Depotting Tutorial: How To Depot MAC Single Eyeshadow Using Flat Iron


Hi everyone!

I’m really glad that you all love the Eyeshadow Tutorial for Asian Eyes series. There’ll definitely be more of such in the future!

Let’s move away from makeup application tutorials for a while because I’ve got a new set of tutorials for you!

Some of you may not have many eyeshadows (yet), some of you have A LOT. Some day in time the lot is going to spill all over the place, and when you need to deal with more than 3 colors at a time, it is a pain searching for them all over the place and opening the pots one by one.

To me, at least, it is a real hassle.

I bought the Z-palette some time ago but it wasn’t until recently that I decided to depot most of my single eyeshadows because:

1)   The pots take up space

2)   They are stacked up, so those at the bottom are often forgotten

3)   I want to be able to see most of my eyeshadows at one glance

4)   I want to bring one palette on a holiday, not individual pots of eyeshadows that I risk dropping on the floor when in a hurry. (But of course, you may argue that putting all your eggs in a basket may cause you to end up with none at all)

5)   I need a reason to get another Z-palette. Hoho. (My current leopard print one is filled already! No more space!)

Tools needed for depotting eyeshadows:

  • Flat iron
  • Aluminium foil or wax paper
  • Push pin or thumb tack
  • A tool with a sharp and strong tip
  • Isopropyl Alcohol (70% is fine)
  • A dish (to pour the alcohol in)
  • Cotton buds
  • Cloth or towel
  • Magnet
  • Scissors
  • Sticker
  • Pen

I don’t use a knife like some beauty bloggers/vloggers recommend because I have a terrible fear of knives. Is there a name for this phobia? In place of a knife, I use a less threatening instrument – something you’d see in nail salons.

I also prefer not to use anything that involves flames as open fire exposes my health to unnecessary, unhealthy fumes. It’s not very safe – both to me and the product. Instead, I use a hair straightener for heat and also rubbing alcohol to melt glue.

For the first installment of the How To Depot Your Eyeshadows series, we’ll start with MAC single eyeshadows. You can certainly buy the pro palette refill pans to eliminate the hassle, but these are sold only at one place in Singapore – Ngee Ann City.

Alright! I’m gonna depot the MAC Stars ‘N’ Rockets Single Eyeshadow. I love this purplish-pink color. So very sweet and romantic!

5 Easy Steps to Depot MAC Eyeshadows:

Step 1: Separate the tray from the pot

See the gap?

Wedge the tool between the gap, carefully.

Have your flat iron turned on in the meantime so as to let it heat up and be ready for Step 2.

It should pop out easily.

Step 2: Melt the glue

The flat iron setup should have been done at the start, so that it has time to heat up while you were popping the tray out. I’m all for concurrent tasks.

Use a scissors or thong or anything that extends – to avoid getting your fingers burnt – to place the detached tray onto the aluminum foil.

And while it’s baking, start on the next eyeshadow pot! Multi-tasking FTW! 😀

The new baby is MAC Free To Be, one of my favorite colors to apply on the Eye Contour Area.

Depending on the temperature of your flat iron, the time taken to melt the back of the plastic tray will vary. When melted, it will looked deformed, indicating that the glue has melted.

Step 3: Push the pan out from the tray

Push a thumb tack into the middle of the tray. If the metal does not easily detach itself from the plastic tray, DON’T FORCE. Severe consequences may result. Simply pop the item back between the prongs of the flat iron.

It usually is very easy to separate the MAC eyeshadow pan and tray though, and it should look like this.

Step 4: Clean the under side

This is where the dish comes into use. Pour the Isopropyl Alcohol into the dish and dip the cotton bud into it.

This step is essential in ensuring a clean, smooth, and flat surface for the magnet to stick on.

Step 5: Paste a magnet and name it

Cut out the magnet and write the name of the eyeshadow.

Or you could tear out the sticker on the back of the eyeshadow pot and paste it on top of the magnet.

There! Done! 😀

I prefer not using the original MAC sticker though coz the larger circle makes the magnet less strong.

Oh I unknowingly took a picture of another MAC eyeshadow instead, haha! MAC Gorgeous Gold is another favorite eyeshadow of mine. I love anything gold, seriously.

Other eyeshadow depotting tutorials:


Have you depotted your MAC eyeshadows before? What method did you use?


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About Bun Bun

Hello! My name is Juli and Bun Bun is my alter-ego. I blog to share my love for makeup, how to apply it, and what works or what doesn’t work, all from an Asian perspective.

My first makeup product was a shimmery light blue lipstick which I proudly wore all over my eyelids and lips. It cost $2.50, felt like $250, and made me feel like a million bucks.

  • Sunny

    Yup I’ve used exactly the same method, though my MAC shadows are now housed in a MAC palette. I’ll get a z palette at some point though, because I want to depot my blushes but Tarte ones apparently don’t fit in MAC palettes. Thanks for the tutorial Bun Bun! I’m sure a lot of people will find it useful!

    • Bun Bun

      You can remove the insert from the MAC palette so that the Tarte ones can fit. :)

  • BooBooNinja

    I enjoy depotting. It’s fun, like arts and crafts :)
    I only have 2 small Z-palettes, but I’ve converted a tin for mints into a mini “palette” to hold my homeless eyeshadows. While I may invest in a unii palette at some point, this system works for me because it forces me to keep my collection small.

    I thought of you the other day when I was pulling out my homeless Milani Luminoso baked blush.
    I’ve decided to crush it and transfer it into a container with a sifter. I’ll actually make use of the blush this way! Since depotting it, I’ve kept it wrapped up in tissue and in a small zip-loc bag. Not conducive to use.

    Have a great weekend!

    • Bun Bun

      Me too! A great sense of achievement and satisfaction is attained every time I successfully depot my eyeshadows. I feel like a skilled craftsman. Lol.

      Thanks for thinking of me, dear! *touched* But does crushing the blush really work? It seems like it has made you more likely to use it but at the end you said it’s not conducive?

      • BooBooNinja

        Oops! I meant that keeping the depotted (and uncrushed) blush wrapped in a tissue and in a small bag was not conducive for use. I think I’ll actually use it once I transfer it to a sifter jar. :)

  • Katrina

    Never tried depotting before but my UNII Palette is on its way and I am so excited! Thanks!

    • Bun Bun

      You’ll find this article, and the ones coming up, very helpful when you get to play with your UNII Palette, Katrina! 😀

  • Marsgolfer

    it takes about 8 seconds to do this with a lighter under it instead, and it doesn’t damage anything!!!

  • Marsgolfer

    It takes about 8 seconds to do the same thing with a lighter underneath..and IT DOES not damage anything….just push it out, and attach to whatever palette you’re using…the glue is usually enough, or some nailpolish…depending on your palette…I use CD cases, one for each color set, although I have so many, I need more than one, sometimes:) for each color “set”…don’t be afraid to use the lighter…it works, and saves tons of time!!!