A Lipstick Collection Pair Down and How-To

Interesting fact for you: I’m an avid YouTube lurker. I use the term lurker because the day when I get the balls to post a YT vid will never quite come. I rarely comment, but I’m an avid follower of many  “famous” YouTubers like TiffanyD, PrettyShinySparkly, Michele1218, and Emilynoel83, to name a few. There’s been a recent stream of makeup purge videos that influenced me to get inspired and clear out my hoard collection of MAC lipsticks. I made the decision that, eventually, I would depot what I had and pair my collection down substantially; it was a nice compromise to be sure money wasn’t wasted in not keeping those colours I’d just fallen out of love with but may use eventually on a client or in a certain look.

I’m not a huge fan of MAC lip products, gloss included, if I’m being 100% honest. However, they come with a great colour range for many skin tones, and so work well in my kit. If I am able to put a NYX liner or one of my preferred MAC liners underneath the colour with enough of a moisture base {read: my beloved Carmex from the drugstore…none of that expensive Dior rose crap for me!}, they last a little longer and look better in photos. They are not, though, my favourite for every day wear. I’ll do a post one day on my faves for every day!

IMATS Toronto was this past weekend – I, of course, made a pilgrimage and bought so many things I needed wanted. Checkout my Instagram for a few pics, including a haul! One of these needs wants was a palette for lip colours. Enter the much loved Z-Palette and metal lip wells for de-potted lippies. These were just perfect! I was able to get quite a few for $6 and they were already metal, so I would be able to stick names on the bottom and not have to add a magnet. Bonus and spoiler alert: they would conduct the heat and make the smelting {Goldmember, FTW!} process just a bit less arduous.

Before I could really get started, I had to pair down my collection by going thorough and swatching each colour on my arm to see which were close to each other in shade, which colours worked with my skin tone, which were “must-keep” cult faves, and which were just a little outlandish for me but may work well in a kit. I was rather choosy and divided my final picks into 2 piles: those that I wanted to depot, and those that I wanted to depot and throw {to be clear, I didn’t throw them in the garbage, I used the MAC recycling program to stock up on 2 faves – High Tea and Twig. No lipstick was truly wasted in the completion of this blog post}.

Here’s a pic of the two piles along with my pretty new Z-Palette and empty lippy wells:

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Lipstick is fairly easy to depot. I had to try a few methods before I got the real hang of it, though, and before long I was able to get it down to a tee. I tried a candle. That made a massive mess and was hard to hold. See the following pic:

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My advice: irrespective of the method you choose, make sure you don’t care if things get messy; make sure you cover anything that could stain, and be sure to set down paper towels or rags to keep your counters spotless.

After much frustration with the candle method, I had a lightbulb: metal can be heated much like the process of de-potting eyeshadows. Let’s give the flat iron a whirl. BINGO! It worked and sped up the process exponentially. Keep in mind that this will only work with the metal wells that I found at IMATS.

Here’s my method, step by step:

Depot directions

{click the photo to enlarge}

1.) Line the flat iron with tinfoil, making sure it’s flat. Otherwise, the tin wells will slide off

2.) Let the flat iron heat up – use whatever heat setting you feel most comfortable with.

3.) While the flatiron and tin foil are heating, start to depot your lippies. Take the butter kniIMG_3435fe or a flat spatula – whichever you prefer – and carefully cut the lipstick off into an empty well about ¾ of the way down. I was able to do two separate wells at once this way

4.) When the heating process is done, you’re ready to place your wells on the tin foil. Do so VERY carefully, as it will be a hot surface

5.) Keep your eye on the colours as they melt, stirring occasionally with a flat spatula. A toothpick may also work for this

6.) If there was room in the well or more lipstick left, I would carefully take a well off and add more colour, bit by bit, until the well was full or the lipstick all gone; whichever came first

7.) Once all of the product was melted in and it was 100% liquid, I was careful to remove the wells from the tinfoil. I used tweezers for this part of the process, not only to keep the heat from my hands, but to be precise. If you knock the tin foil, the wells will slide and spill your lipstick everywhere. Nobody likes a mess, let alone wasted lipstick!

8.) Set the de-potted lippies aside to harden – it took about 5-10 minutes each for me, depending on the density of the product in the well

9.) As a final step, I labelled the bottom of each well with the colour using Avery dots, but any sort of label will do

Voila! You have depotted lipsticks and a space-effective solution to save those colours you may only use a few times a year.

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The wells fit almost 1 whole MAC lipstick perfectly, so if you can get your hands on them, I would suggest doing so. Here’s a few links to products mentioned in the de-potting process above:

Round lippy wells from Makeup Geek

Round lippy wells from Coastal Scents, at a price that’s hard to beat

Coastal Scents also offers a large palette that fits their round wells perfectly – it could be used for eyeshadow just the same as lipstick!

Depotting spatula and empty Z-Palette, also from Makeup Geek

If you’re just looking to scoop out your lippies into a plastic palette, MAC has a cost-effective option {but you have to buy the palette and wells separately} , while the Japonesque  version will set you back over $40 once it’s shipped.


Now that I have all this extra room in my storage, I guess I’ll just have to go shopping…

Tell me in the comments below how you depot your goodies – lipstick or otherwise!

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