Makeup Artists Share 16 Industry Secrets to Fix Beauty Mishaps In a Minute or Less

What seems like a quick fix often ends up being a drowned-out process when it comes to many things in life, and as any makeup user (beginner or advanced) knows, trying to fix a makeup mistake when you’re on your way out the door is one of the most irritating examples. We feel your pain, which is why we reached out to top makeup artists for tips on how to quickly erase these inevitable faux pas and make them look like they never happened at all in hopes late mornings and rushed date nights are things of the past for us all. 

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1/16

Use Eye Cream to Remove Residue

Time: 30 seconds

“For residue under the eye when doing eye makeup, I prefer to use a Q-tip dipped in eye cream to clean up (I love the Giorgio Armani Crema Nera Reviving Eye Cream for this). It gently picks up shadow residue without messing up the makeup, while also rehydrating the under-eye area.”

Tim Quinn, Giorgio Armani celebrity face designer

2/16

Keep Lipstick Put

Time: 10 seconds

“To prevent lipstick from transferring to your teeth for a worry-free smile, wrap a tissue tightly around your index finger, close your lips around your knuckle, and without opening your mouth, pull out your finger. Viola—you’ve removed the lipstick color from the inner part of your lip preventing transfer to your teeth without disrupting any makeup on the surface.” 

–Michael Patterson, celebrity makeup artist 


3/16

Thin Out Heavy Foundation

Time: 45 seconds

“We have all dealt with foundation that looks to heavy or cakey. A little mist of water is all you need. Simply apply a spritz (I personally love Evian Water Mist) to an empty brush or beautyblender and dust or dab it all over your face to sheer out the products.” 

–Ashlee Glazer, Smith & Cult beauty ambassador


4/16

Focus on the Eyes

Time: 0 seconds

“I always start on eye makeup before anything else, because if any shadow or liner smudges on the skin I can easily clean it up with a Q-tip before moving onto foundation. This way, I don't have to redo concealer either!” 

–Ashley Rebecca, celebrity makeup artist


5/16

Let Mascara Dry Before Fixing

Time: 1 minute 

"When you get mascara on your face anywhere but your lashes, I think the first impulse is to clean it up right away with makeup remover. I would wait, let the mascara dry and then get a Q-tip and roll it off. It comes off very easily!"

–Grace Lee, Maybelline New York global artist


6/16

Blend Away Mistakes With a Sponge

Time: 30 seconds 

“Never wipe away any makeup mistake with your fingers—use a sponge, always. It will never mess up your look. Simply take the tip of the sponge and softly wipe it away.” 

–Viviana Martin, celebrity makeup artist, Kevyn Aucoin Beauty

7/16

It's All About Technique

Time: 1 minute

"Repairing an overzealous lipstick application can be a quick and easy fix, but if you try to remove the lipstick by wiping your lips, you’ll always end up with the dreaded clown mouth! Instead, use a cotton pad soaked with makeup remover (I like Paul & Joe Eye & Lip Remover) and drag the unwanted lipstick into the inner lip area on the lower lip and downward on the upper lip. Dragging it into the inner area helps hide any residual staining from the lipstick in the natural pink color of the vermillion! If you want to correct a minor lipstick mistake instead of replacing the entire color, replace the cotton pad with a Q-tip instead. Afterward, apply a sheer wash of foundation across your lips and buff out any hard edges. For severe lipstick staining on the face, try men's shaving cream—it's the secret method we use on set to remove the stains on skin from fake blood!" 

Craig-Ryan French of Paul & Joe Beauty


8/16

Don't Overlook Highlighter

Time: 45 seconds

“When you are in a time crunch, liquid highlighter is a godsend. Using it all over your skin will give an immediate boost to dull, all-day makeup that needs to be refreshed quickly. Blend the liquid highlighter with a makeup brush into the T-zone and cheeks for a bright glow when you are on the go.”

–Ashlee Glazer, Smith & Cult beauty ambassador


9/16

Bottom Lashes First

Time: 0 seconds

“Don't let mascara transfer ruin your eye shadow. Habit is to do top lashes first, then bottom lashes. Flip the order! Applying mascara to your bottom lashes first will allow the downward head tilt to happen first. This is often when wet mascara on the top lashes transfers to your upper-eye area. After you apply a coat to your bottom lashes, add to your top lashes, look down and lightly fan dry!” 

–Michael Patterson, celebrity makeup artist


10/16

Paint Over a Blemish

Time: 30 seconds

“I love the old-school trick of painting a faux mole or freckle on the face if you ever get a 'hard to get rid of blemish.' I love using the Kevyn Aucoin Precision Brow Pencil in Brunette for this.” 

–Viviana Martin, celebrity makeup artist, Kevyn Aucoin Beauty


11/16

Level-Out Intense Color

Time: 1 minute

“For the problem of too much bronzer, take a pump of your foundation in your hand and use a powder brush to dust it over the over-concentrated areas. This will softly bring the bronzer down.” 

Tim Quinn, Giorgio Armani celebrity face designer


12/16

Avoid Eye Irritation Easily

Time: 20 seconds

“If you or your client has mascara on and you don't want to remove it without irritating the eye, use an empty mascara wand to brush out the lashes to revive fluffiness.”

–Ashlee Glazer, Smith & Cult beauty ambassador


13/16

Start With a Clean Canvas

Time: 1 minute

“Before applying any lip product, I make sure the lips are exfoliated to prevent any flaking. Using something like Fresh Sugar Scrub is perfect (along with their lip treatment after) because it ensures that lips stay hydrated and color doesn’t bleed.” 

–Ashley Rebecca, celebrity makeup artist


14/16

All About Lighting

Time: 0 seconds

“Makeup reads differently in various light sources. Bathrooms tend to have soft, warm light in their vanities, making us look our best. However, for makeup, this can be a double-edged sword when we step outside. To avoid it, always try to apply your makeup near a natural light source (like next to a window). This will allow you to see the truest color, keeping your foundation, blush and bronzer in check. 

–Michael Patterson, celebrity makeup artist


15/16

Camouflage with Liner

Time: 1 minute

“If for any reason you apply your false lashes and you still see glue residue, simply take a liquid eyeliner and line your eyes to cover it up.” 

–Viviana Martin, celebrity makeup artist, Kevyn Aucoin Beauty


16/16

An Unexpected Use for a Mist

Time: 1 minute

“Cakey foundation is a big no-no and never looks good. If you find you've gone heavy-handed, use a light spritz of a hydrating mist all over the face to reactivate your foundation. Then use a clean, dry, fluffy buffing brush in gentle, tight circles all over the face to remove product, distribute coverage and smooth the appearance of foundation.” 

–Michael Patterson, celebrity makeup artist


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