How To Keep Your Halloween Makeup From Screwing Up Your Face

Like any good Halloween lovers, we get involved with our costumes. We're talking full-on face paint, crazy-intricate hair, and more glitter than you can shake a stick at (if you're into that kind of thing).
While we've mastered the fine art of creating these complex cosmetics creations, it's the removal process that tends to leave us stumped. Stained skin, snarled hair, and dyed nail beds do not make for a good morning-after look.
Rather than face the Halloween Walk of Shame — because there's nothing like strutting into the office with remnants of green paint on your face to really exude an air of professionalism, we went to the pros to find out how to prevent these costume calamities from happening, or how to undo them if things got out of hand despite your best attempts.
Read on to learn all the best tips and tricks for undoing your Halloween artistry.
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The Issue: Stained Skin

The Fix: Applying face paint is a perfect way to take your costume to the next level, however it can have some not-so-rad side effects — namely, staining your skin. MAC's Fatima Thomas taught us the secret to erasing unwanted pigment from your skin while on the set of our Halloween beauty DIY.

Her advice? Apply makeup remover and wash as much of the paint off your face as you can. If there is any residue left behind afterwards, apply a thick layer of shaving cream to your face and massage it into your skin. Wipe it off with a washcloth or tissue and the cream should lift the stains from your skin.

Barbasol Shaving Cream, $1.59, available at Walgreens.
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The Issue: Snarled Hair

The Fix: Big, snarled, crazy hair sure looks good, but it can be a real pain to undo. According to Tresemmé celebrity stylist Jeanie Syfu, your best bet is to create the appearance of tangles, without actually snarlng up your strands.

"If you are creating a structured shape or texture, the best way to build it is from a good foundation," she explains. She suggests using a mousse or gel in damp hair, then blowdry hair, lifting at the roots. To amp up volume, use a fine-toothed comb and tease hair in one-inch sections, spraying each section with a flexible-hold hairspray. "Once you have the shape you love, lock it in with a stronger holding spray," says Syfu. "But, don't spray too close! This will create a big mess you will not want to deal with. You should always spray about eight to 10 inches away from your hair."

Go a little nutso with the teasing comb? Syfu says to jump in the shower and apply a deep conditioner, then comb through with a paddle brush. Start from the bottom and work your way up, she says, to avoid breakage. "Just be patient and take your time. Reapply and brush working upwards. If it's still difficult, try a serum with silicone — this will create slip so you can brush through without damaging." 

Tresemmé Platinum Strength Renewing Deep Conditioning Treatment, $4.23, available at
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The Issue: Sticky Eyelids

The Fix: When you're wearing mega-lashes, you've got to load on the eyelash glue to make sure those suckers stay in place. Since the glue's primary job is to stick, it takes a little elbow grease to get every last trace off your lids.

Instead of rubbing and scraping your delicate skin, try this trick instead: Soak a cotton ball in a lotion cleanser and press it against the glue. Hold the cotton ball in place for a few minutes, then gently rub it against your lid. Wash away the lotion and any excess glue with cleanser and water to get your skin squeaky-clean without traumatizing it.

Napoleon Perdis Blazing Star Faux Lashes, $25, available at Nordstrom.
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The Issue: Dyed Nails

The Fix: Dark and mysterious nail lacquer can definitely up the spook factor of your ensemble, but it can also leave your nails and cuticles stained long after you remove the polish. To prevent this, celebrity nail artist and contributor Gerry Holford recommends always using a basecoat prior to painting. This will create a physical barrier between your nails and the polish, preventing the stains from happening in the first place.

As any nail enthusiast knows, removing dark polishes can be a job unto itself, so Holford has a few tricks of the trade to help make the process a little less of a nightmare. Soak a cotton ball in acetone, then hold it on the nail bed for five seconds, she advises. Then, with your thumb, firmly swipe the polish off of the nail. "This will prevent the polish from bleeding all over your cuticles and skin," Holford says. She also advises changing out the cotton ball as soon as color starts to build up on it.

If you have stubborn polish stains at your cuticles, Holford says to swipe on some cuticle remover and clean it off with an orange-wood stick. "If polish remnants remain, you can use a clean, disposable mascara wand to clean up," she says. "Simply soak the bristles in acetone and rub along the cuticle line."

If the polish has stained the nail plate, Holford says to use a Q-Tip soaked in hydrogen peroxide to swab the nails, then rub them with a nubby washcloth.

Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Unnatural, $17, available at Bloomingdale's.
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The Issue: Glitter, Glitter Everywhere

The Fix: A Halloween without glitter would be a sad Halloween indeed. As much as we love the sparkly stuff, we hate how it manages to get everywhere: on your face, in your hair, on that hottie in the pirate costume you've been macking on all night.

To keep the shiny particles where they belong, always start with a primer, says Wende Zomnir, Urban Decay chief creative officer and founder. "Apply glitter with your fingers — you can pick up and lay down product better (and with less mess) using your fingers instead of a brush."

Using glitter around the eye? Zomnir says to keep a tissue under your eye to catch fallout and prevent glitter from sticking to your cheeks. If you do have fallout, she says to use a fluffy makeup brush to brush the excess away, or use a piece of tape on any stubborn sparkles that don't want to come off.

When it comes time to remove your razzle dazzle at the end of the night, Zomnir says to first wash your face with your regular cleanser and water, then use a thick, creamier makeup remover — she recommends Urban Decay Meltdown Makeup Remover — applied to a cotton ball to wipe away any excess glitter. "The thicker texture really picks up glitter well," she explains. Rinse your face one more time and Zomnir says you should be sparkle-free.

Urban Decay Moondust Eyeshadow, $20, available at Sephora.
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