Tips On Depotting MAC Eyeshadows

Lately, I have once again become obsessed with depotting and below is a freshly depotted pan of MAC eyeshadows.

Since the 15-pan pro palettes are not transparent, I added a bit of bling bling to decorate the cover and to help me differentiate the different palettes.

For those of you who are new to the idea of depotting, it is the process of getting the eyeshadow out of its pot so you can place the metal pan on a magnetic board/palette to create your very own customized palette.

Depotting has been a common practice among makeup artists for years and is fairly simple and fun to do. So why depot?

* Pan eyeshadows are easier to travel with. With MAC’s 4-pan and 15-pan pro palettes, you can fit so many more eyeshadows into your bag.

* By depotting, you get to create your very own color combinations as supposed to a fixed set of colors that you get in a pre-customized palette.

* The depotted pot is eligible for MAC’s Back2MAC recycling program. All you have to do is take 6 empty pots and plastic inserts back to a MAC freestanding store and you will receive a free lipstick, lipglass or eyeshadow of your choice. Please note MAC counters will only allow you to trade in 6 Back2MAC empties for a free lipstick.

* Pan eyeshadows are also cheaper in the long run. A regular pot eyeshadow retails $14.50 and a pan retails $11. If you do the math, you only pay $177.50 for 15 pan shadows in a pro palette vs $217.50 for 15 pot eyeshadows.

However, I highly recommend depotting only the limited edition colors for the Back2MAC program. Why? Because the limited edition colors only come in pot form and you can buy all permanent colors in pan form to save yourself some extra money and the trouble of depotting.

Tips On Depotting

* Be careful not to leave the eyeshadow in the heat for too long or you might risk changing its texture.

* Besides MAC, here are other brands of eyeshadows that would fit in the 4-pan and 15-pan pro palettes:

Jane Eyezing Eyeshadow
Milani Eyeshadow
Red Earth Eyeshadow
Urban Decay Eyeshadow
Trade Secret Eyeshadow
Studio Makeup/ Studio, Gear
MMU Shadow Petites
La Femme “Ultra Pearl” Eyeshadow
Elizabeth Arden Eye Shadow Refill
Face Stockholm Pearl Eyeshadow
Bonne Bell Powder Pack Eye Shadow Pan
Origins Eyeshadow
Jordana Eyeshadow
Revlon Streetwear Cream Eyeshadow
Paula’s Select Soft Matte Eyeshadow
Clinique Touch Base Cream Eyeshadow
Bath & Body Works Eyeshadow
Prescriptives Pick Two Eyeshadow

* To learn how to depot eyeshadows, Makeup Geek has a great tutorial on her page. I also used the same way to depot my eyeshadows.

Phyllis Li is the Founder and Editor-in-chief of Makeup For Life, one of the top 50 beauty blogs that focuses on celebrity makeup breakdowns, product reviews, makeup tutorials and all things beauty. Having lived and traveled in North America, Europe and Asia, she was exposed to different techniques and products at an early age and hopes to put a global perspective towards beauty. Phyllis won the Best Content Award by Total Beauty in 2008 and has been featured in various publications and websites including ELLE,, Yahoo Shine!, AOL Stylelist, Nylon Korea, VOGUE China, Ming Pao Daily (Canada) and Shanghai Weekly. In 2010, she was appointed one of the nine Real Women Ambassadors in the United States to take part in the Latisse® Wishes Challenge, working with Hollywood celebrity Kathy Ireland and raised over $400,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation to grant wishes for approximately 54 children. In 2012, she teamed up with luxury skincare brand TATCHA and released a limited-edition 3-Piece Set of her favorite beauty products. Phyllis currently lives in Chicago, US. She is a regular contributor to Shanghai Daily's StyleHai Magazine and a member of the Glam Beauty Network.


  1. That is gorgeous bedazzling for your palette. Very cute. NYX eyeshadows also fit into the empty MAC palettes. On youtube there are no flame depotting methods by several people. I prefer no flame method because I don’t like the fumes from the flame method.

  2. That is gorgeous bedazzling for your palette. Very cute. NYX eyeshadows also fit into the empty MAC palettes. On youtube there are no flame depotting methods by several people. I prefer no flame method because I don’t like the fumes from the flame method.
    P.S. – Sorry, forgot to tell you great post!

  3. Patricia,

    Here are the colors from left to right:

    1st Row: Jane Bombshell, Slip Pink, Netural Pink, Rio de Rosa and Modest Tone
    2nd Row: D’ Bohemia, Arena, Say, Yeah!, Bagatelle and Jane Goldilocks
    3rd Row: Going Bananas, Ricepaper, Pollen, Shroom and Solar White

    * Everything is by MAC unless otherwise specified.

  4. Hi Phyllis,

    I like how you decorated your palette, very cute. You are very crafty, aren’t you? =)

    Coastal Scence sells those empty magnetic palette, is it the same size as MAC, do you know?

    Also, I would love it if you’d stop by and visit my blog.

    Good day!

  5. Yes Constanzz, all I did was lay everything out so I can pick out the ones I want to depot and put them in the palette. I also depotted 2 other 15 pans – one with greens/teals and the other with purples/browns =)

  6. If only I could afford enough MAC eyeshadows to depot 😛
    Yours looks lovely btw

    ps, where did your blog category list go? :(

  7. Hey Phyllis! How do you become a member on the MacPro website in order to be able to purchase the palette online? Do you recommend any other brands that would work for the MAC shadows? Thanks!

  8. Gela,

    You don’t have to be a MAC Pro member to order the Pro products. You can purchase them at any Pro store or via the MAC Pro number. The 4-pans and 15-pans are also sold at all freestanding MAC stores.

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