Quick fixes for the most common makeup mistakes

I wish I had a dollar for each time someone asked me how to fix a simple makeup mistake. I’d be a wealthy son-of-a-bitch. Mistakes happen to everyone at some point, don’t they? And it’s usually when you’re in a mad rush that you realise you’ve got mascara smeared everywhere, or lipstick on your teeth or black eyeshadow fallout under your eye. And it’s usually on those busy days that you pretty much wig-out hard over the said incident.

Here’s a few common makeup mistakes, some quick fixes and ways to prevent them happening next time. 

Fallout under the eye

PROBLEM: you apply your dark coloured eye shadow and little eyeshadow crumbs fall all over your face.

SOLUTION: The simplest thing to do to avoid this happening is to apply your eye makeup first, before your foundation. That way you can give your face a good clean up with cleanser before you put on your base. If you have already put on your foundation it can be tricky, best thing is to use a cotton bud and gently dab at the smears, rolling the cotton bud as you go to remove any colour. If you need you can use a makeup sponge to apply a little more foundation on the area and blend.


Foundation line around the chin or hairline

PROBLEM: You have a foundation high-tide mark around your hairline or chin.

SOLUTION: You may be using the wrong colour foundation. I wrote a post a while ago with a quick guide to choosing the best foundation for your skintone. The other thing going on could be a lack of blending. You must blend! It’s the secret to all makeup awesomeness. Use a sponge or your fingertips and gently rub along the line in a circular motion, double checking you’re not rubbing it into your hair.

Bronzer falls onto your shirt

PROBLEM: You’ve put your bronzer on and it’s fallen all over your perfectly ironed, white shirt.

SOLUTION: There’s not a huge amount you can do to fix this one at the time, but it’s highly preventable. Make sure you tap any excess bronzer off the brush, then lean waaaay forward over the sink, go on, bend right down. Yes you will look like a tool but as you brush the bronzer on your face, any excess  will fall in the sink, not on your clothes.

Too much bronzer or blush

PROBLEM:  You put your bronzer or blush on and realise you look like a scary person.

SOLUTION: I always use my hand in this case…… to slap myself for being an idiot. Only kidding re the slapping, but I do use my hand. The secret is to gently wipe the colour off, using the flat of your fingers. I brush the area, removing colour as I go and work back towards the hairline. I keep going until I am happy with the amount of colour. In a worst case scenario, you can apply some powder over the top and gently blend in with a brush.

Wrong colour lipstick

PROBLEM: You put on your 12-hour lipstick and then realise it is too orange and clashes with your outfit. And then it dawns on you that you can’t take it off!

SOLUTION: I have one long wearing lipstick which is pure red and I sometimes put it on and then think, “Urgh. Too much!” When that happens, I just put another colour straight over the top and rub it in a bit with my finger. It won’t completely blend but it will soften the strong underneath colour. I generally use a neutral beige colour to tone down the red. We went to the Bobbi Brown Business Chicks lunch recently, and she spoke of how excellent of a good beige lippie is for fixing bad lipstick. If you’d like to find out more about the AMAZING Bobbi Brown, here’s what Carolyn learnt on the day.

Bobbi Brown Quote "A good beige lipstick will fix any bad colour lipstick you have." from

Mascara smears

PROBLEM: You’ve sneezed, or blinked with wet mascara on and you have dots (or smears!) of black on your upper lids or around your eyes.

SOLUTION: The cotton bud is your friend here. You need to get a small amount of eye makeup remover on the cotton bud and very gently press onto each smear, rolling the cotton bud around slightly. The secret is to not go crazy wiping it, you’ll smudge it more and also wipe off your eye shadow. Just think “press and roll”. If you have lost some eye shadow it is pretty easy to just use the eyeshadow applicator and pat on a little more colour.

Lipstick on your teeth


SOLUTION: If you get lippie on your teeth just wipe it off! DUH. OK, but what you may not know is that the secret to preventing it happening again is to make an ‘O’ shape with your mouth, stick your index finger in, close your lips a bit and then pull your finger out. Suck it baby. The idea is that you’re getting off any colour from the inside of your lips, which is what ends up on your teeth.


Are there other makeup mistakes you’ve made or fixed?
If you have any feedback or more makeup questions, I would really love to hear from you!


Written By

Gillian is a marketing savant and brand strategist with over 20 years of experience in above and below the line marketing, digital strategy and creative direction. She is an exceptional people person who loves to collaborate with clients every step of the way to achieve the best possible outcome. Gillian is also a successful makeup-artist and make-up obsessive who loves to share her tricks of the trade and help women to look good and feel great.


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