Whether it’s from your deodorant as you pull on that little black dress, or concealer from a friend’s face after a quick hug, makeup stains are typically unexpected – and can be tough to remove. So, next time it happens to you, consult this handy how-to-fix-it list and make that stain magically disappear.


While deodorant may not really be make-up, it’s often the first stain of the day, marking our clothing, as we get dressed. No worries! Just reach for a pair of nylon stockings or a dryer sheet to quickly remove that tell-tale white smudge. Rub the fabric against the deodorant mark and it will almost immediately disappear. Alternately, a damp microfibre cloth usually does the trick too.

Concealer, blush, eyeliner, and eye shadow

For powder-based products, a strip of Scotch tape may be all you need to lift out the colour. Carefully lay the tape on the spilled make-up and lift; then, using a microfibre cloth, follow-up lightly with a quick buff to remove the stain altogether. For liquid-foundation and any other liquid makeup, pre-treat with a clarifying product, like shaving cream or shampoo. Surprised? Both of these toiletries have cleaning agents that should break through the stain before you throw it in the wash.

As most lipsticks are oil-based, the stain solution here should be an oil-based cleaner. Something like Dawn dish soap, which claims to be tough on grease. Begin by blotting the stain with a clean microfibre cloth to remove any excess colour. Moisten the fabric with some clean water, then gently rub a drop of the soap onto the stain. Let the fabric and solution sit for 10-15 minutes. This is an important step; let the liquid soap do its magic! When time’s up, use a microfibre cloth to rub the soap into the stain in a circular motion, from the outer edge toward the middle, so as not to spread it any further. Finish by dabbing the section of fabric clean with a dry microfibre cloth (or in a pinch, use paper towel). Repeat as necessary until the stain is gone.


This may be one of the toughest stains to remove. So, start by treating it with a store-bought stain remover, like Shout or Spray ‘n’ Wash. Work the product into the stained fabric with a soft bristle brush, or your finger. Again, let the stain remover work its magic for at least 10-15 minutes, allowing the enzymes to start dissolving the oily/waxy components of the mascara. Then, simply wash the garment as recommended on the label to remove the stain completely.


(Photo by Jazmin Quaynor)