You're at a party with family and friends and go in for a hug with a cousin you haven't seen in a few years. After a warm embrace, you see the dreaded smear of makeup on her top. Ugh. We feel your pain. But you can prevent it. Here's how.

By Daley Quinn
Photo by Getty Images

If you haven’t already seen the video of Gigi Hadid receiving Glamour’s Women of the Year Award in 2017, you probably should. But not for the reason you may think. Yes, Hadid’s speech was a tearjerker for sure, but what accidentally transpired between Serena Williams (who was presenting the award) and Hadid had me in tears of second-hand humiliation, too.

Either Williams’ makeup artist hadn’t set her makeup properly, or Hadid kissed Williams’ cheek a little too hard, but either way, Williams’ foundation had made its way all over Hadid’s face as she thanked the tennis pro for the introduction. Looking like a bronzer situation gone bad, Hadid’s face took the spotlight over her speech, and it was almost painful to watch.

Although this is a pretty severe case of makeup transfer, it certainly happens to the best of us, and I, too, have found my foundation on an uncle’s jacket after hugging him hello at a family gathering. Thankfully, there are ways to avoid this from happening (or at least quickly clean it up if it’s too late).  Here are 4 ways to avoid this foundation fail from transpiring:

Long-wear is your friend.

Look for foundations that say “long-wear,” “smudge-proof,” or “all day” on the packaging (try L’Oreal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation, $9, amazon.com, or NARS Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation, $49, sephora.com). “It all has to do with formulation, and using long-wear foundations offer staying power on your skin,” says Maddie North, editorial and celebrity makeup artist.

Avoid oil-based products.

Oily products will naturally move around on your face, especially if they mix with your own natural oils or sweat. “Creamy products tend not to dry all the way, making it much easier to transfer during a hug or even changing your clothes,” says North. “Products with more alcohol or sealants in them can actually dry on skin and stay put,” says Mickey Williams, celebrity makeup artist. “These products stain or paint the skin and dry onto where applied, but be aware that they can also really dry out your skin and lips, too.”

Setting powders and sprays are your lifesavers.

If you’ve tried the “long-wear” foundations and still find your makeup on everyone’s clothing, it’s time to invest in a setting powder. In addition to using a great primer (North loves Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer, $54, sephora.com) to prevent oiliness, she recommends applying a thin layer of makeup, then setting with a setting powder and a setting spray (like IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Poreless Finish Airbrush Powder, $29, sephora.com, and Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray, $32, sephora.com).

“If you set products with clear or high-definition (or HD) powders (that don’t contain any oils) or use a setting spray, they can eliminate the moisture in the foundation or makeup and there will be less of a mess if it does transfer,” says Williams.

Have baby or makeup remover wipes on hand at all times.

“If you can’t throw the stained clothing in the washing machine (which will typically do the trick), you can actually use makeup removing wipes to lift stains off clothes,” says North. Since wipes have a bit of moisture, they can lift a smudge out of darker fabrics more easily. “If you transfer onto a lighter garment, be very cautious what you use as it too can leave a mark or stain,” says Williams. “If its silk, it needs to go to the cleaners, but with other fabrics you may get away with a wipe or even club soda.”

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