How to remove makeup stains from clothes (yes, it’s actually possible)

how to remove makeup from clothes

No matter how carefully you slip your blouse over your face, or how strategically you place your head on your S.O.’s pillowcase, makeup stains happen. Countless pieces of clothing and home goods have been deemed ruined, days thrown off, and fights started by a mere lipstick stain on a collar, or mascara smudge on bed linens.

But there’s really no need to panic and write these pieces off just yet. Now, the obvious solution may be to reach for your makeup remover–but let us advise you otherwise. The oil that’s found in most cleansers will only make the issue worse. Instead, to effectively lift the stain without the risk of enhancing the problem, it’s important to find the proper fix for each specific case.

Whether it’s a stain from powder, foundation, lipstick, mascara or self-tanner, we’ve got just the way to get rid of the mark like nothing ever happened. So, go ahead and tell your S.O. to take a chill pill – that stain’s going to come right out.

how to remove makeup from clothes

Use white vinegar to remove powder stains
You may think that powder can be brushed right off, but you’re wrong. You’ll just end up grinding it deeper into the fabric. Mix a solution of white vinegar and water, dip a cloth into it, and dab the stain until it disappears. Just be sure to test out the vinegar mix on an inconspicuous spot first, to ensure the colour of the garment doesn’t lift. Use the leftover mix to clean up any makeup or water stains left on your bathroom counter.

Heinz Distilled White Vinegar ($2,

how to remove makeup from clothes

Shaving cream will remove liquid foundation marks
When it comes to stains on fabrics caused by an oil-free foundation, shaving cream will be your saving grace. It boasts a cleaning agent that’s great at breaking down the stain, and so it comes off easily in the wash. For super stubborn stains, mix a touch of alcohol into the shaving cream, and dab the stain until it disappears. Toss the garment into the wash immediately after the spot treatment, and the stain’s bound to be gone. For oil-based cleansers, a Tide to Go Pen could do the trick, or even dish detergent, but we’ll get to that.

Lush Cosmetics Prince Shaving Cream ($14,

how to remove makeup from clothes

Use hair spray to remove lipstick stains
Like ink stains on fabric, lipstick marks can easily be lifted with hairspray. Just give the stain a spritz, let sit for 10 minutes, dab with a cloth, and toss into the wash. Is the piece dry-clean only? A powder–like baby powder or baking powder–could remove the stain.

L’Oréal Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold Hair Spray ($19,

how to remove makeup from clothes

Makeup remover will take out mascara remains
Slept with your mascara on? It’s basically impossible not to have it all over your pillowcase. For this, you can grab your makeup remover (well, as long as it’s oil-free). Just apply a touch of the solution to a cloth and dab until it disappears. Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micelle Solution is a winning pick that’s gentle on your skin but tough on stains.

Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micelle Solution ($16,

how to remove makeup from clothes

Remove self-tanner stains with dish soap
Of course, by now we’re well-versed in removing awry self-tanner woes like orange hands or super dark joints, but what about the stains your tanner left on your sheets, clothes, or sofa? Rinse the area with cold water, and then use a sponge to apply dish soap, which will dissolve the oil in the formula. Stain still not gone? Opt for hydrogen peroxide, but be sure to test it on a hidden spot first for colourfastness.

The Honest Company Dish Soap (from $4,