[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/melt-proof-makeup-350_4815.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350: Never drink more than one color of Gatorade before watching a TearJerker.]]

->'''Nostalgia Critic''': ''You weren't even wearing mascara. How is it running?''\\
'''WebVideo/JesuOtaku''': (confused) ''I don't know!''
-->--''WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic: "{{Franchise/Digimon}} TheMovie"''

When someone is wearing heavy makeup they run the risk that it get smudged, this is especially true if they start crying or otherwise get their face wet. Their makeup will start to run down their face in heavy, inky and colorful rivers; mascara especially. The black lines streaming down the face are very striking visually and make a very visible sign of sadness. A SubTrope of InelegantBlubbering.

Some characters may purposely [[InvokedTrope invoke this effect]] by applying makeup in this way as a sign of continued grief, kind of like wearing black to a funeral. Be ''very'' careful, because these characters are generally carrying their sadness with an equal yearning for bitter revenge.

May sometimes overlap with CosmeticCatastrophe, especially if it happens during a production. May wind up being the result of {{Guyliner}} if it happens to a male character. See also MakeUpIsEvil and ExcessiveEvilEyeshadow.
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!!Examples

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[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* In ''Manga/OnePiece'', [[{{Crossdresser}} Bentham]] has this happen during his final talk with Luffy and co. after they went through the Gate Of Justice towards Marine Ford. Only in the Anime though.
* In ''PrincessJellyfish'', this happens to Tsukimi several times after [[WholesomeCrossdresser Kuranosuke]] dolls her up, though the second time it winds up being averted [[GenreSavvy since he used waterproof mascara]].

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[[folder: Comic Books ]]
* Alice in ''ComicBook/{{Batwoman}}'' has this happen several times.
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[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* This happens to Charlotte early on in ''Disney/ThePrincessAndTheFrog''.
* The Matchmaker from ''Disney/{{Mulan}}'' [[DisasterDominoes after Mulan accidentally sets her dress on fire]].
* Done by one of the racers in ''Disney/WreckItRalph'' when Vanellope announces they're all to be executed [[spoiler:for being mean to her when they forgot she was the world's princess.]]
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[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Dramatically used to great effect with Winona Ryder's character Beth in ''Film/BlackSwan'', who's all smeared mascara and smudged eye-liner.
* The Madam of Liquid Silver in the ''Film/TankGirl'' film.
* Dakota in ''Film/PlanetTerror'' [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Planet-terror-1.jpg as seen in this poster]].
* Lola in ''Film/TheTransporter 2'' and Valentina in the second half of ''3''.
* Rachel in ''Film/BladeRunner''.
-->'''Rachel:''' I'm not in the business. I ''am'' the business.
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[[folder: Literature]]
* In ''Literature/ABrothersPrice'' Cira puts lipstick on Jerin so he can [[HarmlessLadyDisguise disguise himself as a whore]]. They end up kissing, and she laughingly says she has to reapply it.
* In Henry Zhou's ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' novel ''The Emperor's Mercy'', after {{aristocrats|AreEvil}} are rounded up in a raid, the women are crying with their black make-up running.
* In Creator/NeilGaiman's ''Literature/{{Neverwhere}}'', during the ordeal, the Jessica cries so that her make-up runs.
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[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* In the ''Series/SabrinaTheTeenageWitch'' episode "Sabrina the Teenage Boy," Sabrina's mascara starts running while she cries in male form, indicating that the spell is wearing off.
* Mimi on ''TheDrewCareyShow'' had some pretty spectacular versions of this considering how much makeup she tends to wear.
* On ''That70sShow'', Jackie puts makeup on Kelso to give him the "androgynous DavidBowie look", only to have it go wrong.
-->"Kelso. Your mascara's running."
* ''Series/TheColbertReport'': [[http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/216580/january-20-2009/stephen-s-inauguration-breakdown The inauguration of Barack Obama caused Stephen to cry with massive amounts of mascara running and snot hanging from his nose.]]
* Discussed in ''{{Soap}}'' when everybody is going to find out if the courts find Jessica guilty or not for Peter's murder when Mary (Jessica's sister) is unable to talk because she's holding back her tears. Burt tells Jessica she's trying not to cry because her make-up will run and she'll look like a raccoon.
* PlayedForLaughs in ''Series/HannahMontana'' with Miley encouraging an emotional Lilly to find another boyfriend at the beach, after thinking Oliver is cheating on her. It doesn't work well for Lilly. Similarly to the above ''Series/{{Soap}}'' example, she is compared to a raccoon.
* Elliot on ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'' has this happen to her on one occasion, causing her to remark that her running mascara made her look like Music/AliceCooper.
* Rae on ''Series/MyMadFatDiary'', when she was stood up and started crying as a result (and then smudging whatever stayed on on purpose).
* In the final episode of ''[[Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000 MST3K]]'', PlayedForLaughs with Pearl's mascara when the S.O.L. engages re-entry protocol.
* The visual effect was inadvertently used in an episode of ''Series/{{Angel}}'' when people started going crazy due to a weird shift in cosmic forces and the intention was for them to start "crying blood." The DVD commentary lamented how the make-up design looked more like red mascara running.
* Pretty much inevitable on ''RuPaulsDragRace'' given that the contestants are all {{Drag Queen}}s. The ''Untucked'' behind the scenes episodes in particular often feature this.

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[[folder:Music]]

* In PorcupineTree's "Blackest Eyes":
-->''"It's so erotic when your make up runs"''
* The NonAppearingTitle of the Music/FooFighters song "Cheer Up Boys (Your Makeup Is Running)" references this, in a likely TakeThat at the {{emo}} scene.
* The Julie Roberts song "Men and Mascara" refers to "little black rivers running down her face" in addition to its hook line, "men and mascara always run."
* Cherry from the animated band StudioKillers looks like this all the time.
* Music/TheDecemberists' ''[[Literature/TainBoCuailnge The Tain]]'': ''"Darling dear, [[AxCrazy what have you done]]?/Your clothes are torn, your makeup runs.""
* FranzFerdinand's "Walk Away": ''"mascara bleeds a blackened tear"''.

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[[folder: Standup Comedy]]
* Dylan Moran describes gin as 'mascara thinner' for 40-something women, in his show 'Monster'.

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[[folder: Video Games ]]
* This is how Mimi made fun of Peach before one of their fights during ''VideoGame/SuperPaperMario'': "Better not cry, or all your pretty makeup will run!"
* ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' has this happen when you romance Jack/Subject Zero. During her romance scene she will begin to cry and her black eye makeup will run down her face [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLPk4pwmQ9Q which you can fully enjoy here.]]
* In ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamAsylum'' Dr. Young's mascara is ruined when she starts crying after [[spoiler: she's nearly killed by Zsasz.]]
* ''VideoGame/ResonanceOfFate'': [[TheChick Leanne]] exploits this trope, mentioning at one point that she wears makeup as a reminder to stay strong because if she cries, she'll ruin the makeup.
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[[folder:Webcomics]]
* Miho in ''Webcomic/MegaTokyo'' [[http://www.megatokyo.com/strip/706 here]]
* Happens to [[spoiler:Tesa]] in [[http://www.meekcomic.com/2010/06/13/2-41/ this page]] of ''Webcomic/TheMeek'', accompanied by this in TheRant:
-->Next time youíre at a dinner party at which you are [[spoiler:accused of murdering the hostís wife]], remember to wear waterproof mascara! Rookie error.
* ''Webcomic/GunnerkriggCourt'': [[http://www.gunnerkrigg.com/archive_page.php?comicID=243 Kat, trying to get the makeup to work]]
* In ''Webcomic/CucumberQuest'', [[http://cucumber.gigidigi.com/cq/page-347/ Princess Piano's make-up is ruined after her kidnapping; the image makes it clear that it's from crying.]]
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[[folder: Western Animation ]]
* Helga's older sister Olga in ''WesternAnimation/HeyArnold'' has her mascara run whenever she cries.
* A recurring joke in ''WesternAnimation/DrawnTogether'' is that whenever Captain Hero cries, his mascara runs. Happens to [[CampGay Xandir]] too.
* Happens to Mai at one point in ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender''
* Caitlin from ''[[{{Sixteen}} 6Teen]]'' is prone to crying, and whenever she bawls her face becomes a mess with black liquid running under her eyes.
* A rare male example would be ''WesternAnimation/XiaolinShowdown'''s Jack Spicer. However, this has only happened once.
* In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones'', Fred ends up causing Wilma to cry, making her mascara run down her face. [[{{Jerkass}} He then starts laughing harder over how terrible she looks.]]
** Might be the same episode, but there was one in which Wilma was using makeup to make herself look more tired than she really was to guilt Fred into hiring a maid. Fred points out that her makeup is running, proving he knows she's faking it. Fred laughs at her and she breaks down and cries. Eventually he gives in and hires a maid.
* In the ''{{Futurama}}'' episode "Crimes Of The Hot" due to the excessive heat [[KentBrockmanNews Linda the newscaster]] has this in the same scene that gave rise to the "WINDMILLS DO NOT WORK THAT WAY!" [[MemeticMutation meme]].
* In the ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' episode ''[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS4E23InspirationManifestation Inspiration Manifestation]]'', much like in "Simple Ways", Rarity's mascara runs when she cries. Also like in "Simple Ways", this [[BeautyIsNeverTarnished doesn't leave any lasting smudges]].
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[[folder: Real Life ]]

* This was something of a trademark of Tammy Faye Bakker, wife of televangelist Jim Bakker. There is a story that she was once asked why she wore such heavy make-up, since it invariably ran when she (invariably) wept; she is supposed to have replied that it was so that people could see her cry.

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