What To Do When Your Makeup Melts in Your Bag

Rachel Nussbaum

lipstick melting

Not to be overdramatic, but makeup melting in your bag is pretty much the worst thing that can ever happen. As if the trauma of makeup everywhere wasn’t enough, it’s somehow always your favorite product, the one that really got you, that pulled you up when you were down. The wind beneath your wings.

We know it hurts. But pull yourself together, ladies and/or well-groomed gents, and save your mourning attire for tomorrow. There’s cleaning up to be done here. When your favorite (or backup) makeup melts in your bag, it’s important you take the necessary steps to save the bag, that way you don’t lose your cosmetics and your accessories. Read below for how to fix every kind of makeup stain:

  •  First things first: identify the product. If it’s discontinued or was over $10, give yourself a moment. Find some tissues if you need to, but try to save some for the next step. If the melted product’s oil-based, like lipstick, mascara and most liquids, dish soap should do the trick; if the stain is resistant, go by the fabric.
  • Regardless of product type, first blot up as much of it as you can with a tissue or paper towel. Try not to rub; that usually just ingrains the makeup in the lining, and that’s the opposite of what you want.
  • Next, try to identify the fabric of the lining, because that’ll determine the method you should use to remove it. Most purses are lined with cotton twill, polyester, nylon, rayon or silk, depending on the quality of the bag. If possible, pull out the lining for best access or empty the bag and turn it inside out.
  • If the lining is cotton or polyester, you’re in luck: liquid dish detergent will remove most stains. Dilute the detergent with an equal amount of warm water, and using a cotton ball or swab, apply it to the stain in a circular motion. Change cotton balls often to avoid spreading the color.
  • For nylon linings (or more stubborn cotton or polyester stains), liberally apply a dry-cleaning solvent like Woolite Dry Clean  to the area. Then, use a cloth with some solvent on it to cover the stain; press the cloth down hard for a few minutes and pick it up. Replace with a freshly prepared cloth, and repeat the process until the stain’s gone. Let dry, then flush the area with water to remove the solvent.
  • Rayon and silk are the most delicate materials, so while you can try the solvent method above, taking your beloved to the dry cleaner is the safest bet.
  • If you’re not the patient type or somehow don’t have immediate access to dry cleaning solvent, Tide to Go, baby wipes or hairspray are other forum-vetted methods. If you’re going to go with hairspray, spray on the stain, leave for a few minutes and then wipe off with a clean cloth.

Image via Istock

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