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[[quoteright:246:[[Series/{{Community}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/your_makeup_is_running_2.jpg]]]]

->'''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 [[RuleOfPerception 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.


[[folder:Anime & 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 ''Manga/PrincessJellyfish'', this happens to Tsukimi several times after [[WholesomeCrossdresser Kuranosuke]] dolls her up, though the second time it winds up being averted since he used waterproof mascara, a fact he comments on.

* Dylan Moran describes gin as "mascara thinner" for 40-something women, in his show ''Monster''.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Alice in ''ComicBook/{{Batwoman}}'' has this happen to her twice, in both cases showing one of the drawbacks of such elaborate makeup. Given her general aesthetic is a blatant in-universe-reference to ''{{Literature/Alice In Wonderland}}'' and the [[TheOphelia associated tropes]] this may have been deliberate on the part of the character herself.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* Happens to Marinette in ''Fanfic/{{Fermeture}}'' when she breaks down in tears after returning home from seeing Adrien again, ruining a pillow case with her mascara.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* 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 Taffyta, twice, 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 thanks to Turbo.]] And earlier, when she falls off the track with two others in the last race.
* Happens to Captain [=DuBois=] in ''WesternAnimation/Madagascar3EuropesMostWanted'' at the end of her rendition of "Non, Je ne Regrette Rien", as well as to her ''male'' subordinates.
* In ''Film/TheApartment'', the female protagonist lampshades this trope when cleaning up her face after a cry.
-->"When you're in love with a married man, you shouldn't wear mascara."

[[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/{{Transporter 2}}'' and Valentina in the second half of ''Film/{{Transporter 3}}''.
* Rachel in ''Film/BladeRunner''.
-->'''Rachel:''' I'm not in the business. I ''am'' the business.
* A very dramatic example in the railroad car scene''Film/TwinPeaksFireWalkWithMe''. Laura and Ronette's smeared makeup and dripping eyeliner lends them the appearance of clowns, adding to the grotesque horror of the scene.
* ''Film/TheApartment'' lampshades this when word of Mr. Sheldrake's previous affairs leave his current mistress, Fran Kubelik, in tears:
-->'''Fran:''' You'd think I would have learned by now -- when you're in love with a married man, you shouldn't wear mascara.

[[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 her ordeal Jessica cries so that her make-up runs.
* ''Literature/JourneyToChaos'': After her tearful reuinon with Eric in ''Literature/LoomingShadow'', Kasile's make up is a mess. Eric has a laugh at her expense.

[[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 ''Series/TheDrewCareyShow'' had some pretty spectacular versions of this considering how much makeup she tends to wear.
* On ''Series/That70sShow'', Jackie puts makeup on Kelso to give him the "androgynous Music/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 ''Series/{{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'', 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 ''Series/RuPaulsDragRace'' given that the contestants are all {{Drag Queen}}s. The ''Untucked'' behind the scenes episodes in particular often feature this. And it was once invoked by a challenge where the queens had to cry on cue, and several of them deliberately did this.
* Annie in ''Series/{{Community}}'' learns the hard way that StopOrIllShoot works better with a gun than pepper spray. Running into your own pepper spray tends to have this effect.
* Played straight in ''Series/{{Vikings}}''. Floki wears kohl around his eyes, and it runs (to great effect) when [[spoiler: he's sitting by Torstein's body]] early in the third season.
* In the "Friendface" episode of ''Series/TheITCrowd'', Roy reluctantly meets with a girl he used to date, who wears too much makeup and it runs when she gets upset, causing her to look like the Joker.
* ''Series/BlackMirror'':
** ''"Nosedive"'': Getting to the wedding gives Lacie this effect. It's a very powerful effect because the black tears seem to represent tears of resentment as she uses the speech to tear into her AlphaBitch friend, and also [[HeelRealisation her realisation about]] [[StepfordSuburbia society]].
** ''"Playtest"'': [[spoiler:When Cooper seemingly returns home to America at the end of the episode, he finds his mother (who he has been neglecting to contact) crying her eyes out over trying to phone him, and [[AdultFear worse for]] [[TheWoobie poor Cooper]], she has contracted Alzheimer's in his absence and doesn't recognize him standing right in front of her.]]

* In Music/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 Music/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.""
* Music/FranzFerdinand's "Walk Away": ''"mascara bleeds a blackened tear"''.
* Music/MarinaAndTheDiamonds In "Shampain", Marina has mascara and tears running down her cheeks from a night of heavy drinking on her own.
* Music/ImeldaMay's "Black Tears" (on the 2017 album ''Life Love Flesh Blood'') is a BreakupSong built around the image of mascara running.
* Music/RedHotChiliPeppers' "Go Robot" has the lyric "She cried so hard, you know she looked like Music/AliceCooper", comparing this trope to Alice Cooper's signature stage makeup.
* The cover art to Stabbing Westward's SelfTitledAlbum features a model with running eye shadow giving a KubrickStare.

[[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.
* Peri from ''VideoGame/FireEmblemFates'' frequently lets her makeup run whenever she is crying or about to cry when things don't go her way.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* 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.]]
* ''Webcomic/MenageA3'': When Zii hits a low point after destroying her own band, [[http://www.ma3comic.com/strips-ma3/need-some-time-alone-with-my-thoughts/ this trope kicks in.]]
-->'''Erik:''' You look... like you joined a death metal band.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* During a crossover with WebVideo/JesuOtaku, WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic is puzzled after he has running makeup crying over characters from ''Anime/DigimonTheMovie''.
-->'''Critic:''' How did that even happen? You don't ''wear'' makeup!\\
'''[=JesuOtaku=]:''' (''confused'') I. Don't. Know.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Helga's older sister Olga in ''WesternAnimation/HeyArnold'' has her mascara run whenever she cries.
* Happened to Luanne in ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill'' when she cried.
* 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''.
* Eska wears this as she [[WomanScorned tries to catch up]] to Bolin in ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra''. Even more unsettling since up to then she was TheStoic.
* Caitlin from ''WesternAnimation/{{Sixteen}}'' is prone to crying, and whenever she bawls her face becomes a mess with black liquid running under her eyes.
* Misery's cousin Morose from ''WesternAnimation/RubyGloom'', like the rest of her family, has endless trails of tears running from her eyes. Due to wearing heavy dark eyeshadow, they appear as thick black streams instead.
* A rare male example would be ''WesternAnimation/XiaolinShowdown'''s Jack Spicer. However, this has only happened once.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones'': In an episode Wilma uses 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 ''WesternAnimation/{{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]].
* ''WesternAnimation/MoonbeamCity'': Both [[FallenPrincess Pizzaz]] and [[TheRival Rad]]. Pizzaz's crying is used for [[TearJerker dramatic effect]], while Rad's is wacky comic relief.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'': When Rarity cries, this usually accompanied by her mascara running copiously down her face -- although this [[BeautyIsNeverTarnished doesn't leave any lasting smudges afterwards]].

[[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.
* Evoked by Sir Creator/MichaelRedgrave to take revenge on fellow actor Geoffrey Edwards. Redgrave was playing Horatio to Edwards' Hamlet, and was required to grieve while cradling Hamlet's body. Always able to cry on cue, Redgrave turned on the waterworks so that "a large splash of warm mascara fell on Hamlet's chin."