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Press Your Own Makeup Kit Instructions

Welcome!  You are about to discover how easy it is to press your own color cosmetics.

Whether you are repairing a crumbling but beloved eye shadow which you purchased from the cosmetics counter, or formulating your own design “from scratch”, you are guaranteed to have fun, save money and be very pleased with the quality of your results.


This Kit includes:


What you need to provide:

  • Rubbing Alcohol (important, do not skip!) for cleanliness
  • Clean work surface and cotton swabs
  • Plastic wrap (makes it easier, but not absolutely required)
  • Color additives such as TKB powder pigments or micas


What you might want:

  • A sieve. A sieve is not an utter necessity but it makes a world of difference.  Sieving keeps the powders loose & fine and makes them press more easily.  Our company sells a mini-sieve which you might consider.  Alternatively, you can place silk cloth in a needlepoint ring and then using a kabuki brush to gently push your powders through the silk sieve. 
  • If you are using pure pigments such as our Matte Tones you will want to use a grinder to make sure the color is fully mixed with the dry binder. If you are pressing pre-made cosmetics or mica powders, you won’t need a grinder at all.
  • Jars to mix in (instead of using the zip lock bags we provide).



Limit of Liability and Disclaimer of Warranty:


The information provided herein is provided "as is." TKB Trading, LLC makes no representation or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of these instructions and specifically disclaims any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for any particular purpose.  All recommendations and suggestions are made without guarantee, since the conditions of use are beyond our control.   In no event shall TKB Trading, LLC be liable for damages of any nature arising out of the use or reliance upon the information. 

Consumers are encouraged to observe all measures of cleanliness and hygiene and to “patch test” all ingredients and products to assure that they will not have unfavorable results.   In all cases, consumer should discontinue use of any item which causes irritation.


What is a Pressed Powder Cosmetic?


A pressed powder cosmetic is typically a blend of three things:

  • A color (about 80% - 90%)
  • A dry binder (about  5-10% by weight)
  • A liquid binder (about 0% -3.5% for recipes which use pure pigments.  About 8.0% - 9.0% for recipes which use mica)


Here is a sample recipe with instructions.


½ tsp (0.9 gr) MyMix Pink Blush

2 scoops (0.1 gr) MyMix Press Base

3-5 drops MyMix Liquid Binder



  1. First clean all tools, work surfaces and tins with alcohol to disinfect. Put on your latex gloves!
  2. Measure the powders (color and press base) into a zip lock bag. Close the bag and rub between your hands until fully mixed.
  3. Open the bag and add the drops of liquid binder. Close the bag, and rub between your hands until all the ingredients are well mixed. 
  4. Add a drop of MyMix Liquid Binder to the bottom of the tin you are going to press into.
  5. If you have a sieve (highly recommended), please sieve your powders first and then scoop approximately 1/3rd of the mixed powder into the tin. If you do not have a sieve, simply scoop approximately 1/3rd of the mixed powder into the tin.
  6. Place the plastic wrap over the bottom of the tamper tool (this keeps things clean and makes the press smoother). Tamp down on the powder and press lightly.
  7. Add a second layer and press again.
  8. Add a final layer and do a final press. For effect, place the pressing ribbon on top of the powder and press one last time with the tamper tool.


If you follow this basic recipe and instructions for any powders you have, you should have success.  In general, think of the process like building a sand castle at the beach.  If the powder is too dry, it won’t press well.  If it is too wet, it will also fall apart.  Best to get it “just right”.



More details on the Ingredients & Techniques


What’s the color?  Any cosmetic-grade approved color additive you choose.  It is easiest to work with our colored micas.  You may also choose to work with some of the pure pigments (matte colors), but if you do, you will need to use a grinder of some type to make sure the colors are well mixed. 


What’s the dry binder?  A pressed powder typically includes 5%-10% of a dry binder.  A dry binder is a powder which grabs and binds the powders together.  In this kit, you are using the MyMix Press Base which is a blend of the following ingredients:

  • Sericite Mica -- Light, fluffy and a little shimmery
  • Calcium Carbonate – Also known as “chalk” (only cosmetic grade in this case), presses nicely
  • Zinc Stearate – Presses nicely
  • Kaolin Clay – Light, fluffy and matte


Note:  If you are a using a premade eye shadow (for example, if you have a pressed eye shadow that has crumbled and you just want to press it back into shape), then you probably don’t need to add any of the other ingredients, or maybe just the liquid binder.  This is because a commercial pressed eye shadow already has dry binder ingredients in its formula.


You can design your own formula for a dry binder.  Please refer to Table #1 Press Base Ingredients for ideas on things you could use.


What is the liquid binder?  A liquid binder is there to wet the powders and make them easy to press (imagine trying to build a sand castle out of dry sand and you get the idea!).  In this kit, you are using MyMix Clear Pressing Medium which is a blend of silicone oils, including:

  • Isopropyl Myristate
  • Dimethicone
  • Bis-Vinyl Dimethicone/Dimethicone Copolymer
  • Added Preservative: Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Potassium Sorbate, Hexylene Glycol


There are a lot of alternatives to using the MyMix Clear Pressing Medium.  Please refer to Table #2 Common Liquid Binders for ideas on how to make your own (possibly more “natural”) binder.


A good Liquid Binder will meet the following criteria:

  1. None-oily
  2. Non-drying to the skin
  3. Flexible enough that the tablet will not crack over time
  4. Won't alter the color immediately or over time
  5. Won't go rancid or develop an odor
  6. Will be stable in the face of heat or time (won't remelt)


A really good Liquid Binder will also offer up extra benefits:

  1. Be good at wetting pigments to bring out their full color
  2. Be good at wetting powders for better compaction
  3. Encourage good color pickup or payoff
  4. Assist in skin adhesion
  5. Aid in slip and skin feel by reducing drag


What about Technique?  When you press, you want to use slowly increasing pressure -- not one hammer fall.  This is because as you press down you are also removing air pockets around the grains of pigment and you need to give the air time to escape.  If you do not, the pockets will be trapped inside and your tablet will be prone to cracking.

The act of pressing itself may be accomplished by many tools.  Your goal is to obtain a Per Square Inch of Pressure (psi) between 500 - 2000.  Your thumbs alone are only able to do about 400 psi and with your body weight pressing down you can eek up to about 500 psi.  Since we are only meeting minimum standards, it is a good idea to fill our pan in three layers. It takes more pressure to compact a single thick layer of powder than three thin ones. 

To increase pressure, consider using a “C-Clamp” which you can purchase at a hardware store and one of the TKB Press Tiles.










Comments & Recommended Usage Rate


Boron Nitride (N)



Adds shine, don’t  use it if you want a matte base.  Use at 2%- 10%


Bismuth Oxychloride



Adds shine, don’t  use it if you want a matte base.  Use at 2%- 15%


Calcium Carbonate (N)



Inexpensive, good at absorbing oils.  Use at 5% - 70%


Kaolin Clay (N)



Inexpensive, good at absorbing oils. Use at 5%-20%


Lauroyl Lysine (N, S)



Adds bounce and slip.  Use at 2%-5%


Magnesium Myristrate (N, S)



Adds adhesion.  Use at 5%-10%


Mica (N)



Micas of any kind (Sericite, Silk, etc.) are common base powders are poor at pressing.  We recommend a surface-treated mica.  Use at 20%-40%





Improve skin feel and color payout.  Use at 2%-5%





Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA) also offers light scattering properties for a “soft focus” effect.  Recommended for pressed foundations.  3% - 20%





Polyethrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is an excellent dry binder.  Use at 2%-5%.


Silica Microspheres (N)



Improves color payout and offers light scattering properties for a “soft focus” effect.  Recommended for pressed foundations 2%-5%


Silicones (S)



Typically liquid.   Usually found in the liquid binder or as a surface treatment on a base powder.


Talc (N)



Talc is a common base powder with excellent pressing qualities.  Use at 10% - 80%


Titaniuim Dioxide (N)



Will also whiten your recipe.  Smaller particle sizes will perform better in pressed powders.  3%-10%


Waxes (N, S)



Typically solid.  Usually found as a surface treatment on a base powder..


Zinc  Oxide (N)



Will also whiten your recipe.  Smaller particle sizes will perform better in pressed powders.  15% - 40%


Zinc Stearate (N, R)



This dry binder is the magic bullet.  Add from 5%-10% to your loose minerals to turn them into a press base.  Other stearates may also be used (calcium, magnesium, etc.)



a.        An ingredient which “Improves Payout” helps your color come off the pressed cake and onto your brush or fingertip.  It will also improve the “Skin Feel” of the product as you apply it.

b.       An ingredient which “Improves Press” will help ingredients stick together (bind them) and generally improves pressability. 

c.        “N” in the table means “Natural” or “Naturally Derived”

d.       “R” means “Highly Recommended”.

e.       “S” means “Surface Treated Use Recommended”.   You may buy the ingredients by themselves, but more typically you will buy them as a surface treatment on a base powder (example:  TKB's MTTD is titanium dioxide with methicone).  By using a surface treated product you are less likely to over-dose on one or the other ingredient.  Over-dosing can result in waste of expensive raw materials, as well as a product which is irritating to the skin.  Surface treatments may be put on any base powder (examples: mica with lauroyl lysine, mica with dimethicone, etc.).




Comments & Recommended Usage Rate



Alcohol/Vodka/Witch Hazel

Very effective at wetting pigments but by itself produces a brittle cake with no payoff.

Aloe Vera Gel

Available in a thin viscosity which makes it a natural choice for wetting the powders.  Downside is that it is easily contaminated with bacteria and so requires preservation.


Generic binder, typically as a powder.

Jojoba Oil

Adequate basic binder which can be used by itself.  Can go rancid over time.  Natural yellow color will effect product unless you purchase clear jojoba.

Jojoba Esters

Available in different thicknesses they are completely oil free.


Very good wetting agent, requires special formulation including preservatives.

Fractionated Coconut Oil (Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides )

Good basic binder which can be used by itself.  No concerns for rancidity or color changing.  Somewhat oily, can be improved by additional ingredients which augment color payoff and reduce drag.

Isostearyl Palmitate

Good universal binder which is an ester derived from palm oil.  Improves color, texture and impact resistance


A good wetting agent.

Waxes (non-brittle waxes such as beeswax, paraffin, etc.)

Counteracts brittleness of the cake.  Waxes also seal the surface of the tablet against moisture and moisture loss.  Too much wax reduces color payout.




Not natural, but popular because they lend to the esthetics offering a nice skin feel.  They also give the consumer more Play Time.  There are many types to choose from.  Generally, they are very poor at wetting pigments and powders and so often blended with wetting agents.   Silicones are available in various thickenesses or viscosities.

Mineral Oil

Also referred to as Liquid Paraffin. 

Paraffin Wax

Counteracts brittleness of the cake.  Waxes also seal the surface of the tablet against moisture and moisture loss.  Too much wax reduces color payout.



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