How to Fill a Vintage Compact

Inspired by an Essiebutton vlog (ironically about decluttering and owning less makeup), I found myself trolling eBay in search of vintage compacts. To my surprise, they were incredibly common. Kid in a candy store stuff. Dangerous stuff. I’ve only bought two… so far…

Compact Closed

There are two different kinds of vintage powder compacts: The kind that fits pressed powder pans, and the kind that was meant for loose powder. This compact ended up being the kind that was meant for loose powder, but was missing the accessories needed to effectively use it that way. You can tell because it has an extra lid that was originally used to protect the puff from the powder, and it is also much, much too thin to hold any size powder pan.

Here’s how I turned this loose powder compact into a custom blush pan.

Compact Aftermath

You will need:

1 pan of blush (I used Makeup Geek in Spellbound. The price is great for experiments like this. Also, looking at the finished product, I feel like two pans worth of product might have fit in there, but I don’t know that I’d risk it.)
Rubbing Alcohol
A fork
A bowl
A spatula
A paper towel

1.) Clean the compact really, really well. Mine still had remnants of makeup in it, which, while interesting in a historic way, is gross. I used dish soap and a sponge, then a Mister Clean Magic Eraser for the super stubborn stuff… Looking back, I probably should have tried makeup remover. If any of you try that, tell me how it works.

2.) Hold your breath and stab that blush right in its untouched center. Your heart will race, your palms will sweat, you will want to panic and call an adult, but persevere. Seriously, I would have taken a picture, but I was in too much shock that I was destroying a brand spanking new blush to think.

3.) Dump the blush in the bowl and mash it until its a powder. You don’t want any clumps, or you’ll get clumps in your finished compact.

4.) Add the rubbing alcohol droplets at a time. In total, I can’t say I used more than a tablespoon. You want it to become a paste, like oatmeal.

5.) Pour the blush mash oatmeal into the compact and spread out with a knife or spatula or whatever tool you find most effective. I ain’t gonna judge. I used a rubber spatula to make sure I got every bit of blush into the pan in case there wasn’t enough product.

6.) Lightly press a piece of paper towel on top to imprint the design. Clean up edges more carefully than I did because I’m a lazy bum.

7.) Let dry, compact open, for 24 hours. I left the paper towel set loosely on top in case the inner lid fell shut overnight. You can see in the picture that I had let the lid fall into the pan once already. Oh well, gives it character.

And voila!

Compact Finished

Instantly my favorite blush.

And while we’re on the subject of show and tell…

Purple Compact

She’s purple, girls. Mother puckering purple.

Filling this one was much easier, as she (yes, she.) still had her sifter. You just take out the metal ring, fill the compact with loose powder (I used Neutrogena, but am seriously considering trying Bare Minerals), place the sifter on top, and replace the ring. This compact is also convertible, meaning it fits some pressed powders. I had bought a Max Factor powder, but found the Grandma’s perfume smell too hard to handle. Plus, it’s so rare to find a compact that still has its sifter, I thought it would be a waste not to use it.

It’s official, I was born in the wrong decade.

compacts on book 2


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