Testing Beauty Hacks: Removing NARS Sticky Coating

I was reorganizing my makeup the other day and noticed that some of my NARS compacts had gotten sticky. Like, covered-in-glue sticky. That’s what I get for storing them on top of my makeup storage instead of in it.

A quick search online told me that this happens with compacts that have a matte coating. While the smooth, rubberized finish looks and feels great when you buy it, it gets dirty fast and over time the coating begins to break down. Leaving you with a sticky mess.

Through this research, I found a hack: Wipe the compact down with rubbing alcohol. It removes the worn coating, which leaves your compact shiny, but removes the sticky problem. The blog posts discussing this hack showed some convincing before-and-after photos, but these were all with compacts that had minimal areas with the matte rubber coating, like Smashbox or Becca compacts. But in these photos, the sticky mess was completely gone. I didn’t mind losing the sleek matte look if it meant I could touch my compacts without my fingers getting sticky.

So, here’s what I was working with:

An image of the sticky NARS compacts, before cleaning them.

You can see the texture inconsistencies in the photo, particularly in that gnarly compact on the left. They were all sticky to the touch, especially on the sides and edges.

I used both cotton pads and tissues for this process and found that I needed the toughness of the cotton pad, although some of the cotton got itself stuck to my fingernails in the process. It would have been even worse if my nails had been painted. If you try this with your own aging compacts, make sure to remove your nail polish first.

I tried using only a little rubbing alcohol, as quite a few blog posts said to avoid using too much. However, the coating on my compacts was tough. The cotton pads and tissues kept getting stuck in the glue, and nothing seemed to be rubbing off like in those beautiful before-and-after photos I’d seen. The cotton pads had some brown-black substance on them, but barely made a dent on the compact. I even tried using my nails through the cotton pad to dig into the compacts a little. That just seemed to make it worse.

Close-up of a damaged compact.

The back of the compact.

After a few minutes, I noticed the compacts starting to get blueish bleached spots. I’d apparently gone too far with the alcohol, despite not even removing the matte coating entirely. You can see that some spots are shiny, but most of the compacts are still matte or mostly matte.

Discolored NARS compacts.

Oh, and not only are these compacts now discolored, they’re still sticky as hell. It was slightly better the next morning (although more of the color had bleached out), but not better enough justify ruining them! Time to de-pot…

This hack may work for compacts with only a little rubberized material, but for entirely rubberized compacts, I’m calling this hack a FAIL!

Have you tried saving your rubberized compacts from becoming sticky disasters? Let me know your tricks in the comments!

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