The Gloss Investigates: Can You Really Fix a Broken Eyeshadow With Just Rubbing Alcohol?

tired eyes

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I’m not exactly the most careful or organized person, but what I am is a proud collector of eyeshadow palettes. That combination can be a little bit dangerous sometimes, and on more than one occasion has led to the sad instance of a shattered eyeshadow or two. I used to think that, once the eyeshadow was broken, that was that—there was no salvaging the shade, and I immediately tossed it in the trash. Well, as its wont to do, Pinterest is here to tell me that I’ve been wrong for my entire life. Apparently, you can fix broken eyeshadows with one simple household product: rubbing alcohol.

(Related: Move Over Kylie—Kendall Jenner Created Her Own Eyeshadow Palette for Estee Lauder)

I was immediately skeptical. I mean, sure, Pinterest didn’t entirely steer me wrong when they told me I could make lipstick out of crayons and coconut oil, but we can all agree that rubbing alcohol is 1) not glue, so how could it possibly fix something that’s broken, and 2) not exactly something you want to put near your eyes for a multitude of reasons.

But when one of my favorite new eyeshadow shades decided that it wanted to take a flying leap off of my dresser and smash into a million pieces, I decided that the time had come to test out this handy little hack. Can you really fix a broken eyeshadow with just rubbing alcohol? Let’s find out!

Rather than use a random Pinterest article, I headed over to Lauren Conrad‘s lifestyle website, where I found this very handy tutorial on fixing shattered eyeshadows. Following said tutorial, I gathered all the necessary materials:

eyeshadow 1

You’ll need:

  • Rubbing alcohol (pro tip: according to one of my co-workers, who has tried this hack before, the higher the alcohol content, the better. That’s why I went with 91 percent isopropyl.)
  • Your shattered eyeshadow
  • A coin about the size of the eyeshadow pan (in this case, a quarter)
  • A tissue

LC’s tutorial also suggested that you pick up a spray bottle, but I didn’t want to. Look at me, living on the edge.

The first step, apparently, is to break up your eyeshadow even more, which was a pretty upsetting experience for me. The theory behind it makes sense: it’ll be easier to reassemble a powder than a few larger pieces, but standing there, smashing up one my favorite new shadows (Almay Intense i-Color Shadow Softies in Vintage Grape) felt a little sacrilegious.

But smash I did. Here’s what I got:

eyeshadow 2

The texture of this particular shadow actually made it harder to smash, but if you’re using a particularly powdery shadow, I’d recommend putting a tissue or paper towel down underneath. If you though fallout on your face was bad, just wait until you have fallout all over your kitchen counter.

(Related: Here Are the Beauty Products That Allow You to Do Glitter in a Grown-Up Way)

From there, I was instructed to pour rubbing alcohol directly into the shadow, to the point where the product is entirely saturated. At this point, I realized three things: 1) a spray bottle would definitely have made this easier; 2) I had a MILLION tiny cuts near my fingertips that I didn’t know about; and 3) I’m not good at living on the edge. At the end of it all, I was left with this mess:

eyeshadow 3

Oh, that fun ghost-looking little thing there is my quarter wrapped up in my tissue, which leads me to the next step of this process. Simply press the tissue-wrapped coin into your shadow for 30 seconds as hard as you can to pack your powder down.

eyeshadow 4

Quick q for any chemistry kids out there: do coins and rubbing alcohol always turn tissues yellow?

Once that’s done, you should be good to go! Simply remove the coin and let the shadow dry. Here’s the finished product:

eyeshadow 5Sure, it ain’t too pretty to look at, and you’ll want to make sure you get all of the splashed rubbing alcohol off the edge of the pan, but your eyeshadow certainly isn’t broken anymore!

(Related: I Wore Furry Nails For a Day—Here’s What Happened)

One flaw, though: I swatched the color on my hand to make sure that the rubbing alcohol didn’t do anything to the color payoff, and I found significantly more difficult to use the shadow. Like, it came up on to my finger and my brush just fine, but I had press pretty hard to actually apply the color to my hand.

Final verdict: This definitely isn’t a perfect solution, but if you’ve got an expensive eyeshadow, blush, or any other powder product that you absolutely love and/or don’t have the money to replace, this hack will fix it for you. Just know that it might not be as good as it once was. Sometimes life is just hard, you know?

(Photos: Sara Steinfeld/The Gloss)

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