How is Eyeshadow Made?

Eyeshadow is an everyday item, especially for women, and the idea dates back all the way to ancient Egypt. As you walk down the makeup aisle at the drug store, you’ll find eyeshadows in every color imaginable.

But what you may not know is that it takes industrial machinery to create the pretty little packages. So, how does it happen? How is eyeshadow made?

ribbon blenders

Add a Filler and a Binder

Cosmetic companies all use different ingredients but for the most part eyeshadows consist of a filler for the base and a binder to help it attach to the skin once applied. Typical fillers are talc or mica and the most common binders are zinc or magnesium. Once you’ve measured out the proper amounts of mica and zinc, now it’s time to add color.

Choose a Pigment and Blend

You may need to use a combination of colors to get the desired pigment and sometimes the manufacturers will add silica and nylon to help the powder slide over your eye more easily. All of these powdery ingredients are combined and grated into a fine dust. Some kind of oil (usually coconut oil) is added, plus a lot more mica. It’s moved to large industrial ribbon blenders and is well-blended for at least 15 minutes to make sure everything is evenly distributed.  

Package and Apply

Once the eyeshadow has been evenly mixed, it is released by a machine into small tins. The powder is leveled off the top and is mechanically pressed tightly into the containers. This turns the powder into more of a cakelike consistency. From there, a worker will perform random drop tests to make sure the powder won’t crack and color tests to ensure integrity of the product. Eyeshadows are packaged and ready for retail.