Loose Pigments for Beginners

Pigments – those little bottles packed with loose powder, often in fun, bright colors and metallic finishes – are arguably one of the most mysterious beauty products. Two of the most beloved beauty brands – MAC and Make Up For Ever – have extensive pigment lines, but most people don’t know much about the powdery product. So, what is a pigment? It’s essentially a loose powder with a high concentration of color. The benefit of using pigments, instead of pressed powder, is it’s a major beauty multi-tasker. Use pigments everywhere from your eyes, cheeks, lips, body…even in your hair! The range is endless – from matte neutrals to brights to glitters to metallics to duochrome finishes. It’s a whole new world of beauty. Read on for the ultimate guide to loose pigments for beginners.


Shadow Primer: Eyeshadow primer is not a necessity, but it really makes every eye look that much better. You should always have a good base, especially when working with something as complex as glitter. My ultimate shadow primer is Urban Decay Primer Potion – a little goes a very long way.

Adhesive Glitter Glue: Glitters and pigments are trickier than typical shadows. I highly recommend using a sticky, strong adhesive when working with loose pigments, especially if you have oily eyelids. Too Faced’s Shadow Insurance Glitter Glue is specifically formulated to bring out the best in glitters. It will emphasize all the unique complexities, undertones, duochrome, etc. in the products.

Loose Eyeshadow: This is the fun part! The options are truly endless. Pigments come in so many interesting colors, finishes, shapes and sizes. Explore the intense variety of options from some of our favorite brands, including Makeup Geek, Violet Voss, Make Up For Ever, MAC, Fyrinnae and Sugarpill.

Shadow Brushes: It’s a good idea to have a few densely-packed shadow brushes to help you apply the pigments to your lids. Some great brushes come from Sigma Beauty, Bdellium Tools and Real Techniques.

Makeup Sealant: Use a sealant to ensure that the product doesn’t slip and slide throughout the day. Go with Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Seal or MAC’s Fix+. Use these products as a mixing medium. In a pinch, you can use water instead of sealant.

Oil-Based Makeup Remover: Taking off glitter can get messy if you’re not prepared. Go with an oil-based makeup remover that can handle pigments to easily remove the product. MUFE’s Sens’Eyes works really well, and it won’t irritate your eyes.


Eyeshadow: To use pigments as shadow, simply mix it with something like MAC’s Fix+ spray or even water. Apply it to your lid with a soft eyeshadow brush. Pack it on for a more statement-making look, and apply more water/Fix+ to intensify the effect. Remember to tap off the excess before applying – there’s enough fallout from glitter as it is!

Eyeliner: The process is the same as for shadow, but instead of applying the mixture all over you lid, use an angled liner brush to apply it only onto your lash line. Mix a bit of pigment with a mixing medium, like MUFE’s Aqua Seal, to get that perfect custom liner.

Mascara: Dip a disposable mascara wand into some clear mascara or shadow transformer (like this one from Jesse’s Girl), then the pigment. Apply it to your lashes.

Mixed with Foundation: For glowing skin, mix your favorite pigment into your foundation and apply.

Blush: To use pigment as blush, just pour a little into the lid of the pigment and pick up the product with your regular blush brush. Tap off the excess. Apply as you normally would.

Highlighter: Go with a champagne or gold pigment and apply (lightly!) to your cheeks, bridge of your nose and forehead.

Lipstick: Pigments work really well on lips – they’re extremely saturated, and you can mix different pigments together to create completely one-of-a-kind colors. Mix it with a clear gloss for something shiny or some lip balm for a healthy dose of hydration. Use a disposable lip brush so the remaining pigment doesn’t transfer to your entire tube of gloss.

Nail Polish: Use pigments to create a completely original nail polish color. All you need to do is pour a little pigment and clear nail polish into a paper plate, and mix away! Dip the nail polish brush into polish remover before placing it in the bottle again – this way you have a clean brush and can always try new color combos.

Hair: Want shiny hair? Grab your MAC Fix+, or any hair product you apply to your hair that’s not too heavy, and mix with some pigment. Brush it through your locks for a subtle sheen. Apply more glitter if you want a bolder look.

Body: If you want to shimmer from head to toe, mix some pigment into your body lotion or spray. Adding some glitter to your body lotions can actually make your legs appear slimmer!

Hope these ideas inspired you to add pigments to your routine! Do you already use them? Let us know in the comments below and on Pampadour.com!

Loose Pigment Eyeshadow

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Image via Batalash Beauty