Pressed Pigment vs Eyeshadow: What’s the Difference?

Published Categorized as Makeup Tips

Shopping for makeup can be confusing at times. Especially when you see some products labeled “eyeshadow” and others that look identical labeled “pressed pigment.” You may have numerous questions about the differences between pressed pigment vs eyeshadow. What is pressed pigment used for? Can pigment be used as eyeshadow? How do you use pigment eyeshadow? If you’ve been stumped by these questions, you’re in the right place. Continue reading, and we’ll examine the difference between pressed pigments and eyeshadow.

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Table of Contents

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What’s the Difference Between Pressed Pigment and Eyeshadow?

Seeing some products marked eyeshadow right next to other nearly identical makeup products labeled pressed pigments can leave you scratching your head trying to decide how they are different.  The difference in name is due to the pigments that are used to create each makeup product.

The FDA has an approved list of pigments that are considered safe for the eyes.  Products labeled eyeshadow, such as warm-toned eyeshadow palettes and cool-toned eyeshadow palettes, are made with these FDA approved pigments.

So, what is pigment eyeshadow?  Pressed pigments are makeup products that are not allowed to be labeled eyeshadow.  This is because they are made using one or more pigments that are not on the approved list for use around the eyes from the FDA.  Manufacturers that choose to use non-approved pigments are required to include a disclaimer that the product is not intended for use around the eyes.

What Are Eyeshadow Pigments Made From?

Pigments used to make eyeshadow and pressed pigments come from a variety of synthetic or mineral sources.  If you want to understand more about the pigments in a particular band, you may want to do a bit of research into what is used to make their products.

Are Pressed Pigments Safe for Eyes?

Why can’t you use pressed pigments on your eyes?  Why are some pigments not eye safe?  Some of the pigments that have not been approved by the FDA have caused irritation around the eyes on individuals who have used them.  Some neon pigments, and many pink, purple, and red pigments are more likely to be found on the not approved list than other colors.  This means that you’re more likely to find these colors labeled pressed pigments.

Can pigments be used as eyeshadow?  Obviously, you want to make sure the makeup products you choose are safe for your eyes.  So, are pressed pigments eye safe?  Many individuals can use a pressed pigment eyeshadow palette without a negative side effects.

However, there is always the chance that your skin and eye area will react differently.  If you have more sensitive skin, you may decide the risk or irritation isn’t worth it.

It is also important to note that some of the pigments that have not been approved by the FDA for use around the eye area have gained approval from the European Medicines Agency, the EUs’ equivalent of the FDA.  This could mean that FDA approval for some of these pigments is coming and just hasn’t happened yet.

How Do You Use Pressed Pigments?

In addition to using them as an eyeshadow, there are other ways to use pressed pigments.  These include highlighting your cheekbones, creating a personalized lip color by mixing the pigments with clear lip gloss, using them as an eyeliner, and adding some shine to your hair by mixing the pigments in with a thin hair care product.

Wondering how to apply pressed pigment eyeshadow?  The steps very similar to what you’d do to put on standard eyeshadow:

  1. Apply eyeshadow primer, concealer, and/or foundation to your eyelids if you plan to use them.
  2. Add a base color, such as white, or black, if you want the pressed pigments to add a pop of color to your eyes.
  3. Dip a brush into the pigment and gently tap it to remove any excess pigment.
  4. Apply the pigment in layers to your eyelids by patting the brush across each eyelid.

Final Thoughts on Pressed Pigments vs Eyeshadow

We hope you were able to find the answers to your questions “what is pressed pigment,” and “what is pigment eyeshadow used for?”  Do you feel more knowledgeable in the differences between these products and how they are intended to be used?  Now you can start shopping with a renewed confidence for all the makeup products you need!

By Ellis James

We design luxuriously glamorous bags, organizers and life essentials for you. At Ellis James Designs, it’s all about YOU. Your bag, Your way. Our exclusive designs are timeless, indulgent and most importantly inspired by you. What will be your first Ellis James Design?


  1. Such an informative post- I think it’s super helpful to break down the difference between pressed pigments and shadows!

    Hope you’ll come check out my new post!


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