How To Foil Pigments

Pigments can be such a pain, every makeup lover knows that. Pigments are great for variety, yiu can use them for just about anything; eyeshadow, eyeliner, blush, lips, nails, hair - anything your heart desires. While pigments are a great creative outlet, they're also a great way to create a mess. Avoiding fallout when using loose eyeshadows is damn near impossible unless you foil them. Foiling is an extremely simple process, you may already be doing it without being aware.  Foiling merely means that you're applying your pigments wet. Foiling your pigments and loose eyeshadows will really boost the color payoff while making application much easier. 

 There are a few different liquids you can use to foil pigments, really it comes down to personal preference. There are products made especially for this purpose, called mixing mediums. The most easily accessible mixing mediums are MAC's Mixing Medium ($13), ELF Makeup Lock&Seal ($3), and Hard Candy's Show Girls Secret ($6). If you're like me and don't really use pigments enough to justify purchasing a product just for foiling them, you can use things you almost definitely already have on hand, like setting spray, eye drops, or even just plain water. I use ELF's Makeup Mist&Set or Hard Candy's Show Girls Secret, depending on what I have on hand. In my experience, Hard Candy's mixing medium works a little bit better, but any of the liquids I mentioned will get the job done.
 There are two relatively mess free methods for combining your pigment and mixing medium. The first way is pretty simple, just dampen your brush then pick up the pigment, preferably from the lid of the package and apply as you please. The second method is a little more advanced, but also a little more practical for a makeup artist or those looking to mix a larger batch of pigment. Scoop a little bit of pigment out with a spoon, palette knife, or clean pen cap and place it on a palette (or a sour cream lid like a real pro) and mix with your liquid. There's some trial and error in finding the ratio of pigment and mixing medium that works best for you. I find that 2-3 parts pigment to one part mixing medium works best for me and results with the smoothest and most intense application.
There's really no right or wrong way to foil your pigments and loose eyeshadows, but I hope you found these tips and tricks helpful. Please free free to ask more questions in the comments, on Tumblr or Twitter, and I'll do my best to answer. 


  1. Thanks for sharing! I've just started using loose shadows and can use all the tips I can get. :)

  2. Foiling is hard to get right when you have those large batches and I hate having to remember to have my brush damp but not wet! I love using foiling to create liquid eyeliner-like pastes so I use my pigments as eyeliners sometimes :) Great post!

  3. I've never had problems with this.