How to: Depot Makeup

So many people have “declutter” on their list of new years resolutions. Depotting is a great way to declutter your makeup collection by removing pans of makeup from their individual compacts and placing them into a single palette.

I went on a bit of a depotting craze over break, and I’ve finally put all of the footage together! The video has some instruction, but I wanted to put more detailed instructions and my tips in a blog post in case you want it.

That video definitely doesn’t hide just how many products I depotted. I didn’t even show the second palette with the blushes! As I was packing to go home back in December, I noticed just how many individual compacts I had, and how little I really used those products simply because they were getting buried or forgotten about in my makeup drawers. So, I packed them all up and brought them home, and I filmed as much of the depotting process as I could. I had a few mishaps along the way, which I’ll be talking about here.

Magnetic Compacts

I included these even though they’re very straightforward. Some compacts (typically high-end) have a small hole in the back that allows you to push the pan right out, as it uses magnets instead of glue. The Tarte blushes in the video give you a pretty good view of that. Some compacts also use a little glue, so sometimes using a little heat can help get the pan out, which you can see me doing with my Stila eyeshadows.

Plastic Compacts

Many plastic compacts have two pieces to them: the outside piece with the lid attached, and an inside piece where the pan is glued in. To depot these, you first want to remove that inner piece. You should be able to see a small gap around it, so once you get your tweezers or spatula in there, the makeup will pop out. You can see in the video that sometimes the makeup comes flying out, so go slowly and make sure to aim the makeup away from your face.

After you have your inner pieces with the pans, heat them to loosen the glue (more below) and pry the pan out. I had a lot more trouble with these than I did the no-compact makeup, and a couple of them still haven’t been finished because I really couldn’t loosen the pan.

Heating Compact Parts and No-Compact Makeup

This is the most time-intensive and dangerous part of depotting. I like to use my flat iron/hair straightener with some wax paper over top to protect it from melting plastic.

  1. Turn you flat iron onto a low-medium setting
  2. Lay your makeup on top in 30-second increments until the pan moves around when you poke at it (you can see this in the video with the Wet ‘n Wild palette)
  3. Using a small metal tool, carefully add pressure in between the plastic and the pan. Corners are generally more effective than the sides. Eventually you should be able to scoop your tool underneath the pan and lift it out.
  4. The pan will be hot, so lift it with your tool and lay it aside to cool down.
  5. Clean the glue residue and any makeup off the sides and bottom of the pans using some cloth or a cotton round with rubbing alcohol.

Tip: It’s difficult to not accidentally stab the makeup during these steps. Go slow and don’t use too much force if you can. If you accidentally stab it, tip the powder off (as you see me do in the video) and try again. If you stab it too many times and it cracks, you may be able to save it using rubbing alcohol (there are a ton of tutorials for this on Pinterest), otherwise throw it away.

Assembling the New Palette

Make sure your pans are clean, and test if they’re magnetic by putting them into the palette and seeing if they slide around. If they do, they will need a magnet. Most empty palettes come with small magnetic stickers that you can add to the back of your makeup. Once your pans will stay put in the palette, load them in!

I hope you found this post helpful in your decluttering adventures!

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