Pan that Palette 2018 finale: lessons learned


I did one of these 'lessons learned' Pan that Palette posts at the end of last year (see here), but I thought I would do another one for 2018.

Yes there'll be some crossover so I may repeat myself a little, but I do have some new stuff to add and I haven't done a 'lessons learned' post for any panning project for a while, so it seemed like a good time to do another one. It may be helpful for someone, and it will also help me set things down so I have my strategies worked out for next year.

In no particular order...

Pan something you can live with

I'm sure you've heard this before but I want to repeat it because it's so important: don't pan something you hate; pan something you like enough to use daily. While this may sound obvious, you'd be surprised how many people think that panning involves using the products you don't want to keep. No. If you don't want to keep it, declutter it. 

My favourite things to pan are the ones that I love but are getting old, and I also don't mind panning functional things that I don't really notice. The Burberry palette I panned this year is a good example of this: once I'd gotten through the first shimmer, the remaining two shades could be mixed and used as my brow colour. I don't care what I'm using on my brows, so long as it's the right colour, and I don't know how I would have gotten through that palette otherwise.

Also, I panned two Hourglass palettes this year because they were getting old. Hourglass powders are my favourites so these were an absolute pleasure to pan. I need to pan more of them: I don't find it difficult to use something every day when I love it that much.

You'd be surprised what can make a good bronzer

This is something I rediscovered this year and it's one I'll keep in mind for next year. When you mix a bunch of eyeshadows together, you'll often get some kind of brown shade (depending on the palette of course). My Burberry quad is a good example of this: when I ran my bronzer brush across all four shades, I got a really beautiful bronzer and I could have panned the palette that way if I'd wanted to.

So have a play with whatever palette you're panning and work out what colour you get when you mix everything together. Yes you may want to avoid anything metallic and I would also steer clear of blacks or neon brights, but run your brush over the rest and see what shade you get. If the shade's not quite right for you, then work out what colour/s to leave out until you get something work-able. Of course, this won't work with every palette: but it works more often than you might think.

And here's the thing about bronzers: they're pan-able. So if you're getting tired of your palette and want to have a break from it while still making progress, see if you can get a decent bronzer out of some or even all of the shadows. This way you'll still make progress while being able to play with other eyeshadows.

Schedule breaks for yourself

This is something that some people don't need to do, but I'm not one of those: I definitely need to give myself time off throughout the year. For example, you may decide to pan your palette only on weekdays and keep weekends free. Or you might want to give yourself one week off every month.

Another thing I do is only run Pan that Palette for ten months of the year, so I've got two months to play with at the end of it. On that, I may well do the same thing this year but give myself a month off in the middle (say in May or June) and then another month off at the end of the year before kicking off Pan that Palette 2020.

Giving yourself breaks will not only save you some boredom and frustration, but it will also mean that other items in your collection aren't sitting around gathering dust. Double win.

See if you can apply some things more than once a day

I've talked about this before but it's important so I wanted to mention it again. In my case I usually wear a hat outside and I often have kids' hands on my face during the day, which means that both my blush and bronzer need to be reapplied after lunch.

If you're panning a portable palette then you can always take it into work with you, so you can refresh your makeup in the afternoon if need be. That way you're using it twice a day, or if you're bored of it, you can apply something else in the morning and then touch-up with the palette you're panning so you're still making progress.

The other thing I do is have 'makeup playtime' in the evenings. This is something I've always done anyway because I enjoy it, but it's been a good back-up panning method too. So I'll apply my makeup as normal during the day, but in the evening when my husband gets home and he can watch the kids, I'll spend twenty minutes mucking around with my makeup - often using colours I wouldn't normally wear during the day and trying new combinations etc.

I do this for my own sanity because I find a lot of peace in the process, but yes, it does help me use things more often and therefore finish them faster - including those colours that I find difficult to wear.

So work out what can be reapplied and make the commitment to reapply it. Once you've set the habit, it will come naturally.

Learn how to prepare products for panning

This is a big one and I really only started doing it properly over the past two years. That is, plan ahead and know which items you may be panning next year (even the year after) and start working on them occasionally now.

For example, the Too Faced palette I'm panning in 2019 has seen four rounds of Project Dent this year (that's two months' progress), on top of the two rounds it saw in 2017. And once I wound up Pan that Palette 2018, I brought it downstairs to use as a companion palette for whatever other eyeshadows I'm using, meaning that at least one of the shades is getting used every day.

The result of course is that six out of nine shades are already showing pan, so my life will be a little easier when it comes to panning the whole lot next year (and I'll therefore have more room for breaks throughout the year). I've been doing this 'preparing for panning' thing with other items too - whether primers, blushes, bronzers etc - meaning that the dedicated panning process for all those items won't be as long so it will be easier.

It definitely pays to pan ahead : )

Set goal-based rewards for yourself

This is a fun one, although you won't be able to do it if you're currently on a no buy (mind you, you can still plan to reward yourself at the end of the no buy in a similar way - so do keep track of things).

What I'll often do is tell myself, for example, that I can buy the eyeshadow quint I've had my eye on as soon as I've panned ten eyeshadows - so essentially a two out, one in arrangement. This helps keep me motivated and encourages me to take less breaks and really focus on the palette before me.

I did that this year with the two Marc Jacobs septets I bought myself for my birthday. That is, I allowed myself those purchases because I'd panned enough eyeshadow by then to justify one of them, and the other one was written off as my birthday present to myself. I do this with other items too - so panning four bronzers, for example, means I can buy two if I want them.

Yes this means that my collection isn't reducing as fast as I would like, but since it keeps me motivated to pan the things I have, the trade-off is worth it for me.

In sum

I think that's enough lessons for now, although do look at last year's post for some extra ones if you'd like (here it is again).

Also, if you're interested in seeing my other Pan that Palette 2018 wrap-up posts, here they are:

That's all from me. Do let me know in the comments if you have any good lessons to share.

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

* All images courtesy of

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