Welcome back to another article for CSTD (I hate those initials….sounds dodgy, doesn’t it?) and today’s topic is on loose pigments. I will go through the how-to and the how-comes and everything in between. I shall try to give a thorough enough guide to help you out but not one long enough to make you want to fall asleep.
So what are loose pigments? The names vary for this type of product; they might be called loose eye shadow or pigments but in all it’s the same thing. So rather than your average pressed eye shadow, loose pigments usually come in small jars, with or without sifters, and is full of powder which serves as eye shadow. The ones you see firmly in pans are obviously pressed. Below are some examples:
Pigment jar with sifter Pigment jar without sifter A pressed eye shadow
So if you’re looking to venture out into using loose pigments, for whatever reason, there are a few points you need to take into account before doing so. Pigments can be very messy and it’s easy to spill and so when tackling this product you must A) be very steady handed and B) you should be aware of your surroundings. Don’t let your cat or hamster knock it over! So if the product you’re buying happens to have a sifter, such as the first picture to the left above shows, it will be safer and you’ll probably end up wasting less product. However with a bit of care and attention, jars without sifters are just as good and the product is no less of good quality. But look at my table and how messy it really can be. But then again I’m not known for being tidy or organised.
Now because of the above reason, I would suggest that the first question you ask yourself is whether to apply your eye make up before or after your foundation. This is simply because with pigments falling loose it is likely that it will fall on your cheeks and ruin your foundation. The easiest way out is the apply your foundation after dealing with your loose pigment eye shadows. However if this is not possible or not your choice of routine then a tip for you is to use some sort of loose powder and apply across your face. This area includes the tops of your cheeks and under your eyes if need be. This shields your skin from any falling pigment and one you finish your make up you can sweep the powder off your face and your foundation should be totally unaffected.
A powder I do recommend is something like ELF’s High Definition Powder where the powder is translucent and light. This helps me out all the time. Another key point you have to make sure is that when sweeping away the product do not use your fingers or a stiff, densely bristled brush. What this will do is smear the pigments into the skin and is more likely to ruin your foundation. When choosing a tool to swipe off your ‘catchment powder’ I would suggest something fluffy and big such as a big kabuki brush or just a large, soft powder brush. The one above to the right is ELF’s kabuki brush which is perfect for this job.
Speaking of brushes, it’s also key to look at what kind of eye shadow brush to be using when applying loose eye shadows. In a nutshell, it’s definitely recommended that you use a brush that is stiff and shorter bristled. You want one with higher resistance (i.e.when you push the bristles they have some sort of give and your fingers do not run through it) and you want one that is densely packed. This will pack on colour well and keep the product from flaking about.
Above are examples of brushes that I’m talking about. The first picture on the left are brushes I do not suggest using such as MAC’s 226 which is a blending brush with a tapered end. This is fluffy, loose and will not pick up or pack on colour. Similarly the shading brush next to it is good for swiping colour from a pressed shadow but is not suitable for a pigment. However the picture to the right shows two types of brushes worth using. You can see a difference in their shape and density. Both brushes are short and have good resistance. The one on the left of that picture is from ELF and the one on the right is from ECO tools.
So once you have selected your brush you will want to take mind of a make-up base. I know it seems like there is so much to remember and take into consideration but bear with me. The reason you need a ‘base’ or ‘eye primer’ is because it will help keep that pigment on your eye and not fall off of your face. Good primers also keep the product from creasing (this is where your eye shadow forms lines and cracks) and it will also make your eye shadow more vibrant, depending on base colour and quality.
So bases will include anything from concealer, specially formulated eye primers, eye ‘paints’, cake or gel eyeliners or sometimes just a good moisturising cream. The ones I suggest will always work are specially formulated products such as Too Faced’s Eye Shadow Insurance or Urbay Decay’s Primer Potions. Upon Youtube it’s the most popular two that are frequently used but there are plenty out there if you do not like these brands or products however they are highly rated in my books and nearly all make-up guru’s books.
So above are some examples of things I’m talking about. The first on the left is a gel eyeliner by MAC and beside it is MAC’s Paint Pots which are paint like eye shadows. The picture on the right is my favourite: Too Faced’s Shadow insurance. Remember when applying these, make sure it’s well blended into the skin and smooth so you avoid clumping!
Last but not least there is a question of whether to apply your pigment wet or dry. If you choose to apply it dry then it is fine especially after you have applied a base. This will mean it sticks and although there may be some fall out from your brush, it will be minimal. However if you choose opt for ‘foiling’ your shadow (i.e. using it wet) (which by the way makes your loose pigment brighter, more vibrant and sometimes dewy…not to mention next to no fall out and ease of application) then this is worth remembering. When foiling your pigments you must have in mind what you are going to use to do so. Some use water but some argue that it leaves their eye shadows crumbly. It’s become a sure fire way to use something like a ‘mixing medium’ which is glycerine mixed with water to mix with your loose pigments. You can Google that or you can head to your nearest MAC store where they actually sell this in a bottle, over priced.
Alternatively you can use spritzing products such as the MAC Fix+ or like me, the Body Shop’s Vitamin E Face Mist. A lot of people have turned to products like the TBS’s Vitamin E Face Mist because it’s cheaper and just as effective. When using a mist it’s advised you spritz your brush and then pick up your eye shadow. When dipping into the pigment I suggest you dip into a readily scooped out amount of pigment. This is because you wouldn’t want to put a wet brush into your pot of pigment because it will cause moisture to clump up your product and also it will give ease of bacteria forming.
It is slightly different when using larger amounts of wet solution but it’s not rocket science.
I like to use eye drops which is also widely used too. My choice is Blink but that’s only because I have it for the use of my contacts wearing. This is how you foil them: scoop out your pigment into a lid, Petri dish or palette and apply one or two drops of your eye drops or mixing medium or water. You then take your brush and mix the two together. You should get a sort of thick like paste but make sure there are no clumps but make sure it’s not runny. With some trial and error it will become obvious to you what consistency to have. I recommended one or two drop of per application and it’s better to add too little than not enough because you can always add more.
I hope it’s become apparent to you the outcomes of applying a pigment wet or dry is. The picture above illustrates it in an obvious fashion. The swatches on the left sides (both green and blue) are powdery with lots of what will be fall out on top of the shadow; colour payoff is good and will be easy to blend. The swatches to the right of the pairs are more sold with no fall out. These have been applied wet. The colours are more vibrant and smooth in texture.
So you can choose what and how to use pigments. Something I didn’t mention in my YouTube video is that pigments are not just for your eyes. You can use them for your lips (choose colours wisely, people!) or you can use on cheeks or mix into hair wax to create coloured wash-out hair wax.
Have fun with your pigments and I’ll be back to save the day once again!