Friday, April 26, 2013

Discovering How To Press Mineral Powder Makeup

I recently re-discovered my mineral blushes and eyeshadows during my makeup cleaning-up/decluttering.  These had gone underground in a sense because they were just plain inconvenient to use after the intial "ooh-new-product" phase wore off. It is of course much faster and easier to open up a pressed shadow palette than to unscrew multiple lids and deak with loose powder for every mineral color I wanted to use.  Read on for my adventures in discovering how to press minerals!

Aug 2013 - Read my recently updated post on pressing loose mineral eyeshadows! More photos of the pressing process included.

Those of you who have ever fixed a broken pressed shadow/blush/powder with alcohol before will know that it is the same process to press a non-mineral powder makeup (ie. mix the powder with alcohol, wait until it's sandy/clay-like consistency, then press). The reason this won't work with mineral powders is that minerals are more finely milled and lack the "binders" that will hold the powder together (one of the reasons mineral makeup is toted as better or healthier in some way is that they lack a lot of chemical ingredients, many of which work as "binders").  One binder that many have used in pressing is the Face and Body Mixing Medium by MAC (used by Koren of EnkoreMakeup in his Youtube tutorial on pressing minerals).   Koren talks about needing a product that contains glyerin derivative Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone (silicone derivative), and Xantham Gum.  He also talks about needing some oils such as jojoba or grapeseed.  I have also heard of glyerine being used alone or jojoba oil being used alone as binders on various other blogs. Koren does do a very detailed tutorial and I would recommend watching his video first if you are new to pressing.  Unfortunately for me, when I attempted to find this MAC mixing medium, it turned out to be only available in pro stores :(  This is also not a cheap product to buy if you are only going to use a few drops to press your powders (unless you work as a MUA in fashion/editorial in which case you will of course have other uses for this).

So off I went to experiment with the other methods, which was glycerin and jojoba oil.  I bought glycerin at the local drug store for $6.  It was a HUGE bottle...but not expensive, and I have heard of mixing water and glycerin as a moisturizer so may try this one day!  I then bought jojoba oil at a local health foods store ($20 for a small bottle).  Jojoba oil is known to contain wax-like compounds, which made me think it could work on its own as a binder. It can otherwise be used on pretty much any part of the body as a moisturizer. anti-aging agent, or even makeup remover.  So even though it was expensive, I feel like there will be many more uses for it in the future so I didn't mind.

For my "trials" I pressed two mineral blushes from Bare Escentuals, one using glyercin, and the other using jojoba oil. Though the process and the end product LOOKED similar, the jojoba version applied much smoother and even felt smoother/softer to the touch. The glycerin version turned out a harder and grittier pressed product, and did not apply as evenly. So I heartily recommend jojoba oil over glycerin! Yes it's more expensive but you will get many other uses out of the bottle! (I will be using it to make some lip balms down the road in a future post!)

Bit of a long post today, so thanks for bearing with my adventure in learning! Below is the method I used to press my mineral powders:

- mineral makeup (I recommend starting with something you don't care too much about to practice)
- jojoba oil (you can try glycerin if you like, but I much prefer jojoba oil)
- isopropyl alcohol (also called "rubbing alcohol")
- mixing container
- mixing stick (toothpick or metal spatula)
- pan to press powder into (I bought an empty magnetized palette from eBay)
- clean cloth
- coin or something hard that fits into the shape of your pan to use as a tamper

1) pour/scoop mineral makeup into a mixing container (I used an old contact lens case)
2) drip jojoba oil into your powder slowly and DROP BY DROP, until you achieve a wet clay-like consistency. (do NOT add too much or it will take forever to dry!)
3) add a couple of drops of alcohol to better mix (I found this step made it easier to mix and transfer, as alcohol evaporates easily it won't hamper your process too much)
4) transfer to pan
5) let dry until consistency is more clay/wet sand like (do NOT press if it's too liquidey or pastey). You can speed up this step by blasting a hair dryer over this.
5) lay clean cloth over the product, and press down using coin or bottle cap or anything that shape-wise fits into your pan (press hard!)
6) lay out to dry (I waited 2 days, but probably a day is enough depending on how humid is the area you live in)
7) enjoy your new pressed minerals!  
Mineral blushes pressed. Will do another post when I press my eyeshaodws down the road and see how that goes!


  1. Thank You! Not as many DIY pressed mineral eyeshadow tutorials as there should be. Very helpful. I was hoping to use jojoba oil versus the other options. Guess I'll go ahead and give it a try!

  2. this is awesome! i have some loose mineral eyeshadows and blushes that i find bothersome to use, so i rarely use them, despite how gorgeous they are. i just need to get some pans! thanks so much for this post.

  3. thank you for info about Mineral Powder Makeup!!!

  4. This is exciting! I am trying to make my own makeup, and hopefully one day I could sell it on etsy, but all the recipes I am looking at are for mineral makeup. It is nice to know that you can easily use jojoba oil to bind it all together(with a little alcohol). I may try this out! Thank you!

    1. Glad you found this post helpful. Good luck with your own makeup line!

  5. I tried making lipstick out of a crayon using jojoba oil and it made it more orange than it should have been. Does the yellow jojoba oil affect the color of pressed blushes and eyeshadows??

    1. Not that I have noticed... I'm only using few drops though

  6. Thanks for sharing! Could you share the link/resource for how to just use jojoba oil?

    1. This is my more detailed tutorial on using jojoba oil to press mineral powder shadows:
      It still requires the use of alcohol, as I've found it dries faster this way (it doesn't affect the binding)