Pigment Tutorial Part 2

This time, I’m going to show you how to fix an overly sheer polish, the power of fuschia pigment, how clumsy I am, and the ugliest baby-poop green polish ever. Yes, we have much to learn in this pigment tutorial.

I’ll start by showing  you how to fix a sheer polish. I used Sally Hansen Hi-Definition color in Blu, which is a lovely color, but required three to four coats to be opaque. (EDITED TO ADD: When I did this post, Sally Hansen was cruelty-free, then got resold to another company that tests on animals. Their testing/not testing status has flip-flopped so many times they’re now out of my polish stash).

So the trick is to use a pigment or eyeshadow that is as close to the color as possible. You’re aiming to add pigment and make the color more dense. You will need a tiny spoon to get the pigment in your silicone baking cup, or if you’re using pressed eyeshadow, you need an eyeshadow brush. I’ll be using pressed eyeshadow for the first couple parts of this tutorial.

I have a giant set of 120 eyeshadows that I bought and will probably never wear. I’m worried that they’re chock full of lead (I bought them from a Chinese website) but so far, so good. I chose a color that was close to the original polish- a frosty medium blue.

Use your eyeshadow brush to loosen the eyeshadow and direct it into your baking cup. Don’t forget to clean off your brush afterwards for next time, otherwise enough color may remain in the bristles to give you a surprise the next time you use it! At the very least it will make your colors muddy over time.

Make sure you have a bottle of clear polish handy. You will use the brush from this bottle to mix up the pigment and polish. You can use it over and over again and replace it when the clear polish gets really dirty.  Also make sure your nails have base coat if you use and they’re ready for polish. The pigment-mixed polishes tend to dry quickly and can be a little hard to handle, so make sure you’re ready to polish quickly.

Drop the polish in the pigment or pour it in, but don’t get the original polish brush in the pigment. It will permanently contaminate your polish. That’s what the brush from the bottle of clear polish is for- mix with that!

A dusting of pigment and the polish puddle. Note how similar the colors look- I just wanted to make the polish less sheer, not change the color.

Mix ’em together and then paint your nails!

The pigment polish is slightly too dark to be a perfect match, but it was opaque in two coats (upper). The original Blu is on the bottom and is a lovely color but took 4 coats to be opaque. If I was really deranged, I could add further pigment (white pearl and a touch of green shimmer)  to the pigmented polish to get the color closer. But I’m happy with the way it turned out.

Let’s see what happens when we add a tiny touch of fuschia pigment to the original Blu. This eyeshadow is really opaque, so it won’t take much to drastically alter the color.

I used this bright fuschia- I am sure this is a color  I’ll never  be wearing on my eyes!

So, you can see there’s just a tiny dusting of fuschia in the baking cup- it’s just barely sprinkled in there.  I added the same amount of Blu as I did before. But check out what color the pigment changed the Blu to..

A nice royal purple!

Finally, I decided to give the yellow pigment from TKB Trading a try, hoping for a nice springy green. This one was doomed from the start- the dang bag split when I opened it and I got bright yellow pigment all over my pants.  Lesson:  Don’t wear good clothes when working with pigment.

So here’s what I mixed:

…and I got lumpy baby poo green.

That’s not to say it’s the fault of the pigment. Some pigments are lumpier than others. It has more to do with the color and chemical composition of the pigment, not the brand or price. This TKB pigment was lumpy, but I’ve worked with other TKB products that are not lumpy. Fyrinnae has pigments that are smooth as silk while others make a nail that looks worse than Funky Chunky. MAC is pretty good all across the board and I’ve never experienced lumpiness with it but it’s expensive and the price is set to double soon, if not already.

I have a couple more pointers in mind for another tutorial as well, maybe involving glitter! I do have some fun nail art coming up, but let me know if there’s other things you want to know about pigment!


About nevertoomuchglitter

Nail artist. Wanderer. I'm a color-holic, in fact, it was my love of color that brought me to the nail art world. Well, that, and the fact I was too cheap to pay crazy Japanese prices for nail polish while living in Tokyo, so I had to start mixing my own. That's how NTMG began.
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40 Responses to Pigment Tutorial Part 2

  1. BJ says:

    Thank you for your tutorials, they’re great! How I love messing around with all my unused powder eye shadow. May I put in a request? Duochromes? Any pointers?
    Thanks and warmest regards from the Netherlands!

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      Hi there! I’m still working on the duochrome- it requires a duochrome pigment and/or polish, but I’ll be happy to show my attempts in a later tutorial!

  2. Jin says:

    Fantastic tutorials! I’m going to go buy myself a silicone cup and try this out myself. I’ve got heaps of eye shadow, some I don’t use anymore. Now I know what I’ll do with them 🙂

  3. Annabelle says:

    Bubbles!! How to avoid them. I must mix the polish funny becuase I always get bubbles.

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      I get bubbles when:
      1. The pigment is too chunky
      2. My mix-in polish is too thin
      3. Overly vigorous stirring

      Let me experiement a little bit and see if I can fix a bubbly mix. Usually it’s the result of the pigment and the polish not playing well together. Do you mix a whole bottle or just a little at a time?

  4. Arie says:

    Hi Jen, this tutorial is awesome, great pics!
    Really the colors changed so beautiful, is like working with a rainbow ^_^
    btw I invite you to check my blog, follow the link there and take a look at my creation for a contest 😉

  5. Serikiyo says:

    Neat! My clear polish is almost all gone anyway, so I think I might give frankening a try! 😀

    And by the way, yes, Mac has already shrunk the pigments. 😦

  6. Jessi says:

    I think the lumpiness problem from the last one is probably due to the pigment being yellow. You know how yellow polishes are notoriously thick and streaky? I’m guessing the pigment is just hard to work with.

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  9. Nikki says:

    Thank you thank you! I now have use for all those old eye shadows! Great tutorial!

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  12. Anita says:

    Such a fun website! I’m glad I found it. I too, am a color-holic.

    Can I clean off the clear polish brush with remover or thinner to lessen contaminating the bottle? (Drying the brush with a paper towel to avoid getting thinner/remover into the clear?)

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      I’m glad you stopped by! 😀
      Sure, you can wipe the brush off with thinner or remover and then blot it on a paper towel. Better still would be to use a special lint-free nail wipe- you can get them at a salon supply store, and they will keep the fuzzy bloobers out of your polish.

  13. Clementine65 says:

    Just when I was ready to throw out old eye shadow . I find this a great idea. Thank u . Can’t wait to try.

  14. Karrie Welch says:

    The reason it is lumpy is that- the yellow is lake dye- a raw ingredient- the others are finshed eye shadows- menaing they are pigments and/or dyes finely ground into a base- to create a finished product- the dyes- and/or mineral pigments- such as iron oxides- would all be lumpy- as they are not meant to be used straight- but rather ground into bases to create finished products. I use my mineral makeup company’s finished products often in my nail art- but would not use the raw pigments- for that reason. here’s one I did yesterday using finished shadow colors.

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      Thanks for the info! I have added raw pigment into polish with great results and some art actually does call for a lumpy surface, like Halloween Zombie nails, but sometimes it’s better to use the finished product in mixing, especially for those not looking for deliberately weird “special effects.”

  15. Ana Laws says:

    Could I mix the eyeshadows with a clear polish instead of a polish that is already colored? Would it work the same way?

  16. Sandy says:

    I have over 200 or so different colors of eye shadows that I went wild and bought and was just about to go through them and throw them away! After see this, I’ll have to try it, because I always go get my nails done and love different colors of polish.

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      Give it a try and let us know how it goes! Some eyeshadows are better than others, but it’s fun to experiment. 🙂

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  18. Luci says:

    This is such an amazing idea! I am not the kind of girl who wears make up very often but i change my nail polish ALL the time! If wanted how do you bottle the naill polish?

    Thanks I am so glad i stumbled apon this site!

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      You can try making a larger batch with more pigment and clear polish, then pouring it into an empty bottle, but add a couple small metal BBs or ball bearings into the bottle. It will need a LOT of extra shaking to mix it. I generally only make enough polish for one batch since I change it all the time, though! Experiment and have fun! 🙂

  19. Beth says:

    That bumpy greenish color would look great for a halloween monster-themed manicure. 😉

  20. Reblogged this on everythingbeautyforyou and commented:
    Part two. Honestly, check this out (:

  21. what a great idea! nail colours that are too sheer are one of my major beauty gripes and i have a few that i never use for that reason so i’ll be experimenting with this! thankyou! 🙂 xx

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      I’m so glad you liked the post! I’m not a big sheer fan either, but they make for some interesting mixes. 🙂

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  24. carmen says:

    Love this Idea,, the Matte is what got my attention,,I have never had anything matte for nails,is this a top coat? or what was mentioned before to use corn startch?

    • nevertoomuchglitter says:

      Nope, nothing special used to mattify this one- a lot of pigments will dry down to a matte finish. You can use a matte topcoat over any pigment if you like as well.

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