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Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Color and makeup Eyeshadow formulas - good vs not so good

  • Eyeshadow formulas - good vs not so good

    Posted by Anonymous on July 17, 2018 at 10:25 pm

    I am working on a video on what makes good eyeshadow for a consumer audience. Looking at dozens of formulas, I surmise the main constituents are: fillers, binders, pigments/color, slip agents, and preservatives.

    I realize that the ingredient list doesn’t tell the whole story. But what should a consumer look for to satisfy these common concerns:

    1. Color payoff (across skintones)
    2. Lasting power (resisting fading and creasing)
    3. Blendability
    4. Minimal fallout (the non-nuclear kind)?
    If you have a book or other resource recommendation for me to consult, that would be great, too.

    Most warmly,

    OldPerry replied 4 years, 8 months ago 3 Members · 7 Replies
  • 7 Replies
  • arachne013

    July 25, 2018 at 7:11 am

    TKB trading sells a pre-made press base, but also check out their ling ( which shows examples of pressing bases. From this list of ingredients, you can look up each one on their website & it’ll give a pretty good description of the benefits/actions. They are also excellent at answering questions. They also sell a few books, which may also help you in this area, as well as this link:

    I’ve made each of their examples stated in the website, and I find that a base containing boron nitride, silica microspeheres, magnesium myristate and nylon-12 make good additions to any base, unless the base already includes it. Even if it does, I always add a bit more boron nitride, silica microspehres & nylon-12….super silky, but too much Magnesium Myrstate make the finished product kind of hard. I find that both talc and kaolin clay offer great adhesion & blendability. For darker skin tones, I’d recommend the kaolin clay because it makes the final product more opaque.

    In terms of creasing, using an eyeshadow primer is probably the best best, regardless of which pressed powder base you use. They sell them at all makeup stores and even in the cosmetic aisles of drugstores (they finally caught on!!! :wink:) The shadow primer on the TKB site is very white, so I don’t recommend it for darker-skinned tones, but the other retailers offer different shades/finishes and are more transparent.

    And finally, in terms of fallout/kickback, I do have this issue still. It’s just a matter of experimenting with different formulas and tweaking them for personal preference… but the final products (in my case anyway) that have some fallout or kickback are usually the ones with the best color payoff.

    Hope this helps somewhat!

  • arachne013

    July 25, 2018 at 7:28 am

    Also, if you look at the list of ingredients of a commercially produced product, you may be able to get some clues there

  • Sponge

    September 20, 2018 at 12:48 am

    Hi Anja,

    From what I understand, you’re making a video for eyeshadow consumers about what to look for (in commercial products) when purchasing an eyeshadow?

    Unfortunately, you’re right, ingredient lists don’t tell the whole story but they’re all were left with, aside from trying it yourself. Due to the way ingredients lists are written, it’s very difficult to surmise anything from them when it comes to eyeshadow. 

    Ive seen many brands start to hide ingredients in the “may contain” section, which (correct me if I’m wrong) doesn’t need to be written in any order. Even the main ingredients: talc/mica/Syn.fluor…

    And of course, iron oxides are down there. The relationship between pigment, dry binder, wet binder and filler is what dictates all of the aforementioned in your post. Without the percentages, I’m afraid any guess would be a shot in the dark. Even with the whole formula, it’s incredibly hard to predict these things on paper. 

    Good luck!

  • OldPerry

    Professional Chemist / Formulator
    September 20, 2018 at 12:44 pm

    @evenangel2018 - It would be easier to answer if you gave ingredient list examples of what you consider a good eyeshadow vs a bad eyeshadow.

    @Sponge - I agree it is difficult to predict these things just based on ingredient list.  However, the “may contain” claim is used to list colorants that may be used across the entire line. That way a company can make 1 label for multiple color options. There is nothing nefarious going on and companies are not trying to hide something when they do that. 

    @arachne013 - interesting link. I’m surprised they are encouraging people to make their own pressed powders. Without a proper press, you can’t make a good one.

  • arachne013

    September 20, 2018 at 3:50 pm

    @Perry TKB also sells pressing tiles and a kind of “tamper tool” to use on top of the press tiles, you just have to make sure you use a lot of pressure. I’ve had a lot of success with this method, although a proper mechanical press would no doubt work way better!

  • Sponge

    October 2, 2018 at 1:30 am

    @Perry aha oh no, I was trying to say that companies are starting to hide things they shouldn’t under “may contain” eg. dehydroacetic acid, caprylic/capric triglycerides — proper base ingredients.
    But is that the rule? If it’s not in all shades, it can be put under “may contain”? I was under the impression it was only for colorants and hence, many brands listing ingredients for every shade. (Mica is classified as a colorant, right? Why might I often see tin oxide in the main listing when it’s obviously coating the mica, then mica under “may contain”?)

  • OldPerry

    Professional Chemist / Formulator
    October 2, 2018 at 8:45 pm

    @Sponge - Ultimately, it’s difficult to say whether companies are hiding things or not. They might be. But they might also just be using the convention for colorants as I mentioned above. Some companies just ignore the rules, have a mistaken impression of what the rules are or are just do what they want. Companies with legal departments are much more reliable than small companies or contract manufacturers.