Kim Carpluk

Is Smudged Mascara Post-Sex Hideous? I Investigated & The Reactions Are Shocking

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It's fascinating how much most cis straight men don't understand about makeup. I don't care if I look like a raccoon post hookup. TBH, I think it's kinda badass. However, I've found that the men I've dated don't feel the same way. Is smudged mascara post-sex hideous to males? Do we really care what they think, anyways? Stay tuned for answers during this deep dive into the societally-dictated masculine psyche and the dozens of humorous stories we makeup-wearers have to share.

When I was a teenager, I was super aware of my post make-out smudged makeup face. I used to bring a caboodle full of makeup (not joking) to my high school boyfriend's house to hide the evidence of what had occurred (mostly from his family, but still). Now, I couldn't care less what my dates think about my post-hookup face. I personally find it sexy and rock n' roll to sport smeared mascara. However, it's worth noting that not every guy I've dated has felt the same way.

Most recently, the guy I've been seeing made an offhand comment on my smeared mascara in a way that I'm sure meant nothing to him, but made me boil like a pot of ramen deep inside for a fleeting moment. Said guy, who is normally supportive and charming when it comes to all my makeup endeavors, pointed out my smudged mascara after I accidentally on-purpose slept in my makeup. "Your undereyes look dark," he said. "I think it's your mascara." Now kudos to him for knowing what mascara is, but also... don't point this out to me, dude. I'm totally aware of it already, thankyouverymuch.

My editor had a similar experience with a guy she's been snogging. Like the seasoned beauty editor that she is (and quite unlike my irresponsible self), she washed her face before going to bed, but failed to remove all of her mascara. As we all know, this happens frequently to the best of us. Upon seeing the remainder of her smudged mascara, her date said, "Isn't it bad to sleep in your makeup?"

This response seems... a little kinder. After all, he wanted to make sure that her skin and eyes were safe from the damages of sleeping in makeup! Then again, it was the teeniest, tiny bit of mascara... so why not just let her snooze in peace without any hint of makeup mansplaining?

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This made me wonder: do guys truly think your post-sex raccoon makeup is hideous? If so, why? It's literally just makeup.

Like the proper makeup Nancy Drew that I am, I decided to reach out to my closest friends to see if they had any insightful smudged mascara experiences to share.

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Some friends said they've never had mascara smudge post-coitus, to which I asked, WTF magical mascara are you using and can you send some my way? Some have never received negative comments because they're sure the guys don't even notice:

  • "I think this is something that is unavoidable if you're wearing makeup while hooking up. If anything, it shows that you were really into your partner because you just said 'f*ck the black tears' and kept going. I've never had any partners react negatively. If anything, I was offered a tissue." This comment was punctuated with a teary smily emoji.
  • "If my makeup is melting, you must be doing something right," one friend said.
  • Similarly, I also received the response, "if you don't look like you've been through it, he obviously isn't f*cking you right." Welp. There you go.
  • "Honestly, I don't really care how I look when making out," another responded, "and guys are too focused on their penises to say something about my mascara." Sounds legit.
  • "I don't really mind when my mascara smears when I have sex, but I hate when my husband makes moves on me right after I've finished my makeup. Like, you couldn't have done that when I was fresh out of the shower, buddy? I'm not ruining this face now!" Good point.
  • "The look doesn't really bother me, however, since I wear contacts, if little mascara particles get in my eyes, we'd have problems. He doesn't care (though). He says it looks like we actually got work done."

However, the majority of the responses my friends have received from their past partners seem to be negative, questionable, or completely confusing at best:

  • One friend had a BF who simply didn't understand the laws of makeup (and possibly physics and logic). She has a favorite mascara that does tend to flake a lot after sex, or even just from making out, but she continues to wear it because she doesn't particularly care. One time, she was lying in bed with her BF at the time and he, seemingly randomly, said, "OK, why don't we talk about it?" Confused, she responded, "what?" The former BF responded, "You are obviously crying. I can tell because your eyes are all smudgy." Nope, she wasn't crying. She just was basking in all her raccoon-eyed glory.
  • Another friend hooked up with an ex who, after sexy times, said, "Your mascara is smudgy." Not quite sure of what else to say, she said, "OK, well, sorry." He responded, "No, it adds to your mystique." To this day, she's not quite sure what that actually meant. She's also not quite sure that he actually knows what mystique means.
  • One of my Korea-based buddies said that she, quite like my editor, has had guys call her out on her mascara smudges when she fails to clean her makeup off fully before a post-hookup shower. In America, her dates had more of a tendency to just reach up and wipe the smudge away, she added.

Generally, the makeup wearers themselves love the look of post-sex smeared mascara. The words "sexy," and "punk rock" were thrown about with reckless abandon. Some of my friends simply joke about their "panda" and "raccoon" eyes when they feel like the look is a little... extreme. A particularly empathetic friend noted that she's less concerned with how she looks, and more concerned with not getting it all over her partner's face, which is understandable. Been there, done that, practically wrote the transfer-proof makeup novel.

A couple responses did shake me to my very core. Those that didn't have negative responses to share generally said guys don't simply notice. However, three of my good friends noted that their partners actually love (and kinda prefer) the smeared, post-sex messiness:

  • Though she personally hates the look of smudged mascara and goes to wipe it off right away, my pal's BF tells her to leave it. "Every time I talk about trying a more waterproof mascara, he's like, 'you really don't have to.'" He's the eighth wonder of the world!
  • "My husband loooves raccoon eyes. Loves to see the black tears running down my face when I'm... (you get the idea). Direct quote: 'It's unicorn sex if I'm crying tears of glitter.'" He likes smudged mascara and glitter? Keep him forever.
  • One of my male friends said quite a few ex-BFs preferred the makeup mess. "I did date a dude who got off on makin' out with me while I had a red lip on. Also, (I) painted a dude's face as foreplay one time. That was super hot." TBH, it sounds hot to me, too.

Out of all of the generously-offered replies, this kind of response makes the most logical sense to me. Why don't more men appreciate the tangible evidence of the sex that has occurred? Can't be sure. Guys are hard to understand 99 percent of the time.

Speaking of, I did asked a couple my cis straight guy friends to weigh in on the subject, and they said the following:

  • "Post sex doesn't look/smell great on me either, so whatevs." Short, sweet, and to the point.
  • "I kind of see it as like... Well you know when you go to the gym or do something physically demanding? You don't expect to come out looking ready for a night on the town. You expect to come out looking rosy-cheeked with a few sweat stains. I see this the same way. Oh, your mascara is smeared? And?" Quite the healthy response, if I do say so myself.

I don't know if I'll ever quite grasp the reasoning behind the width and breadth of the mascara smudging responses, but just know, you're not alone in your post-coital raccoon eyes. Proudly sport them however you want to and don't give an eff what your date says. At the end of the day, I'm sure these guys much rather be having the intimate time with you than not, smudged mascara and all.