Make-Up that will Last Through a Workout

Half of you are going to find this absolutely nuts the other half will be like “Yaaaasssss!” All I’m asking is that one side not judge the other. AKA don’t judge me. In my old hood, there was this lovely young lady runner who had the perfect swinging long blond ponytail, matching shorts and bra and a full face of makeup and I’m surprised she didn’t cause traffic jams! At the time I ran before work in mismatched boxers and a t-shirt and my face turned lobster red and blotchy. So I kinda hated her… fast forward to now and I get it. She was a grown up and I was a grad student, she had adult stuff to do later. Which is a long way of saying sometimes to fit your workouts into your life you have to sweat with the makeup on. If you just want to that’s cool too! My life is like that now and I’ve perfected the art of sweating it out in a full face and still having it later without going caky and how to minimize breakouts because of it. I have slightly oily skin and I can look good after a workout so I know some things! So if this interests you read on! (Also this post is not sponsored and contains no affiliate links, it’s just stuff I love! Links are included so you can check it out only.)

This is actually sort of part 1 of 2 that will help you fit a workout into your already busy life. The thing is if you’re really busy you’re going to have to figure out a way to make it take up less of your time. So while we’d all like to either put our make up for the day on after our workout or start fresh afterward that actually takes up a lot of time. On Wednesday we’ll be talking about the unthinkable for some, working out and NOT showering after!

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Why would you want to workout in makeup?

Just because you want to is reason enough so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! Perhaps it makes you feel more comfortable or more confident, that’s reason enough to go for it. Hell, I like wearing makeup on purpose just for races because there’s a better chance I’ll like my pictures if I do. By far the biggest reason people do is because they are fitting fitness into a busy schedule and they have ‘looking good’ thing to do after. It could be due to something as simple as the time of sunset or sunrise and work. In the months with shorter days if I go for a morning run I have NO time to put it on before work and get to run in the daylight. Plus if I put it on during coffee sipping time I can sleep later.

Cute right?

Skin prep

Some of this is applicable to those of you that don’t want to wear makeup while working out too. Prepping your skin too look good after your workout is possibly the most crucial step. In general, you want to do your heavy moisturization at night if you are oily and use something lighter if you must during the day. Lots of moisturizer tends to make your makeup slide off the very moment you start sweating. The next tip, SKIP THE PRIMER! Primer is about the worst pore clogging thing you can sweat with on. It can even lead to breakouts. Instead, go for a gel or serum to even out your skin texture. I am obsessed with Neutrogena’s rapid wrinkle repair serum which contains retinol (links for stuff below). The stuff has almost a primer-like quality and seems to make me less oily through the day. But since it has retinol make sure to wear a high SPF too. I use a drugstore option Sunthera from shoppers which is SPF 100. This will be individual for everyone and you might have to search for one you love. This one again is a bit like a mattifying primer going on. It also doesn’t lead to breakouts and seems less greasy than others on the market.

Working out in your makeup is like wearing it for hours in a very short time. Any skin issues like dry patches, shine and fade will be worse for the rest of the day after. So keep in mind doing nice things for your skin in general will help with this goal too. I do a clay mask twice a week and take it off with a lightly abrasive mitt. That helps keep it clear for me, removes some oil and the exfoliating gets rid of dry stuff. If you have dry skin replace the clay with a moisturizing one. If you’re wearing makeup exercising on the regular (or just in general) your life will be better if you take some extra care.

Makeup tips for long wear

Anything you can do that extends the life of your makeup every day is a good idea if you know you’ll be working out in it. Go for a more matte finish and probably at least a medium coverage in foundations. Light coverage products tend to fade away much faster. If you can skip the concealer or opt for something lighter to avoid heavy creasing and caking under the eyes do so. You’ll do better to add an extra layer of foundation where you need it, perhaps with a small brush over blemishes than adding a concealer. In my experience, the difference in color and formula is intensified after one good sweating. It’s also a good idea to set your face well with powder as much as you can stand and wear waterproof mascara and liner. As for shadows go for a more diffused simple look rather than anything to angular like a cut crease. Also, opt for something with actual color since it will lighten afterward. Generally, opt for powder products like blush and bronzer over cream products. Highlighters might end up in weird places so skip anything blinding and opt for more subtle natural products instead.

Not earth shattering advise right? So here is a list of some of my favorite brands and products for the WHOLE day, run included. They’re all drugstore because that’s just how I roll.

My makeup faves!

Finishing spray the most important step

Depending on the products you’re using and your skin type this probably varies a bit from person to person. I kinda thought that finishing spray was a post-communist anti-anti-feminist conspiracy plot thought up by evil maniacal advertisers but once again I was wrong. The right setting spay really does meld all that makeup together and makes it look as if you have more skill than you do. Which is nice but a good coat really does hold it all on there so much better after you’re done working out. I haven’t noticed any extra blemishes after starting to use it. I use a Matt finishing spray by Hard Candy, which is available at Walmart and I quite like it. Don’t hold back because more is more in this case!

While working out

I’m not the sweatiest person out there while running but even still what you do while you’re out there makes a big difference too. The biggest thing you can do it to wear the right outfit, modesty be dammed! Wearing fewer clothes if the weather calls for it means less sweating overall. So even though I never thought I’d be a midriff bearing shorts and sports bra runner I am now! Also wearing just what you want to feels so much better too. Wearing a headband with some absorptive properties also prevents the moisture from wicking down your face. But there are some behaviors you can cultivate to avoid disaster too. Try as hard as you can not to wipe your face, blot with a shirt or kleenex if you must. I’ve found that while your actively sweating it can be wiped off but if you let it dry back down in place it can look decent afterward. 

Hydration is important no matter what you look like after but drinking from a bottle leads to a half moon on your upper lip that’s completely stripped bare. Go for a smaller opening and try to be aware of this phenomenon as you gulp. For Christmas, I got a Nike water bottle with a straw and let me tell you it’s a post-workout cute life changer.

Water bottle with straw = game changer!


After you’re done it’s usually better to let it be rather than try to re-do your entire look or even major touch-ups. Once you’ve dried just lightly reset the face with a hint of powder. I like a tinted powder over translucent for this purpose for this cause. If you’ve removed the makeup on your upper lip you can add the slightest hint of your coverage product and then set. Add dry shampoo and a fresh layer of deodorant to your tips and pits and you might even smell better than you did before! If you really have to adult later change your clothes rather than just covering them up with a jacket or sweater and you’re good to go!

So all these years later I get that girl from my old hood now because I’ve done what she was likey doing. That is park my car somewhere between appointments, strip off my work clothes to my bra and shorts, put my hair up and change my shoes. Then get my run in. Once I get back to the car I do some minor touch-ups and re-dress and then onto the next one. Less sweat, no muss, no fuss just fitting it all in. So I’d like to apologize for sending mental shade your way. If you can make it last on your forehead after a bike ride you miss should teach the master class on this!

What are your on purpose makeup for working out tips? What in your life means you have to wear makeup while you exercise or do you just do it because you want to?

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