Makeup Artistry & Photography

Archive for November, 2010

A new way to do MAC eyeshadows

It’s been a long time since I posted anything…the whole ‘getting married’ thing got in the way of doing a lot of things!  Turns out weddings are a lot of work (fabulous work, but work all the same).

So, what I’m saying is that I’m back and I have a long list of posts I plan to write!  I’ve had lots of time to think about ideas…so here we go!

Today it’s all about a little MAC secret (not really a secret…just something we’re new to here in London now that we have a MAC store) that is making me very, very happy.  Turns out that MAC stores sell their eyeshadow in the form of ‘pans’; they come in all the same colours as the regular shadow in pots, but they cost only $11.00!!!  That’s right – ELEVEN DOLLARS!!!  It’s the same amount of product as the pot (which costs around $18.00), but is only the little pan with the pigment in it, rather than the bulky pot.  If you choose to go with the pans, you need to purchase a palette to house the pans. Palettes come in either quads (space for 4 shadows), or fifteens.  The pans are magnetized and so they slide right in and then are easily removed if you wish to switch them up for different colours.  Check it out.

The really fun part is still to come – I spent last Friday mastering the art of “depotting” my old MAC eyeshadow pots so that I could have all of my colours in the palettes.  The palettes are very flat and wickedly convenient for both travel and for viewing all of your colours at once.

I had become very tired of the few shadows that were on top of my, well…who are we kidding…giant pile of pots!  I’m sure many of you know what I’m talking about; as soon as you have 10 or more shadows, and assuming you don’t have some fabulous makeup display area, they get piled one on top of each other, and all of a sudden you’ve worn only Gleam for an entire year!  “Boo” is what I say to that; why have all these fabulous colours if you’re not going to use them?  I don’t really believe in the concept of ‘day colours’ and ‘evening colours’…if you feel like wearing purple eyeshadow to work, do it; however, there is something to the manner in which you apply the purple eyeshadow that helps it appear ‘appropriate’ for either the office or the pub.  This is a topic for another day.

The palettes are quite inexpensive ($5 for the quad and $14 for the fifteen), and are really great for becoming inspired by your current inventory of colours.  Having all the shadows laid out together really makes it easy to see new colour combinations, and can help you learn to love old, tired shadows – I have recently rediscovered Vex after purchasing it 8 years ago and am loving it!

The process for depotting your old shadows to add to the palettes is a bit daunting – but you’ll just have to trust me here that once you get going, it’s super-duper easy.  You will need a rag/old towel, pillar candle, some tongs, a cheap ballpoint pen, some sticky-back magnet paper, and a cheap paring knife.  The best place to do this is in the kitchen because you’ll want a well ventilated area, and I found that the vent fan over the stove was perfect.

Step 1 – lay out the towel on your kitchen counter and cut up small pieces of the magnet paper (you can buy it at Staples meant to stick to business cards so they can become magnets) approximately 1cm x 1cm

Step 2 – hold the pot by the edges and gently push the tip of the knife in the connection seam where the lid latches (you’ll see a small indentation that’s perfect for wedging in your knife tip); the pan of shadow along with the plastic casing should pop right  out.  You’ll want to be gentle here – if you push too hard or flip your wrist while you do it, you’ll watch you beautiful pan of Satin Taupe go flying across your kitchen.  Nothing more depressing then MAC shadow crumbling into a pile of pigmented dust!

Step 3 – pick up the pan in its plastic casing with the tongs; light the candle under your stove vent or near a window; hold the pan over the flame (right at the tip) until you see the plastic start to bubble and melt.  It usually takes about 10 seconds in the heat, give or take…

Step 4 – allow the scary black smoke to be sucked up the vent/out the window before moving back to your soft towel; place the pan upside down on your towel and use the pen to push through the melted plastic to pop out the pan from underneath. This is the trickiest step – if you use the knife to pry upward on the plastic casing while pushing through the melted plastic with the pen, the pan of shadow separates easily from the plastic.  There will be a lot of glue on the back of the pan – try to pull it out of the plastic without spreading the glue around.

Step 5 – place the now depotted pan upside down on your towel ( so that the glue doesn’t adhere it to the towel); take a  piece of magnet (cut into 1cm squares) and peel the backing off and stick to the back of the pan. Take the partially melted casing and snap it back into the pot; put aside.

Step 6 (optional) – I like to have the original label from the pot on the back of my pan so that I can recall the name of the shadow and the finish (i.e. satin, frost etc.).  Take the empty pot and hold it at an angle above the candle flame, NOT directly in the flame, but 1 cm above the tip of the flame; wait for 5 seconds until you start to see the edge of the label lift; move back to your towel and slowly peel off the label.  I find that they come off very easily with the little bit of heat.  Stick the label to the back of the pan of shadow, over the magnet, and then your pan is ready to place in your palette!

Sounds complicated and messy, right?  Well, trust me – it’s not hard and I can’t say enough how much I am loving all of my shadows in the palettes.  And, I haven’t even mentioned the most exciting part of this whole process…once you’re finished all your depotting, you can return your empty pots to MAC for the Back to MAC program.  For anyone who is not familiar with this program, it is a recycling effort put forth by MAC.  Once you have 6 containers saved up of any MAC product, you can take them into a store and exchange them for either an eyeshadow, a lipglass, or a lipstick.  I was a little worried that they wouldn’t take my partially melted and mangled pots, but they had no problem with it!  The only glitch it that the maximum you are allowed to exchange in one trip is 24 empties (i.e. 4 free items).

If you have any questions about this process, or about shadow colours/combinations, let me know through comments on this post, or you can email me directly at

I apologize for the sketchy photography work on this post; it really shows why Crystal takes the pictures!

I hope this post gave you something to feel excited about during this dreary, cold, wet month!  Boo November; yay eyeshadow palettes!!!



It’s raining… it’s pouring…

Hailey and Isaac have been trying to get family photos taken with me since little Willow was born last February but it seems that every time we meet up in Toronto to take some photos, the weather does not cooperate. This was the third time we tried to schedule their family shoot… and alas, it was raining … again!

We decided to brave it anyway, and snap a few photos before it started to pour. Here are some fun ones that we got from the day. I PROMISE we will find a sunny day for a full photo shoot before Willow starts to drive a car!!

Leora & Cliff’s UWO Engagement Photos

University of Western Ontario Engagement PhotographyLeora & Cliff are both very dear friends of mine. This is a couple who has so much love to give, not just to eachother, but to everyone around them. I was so honoured when they asked me to shoot their wedding in July and was really excited to shoot some enagement photos for them as well!

Cliff and I earned our Master’s degrees at Western’s Journalism school together, and he and Leora met for the first time on Western’s campus so I thought it was fitting that we meet up for some engagement shots at UWO!  There were so many beautiful places to shoot and we enjoyed some gorgeous weather. 

 There were so many great photos to choose from, but here are a few of my favourites from the day! ENJOY!

london engagement photography

engagement photography london, ontario

engagement photography southwestern ontario

engagement photography london ontario

gilded lily photography by crystal mackay

gilded lily photography

university of western ontario engagement photography

Congrats Leora & Cliff on your engagement!! Soooo looking forward to the wedding in July!!