Got lipstick on your teeth?
After you run to the bathroom to remove the smudge, here’s what you need to do to make sure it doesn’t happen again: separate a facial tissue into a single-ply and use it to softly blot away excess color from your lips.
“The creamier your lipstick, the more likely it is to smear,” says Poppy King, makeup artist and designer for Boots No7 Lipsticks. Then, wash your hands and place your index finger into your mouth, pucker your lips, and pull out your finger. This removes any color that’s inside the base of the lip, preventing it from migrating onto your teeth.
Smudged your freshly-polished nails?
If you have nail polish remover handy, use your fingertip to apply a tiny bit over the smeared polish—it acts like paint thinner to even out the color (nail polish remover wipes work, too).
In the future, “don’t wait until your mani is done to dry your nails,” says Elle. Run your blow-dryer’s cool-shot button over your polish in between coats to speed up the drying process.
Smeared your mascara?
Give it a minute! Rushing to grab a cotton swab and dabbing it off immediately will remove the excess mascara but also take off the rest of your eye makeup, setting you back even further.
Instead, let the smudge dry (about 60 seconds). It will get a little flaky and come off “almost like a crumb rolling off your skin,” says Kristofer Buckle, celebrity makeup artist. Just dampen a Q-tip or a tissue twisted into a tiny pencil-shaped point and hold it over the smear to gently remove it. And next time you’re swiping on mascara, open your mouth wide while you’re coating your lashes. It keeps you from blinking, so you’re less likely to get a smudge.
Used too much blush?
Blend! “If you can see the color’s edges, you’ve got too much blush on,” says New York City makeup artist Ildiko. Grab a clean dry brush, makeup sponge, or rolled-up tissue and, beginning at the apple of your cheek, go over your cheek in a light circular motion, working up and out toward the temple.
Another fast fix: Sweep over the blush with a little translucent powder or gold highlighter. Next time, be sure to tap excess powder blush off your brush before taking it to your cheeks, so your first dose is sheerer. “Once you brighten your complexion with eye makeup and lipstick,” notes Ildiko, “you’ll find that you’re a whole lot less likely to overdo it on the cheeks.