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How to Remove Lipstick Stains

July 27, 2018

Samantha Bun

Lipstick is my favourite thing to wear, especially long-lasting matte lipsticks that stay on all day! They look amazing on and you don’t have to worry about it coming off, however, removing it can be a dreadfully painstaking task. Especially if it is red lipstick! My pet peeve is waking up feeling like the joker (after a big night) and to see lipstick smeared on clothing or on your bedding and upholstery. I always freak out when this happens and then find myself googling how to remove lipstick stains, immediately.

First of all, the solution is dependent on what type of lipstick stain, how long it has been set and what surface it is on. Some lipsticks are oil based, wax based or pigments. These different types of stains will require a different remedy. Oils will often come off better with degreasers. Waxes with come off with solvents. Pigments may require oxidisers. This blog will extensively cover ways you can remove lipstick stains from a variety of surfaces. We hope you find this a useful accompaniment to lipstick stain removal.


Not everyone can afford to buy expensive high-end makeup removers and often opt for the drugstore option. I have tried to cleanse my makeup from my face using micellar water, but I find with red lipstick, it can still leave a bit of a stain or underlying pigment. The worst thing to do is to vigorously rub or spread the stain all over your skin.

Thankfully, there are other solutions that are both effective and accessible; olive oil and coconut oil! Not only are they both affordable and effective, olive oil and coconut oil have some really nourishing properties that are conditioning on the skin.

To test this, I have used two different types of lipsticks: Palladio Herbal Lipstick (wax-based) and Model Rock Liquid Matte Lipstick (pigment-based). I let each product set for a few minutes before removing them.

Middle: Palladio Herbal, Right: Model Rock Liquid Matte


Micellar water

Palladio results after 3 wipes with Micellar Water

Olive Oil

Palladio results after 3 wipes with Olive Oil

Coconut Oil 

Palladio results after 3 wipes with Coconut Oil

Model Rock results in the same order (left to right) after 3 x wipes of each product.

The Final Verdict 

Out of all 3 products, coconut oil proved the most effective and swiftest in lipstick stain removal.


Uh oh, so you got some lippy stain on your favourite t-shirt. Before you go ahead smearing that lipstick even more on your shirt by rubbing and scrubbing; just stop! Pause in your tracks, take a few deep breaths and don’t panic. There are some effective professional stain removers, but also some effective home remedies that can be sure to fix this problem. It is always best to get this out as quickly as possible before it sets. First try to get off the excess by using a blunt knife or another tool, and then blot as much of the stain away as possible using a bit of water and a cloth. Remember to work your way gently from the outside of the stain towards the middle.

Steps to remove:
1. Put the item stain side down onto a paper towel or a normal towel that you don’t mind getting dirty.
2. Dab a bit of your chosen solution onto the back of the stained area and into the towel you have beneath it. Avoid rubbing the solution onto the stain and spread it even more.
3. Using another paper towel or towel, press on top of the garment so the stain will press on to the towel below.
4. Change the position of the towel below or get a new one to keep absorbing more of the stain without re-staining your garment.
5. Once the stain is removed, rinse the garment and wash it as usual.

Some remedies that you can use:

• Solvent – a liquid that dissolves substances.
• Rubbing alcohol – we recently did a blog on how rubbing alcohol could be used to put back together broken blushes and bronzers. Another practical use for rubbing alcohol is to remove lipstick stains!
• Stain Remover – a stain remover can help break down and lift the stain more easily.
• Ammonia – Ammonia is a very effective home cleaner, though a lot of you perhaps do not use ammonia because of its unsafe properties. Start by blotting away as much as you can using water, then with a cotton swab moistened with ammonia, dab at the stain. Wash the shirt by hand in warm soapy water.

We decided to put to test the following products in this experiment for comparison in the following order:

Solvent – De-Solv It
Rubbing Alcohol – AMR Isopropyl Alcohol
Stain Remover – Vanish Preen Oxi Action Trigger
Ammonia – generic brand cloudy ammonia

First we stained a plain old T-shirt:

Left: Lipstains with Palladio, Right: Lipstains with ModelRock


We applied the same technique in the instructions on the T-shirt using each product (top left to bottom right) 1. De Solv It 2. Alcohol 3. Vanish 4. Ammonia

The Results

Top row: Palladio. Bottom row: Modelrock. Left to right = De Solv It, Alcohol, Vanish, Ammonia


The Verdict

The best result for both lipsticks was Vanish – trusty thing! And this is before popping the shirt into the wash with most the stain already lifted.


On carpet and non-washable fibres:
1. Use a sponge on a dampened pad onto the area with a solvent and then blot over the stain with an absorbent pad.
2. Continue to sponge and blot until the stain is removed. If the stain spreads, apply more solvent to loosen this stain.
3. Let the solvent evaporate and then sponge the area with water.
4. Apply a few drops of white vinegar and spot away with a wet cloth. Blot frequently with an absorbent pad. Wipe with water and allow it to dry.


The verdict:

This method was very effective although our final result still shows some pigment. If we kept at it for a bit longer, it would have shown better results.


The best solution to removing lipstick stains on hard surfaces is to use warm water and lots of soapsuds. Rinse the stain away and wipe it dry.

We thought this one was quite straightforward, so no demonstration or comparison needed! There you go – I hope that this blog has helped you with effective ways you can remove that pesky lipstick stain from whatever surface you desire.

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