Never drink more than one color of Gatorade before watching a Tear Jerker
: You weren't even wearing mascara. How is it running? JesuOtaku
: (confused) I don't know!
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 Sub-Trope
of Inelegant Blubbering
Some characters may purposely 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 Cosmetic Catastrophe
, especially if it happens during a production. May wind up being the result of Guyliner
if it happens to a male character. See also Make Up Is Evil
and Excessive Evil Eyeshadow
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Anime and Manga
- Alice in Batwoman has this happen several times.
- Dylan Moran describes gin as 'mascara thinner' for 40-something women, in his show 'Monster'.
- This is how Mimi made fun of Peach before one of their fights during Super Paper Mario: "Better not cry, or all your pretty makeup will run!"
- Mass Effect 2 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 which you can fully enjoy here.
- In Batman: Arkham Asylum Dr. Young's mascara is ruined when she starts crying after she's nearly killed by Zsasz.
- Resonance of Fate: 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.
- Helga's older sister Olga in Hey Arnold! has her mascara run whenever she cries.
- A recurring joke in Drawn Together is that whenever Captain Hero cries, his mascara runs. Happens to Xandir too.
- Happens to Mai at one point in Avatar: The Last Airbender
- Caitlin from 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 Xiaolin Showdown's Jack Spicer. However, this has only happened once.
- In one episode of The Flintstones, Fred ends up causing Wilma to cry, making her mascara run down her face. 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 Linda the newscaster has this in the same scene that gave rise to the "WINDMILLS DO NOT WORK THAT WAY!" meme.
- 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.