Sunday, 11 April 2010

The Depotting Project: Making my lipsticks more travel-friendly

A couple of weeks ago, I rummaged in my handbag on a night out to find a lipstick to wear. Instead of just finding one, I found five, and what's more, two glosses. As one of my male cohorts for the evening put it: 'AHHH, XX Chromosome overload!'

Choices, it seems, are difficult for me. In general, travelling (I would hesitate to use the word 'gallivanting') for me is about making choices. Outfits, appropriate shoes, what books do I need? and how much makeup can I stuff in my bag that will allow me the luxury of choice but without taking up too much room? And if, horror of horrors, I get too far into my head, it all descends into complete madness: what if I fancy bright eyeshadows? I'll need lipsticks to match. And what if I fancy rocking a red lip? Glosses? Lip balms? Kitchen sink?

I can create endless dilemmas in this way, really. Endless sophistry, eternal false reasoning plague me in my sleep with an awful 'but what if it's hot and all you've got is sweaters?!' chorus.

As it happened, a genius in the form of a lovely lady on YouTube provided me with an answer, at least for the lipstick dilemma, which is something I've been having trouble streamlining for some time. Instead of taking whole tubes of lipstick with me on my travels and goings-out, I've been depotting them, melting them into metal pans and putting them in a travel-sized quad.

It's all pretty easy, really, and far too simple - so simple I can understand why I didn't think of it sooner; it's just something so easy to overlook.

You will need:
  • Lipsticks of choice - matte lipsticks are more difficult to depot, however.
  • Metal eyeshadow pans - I got mine from Stars Makeup Haven, though I can't personally recommend their service. They are the most prominent place to order from.
  • Surgical Spirit/Isopropyl Alcohol - this is to sterilise all your utensils.
  • A knife/cutting implement
  • Tweezers
  • A candle
  • A fire-maker
  • Magnets/Magnetic tape to affix to the back of the metal pan
  • Something to cut on - I just used a plate which I sterilised beforehand.
  • A quad/palette to store your finished pans in.
  • Labels - so you know what's what!
  1. Start by sterilising everything - the pan, the knife, the tweezers, the surface you're cutting on... Everything. You want to keep your makeup as sterile as you can.
  2. Cut a small amount of lipstick from the end of your lipstick - don't be scared! If you're using a MAC lipstick or one of a similar width, the amount pictured in image 'a' should be about right. Deposit the chunk of lipstick into the metal pan.
  3. Light your candle (carefully!) and grip the pan with the tweezers - preferably off to one side.
  4. Carefully hold the pan over the candle flame and melt the lipstick, shaking the pan gently to disperse the product evenly, as shown in image b.
  5. Carefully set it down - don't touch because you WILL BURN YOURSELF (and it really hurts). Allow to cool and set - it shouldn't take very long at all.
  6. Affix magnet and place it in your quad. Admire your new handbag-sized lipstick collection.
Of course, the downside of this process is you need a lip-brush to apply your lipsticks. For me, it isn't much bother and I'm happy to trade that in for the ability to carry 4 lipsticks around with me and have the opportunity of choice.

And anyway, you could always apply with a (clean) finger in a pinch, and dab it on lightly like a stain.

And if you get a bit depotting-happy - you could always store them in a MAC 15-pan palette whilst you've already got your top 4.

At least I have an excuse to carry 4 lipsticks around with me now, anyway. Even if it's still a bit excessive, at least I have more handbag space :)


  1. Great post lovely, and great idea :)

  2. Love the idea of depotting the lipstick, but would probably be too much of a chicken myself to dare... xxx

  3. Is it possible to burn the lipstick? 'Cause I once burned a salad in the kitchen so I wouldn't put it past myself to be able to burn a lipstick.

  4. What a great idea! I'll have to try that for sure!

  5. @steph0188 Thank you lovely :) xxx

    @Rocaille It did take a lot of courage - but once I'd cut the first lipstick the rest followed easily. I didn't want to 'spoil' my lipsticks, but I'm glad I did it - I have so much choice! xxx

  6. @Jodie_ox Thanks lovely :) x

    @Posey Damn, we've gotta get you some cookery lessons. I guess it IS possible to burn it, but only if you hold it over the flame too long. It melts super-quickly, though. Less than 10 seconds, I think, especially if you are sure to agitate the pan whilst melting it. Matte lipsticks would probably be easier to burn because they don't melt as well, but on the whole, I think you'd be okay :)

    @BealeCheeks It's so simple, yet ridiculously effective. I don't have to spend 10 minutes choosing a lipstick anymore, as I've got 4 :)


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