Exercising with makeup on – I tried it, so you don’t have to:

Exercising with makeup on is more common than I had thought. While interning this past summer I used to go to the gym in the evening and that is when I noticed women exercising with makeup on. Initially it confused me. I always wondered how women could exercise with makeup on. Didn’t it interfere with their routine? Wouldn’t it get messy if they sweat too much? Why not wash the makeup off in the locker room if you have just come from work? These questions made sense to me at the moment, but I was way off.

A discussion I had with my friend recently led to the idea for this article. She told me that it is all situational. Occasionally women exercise during their breaks which is why they come in with makeup on. Sometimes they keep their makeup on because they have to meet friends for drinks later. Often women just like the way they did their makeup on a particular day and they don’t want to wash it off because of the gym. These situational reasons changed my perspective so here I am to tell you about my experience and some tips I have to help you, if you ever have to/want to exercise with makeup on.

To begin, I barely own any makeup and I don’t even know how to apply makeup properly which is why my roommate deserves a shout out. Together we spent roughly 20 minutes getting all the makeup on before I was on my way to the gym. My routine is basically running on the treadmill for about 45 minutes varying between 6 mph and 7.5 mph and then an hour of weights, squats and mat exercises. I generally tend to sweat a lot when I’m running but it is not as bad during the hour of exercises. I noticed that with makeup on, I was not sweating as much as I do on a normal basis, but my towel had turned a shade of toasty caramel by the end. An article I read by InStyle stated that, “makeup forms a barrier on your skin covering your pores, and when working out, your makeup mixes with oil and perspiration, which in turn congests your skin and prevents those pores from being able to release sweat.” This is probably why I felt that I wasn’t sweating as usual.

A habit I have while running on the treadmill is that I tend to wipe my face very often. By wiping, I mean using my towel in an aggressive manner to remove all the sweat that has formed around my cupids bow and mouth. This is because I hate when sweat enters my mouth, the salty taste is straight up nasty. The day I decided to do this experiment, I completely forgot I had makeup on and almost three wipes later I realized I messed up. I had essentially wiped off all the makeup around my mouth and nose region so that kinda sucked! I also noticed that I was sweating more than usual near my forehead causing the sweat to drip down my temples and onto the sides towards my neck. There were several instances when I wanted to wipe the excess off, but I had already removed a lot of makeup from my previous wipes, so I decided to leave as is. By the end of my run, I was drenched in sweat and my white colored Nike shirt had turned a light brown near the upper chest/collarbone area.

However, there were certain parts of my face that were perfectly intact. MY EYES. None of my eyeshadow, eyeliner or mascara had smudged which was something I definitely did not expect. I thought that my eyes would look the worst as my eyeliner was not waterproof but that seemed to be perfectly intact. My mascara is not waterproof either, but it generally stays on even after a rough night out.

While I was doing my mat exercises and cooling down, my face started feeling cakey and barren. This was because some regions of my face had dried up foundation + sweat while other parts were completely wiped off. I knew my face looked patchy but being in a public place only made me feel more self-aware.

Selective Focus Photo of Woman Wearing Yellow Shirt

Through this entire experiment I have come up with a few tips for women who want to exercise with makeup on:

  • First and foremost, would be use sweat-proof makeup. This will not only prevent makeup from running all over your face, but it will also help prevent acne. Exercising with makeup on can clog you pores causing acne, blackheads or irritation.
  • The second thing would be to wash your face as soon as possible. Generally, after a workout it is advised to wash your face as this removes dirt and oil but after exercising with makeup it is even more essential. This way all the sweat that has accumulated can be washed off. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that your pores will get clogged.
  • Third, using a fresh and clean towel is very important. The towel should be used to pat your face whenever there is a buildup of sweat as this not only prevents smudging, but it also stops the makeup from getting on your clothes. However, remember to pat not rub. You don’t want to smear the makeup and sweat combination all over your face.
  • Finally, drink a lot of water! When you have makeup on you may not realize how much you are sweating as a lot of it gets mixed up in the makeup. Drinking water not only helps unclog the pores but it also replenishes all the water you have lost in the form of sweat through your workout.

Woman Runner in Black Crop Top Sitting and Drinking Water at Marathon

Overall, exercise the way you want. If you are comfortable with makeup on, then go ahead! I don’t think I would do this again because of how messy it all was but I think everyone should try this at least once. As a whole it was an extremely interesting experience ultimately leading to a massive perspective change.