There seems to be a community of beauty addicts who love making “Franken-Makeup” – combining existing products in interesting ways to get unique, customized blends. Of the YouTubers that I watch regularly, Nisipisa is someone who often customizes and blends together products in her collection. One of the most prominent proponents of DIY makeup is Safiya Nygaard, whose videos combining “every lipstick in Sephora” and the like have been so successful that she recently had a collab with ColourPop where they recreated some of her most famous franken-creations.
I don’t do a lot of franken-makeup (there is something about crushing up makeup that stresses me out a bit!) but I recently had a tragic loss in my makeup collection: on the return trip from Days of the Dead in Atlanta, my aged and dearly beloved Urban Decay single shadow in Graffiti shattered. It is one of the oldest products in my collection and it had been cracking and threatening to break for a while, so I took it to the con as sort of a “last hurrah.” When I saw that it had broken, I thought about just throwing it away…but then I thought, “Why not use this as an opportunity to do some franken-makeup?!”
I could have just tried repressing the shadow, but since the powder is a little bit older and itsn’t performing the way that I remember from its glory days, I decided that it might be fun to mix the powder in with some highlighters and see what kinds of green highlighters I could customize. In addition to my Graffiti single, I also gathered the following:
The Kat Von D Alchemist Palette
Meech & Mia Loose Powder Shadow in White
Maybelline Master Holographic Highlighter in shade 050
I had the Kat Von D palette in my declutter pile because I bought a replacement when it went on sale at Sephora. I bought myself a new one and bumped this one out of the collection; rather than finding it a new home, I decided it was better to use it as raw materials. The Meech & Mia shadow is something I got in an Ipsy bag; it’s a nice enough white base shadow with gold shimmer, but the top doesn’t stay on tight and any time I take it anywhere my entire makeup case ends up coated in a thin film of golden shimmer. I figured I would use some of this for the experiments and chuck the rest. I also bought a Maybelline highlighter – I have this highlighter in several shades and I love it, and this one was a nice white base with a pinky shift to it.
Although I’m resistant to do this with random products in my collection, I do have to say that the fun part is breaking up the products. I used the flat end of my depotting tool to break up the products in their original containers.
The Maybelline highlighter surprised me in that it was a bit more of a creamy, almost balmy texture rather than a straight up pressed powder. It wasn’t set into a pan but rather had been poured directly into the plastic unit. This did lead to a little bit of a different experience with one of the mixtures later on…but we’ll get there!
In the interest of recycling old products, I decided to use a couple of old MAC lip compacts that I have had knocking around in my collection for about 15 years. I recently cleaned out the old lip products (they definitely smelled like old clay!) and cleaned them up and then put them in a drawer until I figured out what to do with them.
I decided to use two of the compacts, the lighter one and one of the darker ones; I figured having them slightly different colors would make it easier to quickly know which is which, and I will save the other one for some future project. I also decided to reuse the Maybelline container for some of the “leftovers.”
I mixed together different concoctions of the powders, used the tool to break them apart further and mix them together, and then added contact solution to make it a soupy consistency. I haven’t done a lot of franken-makeup so I’m not sure how some of these ingredients will mix together. For example, I wasn’t sure if the blue KVD shade and the gold powder from Meech & Mia would mix together to create a green shift of if they would each retain their unique flash. I was hoping for the latter, so I dove in and started mixing!
Here’s the first compact that I mixed together:
Left Pan: I combined a small amount of the Urban Decay shadow with a couple of small scoops of the Meech & Mia powder and some of the KVD shade Emerald. I was hoping to get a grassy green with gold shift.
Middle Pan: Primarily a mix of KVD Emerald and Saphyre, with some of the Urban Decay shadow added. I was hoping this one would turn out to be a lighter, more minty green base with blue and green reflects.
Right Pan: Maybelline holographic highlighter, the Urban Decay shadow, and the purple and pink KVD shades, Amethyst and Opal. This one got weirdly chunky because of the creamy texture of the highlighter.
Here is the second compact:
Left Pan: A medium amount of the Urban Decay shadow, and a lot of KVD Emerald and Saphyre. I had already finished mixing up all of the powders before I realize that this was the same combination I had used in the middle pan of the last palette, but we’ll see if the proportion of ingredients makes any difference in finished color! This one had more of the Urban Decay than the other pan, but I couldn’t say when mixing if it was different enough to create a different shade.
Middle Pan: I love green, but I thought it might be fun to create a highlight with three of the KVD shades: Amethyst, Opal, and Saphyre. Again, I was curious to see if they would each be present, or if the pink and blue would just combine to make the purple shift stronger!
Right Pan: a large amount of Urban Decay with a fair amount of Amethyst and a smaller amount of Saphyre. I wanted a slightly deeper green with purple and blue flash for a really cool, duochrome effect.
Finally, I decided to repress the highlighter after adding in all of the leftovers of the KVD powders as well as a pretty big scoop of the Meech & Mia powder. I used the tool to break up the ingredients and tried to mix it with small motions; I wanted to try to keep some of the colors separate to see if I could get something similar to the Too Faced Diamond Lights highlighter where everything has a white base but there would be a variety of different duochrome flashes that are slightly different each time and give it an overall rainbow, opalescent appearance.
After adding the solution and mixing, I also laid a makeup wipe over the top and used a finger to smooth out the top. This was much easier and lead to a cleaner mix/press than using the edge of the tool like I had to do in the palettes. I also used less of the solution because of the creamy nature of the highlighter, and I noticed a lot less separation or chunkiness.
A fun littleproject – but do they work, though?!
I left them out for about 24 hours, and I took a fan and let it blowing on them on high, to help expedite the drying process.
The powders were a little crumbly; I’m not sure, but this could be caused by the amount of contact solution that I added. Most of the videos I’ve watched are for repressing shadows, and they suggest mixing just enough to make it into a wet paste. Since I wasn’t just repressing but was mixing together several products, I added more to make it a little easier to mix the various pigments together. That could contribute to the consistency that I got but I can say for sure. I did, however, get some fun colors.
For the 3 pan compacts, I swatched over the ABH eye primer with a finger swatch on the left and a brush swatch on the right. The top photo is my studio lights without a flash; the bottom photo is the same lighting with a flash.
The brush swatches are much more opaque, but that was primarily because the brush caused the crumbly powder to break up a bit and there was more product on the brush when I did the swatch. These are cute for companion shadows, to amp up a look, or as highlighters. I saw a little bit of variety in the colors, but the green sort of overpowered most of the shifty color of the KVD shadows that I added.
Byt the second palette I had gotten a little better with my overall process and I feel like these shades were a little more consistent, though I still did get come crumbliness. The shadows are a little more consistent between brush and finger application, and the colors were nice, although the Graffiti really did set the shade for these as well. The purple experiment in the middle was pretty, but mostly just looked purple, didn’t really have the range of reflect that I was hoping for.
For the swatch of the large pan highlighter, I followed the same basic process except that I didn’t lay down any primer first (as I wouldn’t normally apply a highlighter over an eyeshadow base), and instead of a dense eyeshadow brush I used a fluffier highlight brush. I did two swatches with the finger from two different parts of the pan, hoping to get slightly different colors, and the brush swatch was swirled across the top of the whole pan. Also, I apparently got confused about my whole life so in this collage the top photo is the flash picture and the bottom photo is the no flash picture. It was a long day…
I feel like I maybe got slightly different reflect from the two finger swatches, but it’s mostly just that intense, pearly white shimmer with little hints of color throughout. The brush swatch was a little more diffused, but still pretty impactful. I will definitely give this highlighter a change to shine in some upcoming looks, but it’s definitely no competition for the Diamond Lights highlighter!
So what do you think about this little Franken-Makeup adventure? Do you like crushing up, melting, smashing, mixing, and otherwise customizing your makeup products? Do you have any DIY makeup projects you like to take on? Let me know all of your Franken-Thoughts in the comments below and let me know what sort of experiments I should get up to next!
Just for fun, here’s a Safiya Nygaard video where she melts together all of the lipsticks at her local Sephora!