How do you deal with correcting makeup application mistakes?

Q-tips with makeup remover (I like micellar water ones for mistakes, because they dry down better) for cleaning up edges or wonky lines. I use liquid foundation normally, so I’ll use the same brush to diffuse any uneven or over-the-top blush (without adding more product) or use a flesh-toned loose powder to diffuse/even things out – also handy to mattify.

— Christine
We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!


Comments that do not adhere to our comment policy may be removed. Discussion and debate are highly encouraged but we expect community members to participate respectfully. Please keep discussion on-topic, and if you have general feedback, a product review request, an off-topic question, or need technical support, please contact us!

Please help us streamline the comments' section and be more efficient: double-check the post above for more basic information like pricing, availability, and so on to make sure your question wasn't answered already. Comments alerting us to typos or small errors in the post are appreciated (!) but will typically be removed after errors are fixed (unless a response is needed).

We appreciate enthusiasm for new releases but ask readers to please hold questions regarding if/when a review will be posted as we can't commit to or guarantee product reviews. We don't want to set expectations and then disappoint readers as even products that are swatched don't always end up being reviewed due to time constraints and changes in priorities! Thank you for understanding!

Comments on this post are closed.
We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!

My technique for repairing depends a little on what I am repairing. If it is a face type product mistake or heavy handed application such as too much or too bright blush then I use my beauty blender or sponge to knock back the color or application a little. I have to say that my most often occurring mistake though is mascara on my eyelid or top of my cheek. For mascara or other problem on the lid I use the Elf makeup remover brush. It is a felt tipped brush that already has makeup remover in the tube. It works really well and while it looks oily when you first use it the oiliness doesn’t last and I am able to touch up the makeup without it looking oily. I don’t know what the tube has in it but acts like a micellar water. I really love it and have gone through several of the tubes. For mascara on the top of my cheeks I will sometimes use the Elf brush but I begin by letting the mascara dry completely and then using a clean spooly to “scrape” off the mascara and then use the brush. Any lipstick mistakes I remove with a Q-tip and then clean up with concealer.

It depends on the mistake! For *most* there’s a cure. Thank goodness! Q-Tips & makeup remover if something has smudged or gone where it shouldn’t. Concealer will also clean up edges very nicely, especially outer eyeshadow edges or a slightly “off” lipstick application. And if a powder product has gone on a bit too heavy, buff that baby out with a clean brush, perhaps add a lighter shade in the same color family.

A Q-tip dipped in makeup remover! I have one that I don’t like much that I only use for this purpose, it’s a liquid eye makeup remover by theBalm.

I deal with it – with a lot of annoyance!!

Jokes apart – i use the Q tip too – but prefer the MAC eye makeup remover – the purple bottle. For over applied blush – i generally go in with a powder foundation and buff the area out.

Around the eyes (or even for lipstick I’ve applied recklessly) I also like either Bioderma micellar water or Clarins Gentle Eye Makeup Remover (it’s not oily so no need to rinse off and it won’t break down whatever makeup you don’t want to remove). If I go too bright with my blush, a Real Techniques buffing brush or that “all purpose” one – I forget the name – and a bit of pressed face powder will generally buff away and tone down the excess without messing with what’s underneath.

I almost never have q-tips or makeup remover on hand, otherwise my life would be much easier lol

For mascara smudges, I immediately grab a small, flat synthetic brush (like for concealer), and swipe the mascara glob away. When it’s still wet, it wipes off surprinsgly easily. If it’s too dried down, I just smudge some liner or shadow over top.

If I exaggerate my liner too much trying to make them look even, I just say I’m going for a dramatic look or just start over unfortunately!

I put moisturizer on a tissue and use that to wipe off misplaced makeup. I find that makeup remover can leave a bit of an oily residue, and so makes it harder to reapply stuff to the area that needs to be redone.

I get ready for mistakes ahead of time as makeup is messy. I first place a paper hand towel on my dressing table and one tissue and one or two Q tips. Then the Q tip is used with Clinique All About Eyes around my eyes, which is in a jar so my fingers never touch the product. That Q tip is ready for mistakes with a bit of product on it. Rare is the day I don’t use it to fix mistakes along with the tissue. I also have a mistake brush I use for eye shadow fallout. The paper towel is for general messinesss – taps and brush flicks, brush wiping and mascara wand end taps, all of which help with a cleaner application. When I’m finished and have put everything away the paper products are enclosed in the paper towel which is used to wipe the table clean and I’m ready for tomorrow.

Mistakes are almost always eyeliner related for me because I like to wing mine out and that’s a skill that no one ever completely nails IMO. I like to clean up any mistakes with q-tips as well but I prefer dabbing them in a bit of moisturiser (i use Embryolisse lait-fluide) rather than micellar water. The cream does a much more effective job at swiping away any uneven lines and sharpening the wing out – only takes a single swipe and it doesn’t affect the rest of my eye makeup. I love that moisturiser seriously, it has so many uses.

It’s basically the exact same formula as the Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentree which has developed something of a reputation as the ‘cult’ backstage beauty product used backstage at fashion weeks. (NB: I’m not endorsing it as a cult product, haven’t tried the OG but it shows up on a lot of Into the Gloss top shelves).

Anyway the moisturiser’s formula is actually quite basic. It has mineral oil in it too which is obviously a controversial ingredient. I’m quite picky about skincare ingredients but I do believe mineral oil has its uses. I have occasional flare ups of eczema related rashes and the Embryolisse is amazing at calming down and soothing those areas. The lack of fragrant plant oils makes it appropriate for sensitive skin types. I also love this for after shaving my legs – again, it’s soothing and prevents the usual itchiness and redness. The price point is reasonable in my opinion (for the lait-fluide) and it’s unscented so doesn’t interfere with perfume or anything. Good all around skin moisturiser.

Then there’s the more off brand uses like dipping a q-tip into it for eyeliner mistakes. Honestly, I think that alone would be reason enough for me to purchase it. It’s really, really good at cleaning up mascara smudges, wonky eyeliner, etc. I hate using watery products to correct mistakes (micellar water, specialised eye makeup remover) because they tend to run into the rest of my eye makeup which is a pain in the a**. Embryolisse is a cream so obviously thicker, you only need a pin point sized dot and there’s minimal ‘damage’ done to the rest of my eye makeup.

Last of all, in a pinch, this is good for cleansing off makeup – basically like Pond’s cold cream. Do I use it for that purpose regularly? No, but it’s handy when I’m travelling.

I did not expect to write that much btw. Sorry for the essay dump!

If smudge like from mascara I start over. If it’s something minimal I even out with more of same (eye shadow, liner, lips). If too much blush I wipe gently with tissue and top off with light fresh dusting for my shimmer.

A q-tip with hydrobio usually. If it’s a tubing mascara q-tip with warm water. Fallout I often use a dry qtip and press down lightly and lift straight up. It works pretty well.

I do eyeshadow right after moisturizer and primer. That way I can clean up the edges, correct errors without having to redo foundation, concealed, etc. I do mascara last, though, so no powder gets on the lashes.

Mascara smudges are wiped with fingers while still wet. I know. Low tech, but it works. I reapply a bit of eyeshadow if needs be.

Crooked eyebrows, rub with edge of finger. Again, I do my foundation after that, so I don’t budge foundation with my fingers.

Excess blush… also a little swipe with the back or my hand. Suffice it to say I wash my hands neurotically before, during and after touching my face.

I’m not sure I’ve made other errors (that I recognized). The eye-makeup-first technique really makes difficult cleanup less necessary. Also, I am 51 and powder is aging so I am pretty conservative with powder and never really set my makeup, except with a setting spray (MAC Fix+, of course, haha).

For my eyes I use the Elf eye makeup remover pen and to clean up my waterline I use the beauty 360 pointed tip applicators that I get from CVS Pharmacy. I know that Qtips brand makes them also but they are not as good.

For mascara mishaps I use those “Precision” Q tips-they are pointed & although more expensive I have yet to go through the box I bought last year. They are great for eyebrows, too.
For everything else I use a microfiber cleaning cloth . It works for uneven blush, fallout, too much highlighter, whatever. I just wrap it around a finger or more depending on the size of the job. I bought a 24 pack on eBay & use some for cleaning & some for my makeup. They are also great for wiping off your brushes after you’re done (except cream based products) & you can use them to wipe off the mirrors in your palettes too.

Q Tips are my heroes! Mascara oops! I remove with a moistened QTip! Eyeshadow gone too dark i diffuse/blend out with my Superman QTip! For blushes a bit too strong/dark I soften often with the powder buffer thingy or brush off with my most fat fluffy brush that usually helps too. Also for eye mistakes or to even out foundation I use the simple rectangle sponge and wipe anything while it is still moist from the foundation.

We try to approve comments within 24 hours (and reply to them within 72 hours) but can sometimes get behind and appreciate your patience! 🙂 If you have general feedback, product review requests, off-topic questions, or need technical support, please contact us directly. Thank you for your patience!