Visibly Organized: Depotting to Z Palettes

Much as I love prestige cosmetics, I have to admit it: I’m a sucker for an affordable drugstore eye shadow. And Wet ‘N’ Wild — despite the corny/pornish name and the fact that it was definitely my favorite stop on a Fred Meyer trip when I was oh, say, 10 years old — keeps sucking me back in. It’s hard to say no to a well-laid-out palette for just five bucks, especially when, as it turns out, the quality is pretty decent. So I’ve managed to accumulate a fair number of these little impulse buys over the past couple of years.

Here’s the problem, though: I put them all away neatly in one place, and then I forget I have them, and they never get used. A few weeks ago I was organizing the closet in my bathroom and found this little drawer unit just jammed full of products I’d forgotten I had:

Clearly, the drawer system, while good at keeping things contained, was not working in terms of maximizing use.

I immediately thought of the rash of YouTube videos that came out promoting Z Palettes a few years back. At the time, I didn’t think I had any use for the magnetic palettes, but looking at my stash of drugstore eye shadows, I decided the time had come. I took a break from my closet project to do some quick online comparison shopping, settled on (5% rebate through Mr. Rebates or 4% rebate through Ebates), and placed my order for two large Z Palettes.

Z Palettes have a magnetized base so shadow (blush/bronzer/powder/etc.) pans stick to the palette and can be removed and/or moved around. Since not all cosmetics come in pans that will stick to the magnetized surface, the palettes also come with a set of adhesive-backed magnets to stick to your pans. Which is a good thing, since it turns out none of my Wet ‘N’ Wild pans would stick on their own.

The tricky part is depotting your shadows from their plastic cases. They don’t just pop out; you have to apply some heat. The palettes come with instructions for a couple of methods, and I know other bloggers have used candles to heat the backs of their palettes. Because I have an old flatiron that I don’t use anymore, I decided to go with that method. (I wouldn’t recommend the straightening iron method if you want to keep using your iron on your hair. Mine has residue all over it now.)

Working with one palette at a time, I’d pop the lid off, then let the palette rest on one surface of the iron. When the plastic and glue started to soften, I used an eyeliner pencil to gently poke the pan out of the case.

I definitely recommend doing this in a ventilated area. I worked with the bathroom window open. In winter. It was still stinky.

I found I had to be really careful when popping the shadows out, especially with the matte shades, so I didn’t crack them. I did crack a couple, and then I had to go back and fix them with rubbing alcohol. Not the end of the world, but not ideal, either.

In retrospect, I kind of wish I’d ordered the pro size rather than the large size, but I’m not sure the $5 price difference would have been worth the extra space. doesn’t do a very good job of explaining the size difference.

I’m actually really thrilled with how these turned out, though. As you can see from the background, I’ve got a couple more to do, but now I’ve got most of them into two Z Palettes, and already I find I’ve been using them more just because I can see them.

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