How I depot my MAC makeup

How I depot my MAC makeup

Having tons and tons of little containers can become very annoying. Square ones, round, ones, high ones. Let’s just say stacking and packing them is no easy task. At least with the clear lid of the MAC packaging, I don’t have to open each one individually to see what’s inside. I do however, have to cart around the compacts, with them knocking each other in my bag as I walk. So I decided to buy a magnetic palette. It took me a while to decide whether to buy a MAC palette or Z palette but I’ll list the pros and cons below. I ended up buying the MAC Pro Duo palette both times even though the products I depotted are not only from MAC.


When I bought my first MAC magnetic palette, I bought 5 refill blushes along with it. Since I knew I wanted to expand my collection, I chose the dual sided palette. It was a great learning curve for me as I experienced both joy and frustration (with a little bit of cursing). Since I planned to use these palettes when working away from home, I chose to depot my MAC mineralize skinfinishes as well. The new packaging is a bit different from the old ones but they can also be depotted. You just have to be very patient and careful when depotting as it is very easy to scratch and nick the product.

Only the MAC refills you purchase in store have magnets on them to stick to the magnetic palette. The ones I depotted had no magnet and therefore they slid around. I decided to order the magnetic stickers used for the Z palette and paid R220 ($18) for 30 magnets. That works out to around R7 per magnet but I figured it was worth it because I don’t want my makeup falling out of the palette and risk breaking or crashing to the floor. I bought it from Turquoise Studio, an online store that offers free shipping and it arrived within 2 days. I was so disappointed when after I had placed magnetic stickers on my blushes and eyeshadows that they still slid across the MAC magnetic palette. Only to Google and find out that the MAC magnetic palette actually has a metallic base so you need a stronger magnet for it to hold.

I rushed out to my local stationers and found a box of 50 magnetic stickers for R40 ($3). They are 0.5mm so about 3 times thicker than the Z palette magnetic stickers. I also picked up a box of white stickers so I can write with a normal pen and that cost me R9 ($1). This solution works out to about R1 each. I am also much happier with these magnets as I tested on my fridge and other appliances and they stuck on perfectly with no budge. The Z palette magnetic stickers don’t stick very well to anything magnetic, guess they only work for the Z palette.

Here are the steps I took to depot my MAC compacts

Insert a pin in the groove at the front of the compact and wiggle it sideways until the pan pops out



Holding the edge of the pan, hold a lighter underneath it. Be careful as you can burn your fingers and the plastic can melt so don’t do it over your favourite tablecloth. This is to loosen the glue holding the silver pan to the plastic


I then use a nail file to loosen and lift the pan out of the plastic. If the glue is not loose enough, you risk damaging the product like I did for a few of my items


I then add a magnet and sticker to label the product so if I ever run out I know what it was


The reasons I chose the MAC magnetic palette over the Z palette are:

The MAC palette retails for R360 ($30) regardless of whether it is single sided or dual sided. The equivalent sized Z palette in Large retails for R350 ($29) and the dual sided one retails for R650 ($54).

The MAC palette is made of plastic whereas the Z palette is made of cardboard. The Z palette is very durable and there has never been any mention of it breaking, plastic is just my preference long term.

The MAC palette is deeper than the Z palette. I was able to depot my domed blushes and mineralize skinfinishes and even though it does touch the clear plastic divider in the middle, it closes completely and nothing gets damaged. There is a domed Z palette but it is always out of stock at Turquoise Studio and retails for R430 ($36). It is also smaller in width and length than the MAC palette.

The MAC palette opens butterfly style so I can see all the products when I lay it flat on the table. The Z palette needs to be turned around and used depending on which side the product you are looking for is on.


Dual sided Z palette

The MAC palette holds 48 MAC eyeshadows (24 either side of the divider) and the large Z palette holds 28 MAC eyeshadows.

The only con for me was:

The Z palette magnet is stronger hence the thinness of the magnetic stickers. I don’t think that the MAC palette base needs to be magnetic because either way you have to put magnetic stickers on.

And then this is neither a pro or con, just a difference between the two. The MAC palette is very thick but light and the Z palette is thinner but heavier. It’s not by much so it doesn’t make a big difference to me, I just preferred the MAC palette overall.

This is what my palette now looks like, as you can see I even depotted my mineralize blush in ‘Simmer’. I found that these are hard baked so you don’t damage them as easily as the mineralize skinfinishes when depotting.


After depotting, you can return 6 empty compacts (or any other product) for the ‘Back to MAC’ program and receive a MAC lipstick for free, saving around R185. I just returned my compacts and picked up the shade ‘Heroine’.

MAC Pro palettes are available from MAC standalone stores and Z palettes are available from Turquoise Studio online.

Have you depotted any makeup before? Please let me know if this tutorial was helpful.


Belle BluSHH <3

  • Very helpful. even though I have not depotted before

  • Hi Ghairunissa! This was so very helpful indeed! It does look to be quite a task though, and I’m scared ill burn myself or set my house on fire if I actually do, do it! I am new to depotting, and also tired of the bulk especially when the products are near completion, and you are close to having an almost empty compact/product, but unable to throw the compact away, because you still, technically need it as the house for it! …I was considering the z palette, but after reading your post, I think ill go with the mac! I didn’t know the z palette was essentially carboard! I too prefer plastic for the long term usage. So thank you for influencing my decision. …I want to start by depotting/decanting some of my lipsticks and because I think that will be easier for me as a beginner. Also, I have a somewhat extensive collection of about 86 lipsticks and counting,and some are almost finish- but I don’t want to throw away you know, because I still like them. If could ask for some advice-do you know where I can get empty rectangular metal pans, and will they fit snuggly into the mac palette? (I don’t want any spaces!) Also, perhaps if you know of an online store or somewhere I can maybe get a small plastic container with a lid, not too deep, and with dividers so I can use that for lipstick instead? Just in case the mac palette is not suitable for me just yet. I’m really looking for something and I’m desperate! But if I can’t find exactly what I’m looking for, I guess ill go with the mac .(Also, do you not find it annoying that the round pans don’t fit 100% perfectly in the rectangle/square palette? All the spaces in between drives me crazy! I’m a real perfectionist and o.c.d, so I like it when everything can line up perfectly together! They should consider making a round palette-will be nicer for round pans! Btw I enjoy reading your blog- it is very well written and some posts are rather helpful indeed. I follow your page on fb- my name on there is Cambodian Doll if you are curious to know who I am/what I look like/if this comment is made by a real person and not some spambot! (I used to have a blog too- but find it so tiring-i want to start blogging again, and do it better than the old one- but its too much work! I admire you and other bloggers in general for putting clearly a lot of effort into keeping it running your site. Thanks for your time and great post!

  • Hey Nisa, I enjoyed this post so much. I depotted MAC eyeshadows for the first time yesterday evening, and I also bought the Z palette magnetic stickers and sho, was I disappointed when they didn’t work.
    So I went around the house to see if they will cling to the fridge, and they didn’t. But they did cling to other magnets quite strongly, which really confused me. I’m no scientist but I I came to the conclusion that the stickers are only magnetic, not magnets themselves.
    So if the MAC palette was a magnet they would’ve worked. But the palettes are also just magnetic. You need and actual magnet to cling to it, not just a sticker that’s magnetic.

    I’m so disappointed that I didn’t read this post beforehand, but oh well, now I know 🙂 I think I’ll do the same as you and go get magnet stickers at a stationer. Thanks for sharing xx