How To – How to fix hard pan makeup

Hard pan

Its a common beauty problem, our most loved face powders; bronzers, blushes and pressed setting powders becoming almost unusable due to it. You may have never realised that it had a name but when you swirl your brush around and see that almost no product is being picked up you most certainly have experienced hard pan.

hard pan

The easiest way to describe hard pan is the formation of an almost plastic like layer of film on a powder products surface preventing any powder from being picked up, the film is often visible to the naked eye making the product look discoloured or “dirty” There are a couple of reasons why this occurs but the most common cause is the transferring of makeup and oil residue from dirty brushes.

In the past we have had to scrape this film off or in the worst cases throw out good product becuase of hard pan, but no longer!

I have a cheap and easy way to save your favourite products!

See my review of the beautiful blushes featured in this video here.


Lipstick 'n' Linguine
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Reply February 28, 2016

Oh my gosh that's so smart! I haven't had this hard pan issue for a while, but I know it's inevitable given my oily skin and laziness in washing my brushes haha. So much better than scraping off the top, thanks!

Tasha // shiwashiful.

Reply March 8, 2016

Wow, would have never had thought to do this! Thank-you, so super helpful. x

Reply July 12, 2016

Thank you!! This saved a Mac limited edition blush!

Tamara Reyes
Reply October 28, 2016

Thank you so much for this tip! My MAC Selena blush duo (specifically the dark brown Blunt part) was developing hard pan after a couple of weeks of use, and I was so afraid that it would go unused like my Rihanna Hibiscus Kiss duo. Thanks to you, both of them are now reintroduced into my regular makeup routine <3

    Lipstick 'n' Linguine
    Reply November 8, 2016

    So glad it helped! Such a simple solution right?

      Reply May 3, 2019

      Woah. I know this post is from a while ago now, but this has literally saved me ???? I had one eyeshadow go hard pan in a brand new eyeshadow palette of 12 shadows which was well weird. I've never experienced hard pan before. Watching the video and you mentioning the oils, or products from brushes can transfer and make it hard pan, I had actually used clean fingers to swatch and then a brand new brush to apply to my eyes and it immediately went hard pan. I haven't had any issues with any of the other shadows. Just this one. So perhaps I got a dud. Who knows! Lol. Glad I decided to Google hard pan issues before going to scrape it off. This worked! Thanks.

Reply January 26, 2017

Love this tip! Do you know how we can prevent the film from forming to begin with? Would setting with a powder help? I have dry skin so I would prefer to try something else!

    Lipstick 'n' Linguine
    Reply January 27, 2017

    The only alternative to using a powder would be to make sure you are using a fresh brush to pick up your blush, tapping excess off onto a hard surface and applying to one cheek, then picking up the residue of tapped off product and applying to the other check, the not putting an oily or wet brush back into he pan. Thanks so much for visiting!! xx

Reply July 2, 2017

Genius! Thank you so much for this. I've never been able to get a good swatch from my Tarte Exposed blush, to the point where I've wondered if I've ended up with a dud products. Turns out it had somehow just developed hard pan between it being made and me buying it. Xx

Tania | When Tania Talks

    Reply October 9, 2017

    Omg! Between her Video, and Your Comment, I Figured out that my Tarte Exposed Blush has also has Hard Pan since I Purchased it somehow! I also have never been able to get much product off or a Good swatch and I was like "How did 'Exposed' get so popular when the Formula sucks?" Lol. What's interesting is that is that I got my free Mini Tarte Blush in 'Paaarty' for my Sephora Birthday Gift this Year, and it is Soft and Pigmented as can be. The real Kicker is that everyone kept talking about Tarte's Holiday Blush Palettes being thrown together in China and Poorer Quality than their Permanent Blushes made in the USA. Well, the one in the Birthday Gift I noticed was Made in China and 'Exposed' was Made in the USA. So, Here I was thinking I was Crazy because I liked the 'Made in China' Formula Better, When it was just Hard Pan on 'Exposed' the Whole TIME! Thank You So much Ladies! You Have Certainly 'Exposed' My Dilemma ???? (I know I'm a Real Comedian haha)

      Lipstick 'n' Linguine
      Reply October 10, 2017

      AHHHH a pun master! Im so glad that this video helped you! I really think there has to be a correlation between the oil absorbing properties of clay and hard pan in these blushes. I still love exposed though!!

      Thanks so much for watching! Im so glad to have helped!!


      Reply October 12, 2018

      Will try this later with my Tarte Exposed too! I was about to return it because I haven't got any color at all when I tried to use it this morning. Now itching to go home!! Thanks for this. So helpful.

    Reply May 13, 2020

    I had a similar experience with my Tarte Exposed. I received the mini in Paaarty and fell in love with the formula resulting in me building up a collection of minis. Exposed was my holy grail go to color and the first blush I ever fully panned. I was so excited to purchase a full size knowing I would get so much use out of it but was heartbroken to find that it wasn't showing up on me. It's been sitting in the bottom of my makeup bag, I occasionally go back to it thinking maybe I'm just not building enough, but no color. It's strange because it was like this from the day I brought it home so it must be an issue with the production of this batch/ shade. Maybe they used too much sealant.

    I've been considering scraping the top layer but am so pleased to have found a method that will waste less product. I'm excited to give this a shot and have my favorite blush back in rotation. Thank you!

Reply May 19, 2018

Thank you!!!!!! I read this on a site that said use packing tape and didn’t believe it was true! Soooo thankful for a quick and easy demonstration and title!!!

Reply December 29, 2018

I have a bronzer compact that I tried like 8 layers of tape and I still cannot even scrape it, let alone the tape trick working. Any tips to loosen it a bit? It’s almost brand new :(

Reply January 7, 2020

Thank you so very much! I was about to dig in and destroy the top layer of my MAC face pallet. I did what you said and its usable again. I am so mad thinking back at the makeup I threw out of messed up by scraping the top layer off.

Golden Reese
Reply February 15, 2020

THANK YOU for that great info on hard pan happening to makeup. IT WORKED can't thank you enough. I thought I would have to throw two compacts away and I wash my brushes every 2 weeks but it happened. THANK YOU AGAIN! Golden

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