Maybe you forgot to screw the cap back on your lip gloss the right way or maybe the hot weather melted your favorite bright fuchsia lipstick. Whatever the case may be, a lipstick stain has a unique quality to it that makes it particularly difficult to treat, landing it firmly in pole position as the number one most dreaded types of stains you can get on your beloved designer handbag.
So what makes a lipstick stain so unique? Ironically, the same things that make a good lipstick good, can also make it very bad for your handbag. Lipstick is a bit of a triple threat when it comes to stain capability; it's usually (although not always) brightly colored, very often formulated to be water resistant, stays on for long periods of time, and is almost always oil-based. This is why the stain really penetrates the matrix of the fabric or leather.
So what do you do if you open your beloved bag and see that your favorite red lippie accidentally opened-up in your bag, making the lining look like a crime scene? Well, there are a couple of strategies.
If the stain is only on the lining of the bag…
If the stain is only on the lining of the handbag, consider yourself lucky. You may be able to treat this yourself, but time is of the essence. As soon as you discover the stain, remove all of the contents of your bag and turn the lining inside out, if you are able. Next, grab the dish soap (nothing fancy, just the stuff next to the kitchen sink will do). Dish soap is made to cut grease, and you may be able to gently coax the oily particles out of the lining of the bag.
If you find that your dish soap is a color that is not compatible with the lining of your bag, you can also try a bit of rubbing alcohol or alcohol-based hairspray. It also may help to use an old toothbrush to help loosen the stain from the matrix of the fabric.
If the stain has soaked through to the leather…
Really, it is probably best to entrust a leather bag that is heavily stained with lipstick in a highly visible area to a professional leather cleaner. However, if you cannot get there right away, there are still a few things you can do.
1. Gently scrape away the lipstick residue, being careful not to wipe any onto unaffected areas.
2. Try sprinkling talc powder over the stain and letting it sit. The talc should draw at least some of the grease out of the stain.
Remember, you're always better safe than sorry, so as an extra precaution, always put your cosmetics inside a protective cosmetic bag if you are going to be carrying an investment bag.