Quick Tips That Can Save Ruined Makeup

It's so aggravating — you spent so much time and care on your look, but now something has gone horribly wrong and your makeup is a mess. Don't get discouraged just yet. Glam is here with some quick tips and tricks to help you patch things up and be on your way looking fine and fabulous. 


Maybe you sneezed and smudged that carefully applied cat-eye, endured some humidity that sent your concealer sliding down your face, or just used a too-heavy hand. Now you see the need to tone down some color or sparkle just a bit. However, don't break out the makeup remover and tissue, and start your look all over again. You've established a good foundation — perhaps literally — so you can fix the problem without a complete redo. There are very few makeup mess-ups that can't be dealt with fairly quickly and easily, and we've got the easy solutions you need right here.

Whisk away eyeshadow fallout with a fan brush

Eyeshadow is great when it stays where it's supposed to, but how many times have you finished crafting the perfect eye look only to find that the shadow has drifted? Eyeshadow has a tendency to fall off your upper lids down to your under-eye area and cheekbones, creating shadows, smudges, and just a mess on your otherwise fresh and flawless skin. 


Next time, do your eyes before you apply your foundation, blush, highlighter, powder, and any other makeup products. If you have any fallout, then you can use makeup remover to clean it up. In the meantime, avoid the hassle of fallout by applying an extra heavy dusting of setting powder directly under your eyes before applying any shadow. When you're done, take a fan brush and briskly whisk the powder away from your nose and off your face, and it will remove any excess eyeshadow with it. 

Remove mascara smudges with a clean spoolie

Whether you accidentally smudge a little mascara on your cheek with the end of the wand or blink too hard and smear a black line under your eye, your first impulse is probably going to be to take a fingertip and wipe the offending smudge away. Don't do it! If you rub at the wayward smudge, you're just going to make things worse, spread it all around, and make it even harder to remove.


Instead, take a deep breath, exercise some patience, and move on to your eyebrows or lips while you wait for the mascara to dry. This won't actually add too much time to your routine because mascara is formulated to dry quickly. Once your mascara is completely dry, use a clean spoolie brush to lightly flick away at the smudge. It will scrape right off, leaving no muddy smear to contend with.

Buff out too-bright blush with a clean brush

Bright blush is as stylish and popular as ever, and it's always a fun way to add some color and glow to your look. Sometimes, however, we get a little too heavy-handed and go overboard with the blush. We come out more clownish than glamorous. Resist the urge to rub hard with your hands, as you'll just push the blush further into your skin while sending blood rushing to your already colorful cheeks. 


Instead, pick up a clean blush or powder brush and lightly buff out the color until it tones down to a more flattering shade. If it's still too bright for your liking, dip the brush into some green color-correcting powder and blend it into the cheeks until the color calms down. No color-correcting powder? Wet a beauty blender and press a little foundation over the blush to mute the brightness.

Fix crooked lip liner with a cotton swab

Lip liner can really work wonders when you want to emphasize or reshape your mouth's outline, or prepare a canvas on which to apply lipstick that will stick around all day even when you eat or drink. But sometimes, we overdraw around the mouth or apply the liner crookedly. Don't let this mistake throw everything off. It's an easy fix that doesn't need to get in the way of the rest of your makeup application.


Fix this classic blunder easily and efficiently by using a cleansing wipe or a cotton swab dipped in makeup remover to erase the liner. Redraw as desired, and follow up by applying concealer around the outside of the liner with a lip brush before applying lipstick on top of it. This will cover any remaining smears, make your lips stand out beautifully, and keep the lip liner in place.

Nix clumpy mascara with petroleum jelly

You're getting ready to go out and you want to freshen up your mascara, but your application from earlier in the day is clumpy. You don't want to paint over the clumps and make it worse. We know. We've been there. Or, you made the mistake of applying too many coats, leading to a clumpy finish.


It's tempting to wipe off all your eye makeup and start over, but it's absolutely not necessary to do so. That doesn't mean to apply more mascara over the clumps, though. Instead, simply take a little petroleum jelly or other neutral balm, lightly coat your lashes, and blot with a clean tissue, carefully avoiding any liner and shadow. Comb out lashes with a clean spoolie and apply a new coat of mascara. Brush again to remove any further clumps. Add another coat, brush again, and you're good to go.

Smooth out creased concealer with a damp sponge

It's an annoying nightlife tradition — you take a break from having fun and head to the bathroom for a quick mirror check, only to see your concealer has settled into your undereye creases. Don't let this ruin your good time. Even with good makeup practices, sometimes your makeup will settle in creases. Next time, be proactive and use the right products. Be sure to prep by applying makeup primer over clean, dry skin, which will go a long way in keeping makeup out of the creases.


In the meantime, do what you can to fix your makeup. Reset your concealer by dampening a beauty blender or makeup sponge (or just use your finger if you're desperate!) and lightly tap and blend the makeup back into the skin. Finish off with a little powder to set the concealer and spritz with a hydrating facial spray to refresh your whole look.

Smooth chapped lips with a sugar scrub

If your freshly applied lipstick is looking rough, literally, it might be chapped lips. Lip products need to sit on a smooth surface. Dry, flaky skin gets in the way of this and makes everything look scaly. If this happens to you, remove your lipstick with a cleansing wipe or washcloth (or a paper towel if you're out and don't have access to those items) and gently scrub lips to remove as much dry skin as possible.


An even better option is to regularly exfoliate lips with said washcloth or a sugar scrub — you can buy scrubs in many different flavors or even make one from scratch by blending a small amount of sugar with honey, petroleum jelly, or a lip balm. Rub gently on lips, remove, and reapply your lipstick. Don't overdo it, though — a once or twice per week lip exfoliation routine is plenty.

Fix too-dark brows with micellar water

Strong brows continue to be a popular and beautiful look, but what if you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and realize your brows are too dark or overpowering for your own taste?  Remove excess color with micellar water or other makeup remover. Blot with a tissue and then brush your brows up and out with a spoolie, brow brush, or clean toothbrush. Next, recolor in a shade that matches or is slightly lighter than your own hair color for a more natural look. 


Choosing a lighter color might sound counterintuitive when it comes to making your brows stand out, but the harshness of too-dark brows can usually be chalked up to using a product that's too dark for your coloring rather than your application technique (however, for blond brows, a slightly darker color works). Then, be sure to give your brows a second light brushing with your tool of choice to blend and soften the filler.

Color correct foundation with pressed powder

It can be hard to find a foundation shade that perfectly matches your skin. Who among us hasn't tried out a new brand or formula and discovered midway through the day that the new foundation is too light or too dark, and wanted to wipe off everything and start all over again? 


Well, that's really not necessary. Go over your face with pressed powder that matches your skin. This will temporarily correct the faulty foundation. If that's not an option, use a makeup removing wipe to carefully take off foundation while avoiding your eye makeup and lipstick. Don't get rid of the foundation that was too dark or too light; you can blend it with another foundation to create a custom shade. Further, too-dark foundation can act as contouring makeup or a subtle eyeshadow option on your lids, while too-light foundation can serve as highlighter or a brightening undereye concealer. 

Lighten matte makeup with setting spray

Some of us eschew the dewy look and like to keep things classic and matte, but sometimes too much matte makeup leads to a dull, dry finish. Lighten things up and give yourself a subtle glow without going full gleam by finishing off foundation and powder with a moisturizing setting spray. 


Follow up your foundation and concealer application with a spritz, then add setting powder and spritz again. Quick hits of setting spray throughout the day will keep your makeup in place and your skin looking fresh and glowy. You can also add some liquid highlighter to your matte makeup to give it a little more luminosity while keeping that smooth matte base. Another option is strategically dotting your face with liquid, cream, or stick highlighter after applying the matte foundation. Try a little in the inner corners of your eyes, across your cheekbones, in the arch of your eyebrows, and on the bridge of your nose.

Clean up lipstick smudges with makeup remover

Creamier and glossier lipsticks can do double duty by keeping lips pretty and moisturized, but they are also more likely to smear and smudge. Keep everything in line, literally, by carefully cleaning up smudges with a makeup remover wipe and lining lips with a matte lip liner in a shade that matches your lipstick. 


Another option is to switch to a matte lipstick. Less glossy formulas are more likely to adhere to the lips and stay in place rather than migrate elsewhere. You can also do a little prep to get your lips ready for lipstick by exfoliating regularly, applying a thin layer of balm or moisturizer (emphasis on thin — too much will make things slippery), using a lip primer, and starting with a layer of lip liner to which the lipstick can adhere. There's also the classic technique of applying the first layer of lipstick, blotting, and finally dusting the lips with setting powder over a layer of tissue.

Tone down eyeshadow with matte beige

When you've patiently finished your eye makeup for the day, it's enough to make you scream when you realize one of your lids has much brighter or darker eyeshadow than the other. Don't panic — all is not lost. 


Blot the problem lid with a clean tissue or cotton swab. This will probably be enough to take the color down to a more manageable level. If that doesn't completely fix the problem, go over the color with a matte beige eyeshadow, or even some foundation or setting powder to tone it down to match the other lid. Of course, an opposite technique is also acceptable here. You could apply more color to the less colorful lid and bring it up to the level of the other. Of course, that might end in having to apply the aforementioned matte beige eyeshadow or foundation to both eyelids.

Balance winged eyeliner with a cotton swab

The saying "sisters, not twins" can apply to winged eyeliner as well as eyebrows, but sometimes you realize that your wings couldn't even pass as second cousins. You can avoid this from the get-go by using a stencil to apply eyeliner. If that's not an option, create a guide for yourself by marking where you want the wing to end with a tiny dot. Then extend a line from the outer corner of your eye to the dot to create the top of the wing. Place the dot in the same spot on the other side of your face to set an even foundation for the rest of your application.


Of course, this doesn't help if you're already dealing with mismatched wings. Leave your preferred side alone. On the other side, use a cotton swab dipped in makeup remover to even things out. A little concealer applied with a small brush around the wing's edges can also add some balance and has the added bonus of defining the wings against your skin.

Soften harsh contouring with foundation

Contour is a great way to shape the face. Done right, it can add planes and create sharp cheekbones, but it's also way too easy to go overboard and add a series of harsh stripes instead. Don't despair! The best option is to start by applying contouring makeup with a very light hand. It's easier to add more product as needed rather than trying to erase too much product after the fact. Furthermore, be sure to use a contour shade that's only slightly darker than your natural tone. Again, it's easier to add a second layer of contour instead of fixing too-harsh contrast.


For an immediate fix for contour gone overboard, dip a stippling brush or makeup sponge in foundation and bounce lightly over the contour lines. This will soften the contour while still leaving it in place. Pay special attention to the edges of the contour lines and then blend them out into the skin.

Use a beauty blender to blot eye makeup after a cry

Crying in public on occasion is perfectly normal, but crying off a face full of makeup only makes things worse. Don't get even more upset. Instead, calm down, take a deep breath, and take a moment to fix things up.


First of all, make things a little less messy and lean forward when you notice yourself tearing up. This will stop the tears from rolling down your face and making tracks through your foundation. Next, take a damp beauty blender with a little bit of foundation or pressed powder on it and dab under your eyes. The spongey material of the blender will soak up your tears and the product will smooth out your undereye area and minimize any redness. If your eyes are still bloodshot, line the lower waterline with white eyeliner to make your eyes look brighter and bigger.  

Refresh with a fan and powder after sweating through your foundation

Heat and humidity are two of the biggest irritations when it comes to messing up a freshly made up face, but they don't have to ruin your look. Don't make the mistake of wiping at your face, which will inevitably smear your foundation, concealer, and blush. It will also transfer any oils or dirt from your hands to your face. Once you're inside and out of the heat, wash your hands and place your face in front of a fan or air conditioner vent to make the sweat dry quickly. 


Once your face is dry, lightly blot with some pressed or setting powder. This technique will preserve your makeup without you having to wipe everything off. Likewise, you won't have to fix a lot of sweaty smudges. Refresh your look with a light mist of cooling setting spray. You can even keep the spray in the refrigerator for an extra-cooling treat.