The Beginners Guide to Depotting: What Is It?

I started my makeup “journey” innocently enough. I wanted to find a few products that worked for me–mascara that didn’t burn my sensitive eyes, foundation that actually matched my skin tone, lipstick that didn’t fade immediately This search for “holy grail” products started with videos on the best drugstore eyeliners and quickly morphed into beauty box subscriptions to try products I’d never heard of–setting sprays! primers! contour! And how many types of finish are there for bullet lipsticks?!

Slowly, I went from total makeup novice to a person with serious opinions about how “mousse-y” a liquid lipstick formula should be.

My physical features which have most been a challenge in terms of cosmetics (though I refuse to call them flaws) are my oily eyelids and deepset eyes. Mascara transfers to my browbone with one blink. Eyeliner smudges, fades, and transfers. Most egregiously, my eyeshadow gathers in the crease, fades out and generally feels like a huge waste of time and energy.

I had resigned myself to a life of lackluster (or entirely lacking) eyeshadow when I started to hear terms in makeup reviews like “pigmentation” and realized there are makeup options outside of the drugstore. (No specific shade to drugstore eyeshadows. I have one ELF palette that’s great, but most just don’t work for me.)

A new world had opened before me–a world of eyeshadows with vibrancy and lasting power. The inevitable eyeshadow accumulation that came with this new world was compounded by my unfortunately slow realization that maybe silver and black weren’t the best special-occasion colors for my undertones. I wasn’t just collecting new formulas, I was collecting new shades. With my subscription to Boxycharm and some careful purchases, I accumulated more eyeshadow than I could reasonably use before it expired. (See my post about Project Panning for more on the sad reality of makeup expiration dates and over-accumulation.)

Project panning was one solution to the new problem I found myself in–the problem of excess.

Another solution was depotting.

Depotting is removing individual eyeshadows (or lipstick, blush, highlighter, etc.) from their palettes, allowing you to keep only your favorite shades or even create custom palettes by mixing and matching from different palettes.

When it comes to face palettes (blushes, bronzers, contours) there’s always one shade that’s too dark and one you only use on special occasions. What if you could separate those items to create a small palette of the items you use the most frequently? Think of how compact and useful that could be.

Well it’s possible.

It just involves a few tips and tricks, which I will share with you (along with my favorite guides) in three more posts coming in the next three days.

Next, I’ll talk more about the logistics of depotting. Why do it.

Then, I’ll share the things I learned from depotting. What you absolutely need to know before trying it.

Finally, I’ll give you the ins and outs. How to depot your own makeup.

Have you depotted before? What tips do you have to share?

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