How to: Make your own highlighter out of recycled eyeshadow

Hello all! I recently learned how to recycle my old powders (blush, highlighter, bronzer, eyeshadow) and turn them into something new and exciting: A highlighter! This process is super easy and I will walk you through the process step-by-step. Easy as pie! This was my first time actually trying this and the end result was absolutely amazing.

You will need:

  • old eyeshadows, highlighters, bronzers, blush, etc.
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Eyeshadow pans (link at the bottom if you need some)
  • A butter knife
  • A round, flat bottom for pressing (I used the cap for my hairspray)
  • A small bowl
  • Fine glitter (optional but hello who doesn’t want to be a walking disco ball 24/7?)

Start by taking your old makeup and choosing what color you want your highlighter to be. I chose to make mine a dark pink color so I used the first and eighth color in my hard candy pallet as well as a shimmery pink and an old highlighter from my Ulta brand pallet. I love the colors in both of these pallets but they have gotten dry over time and use so I decided it was better to give them a new chance at life instead of letting them waste away on my vanity.

After you have chosen your colors, scrape the contents out of the pans and into a bowl. I chose to put mine into an old tupperware container so I would have a lot of room to mix all the colors together. At this point I also added some very fine crafting glitter. You can also use cosmetic glitter if you have it on hand but the whole point of this post is to save some money and use your cosmetics for all they are worth.



After you have emptied the contents into a bowl, mix them around with the butter knife to get one shade. If it’s not perfect, don’t worry, it will all go on evenly once you wear it.


At this point you will want to empty all of the contents of your bowl into your pan. I didn’t end up scraping enough contents out of my pallets so I had to add more shadows and of course, more glitter.

Absolutely beautiful!
Mix together your shadows a little more just to make sure they are even. After this you will want to take the flat side of your knife and even out your powder a little bit so it coats the pan evenly.

You will then want to take your rubbing alcohol to the pan. I put my alcohol into the cap so that I did not add too much. It doesn’t take very much! The more alcohol you add, the longer it will take for your pigment to dry which means it will take longer for you to be able to wear it.


You will then pour just a little bit of your alcohol into the pan. Remember, you can always add more if needed, so start off small.


After you have poured in your alcohol, mix the contents together to form a thick paste.

Now we will press our pigment! Grab a round, flat surface (or square if you are using a square pan) and gently push on top of your highlighter. Doing this will press it into the pan and keep the shade from shifting around. It will also even out your pigment so it covers the pan evenly and is also easy to use with a brush.


After, your highlighter should look like this:


Hopefully yours looks a little better than mine. Allow the pigment time to dry. Mine only needed about an hour but if you used a lot of alcohol, give it up to 24 hours to form. It should be hard and powdery just like a normal eyeshadow.

Test it out! See how well your new makeup turned out and flaunt what your mama gave ya! Mine turned out flawless and is the best highlighter I have ever used and I didn’t spend a dime on it! Here’s proof of how awesome this how to really is:

The best part about this hack is you can use it for any kind of powder cosmetic. If your bronzer has lost its luster, your blush isn’t the right shade, or if you need a new eyeshadow color for the party you’re attending. This also works if your favorite powder has fallen apart from dropping it or overuse. Just follow the same steps and boom! Just like new. I loved being able to make my own highlighter because I found that no highlighter has enough glitter and now I can add my own. I think I will also be trying this trick with other colors. Blue highlighter? Yellow Bronzer? Why not? The possibilities are endless.

As corny as this whole post is, I love doing work such as this. While it is always important to talk about the things that really matter, my beauty hobbies as well as having the opportunity to try new things is what really gets me out of bed in the morning. I hope you all enjoyed this tutorial as much as I did and let me know if you want to see more content like this.

Much love, Mady

If you don’t have any extra pans you can use right now you can buy some off Amazon for super cheap! You can also create your own custom pallet which is perfect for travel and you’ll always have your most favorite shades on hand.

15 pc eyeshadow pallet $2.78 through
 Single eyeshadow pans 25ct $9.99 through

(If you purchase any of these products I get a little bit of credit which means I can keep posting tutorials like this! Click on the pictures if you are interested in buying.)

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