removing makeup stains

8 Brilliant Hacks for removing makeup stains

Wednesday 27th Dec 2023 |

Ever had that last-minute makeup disaster threaten to ruin your New Year’s plans? The panic of a lipstick smudge or mascara mishap on your furniture right before the big night can be a real stressor.

But worry not! We’ve got your back with expert advice from Saffron Hughes, the makeup guru at She’s spilled the beans on eight incredible hacks to banish ANY makeup stain, saving your furniture and your mood just in time for the festivities.

Let’s dive into these genius solutions to ensure your New Year’s Eve starts spotless and stress-free!

Professional makeup artist shares eight hacks for removing ANY makeup stain   

1. Use fairy liquid and a credit card or butter knife to remove foundation 
Saffron advises that before you treat a liquid foundation stain, look to the back of the bottle to determine whether the product is oil or water-based. 

“If you accidentally get a foundation stain on your carpet, upholstery or other, you need to act fast as naturally foundation sets quite quickly. However, how you act depends on the foundation formula… 

“Oil-based formulas should be treated quickly to prevent the stain from setting. Firstly, remove the excess foundation from the clothing using a credit card or butter knife – whatever you have to hand. Dampen the stained area with cold water then, using a teaspoon of dish soap which acts as a degreaser for oil-based products, massage it into the area then blot with a damp cloth. 

“For a water-based foundation, do the same but swap washing-up liquid out for your usual washing detergent. When blotting the stain, be careful not to wipe the product as you risk spreading the stain further. Also, NEVER use the heat from a hairdryer to speed up this process as it can cause a stain to set.”

2. To remove stubborn fake tan stains, use baking soda

“If you’re finding that fake tan stains are lingering, it’ll require something more abrasive to lift the product from the clothing, carpet or upholstering. Mix a paste of equal parts baking soda and cold water then apply to the stain for 15 minutes, before washing off with warm water. The stain will have lifted any colour lingering from the fibres.”

3. Use hairspray to shift old lipstick stains

“Lipstick is made of a combination of wax and oil, so no wonder that it’s a tough one to shift. First, aggravate any remaining lipstick wax by brushing the stain with an old toothbrush, then spray the area with hairspray.

“The alcohol in hairspray acts as a tough degreasing agent and is more likely to lift the stain than a typical detergent. Let the stain sit, then wash as normal.”

4. Use a hairdryer to prevent loose powder from staining

“Dry powders can stain just as much as oil-based products,” explains Hughes, “To prevent the colour staining your clothing, blow away any excess powder with a hairdryer. Do not rub the product, as you risk wiping the powder into the clothing.

“Take your usual makeup remover, such as a wipe or micellar water and gently blot any remnants of powder on your clothing, carpet or upholstery.” 

5. Never add water to an eyeliner stain

“Black eyeliner is stubborn, given the sharp contrast between the product and whatever clothing. Adding water can cause the product to bleed outwards, covering an even larger surface area,” warns Hughes, 

“Take a neat liquid detergent or powder and cover the affected area with it, being careful not to rub the product in. Let it sit, then wash with cold water.”

6. Mascara can be removed with nail polish

“If you have mascara stains on your carpet or upholstery, use a cotton swab dipped in nail polish remover to dissolve the makeup and get rid of it completely. Afterwards, clean up any remaining residue using another cotton swab dipped in baby oil or mineral oil.”
7. Lip gloss can be removed with dish soap and white vinegar

“The shine and stickiness of lip gloss can make lingering stains troublesome. To prevent the oils from taking hold on your clothing garment, carpet or upholstery, make a paste with equal parts white vinegar, baking soda and dish soap. Apply the mixture to the stain, waiting a few minutes before wiping away with a damp cloth.”

8. Eyeshadow stains can be removed with toothpaste

“Eyeshadow contains a variety of pigments that are hard to remove from carpets and upholstery. You have to act fast when dealing with this type of stain, however, or you risk having it set into the fabric.

“The first step is to blot the stain with cold water. This will help set the stain and make it easier to remove. It’s also important not to use hot water, as this could cause the dye in the eyeshadow to set deeper into the carpet or upholstery fibres.

“Once you’ve blotted off as much of the eye shadow as possible with cold water, apply a dish soap directly onto the stained area and rub vigorously with your fingers until all traces of colour are gone from the area. Rinse well with cold water again after scrubbing to ensure that no soap residue remains behind.

“If you’ve dropped a light-coloured eyeshadow, add toothpaste directly to the stain and rub it in with a damp cloth. However, for darker stains, apply some vinegar directly onto the stain and let it sit for about 30 minutes before scrubbing off with a wet rag. Both of these methods will work”

Additional tips for when removing cleaning ANY stain

Saffron said, “There are several ways to remove makeup stains from your carpet and upholstery. Most involve using some chemical product with varying degrees of success. However, if you misuse these methods, they can make your stain worse! Here are some golden rules on how to get rid of makeup stains at home:
Always dab when cleaning a stain as this will help keep the stain from spreading further, whereas, wiping will just spread it around more.
“You should also work from the outside of the stain towards its centre so that you don’t smudge anything else in its path. Also, keep in mind that some stains are more stubborn than others so you may have to repeat this step several times until all traces of colour have been removed!
“If you’re using harsh chemicals, be sure that it’s safe to use for your surface. For example, bleach isn’t recommended for removing a stain on a carpet as it can cause discolouration.” 

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