Here's how to remove foundation stains

remove foundation stains
Remove foundation stainsShana Novak - Getty Images

Whether you're a daily makeup wearer or save your cosmetics for special occasions, we've all been in the situation where foundation has spilt from the bottle, or rubbed from your skin onto your favourite shirt.

Kim Kardashian swears by shaving cream for lifting foundation stains, but our experts at the GHI have their own methods. Here's what you need to know...

GHI Tip: The first thing you should do is gently scrape off any solid residue with a blunt knife.

Washable fabrics

No stain removers in the house? Wash as soon as possible with biological washing detergent (if suitable for the fabric). The best course of action, though is to use a pre-wash or in-wash stain removal product, such as Vanish, to give your washing detergent some extra help.

For cotton, spray the affected area lightly with De.Solv.It, then follow the manufacturer's instructions. Repeat as necessary, then machine-wash the garments on as high a temperature as the care label allows, using biological detergent. If the stain persists, try soaking in an oxi action pre-wash stain remover (again, try Vanish) before rewashing but remember to choose one formulated for whites or colours, depending on the garment.

For other fabrics, excluding silk and wool, spot-treat the stained area with Stain Devils Nature & Cosmetics according to the manufacturer's instructions, before washing according to the advice on the garment's care label.


Foundation can be tough to remove from carpet. After you’ve scraped up as much as possible with a blunt knife, blot the area with dry paper towels to remove further traces before it dries, but be sure not to rub the stain as this will spread it.

Next, make a solution using one teaspoon of washing up liquid to one cup of water and work into the stain gently with a damp cloth, but don’t scrub the stain and be careful not to spread it.

Keep moving to a clean section of the cloth and blotting the area to remove the stain. Continue working on the stain until it has all been removed – this may take a bit of patience! Blot the area with plain water to remove residues of the washing up liquid and blot again with a dry cloth or paper towels to remove any excess water.

Alternatively, you can try using make-up remover to get foundation out of the carpet but be sure to test on an inconspicuous area of the carpet before using.

GH Tip: Avoiding spills is all about control — put foundation on the back of your hand and apply to the face from there. Also, you could tuck tissues into the neckline of your outfit, like make-up artists do, to be doubly sure of not getting any spilt on your top.

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