Swatchfest: Ellana Minerals Loose Multipurpose Pigments

Loose pigments are what I could class as ‘intermediate’ cosmetics. They’re intensely versatile, but can get pretty intimidating and require some practice to learn – which isn’t to say today isn’t the day to start trying!

Loose pigments are worth adding to your arsenal, especially if you love doing looks that require great color payoff. I personally love using loose pigments, and I’ve amassed a mini vault of Ellana Minerals Loose Multipurpose Pigments (P299 each, ellanacosmetics.com). As a professional makeup artist, having these in my kit allows me to do more creative looks but even a regular makeup junkie can benefit from adding loose mineral pigments in her collection. Want show-stopping highlights or richly-pigmented eyeshadow looks? Loose pigments are the way to go!

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A word of advice before we get started: loose pigments are INTENSE so they have to be used sparingly. Whereas typical eyeshadow or other pressed makeup can be easily blended out and piled on because of their various fillers, loose pigments offer super rich colors in a single swipe. Be careful to use only a little at a time and to carefully blend, blend, blend! 

Just as pure concentrates need some water to taste like normal juice, some pigments need to be "diluted" to unleash their full potential. You can also use them alone or as is, if the look you want requires the colors to be rich and solid. Even then, add only a little at a time so you maintain control over the pigmentation. The swatches I'll be showing here are pure and piled on so you can see the color tones of each pigment; they may look different when blended out.

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These first five are the shades Halo, Beam, Sensational, Shine, and Caress (swatched left to right). I got them with a Lip and Cheek Gel of my choice as part of the You Glow Girl Bundle that came out last November.

Halo was the one that converted me – the moment I used it, I heard each and every hinge on the gateway of addiction rejoice at their latest victim. I. Was. Hooked! It’s a white-based pigment with iridescent white to pink shimmers. I use it very thinly as highlight, but if I have the time I mix it with loose translucent powder (like Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Powder) to set a glowing base

Beam is a coral-based pigment with silver and gold shimmers. Of all the Loose Multipurpose Pigments, Beam has the most interesting shimmer profile. It picks up so much light! I love adding it on the center of the lids for a soft halo look.

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Sensational is another white-based pigment. It has golden yellow shimmers and is what I would use to recreate an everyday version of the Fenty Beauty Killawatt Highlighter in Trophy Wife on morenas.

Shine is a bright gold satin. The shimmer is much finer than the first three, and I have used this on the center of a red lip for an over-the-top festive lip look. It can be used thickly as eyeshadow, with a mixing medium (like the Inglot Duraline) as eyeliner, or blended out over the base to add a sun-kissed feel.

Caress is a pastel-pink based pigment with gold shimmer. This is perfect to layer thinly over blush to add dimension to your blush color profile (our top picks here.) You may also mix it with clear gloss for some wow-factor on your lips.

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While the first five can be used a highlighters, these next six are a more random selection with shades more appropriate for dramatic eye looks. Dazzle is brown with silver highlights. I love adding it on top of gel pencil liner (some suggestions here) for an interesting eyeliner look. If I had mixing medium, I’d use it alone as shimmery, colored eyeliner!

Charisma is a satin copper. The shimmers are super fine and, depending on how you apply, it can add shimmery color or be a full-on metallic.

Dream is a matte white. I kept it on for artistic use, but it’s also really handy when creating cut-crease looks that require intense but matte highlighting. I use this more thickly than the rest of the pigments, just because I use it on looks that need solid whites.

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Smoky is a gray with silver highlight. I like to layer it thinly over regular eyeshadow looks to make them deeper and more dramatic.

Azure is an aqua-based pigment with silver and blue shimmer. I haven’t really used it much but I got it… just in case!

Twilight is a lovely olive with gold and silver shimmer. Like Dazzle, I use it mostly to texturize gel eyeliners.

Having a good range of colors to choose from allow me to fully embrace playing with makeup. I can mix them with setting spray, foundation, highlighter, clear lip gloss, clear mascara, as eyeshadow, as eyeliner, or layered on top of lipsticks – ANYTHING GOES! Because these are pure pigments, the same color might look different when used solidly or sheered out, so even getting just one shade is an adventure. Imagine the possibilities!

Note: The writer received Smoky, Azure, and Twilight from the brand as partial compensation for her professional makeup services. This is not a paid review.