We love makeup. We love clothes. We don’t love it when the two of them intersect (we call it the Venn Diagram of our nightmares). Case in point: every time you put on your favorite top only to realize you’ve smeared your (flawlessly-applied) foundation all over the neckline. Nothing worse, we tell you…nothing worse. Luckily, some key household items are here to save the day. From lipstick stains to mascara streaks, your makeup stains don’t stand a chance—keep scrolling to see all our stain-busting hacks!
First up? Liquid foundation. Here’s a life hack to remember—a small amount of shaving cream can help lift oil-free foundation from your favorite shirt. Just wet the area, apply it directly on the stain, rub in gently (you can use a toothbrush), then wash the shirt normally. If you’ve got an oil-based foundation stain, try dish detergent; it will counter the oil and lift out the stain. Remember though—this only goes for cotton and polyester-blend fabrics; anything wool or silk should be left to the pros.
If you’ve accidentally spilled powder foundation all over yourself, resist the urge to pat it off. Doing so will only pat it in. Instead, gently shake your shirt to get rid of any excess powder, apply a spot cleaner on a damp cloth, then dab at the stain until it goes away. Rinse with water, then throw it on the wash! This technique works for eye shadow and powder blush, as well.
Lipstick on someone else’s collar: slightly naughty. Lipstick on your own collar: slightly embarrassing. Both: extremely annoying. Most lipsticks have an oily base, so reach for your dish soap to cut through the oil and lift the pigment. Apply it with a damp cloth, allow it to sit for a few minutes, then rinse until the stain is gone (you may need to repeat this process a few times). Ready for another trick? Some people say 409—yes, your go-to household cleaner—is perfect lifting out oil-based stains on your clothing (lipstick included).
If you’ve got a streak of mascara or eyeliner on your favorite shirt, grab your favorite makeup removing wipe and dab at the stain gently. If that doesn’t completely lift the stain, spray a bit of hairspray on the area, wait a few minutes, then scrub it under cold water; the alcohol in your hairspray helps break up the pigment and loosen the stain (this works best on cotton and fabrics with a low polyester count).
Ugh, the dreaded nail (yet inevitable) nail polish spill. Whether it's on your carpet (oops) or your favorite blouse, polish stains can feel like the end of the world—but they don’t have to be. If you spill on a shirt, make sure you place a layer of paper towels between the fabrics so the stain doesn’t leak to the other side, then gently lay a paper towel on top to soak up excess liquid. Then, just at it dab with nail polish remover—over and over and over again. If the polish has dried before you’ve noticed it (hey, it happens), hold an ice pack up to the polish to harden it, then scrape it off with a credit card or old toothbrush. Then, just follow with the acetone-dabbing technique above. Be careful to avoid using acetone on any fabric made with acetate, however—it can actually melt the fabric, so beware.
To get a lip gloss stain out of your clothes, first use a credit card to scrape away as much of the product as your can—this is better than wiping, which can actually push the pigment further into the fabric. Then, you can either use the hairspray trick above, or gently dab at the stain with a clean cloth soaked in alcohol (your standard laundry detergent will work, too). Rinse it out in warm, soapy water and repeat if needed.
Have you tried any of these stain-removing tricks? Tell us your remedies below!