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How to Repair Smashed Shadow

By Amalah

Dear Amalah,
I just returned home from a LOVELY tropical vacation (wait, scratch that, I should be courting your sympathy here)…uh, a very long and taxing journey. And while unpacking I discovered that two of my favorite eyeshadows shattered in my luggage. The compacts are okay, but the shadows themselves are cracked and broken and gross. Is there any way to save them?
I’ve already tried using them a la loose powder, but they aren’t QUITE powdery enough for that, plus they make a terrible mess every time I open the compacts and I don’t want to lose even MORE shadow — they aren’t anything super expensive but one of them is a discontinued color that I love more than lovely tropical vacations. And the other one is practically brand new and I guess I have anger issues because I am really worked up about this. So…I really hope you can help.
Save My Shadows!

Relax! Deep breaths! We can repair your shadows! We have the technology! In fact, we have TWO ways to save your smashed shadows. The proper and expert way…and the lazy and half-assed way. Guess which one I have personal, first-hand experience with.
For the proper and expert way, there’s really no better demonstration than this two-part tutorial by YouTube guru/professional makeup artist EnKore:
Part One:

Part Two:

Following these steps pretty much guarantees that your shadows (or blushes or bronzers or anything similar) will be returned to pristine, like-new condition. It’s also handy if you want to mix colors or repot them into new palettes or compacts.
shattered%20shadow.jpgBut perhaps…you care, but you don’t care QUITE that much. Perhaps you simply don’t have that kind of time to devote to saving a $6 compact of pigmented powder. Perhaps you just need a quick solution to get you and your shattered shadow through the morning and out the door and you promise, baby, you’ll break out the Ziploc bag and the alcohol and the rolling pin another day, but for now you just need your flipping EYESHADOW ON YOUR EYES.
Step One. Place compact on a hard, flat surface.
Step Two. Grab tissue or small sheet of plastic wrap.
Step Three. Place tissue or small sheet of plastic wrap over compact.
Step Four. Use your fingertip to very firmly press down on the powder, mashing it back into a somewhat solid mass.
Step Five. Repeat as needed, every few weeks or whenever you notice the compact is shedding excess powder onto your makeup brush.
Aaaaand…that’s it. Sure, it won’t necessarily be the prettiest powder anymore — you’ll likely see bumps and ridges where the deepest cracks used to be and it will remain somewhat more fragile than a new compact (hence the need to repress it occasionally), but you’ll be able to dab a brush over it and use it like any other shadow/blush/bronzer/whatever once more.
Also, please stay tuned for Alpha Mom’s Guide to Everything… in 5 simple steps. We’re debuting soon after Labor Day.

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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does this work for a pressed powder compact, too… because I notorious break those powders all of the time.


That is incredible, I just threw away three NARS eyeshadows last week after my daughter dropped them. Now you tell me.


Is it possible to use 40% alcohol? Will it just take longer to dry, then?
Great tutorial, btw!