How to De-pot your MAC Eyeshadows + ELF Elements $1 Palette! (Pic heavy post)

De-potting an eyeshadow is basically, removing the eyeshadow pan from the pot. There are many reasons why de-potting your eyeshadow, but it depends on your preference, lifestyle, etc. For those of you that have limited space for storage, have lots & lots of shadows – & tend to neglect several of your shadows, or travel often, de-potting your shadows may be something that will benefit you. I personally, never liked the idea of de-potting my shadows and I always wanted to keep them in their little black pots. I’m not sure why, but I liked the idea of owning several shades and I didn’t want to depot them all at one point and later on, wish I didn’t. Now, I notice that having so many shadows is a complete nuisance when I’m trying to find a certain shade and I have to fumble through my drawers. What I’ve also noticed is, when I use a palette, I tend to use more shades.. and my MAC shadows have become neglected with the exception of a few.
The benefits of having your shadows in a palette is: 
  • All of your shades are always handy, and you’ll never have to dig for a certain shade
  • Going with the previous bullet point, you won’t lose eye shadows (believe it or not, I have a bad habit of never closing my makeup bags, and I’ve lost eye shadows, lipsticks, you name it)
  • It is very handy for traveling – You can keep a small palette in your handbag for shadows you wear every day
  • When a bunch of shades are in front of you, you’ll see better what you have. Therefore, you’ll tend to use more shades.
  • A palette takes up much less space than a bunch of pots would – for both storage and travel.
  • Depending on how many MAC eye shadows you have, for every 6 pots, you can “Back to MAC” them for a free lipstick or lip gloss (at counters) or eyeshadow (at MAC stores). 
There are several brands to choose from, but I’m not 100% sure which palettes will fit MAC shadows. MUFE sells palettes and there are some on, but like I said, I’m not sure if any of those fit MAC shadows. Your best best are MAC palettes, as they are fairly inexpensive and are specifically for MAC shadows. There is also the ELF palette, for only a $1, which isn’t bad, and the Z-palette, which I find a bit expensive – but, since there are no slots, you aren’t only limited to MAC shadows.. you can use any shadows, blushes, etc. If you know of other palettes, please let me know in my comments below!

Once, you have your palette to fill, you’ll need a few tools for de-potting.
  • A knife that comes to a point (a butter knife doesn’t work well) – or you can use a letter opener. In addition, I use a pair of tweezers.
  • A flat iron
  • Wax paper (optional)
  • Rubbing Alcohol or Goo Gone (Goo Gone works better) and a Q-tip
  • Magnets
**If you have any of those thin, flexible business magnets you don’t need – those are perfect! Just cut it up in small squares.

Step 1: Hold your MAC shadow (lid opened) with your thumb and pointer finger near the bottom of the pot. You may want to have the pot on a flat surface, rather than in your hand, as you are working with a sharp object. Take your knife, or sharp object and poke it in the groove shown in the image below. When the knife is inserted in the groove, the piece should pop off. If it doesn’t pop off right away, jiggle it around a little bit.
Step 2: Turn your flat iron on high heat and lay it on the side. (Optional) To protect your iron, you may put a small piece of wax paper down on the plate of your iron. I don’t use wax paper, and haven’t had any problems with residue on my iron. Lay the plastic piece on the plate and depending on the heat of your flat iron, wait about a minute. The piece will be a little hot, so pick it up with tweezers or your fingers, only touching the edges.
Step 3: Turn the piece over, so the shadow is touching a flat surface. With your knife or tweezers, with a little pressure, push in the middle of the plastic. It should be somewhat soft/bendable. If not, place it on your iron for a minute longer.
Step 4: Turn the piece over. The pan should be lifted up from the plastic piece.
Step 5: The metal pan will be a little hot, so with your tweezers or knife, gently pick up the pan. 
Step 6: Lay the pan shadow side down on a flat surface. As you can see below, the pan has lots of sticky glue residue on the back.
Step 7: Cut a piece of magnet out, and stick it directly onto the back. 
Step 8: This step is optional, but if you’d like to use the label from your pot, hold the pot from the lid and hold the bottom of the pot over the iron plate. The heat from the iron will loosen the sticker to where you’ll be able to peel it off. After a minute or so, with your finger, push the sticker to the side. If it doesn’t move, hold it over the heat for a bit longer. Then, with your tweezer, peel the sticker off.
Step 9: Apply the sticker to the back of your magnet.
Step 10: If necessary, take a cotton swap with Goo Gone or Rubbing Alcohol and rub it around the edges of the pan to clean up any glue residue.

Then, put your shadows in an empty palette!
ELF Elements Custom Compact
ELF Elements Custom Compact
MAC Eyeshadows depotted into ELF Elements Custom Compact
MAC Shadows: Nehru, Carbon, Espresso, Ricepaper
The ELF palette is actually great for $1. It fits the MAC shadows pretty well and comes with a double sided sponge/brush applicator. It’s also lightweight and has a large mirror. I’ll be tossing this in my handbag for when I do my makeup on the go. 🙂

Do you use the same or a different method for de-potting? Do you like having your shadows in pots instead? Why/Why not? Let me know in the comments below!

16 thoughts on “How to De-pot your MAC Eyeshadows + ELF Elements $1 Palette! (Pic heavy post)

  1. There's the UNII palette, which I've seriously been tempted by – it's very cute and great for depotting a whole face-worth of make-up to travel around with.

    It's funny that you just posted this, I'm currently working on an ELF custom palette tutorial too – but I'm going to try remove the dividers and put in my shimmer brick, repotted blush and some eyeshadows. Love the quality of the ELF palette – pretty nice in real life – and the mirror makes it so useful on the go.


  2. I've only heard of the ones that you and Ella Pretty Blog mentioned. I don't have enough single pot shadows to want to take them apart yet but I'll keep this in mind if I ever collect too many! xx


  3. Step-by-step = AWESOME, as are ELF palettes. I love that you have no qualms combining MAC e/s and ELF products!

    I used to use a lighter and pliers, but that was tedious and I suspected the fumes were probably bad? Now I use an eyedropper and alcohol, which has the benefit of letting you do a whole bunch of e/s in one go.

    Thanks for sharing! n_n


  4. P.S. I just took a lot of her archive and it seems that she has taken many posts from you starting 2009. You might want to look over her archive since you pictures show up every few pages.


  5. I have the UNI palette and I LOVE it. The great thing about the uni palette, is that eye shadow never falls out. It has this rubber seal so everything stays inside the palette. I hate when the eye shadows get all over my stuff!


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