular brand if you have difficulty.
  7. You can ‘fix’ cracked and broken shadows and blushes with clear rubbing alcohol so have some on hand.
  8. Do not de-pot products that will dry out and become unusable eg. cream eyeshadows or gel eyeliners unless you are 100% sure you have found an air tight container. Vue Set for example are not air tight.
  9. Take your time! If you haven’t tried it before maybe have a practice run on something you no longer use.
  10. Recycle your empties and make use of schemes like Back To MAC.

Have you done any de-potting? Would you like a tutorial on de-potting a particular type of product? Let me know in the comments or on social media.

2 thoughts on “De-Potting!

  1. I really need to do this with some lipsticks but never seem to get round to it. After your back to Mac reminder though I will! A new lipstick is a great incentive for rounding up the nearly finished ones. Thank you for the prompt xxx

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