Friday, 27 April 2012

Pictorial: Pressing Fyrinnae Loose Eyeshadows

O hai world! I'm posting from Hong Kong once again so expect more Asian makeup swatches and magaziney ramblings for the next few months :) Feel free to email requests for products you'd like to see swatched / compared / reviewed to the usual address.

As there's nothing like needing to pack for a suddenly-impending three-month trip to whip the random-venture subset of my procrastination skillset (o yes) into shape, I present the sparkly, sparkly fruits of my last makeuppy project -- pressing all the Fyrinnae minis!

This is the first time I've repressed anything (yeah, yeah) and I'm indebted to two excellent tutorials in particular: Kristina's from Sasquatch Swatch and makeupalley's Pressing Minerals notepad. The real lightbulb moment was when I realised the process was very like making scones and therefore nothing to be scared of.

Since those tutes (and any googleable scones recipe) will tell you all you need to know, this post isn't strictly a pictorial so much as a 'here's what I did and it seemed to work fine', but hopefully it will be helpful to those newer to Fyrinnae (whose samples are much smaller now than they seem to have been a few years back) and to fellow non-US-residents without such easy access to commercial mixing mediums and tools.

Pure Glycerin and Surgical Spirit (90% pure alcohol) -- both to be found for under £2 near the first aid sections of Boots in the UK. (Sorry they're so grubby -- blackened Fyrs are tenacious.)
  1. Kitchen towel / paper for pressing
  2. Glass pipette (for alcohol -- I used the top from an empty dropper bottle)
  3. Plastic pipette (for glycerin -- you can use glass too, I just had this lying around)
  4. Aluminium 26mm pan from ebay (opt for aluminium as tin can rust) and 10p piece for pressing
  5. Tin 15mm pan from Yaby (which I bought before reading about the rust thing...) and 5p piece for pressing (which is slightly too large, so I used my pinky finger for less-filled pans)
  6. Toothpicks for mixing (I found these much better than spatulas or whatnot for such small amounts)
  7. Labels!
  8. Pen!
  9. Fyrinnae minis!
  10. (not pictured) Ethanol fumes!

1. Drop a tiny bit of glycerin into a Fyrinnae mini (straight into the pot was fine as they don't fill it with as much sparkly as they used to :/). Start off slow because you can add but you can't take away. This is about the right amount for a sample of a regular Fyrinnae shade (halve it for an Arcane Magick sample).

2. With a toothpick, mix evenly to the consistency of breadcrumbs (think scones after rubbing the butter+flour together) or slightly clumpy wet sand. There may be a slight colour change depending on the finish / shade of eyeshadow, it's no big deal. (Minimal spillage entirely due to me giggling at Season 2 of Community whilst doing this, not because the pot was too small.)

3. Add alcohol a few drops at a time, mixing until the pigment starts pulling away from the pot in a solid 'dough'. Unlike the glycerine stage, it's no big deal if you accidentally add too much -- the alcohol's all going to evaporate off anyway; too much will just mean a longer drying time. This is a bit too much alcohol for a regular sample:

This is how it looks when it's just starting to pull away / form a dough ball. The ideal is to end up with a perfectly unified ball that's picked up all the pigment naturally leaving the pot entirely clean -- think baking again. And again, don't worry about the colour change at this stage.

4. Scoop out the mixture with your mixing toothpick and squidge it into your pan more or less evenly. If making duos or trios, it's helpful to have a mixture that's a little drier (has less alcohol) and (like playdoh) more manipulable. Some pots contain more than others so it's best not to have too rigid an idea of exactly which shades you want as a duo/trio -- they may not all fit into one pan. This probably isn't an OCD-tendencies-friendly activity anyway :P Check out those polluted boundaries!

5. Place a sheet of kitchen towel over the top and gently press until you can see a pan-sized circle of alcohol soaking through.
I prefer to use my fingers to lightly press from the edges of the pan inwards -- going straight in with a coin and a vertical press can make the mixtures ooze out over the edges. And unlike making scones, it's not a lickable treat >:C

6. After a few passes, moving to a clean spot on the kitchen towel each time, when the paper stops picking up much alcohol with a gentle finger-press, you can start pressing more firmly with a coin on top; a 10p piece is just slightly smaller than a 26mm pan and works well. Feel free to do fake push-ups with a pan under each hand. A 5p piece was too big for my tiny Yaby 15mm pans, so I mostly skipped coin-pressing for those and just left them a bit longer to dry out.

Repeat until the paper stops picking up much alcohol even with a coin on top (from bottom left, the start of coin-pressing, to bottom right, the end, or, when I got bored.)

7. Pan! Ready to be labelled and then left alone to dry for 24-48 hours.

8. Bask in the glow of ethanol-sniffing and glitter-snorting achievement, in both natural light

...and with flash

10. Marvel at all the space you've saved! Hmm, the ex-pigment-drawer seems to be calling for a rainbow of coloured eyeliners.... hey, I don't make the rules.

P.S. 11. for my consolidated Yaby mini palette of pressed Fyrinnae sparkles, see here.


  1. This is genius.
    I wish I had the patience but I really don't, I gave away most of my Fyrinnae samples (which were unloved due to their unpressed status) to a lovely MUA'er.

  2. *squeaks* I am so honored to have gotten a mention and a link on your blog, dearest! :)

  3. Lol.. your diy posts crack me up!
    I've been thinking of getting some of their pigments, but really don't like fussing with pigments. I might give it a go now!

  4. what is this sorcery?! o_* this is amazing...

  5. I have almost 90 Fyrinnae mnis and I've been wanting to do this for so long! You've given me the nudge I needed. So flipping gorgeous!

  6. Drooling over these pics. Would it be too much to ask to know what it in the trio pan immediately to the left of the 2 green minis down the center? The trio has a coppery-pink, a brown and a seafoam-lilac. It's gorgeous! Enjoy HK! I loved the time I spent there.

  7. OMG--These are so pretty!!! I wonder if I should do that with my Naked Cosmetic Harvest Moon set!

  8. I actually just did almost the same, but mixing two pressed powders I had hitted pan and weren't using anymore. However, I just used alcohol, no glycerin. I guess with glycerin it can help to moisture it. I still have some other pressed powders to do the same -I'm planning to get sheer highlighters by mixing face powder with some powder highlighters. I'll try the glycerin then. Nice stay in HK.

  9. You have inspired me to do the very thing! Thank you dearly. Hope mine turn out as well as yours. Btw, where so you plan on keeping these?

  10. I am admiring your work! this pic reminds me of picasso, you could easily form a head out of it and tadaa - art in its most beautiful way!

  11. Wow- this is so impressive! I know you'll use them more now that they're pressed. Is there any difference in payoff?

    Have a great time in Hong Kong- looking forward to more posts! :D

  12. woohoo, last time I pigmentpressed was 5 years ago...I loved it and still have the pressed ones, one has this golden/green colour that is so unique

    Heve a brilliant time in Hong Kong ♥

  13. You just made me want to press some fyr! *goes and shuffles through junk box to find pans!!*

  14. Kristina: thank YOU, my lovely!

    NeenaJ: that's my favourite :D The coppery pink is Wake Not the Dead, the lilac Sequined Master and the deep plum is *I think* Velvet Vampire

    AnnaJF: the glycerin is optional for most commercial pigments / repressing makeup. The Fyrinnae pigments need them because they don't come with a binder :)

    Absy: Z-palette for now but if the collection grows maybe two exquisite etsy ones?

    Julia: I didn't have time to test every shade but the duplicates I swatched were exactly the same. Those that need Pixie Epoxy or similar still do, the those that don't (like Rapunzel) don't :) No changes in shade or glitter distribution although being pressed of course it's harder to pick up the same amount of pigment as when dipping into a jar of the loose stuff.

    LJ: booze first! :D

  15. Kate! U are so brilliant!
    I just found out about glycerin recently from a MU artist.. I bought all the stuff needed to press pigments but haven't get into action.

    This post is awesome and spurred me more ideas in pressing pigments!

    Thank you!

  16. These are gorgeous- great work! This gives me motivation :)

  17. i am impatiently awaing the arrival of my pans now! eeekk

  18. This is amazing, I think i'm finally going to go buy myself some of fyrinnae's eyeshadows now. Thanks for making such a useful post!

  19. Thanks so much for the write up! I'd been using various mixing mediums on my loose shadows but always ended up with hard, unworkable results that barely resemble the beautiful original shades. Ruined many a fyrinnae sample as a result and eventually threw the towel in altogether. :( Will try your method (minimal binder, mostly alcohol) a go and hope for better luck!

  20. Does a Fyrinnae mini fit pretty much exactly into the Yaby 15mm? Trying to work out what size pans I need... Thanks for this write up, it's been a massive help.

    1. Pretty much! I usually have a bit left over for the regular shades, and most Arcane Magics don't quite fill up a 15mm pan to the top :)

  21. Just followed this tutorial. The pressed version is just as good as the loose. No colour change. Thanks!