Your Guide to Removing Every Type of Makeup Stain

February 03, 2020
Deven Hopp
By: Deven Hopp | by L'Oréal
Your Guide to Removing Every Type of Makeup Stain

From getting red lipstick on our white shirt to spilling a fresh bottle of liquid foundation across our just-vacuumed carpet, we’ve had our fair share of run-ins with misfortunate makeup stains. While our clumsy nature has taught us to keep a stain stick on-hand 24/7, we’ve also learned what products and techniques work best to remove pesky makeup stains. So grab your rubbing alcohol, kitchen vinegar, hairspray and detergent, and read on. Ahead, we’re sharing just how products you already have at home can get powders, mascaras, nail polish and more out of, well, everything. 

How to Remove Nail Polish Stains 

Nail polish is tricky because the obvious solution is to use nail polish remover. But polish remover can interact poorly with some fabrics and dyes, so spot test a dab of non-acetone remover before you attack the stain.

If you sense a bad reaction or don’t have remover, use rubbing alcohol and a paper towel to blot away the color. Keep adding alcohol and removing pigment until the stain is gone.

How to Remove Lipstick Stains 

The best cure for lipstick stains is already in your bathroom: hairspray. Spritz the stain, let it sit for a few minutes and dab off with a clean cloth. In a pinch, a piece of tape can be used to transfer the stain off of delicate fabrics. Finally, rinse and wash for best results.

Although lipstick stains on clothes are avoidable (for the most part), lipstick stains on wine glasses are nearly impossible to escape. When treating lipstick-stained wine glasses, soak the bottle in salt before turning to your standard soap.  

How to Remove Foundation Stains 

Treat liquid and cream face makeup stains with a clarifying product like shaving cream, liquid soap or dish detergent to cut through the oily component of the foundation. Use a clean cloth to lift the pigment as you blot. For stubborn stains, it may be helpful to add a small amount of alcohol to the spot. 

How to Remove Powder Stains 

The age-old advice “don’t rub” applies more than ever to powdered makeup stains. First, dust off as much of the excess as possible. Then use a mixture of white vinegar and water to blot away the stain. Finally, wash the garment with high-quality, color-safe bleach.  

How to Remove Waterproof Mascara Stains 

For minor stains, try using an oil-free makeup remover. The oil-free formulation is key; otherwise you’ll end up making an even bigger mess. We recommend the Maybelline New York Expert Eyes Makeup Remover. For heavy-duty projects, turn to professional oil solvent, which you can find at your local dry cleaners. Let the solvent dry on the stain, brush off the residue and wash according to the label instructions.  

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