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What Is Makeup Hardpan and How Can You Fix It

August 07, 2020

Have you ever been in the middle of your makeup routine and realized that your face powders have a hard and stiff feel? Even worse, your makeup products seem almost unusable? If so, you’re totally not alone. While your first thought may be to simply toss out your makeup essentials and replace them, there is a way to get around this pesky beauty concern known as hardpan. After all, there’s no reason to watch your money go down the drain when you can salvage your makeup.

Ready to learn how to conquer hardpan? Read on to find out everything you need to know about hard pan and how to make it yesterday’s news.


Hardpan is when your powder makeup products like bronzer, blush, setting powder, and eyeshadow sport a hardened, shiny film overtop. As a result, this film makes it super difficult for you to pick up product. Typically, hard pan makeup can have a dirty, wet, or super dry appearance on the surface of your product. In turn, the makeup in question can lack the pigmentation you’re used to, allowing you to believe that it’s time to toss it out—even though there's usable product underneath. In other words, hardpan can be an absolute pain to deal with.


What’s to blame when a hard layer appears on top of your favorite L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Powder? The main culprit behind pesky hardpan is none other than oils from your skin transferring onto your makeup products. This can easily happen by applying makeup with your hands or simply double-dipping your brush into your pressed powders, which can cause excess oil to spread. The presence of oil creates a thin, hardened film on the top layer of your makeup that blocks the soft product underneath.

Liquids, in general, can also create hardpan. If you dip a wet brush into specific eyeshadow formulas (often matte powders), it may cause the same hardness on the top layer of product.


Now that you have the lowdown on hard pan, you’re probably wondering what the easiest way to get rid of it is. While you may have tried your hand at scraping the hard layer straight off of your products, this method will only result in you wasting your makeup. Not cool! So, instead of endlessly scraping away in the hope of restoring your makeup to its former glory, get the job done without the waste. Enter: Regular adhesive tape.

While you may have introduced tape to your beauty routine in order to craft a precise cat eye makeup look, this essential has proven to be a multifunctional beauty tool that can also help you leave hardpan behind. Best of all, it’s super easy to use. All you need to do is take a small piece of tape and press it gently over the hardened section of your makeup. Lift the tape up to carefully remove the hard areas of powder. Repeat until the hard layer is completely removed, and you’re all set.


Of course, if you don’t want to worry about dealing with hardpan in the first place, you’ll need to take the necessary steps to keep this annoying beauty issue at bay. Consider following our two tips to prevent hardpan.


Believe it or not, you should really be cleaning your makeup brushes and tools on a consistent basis. Keeping your tools nice and clean helps to protect your skin and kill any bacteria from spreading, which can cause blemishes to become a factor. Not to mention, using dirty tools can get in the way of a flawless makeup application. Beyond this, oil on dirty brushes can contribute to hardpan.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends cleaning your makeup brushes every seven to 10 days to keep your tools in tip-top shape. Not too sure how to properly clean your makeup tools? Head on over to our article, How to Clean Makeup Brushes and Blenders, for a step-by-step routine.


If you’re partial to using your fingers to apply makeup, you’ll need to go the extra mile to ensure that you’re not spreading any oil to your products, not to mention not harming your skin. By simply washing your hands before makeup application, you’ll be able to remove excess oil from your fingers for a more hygienic beauty routine that's also less likely to lead to hardpan.

Next: How Long Does Makeup Last?

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