Four Ways to Deal with Makeup Fallout


For years I avoided dramatic makeup for fear of making a mistake, with no means of correcting it. I love color, but the fallout from a bright pigment seemed unavoidable, always threatening to mess up all my hard work. So I always retreated back to safe neutrals.

The big change came while watching tutorials from Beautylish community members, as well as pros like Billy B and James Vincent. I realized that everyone (even those who do this for a living everyday) makes makeup mistakes. All it takes is a little skill, and some fun tricks, to clean up and move forward. Becoming good at makeup application isn’t about doing things perfectly every time—it’s about knowing what to do when things don’t go as planned. Learn these easy techniques and tricks, and you’ll be ready to tackle beauty risks and clean up unwanted blips and drips.

Do Your Eyes First

There are several ways to eradicate shadow fallout. The easiest is to do your eyes first, before doing the foundation or the concealer. This way you can easily clean the face after the eyes are done and move on from there. If you’re really worried about a ton of pigment falling, hold a tissue taught beneath the eye as you work.

Master the Drag Powder Trick

I learned my favorite trick from Billy B in this colorful eyeshadow tutorial—an old drag trick that’s great to know when using super-pigmented shadows. Dip a powder brush into colorless, loose powder. Gently tap the powder onto the cheeks so that it sits on top of the skin.

Now when you work on the eyes, the pigment will fall onto the powder instead of directly on the face.

Once you finish the eyes, take a clean brush and simply brush the powder away with a quick flick. Any pigment that may have gotten through to the skin should be minimal, and can be easily blended out.

Use The Right Tools

If you do get makeup in the wrong place there are some good products that can help make targeted cleanup a snap. You can always use a cotton swab dipped in a bit of makeup remover, but that can be cumbersome if you’re traveling or are out for the evening. One solution is Targeted Eye Remover Swabs from Sephora, which contain eye makeup remover right in the handle. You break one end off, and the liquid releases into the cotton tip from the inside, making it a quick, neat way to remove color from a targeted area of the face.

For a re-useable solution, try the Nudestix Clean-Up Pencil. Just swipe the pencil over the cleanup area and then use a tissue to wipe away the “oops” moment. Makeup wipes, like these from Klorane, are also great to keep in your bag for a quick touchup.

Glitter is another fallout culprit. It’s so persistent that after a few loose particles appear, it can feel as if all hope is lost. But not to worry! Lit Cosmetics developed an ingenious little tool to help with stray particles that can’t be easily brushed away. Inside the Lit Kit (free if you buy three Lit Glitters from our shop!) you get the Spark-L Duster—a mesh pom pom that picks up glitter without disturbing the makeup underneath.

Grab Some Tape

If all else fails—or if you don’t have another tool hand—try using regular scotch tape. It works well to lift unwanted glitter or larger specks of pigment without removing too much makeup, and you probably already have some on hand.