Pan that Palette 2017 finale: lessons learned


I seem to have tired a little of the review posts lately - everyone needs a change now and then ; ) - so I've decided to do another panning post today.

This will be the last post in my Pan that Palette 2017 finale series (I think!), and it will be focused on the lessons I've learned over the course of this year: this being my first 'real' attempt at the project.

While I did do it for a few months last year, that was more of a 'practice run' to see whether it was something I wanted to do. This year, I stuck my head down and gave it a proper go.

Although there's plenty of 'panning wisdom' available on the internet if you want to see tips from people who've been panning palettes for years, I feel there's also a place for tips from someone who's newer to this particular project. Although I've been project panning for years, Pan that Palette has been a different kind of challenge (I find it harder) so that's something to keep in mind if you're thinking of doing it.

If you're interested in seeing my other Pan that Palette finale posts:

So, let's see what I learned during Pan that Palette 2017.

Think laterally and double purpose

This was a lesson I learned through my years of project panning generally, and I was able to bring it to Pan that Palette. Your eyeshadows (and other powders) can be used in more ways than you might think.

For example, I received a pale pink blush in a sub box ages ago and not only did it not show up on me (too pale), but I also don't wear pink blushes because most of them don't suit me. But the powder was so finely milled and silky that I didn't want to declutter it. So what I did was mix it 50/50 with my setting powder every day (I didn't want a pink cast, but the powder was a little brightening when mixed) so I was able to pan it that way.

I brought this lesson to Pan that Palette: the lighter powders from my Stila Eyes are the Window Palette in Mind were dry (most of that palette was dry), so I often wouldn't use them to set my eye primer or as matte highlights: instead I mixed them with my setting powder. It was the best option for me: I wanted to pan them, but I didn't want to layer drying eyeshadows on my 37yo, already dry eyes. They didn't dry out my face when diluted with a good setting powder, so these were easy enough to pan too - without applying them to my eyes.

More on lateral thinking and double purposing

Let's stay on this topic for a moment longer because it's an important one. While I may be stating the obvious to some, it's still worth offering a few more alternative uses for eyeshadows - just for anyone who hasn't done this before and needs ideas.

Eyeshadows can be used as blushes, on your brows, as facial contours/highlights and also as bronzers. Those are the obvious ones, but the list doesn't stop there. They can be used on the lips - eg mixed with a gloss or layered over other lip products, in the case of a shimmer - and you can also use some on the body. There's nothing wrong with using a pale shimmer shade as a collarbone highlight, or a brown shadow as a bronzer for the body - meanwhile you're panning a dedicated bronzer that's a similar colour on your face.

So yes, think laterally: look at your palette and work out just how you can double-purpose particular shades.

If you're panning a palette and many of the shadows can be used for other things, not only will you get through it faster, but you also won't have to use it on the eyes every day - some days you can skip applying it on the eyes altogether and just use it for other things - so you're less likely to get bored and the rest of your collection won't sit around gathering dust while you're panning.

Don't over-extend yourself / choose the right palette

I learned that this year: my custom palette was large and it was jam-packed, so some of my shadows barely got used because I had so many to choose from. In the end I decided to focus on particular shadows to get those done, leaving the others alone so they wouldn't 'compete' with the ones I knew I could finish.

While I'm glad that I had plenty of shadows to choose from so I didn't get bored, in hindsight I think that I personally am better-suited to panning smaller palettes - or at least panning palettes that contain different products (eg bronzers and blushes, as well as eyeshadows) - otherwise it's a bit overwhelming and you're never going to finish that many shadows in one year, so why expose so many to air each day and risk accelerating the ageing process for a bunch of powders you're not using?

This is why it's important to pick the right palette from the beginning. Unless you're experienced in panning palettes, I would suggest starting with a smaller palette that contains shades that can be used for other parts of the face (browns and highlight shades being examples).

Mix your powders

By this I don't just mean to mix the powders by running your brush through them before applying them to your face: I mean take two or more shades and mix them, re-pressing them into an empty pan and using them up that way.

I did this with a bunch of powders to change colours I was getting bored of (or that were getting hard to use because I'd almost finished them and I needed to re-press them anyway), or that didn't suit me alone but did when mixed.

This is also a really good way to make a palette more versatile: if it's 'missing' a colour you need (or you've finished something like a crease colour and need another one), you can make your own. 

Of course, it's better to stick to mixing colours in the palette you're panning so you've got more chance of finishing them, but if you need to mix in an 'outside' shadow, then do: anything to get things used!

Re-press anything that's too hard / heavily packed 

This is a good trick for those matte shades that just won't show progress: scratch them out, crush them up and re-press them yourself. 

Since we generally can't re-press them as hard as they were in the factory they came from, this will result in a powder that's more loosely packed and therefore shows progress faster. And seeing progress is what keeps us motivated, after all.

Don't force yourself to use powders you hate (what else can they be used for, if anything?)

I'm a strong believer in the idea that panning should be fun: it shouldn't be a chore and you shouldn't hate every moment of it. Yes it's challenging and yes there will be times when you're tearing your hair out, but it should feel satisfying and worthwhile overall. 

If it doesn't feel this way, then either panning isn't for you (because it isn't for everyone), or you've chosen the wrong palette and/or are focusing on powders that may be better to leave aside.

What I mean by this is, if you hate a particular colour or it has a bad formula (and it can't be mixed with anything else, as I talk about above), then don't pan it. But you don't have to throw it out. Eyeshadows can be used as kids' paints, they can be added to nail polishes to add colour to a clear one or change the colour of one you don't like, and I also use my darker ones as dry shampoo. 

These are just a few examples: there's almost always something else you can do with dud powders - you don't have to force yourself to use them.

Be prepared to move on / let things go

Related to the point above, if a powder has decayed over the course of panning it to the point that it's crumbly and the pigment is gone (and re-pressing it/adding more binder hasn't helped the formula), then let it go. It's not worth forcing yourself to use something that you once liked or even loved but has now become unusable.

So either see if you can use it for something else as discussed above, or just let it go. 

'Homer, it's gone.' 

'I know.'

It's ok to take a break

This is where my opening point of having a palette that contains powders you can double-purpose really comes in. In my case, I probably applied the powders in my palette to my eyes half the time - subject to the after-lunch applications mentioned below - meaning I could take a break from using my palette on the eyes and my other makeup wasn't left gathering dust over the year.

So on any given day, I might use a different eyeshadow palette altogether - or just use one shade from my custom palette - and finish the look with a different palette. I would then use the rest of my custom palette for the face and/or body (ie blush, contour, bronzer, brows, liner, collarbone/shoulder highlight in the warmer months), so I was still making progress but not ignoring the rest of my collection.

Can you do twice-daily applications?

I have a toddler and a baby, which means I often have young hands all over my face and there's lots of cuddling (and therefore product-transfer) happening throughout the day.

While this means that I'm sometimes out in public looking rather patchy (eh, who cares), the positive side is that I often need to reapply my powders - bronzers, blushes and eyeshadows included - after lunch, when half my face has been wiped away.

Although this won't be the case for everyone, I know that many have issues with eyeshadow fading throughout the day, sweating (in the heat or at the gym) etc - so there's often room for touch-ups if you're trying to pan something.

Don't feel disheartened over others' progress

If you're one of those people who can't believe how fast others sometimes burn through eyeshadows: I feel the same. I don't wear strong eye looks because I have hooded, puffy eyes and I prefer to focus the attention on my cheeks or lips, so if I want to pan a palette, I know that the best way to do it by using my eyeshadows on other parts of the face. 

That's just me personally, but it's important to remember that different people get through different products at different speeds - so don't feel disheartened if others are panning things left, right and centre while you're barely getting anywhere. It's ok to work at your own pace. Forget what others are doing : )

Also, remember that many panners are working with old, crumbly shadows - which was the case for me this year with some of the powders I was panning. I wouldn't like to use brand-new powders though, it'd take me a couple of years to get through most palettes!

Combine Pan that Palette with other projects so your collection isn't gathering dust

This year I've done not only Pan that Palette, but also Project Pan and Project Dent (this being a series I created to ensure I was using all my products throughout the year).

For this reason I reckon it's best to 'get your feet wet' with a smaller palette - say a quad or a quint, or even a larger palette that's already showing good progress - just because you'll have room throughout the year to play with your other products and not feel that they're sitting there getting older while you're focusing on the one palette.

If you were to do a quad, for example, you could pan it alongside other eyeshadows so everything's getting used - and starting with a smaller palette would be a good way to see if this particular project is for you or not.

In sum

That's all from me!

I hope you found this post helpful in some way. I love watching and reading about panning tips from other panners in the beauty community, so I'll be sure to keep collecting as many tips as I can to add to the ideas available online to help those who are new to panning.

Hope all's well with you, and speak soon x

* All photos courtesy of

You may also like

No comments:

littlewhitetruths. Powered by Blogger.