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Make-up mistakes and how to fix them quickly

Messy mascara and other cosmetics catastrophies

Author: Charlotte Kuchinsky October 26 2008

woman hiding makeup mistakes

We have all done it. We have all made those make-up snafus, which seem to be more common whenever we are in a hurry and don’t really have time to deal with our mistakes. The mascara smears; the lipstick bleeds; the foundation turns dark; the eye shadow creases. The look isn’t pretty, more clown like than modelesque, leaving the blood pressure soaring and frustration at an all-time high.

The good news is that there are quick and easy fixes. Here are some tips to help solve those pesky little make-up problems whenever they occur.

Mascara Problems

Getting rid of those mascara lumps and clumps can be a breeze if you know what to do. Once you finish with an old mascara, hang on to the wand brush. Clean it thoroughly and sterilize it. Keep it inside of a clean zip-lock bag until you need it. The next time your mascara clumps, pull out the clean wand and work it cautiously through the lashes to separate them and remove any excess mascara.

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When mascara smears or sticks underneath the eyes, there are a couple of quick fixes. If you have time, let the mascara dry. Then take a clean Q-Tip and brush the smear away. If you are in a hurry, dip into Q-Tip into glycerin or rose water. Then gently rub it across the smear to remove the mascara, hopefully without removing the foundation underneath. If for some reason it does, dip another Q-Tip into the foundation to quickly repair the problem.

Lipstick Problems

The best way to avoid lipstick problems in the first place is to use a primer and/or lip liner before applying the lipstick. However, that doesn’t solve the problem after the fact. So, if the color bleeds into the fine lines around the mouth or smears there are a couple of quick fixes to try.

Clean your lipstick brush in make-up remover. Dip the clean brush into your foundation. Use the foundation to dissolve the smeared lipstick as well as work the natural color back into the skin around the smeared area.

If the lipstick color turns out darker than you expected, don’t try to remove it and start over. Use a neutral beige lipstick shade over the top to soften the look. The more layers you apply, the lighter the color will become. Another alternative is to use a semi-sheer gold or silver metallic lipstick over the top. However, reserve that glitzy look for night. It isn’t really appropriate for daytime.

If you want your lipstick color to appear brighter, line and fill in the lips with a slightly darker lip liner. Reapply the lipstick over the top.

Foundation Problems

It is important to always choose the right “type” of foundation for your skin. This will help avoid any slip-and-sliding off of the face.

Apply foundation with a make-up sponge rather than your fingers. This will help prevent you from applying too much make-up, which could result in serious foundation problems. If your foundation coverage is still too thick, clean your make-up sponge quickly and then use it to blend away the excess product.

To keep foundation from moving out of place once it is applied, brush a clear, translucent powder over the top to seal it into place.

If you choose a foundation that is too light for your skin, try brushing a bit of bronzing powder over the top to warm it up and add some depth. If the foundation turns dark on the skin, mix it together with moisturizer before applying it to the skin.

Blush Problems

As with foundation, it is important to choose the right “type” of foundation for your skin type.

If you apply too much blush or the color appears too dark use a clean blush brush to blur the product. Then use clear, translucent powder over the top to lighten the look.

If the blush is too light, layer on several careful coats to make it appear brighter or substitute a bronzing powder for the blush. Also sweep the bronzer across the top of the forehead, down the bridge of the nose, at the side of the face, and chin.

Eye Shadow Problems

The best way to keep eye shadow from creasing is to prepare the lids before adding the shadow in the first place. This can be done by simply applying foundation and/or powder across the lids first. This will prevent creasing and “sliding” of the product.

If you apply the color too heavily, use a clean shadow brush to diffuse the color more evenly. If it is still too dark, brush a bit of beige eye shadow over the top. Another option is to use a bit of foundation to blur the color slightly.


Solving make-up problems is often a matter of trial and error. However, once you have found the techniques that work for you, you’ll be able to fix the mistakes in the blink of an eye.

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