Whether you’re sweating on the treadmill, pounding the pavement, lifting weights at the gym or working on your backstroke in the pool, many of us still want to look good while exercising. Enter celebrity makeup artist and triathlete, Taylor Babaian. “The first triathlon I did, they took pictures at the finish line and published them in a local magazine," she says. "When I saw those pictures, I thought, ‘Oh my! I’ve got to wear some tri-friendly makeup.’” So here are a few of her tried-and-tested tips for looking put together while getting your sweat on.
DO: Protect Your Skin From the Sun
If you’re exercising outdoors, it’s essential to wear a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. “Look for something that is as sweat-resistant as possible so that it won’t run into your eyes and burn,” Babaian says. “Unfortunately,” she explains, “most of the sheer tinted moisturizers do not have a very high SPF, and they tend to slip on the face once you start to perspire, thus limiting coverage.” You can layer concealer or mineral makeup on top of a sweat-resistant sunscreen, and that'll ensure lasting coverage and sun protection.
DO: Apply Concealer Correctly
If you‘re looking for non-obvious coverage, Babaian says, “Strategically place highly pigmented concealer in your skin tone just on the areas where you have spots, discoloration, redness or dark circles. Then, blend with a concealer brush for the most natural finish.” And if you're working out outside, apply a light layer of concealer onto the high points of face (on top of your SPF, of course), she says. It not only conceals, but the pigments provide a physical barrier against the sun. Plus, concealer is also generally water-resistant and perfect for those heavy sweaters (or swimmers!) who're looking for coverage.
DON'T: Irritate Sensitive or Breakout-Prone Skin
For those with acne-prone or sensitive skin, concealer may be a little too heavy. “Mineral makeup may be the best solution for you, and it’s water resistant as well,” says Babaian. “Because it's pure pigment, the minerals shouldn’t move while you're working out. It naturally provides sun protection up to an SPF of around 17 and is also breathable.” Mineral makeup is also anti-microbial and can help prevent blemishes from forming. “Look for one that matches your skin tone and doesn’t have lots of shimmer and sparkles," Babaian says. "That’s a no-no when exercising outdoors.” She also recommends avoiding regular powder, as it moves around and doesn’t stay on the face.
DON'T: Get Goggle Eyes (or Pool Hair)
An avid swimmer herself, Babaian says, “When I first started swimming, I’d notice the goggles would leave marks beneath my eyes for so long, and I hated that!” Her advice? "Apply a little eye cream under the eyes an hour or two before hitting the lap pool, the lake or wherever you swim.” But don’t apply anything -- eye cream or sunscreen -- right before you hit the pool. If it’s not yet absorbed, it'll seep into your eyes and sting. And when swimming, wear a swim cap to protect your hair health and color. Finally, always rinse off and moisturize after a pool workout. Chemicals in the pool can dehydrate and irritate the skin.
Related: 7 Tips to Become a Better Swimmer
DO: Highlight Your Brows and Lips
If you want a look that's clean but polished, focus on your eyebrows and lips. "A polished brow can do wonders for the face," Babaian says. "So just very lightly fill wherever they’re sparse.” And to keep your brows from changing shape dramatically during your workout, apply a little bit of sheer hair wax or sheer water-resistent lip balm.” To finish the look, Babaian suggests adding a little bit of tinted lip color to the lips. “Stains or balms work well,” she says. When the brows are polished and the lips have a hint of tint, the look is natural and undetectable, but still pretty and polished.
DO: Pick the Right Lipstick
Who says you can’t have a perfect pout when you’re huffing and puffing? “If you're one of those women who just can’t be without her lipstick, that's OK,” says Babian. “If your color is a bright shade of pink or red, take it down a notch and do a color wash as opposed to a color explosion.” A bright, bold lip is generally a no-no, but a subtle punch of color gets the green light. Choose a long-wearing lip color designed for water resistance. And with today’s advanced formulas, they really do last. “Dab the lipstick onto the lips and pat excess color away,” Babaian says. “A pop of color on my lips makes me feel feminine and not overdone.”
DON'T: Timewarp to the ‘80s
Definitely do not use lip liner. “Lip liner will look totally dated and crazy,” says Babaian. And lip glosses, especially if worn when working out in the sun, can plasticize and burn the lips. Glosses are also impractical because errant hair or debris in the air can get stuck to your lips. And since working up a sweat encourages blood flow and a natural, healthy flush to the skin, there's no need for faux blush.
DO: Master a Subtle Smokey Eye
Smokey eye while sweating? Babaian says, “I think that dark colors are fine -- especially if that's your signature. You’ve just got to choose water-resistant products. If these products run into the eyes, you’ll be in pain. But, I’ve been to triathlons where women are rocking a smokey eye and they look great. I do it, too.” Rather than doing a full-blown smokey eye, Babaian proposes a just as pretty, but slightly subtler version. “Sweep a dark gray cream shadow onto the top lid, stopping right at the crease, sweep a little bit under the lash line and apply mascara. Add black liner to the top and bottom lashes if you wish.”
DO: Get a Healthy Glow
Whether you're speed-walking your dog or bending into downward dog, an exercise-friendly makeup option is to subtly bronze. Choose a mineral-based bronzer or a concealer in a few shades darker than your skin. Apply the bronzer on the high-points of the face -- the cheeks, the tip of the nose, the forehead and the chin -- where the sun would naturally hit, Babaian says. If you're using concealer, use a foundation blush to apply, as the fingers can leave a blotchy effect. However, no one wants to look like a pumpkin or a disco ball, so don’t be too heavy handed and be sure to choose a bronzer without shimmer or sparkles.
DON'T: Clog Your Pores
After any workout, it’s crucial to cleanse your skin. Why? According to Babaian, “Whatever cosmetics you have on, they can combine with the sweat and contribute to a breeding ground for bacteria.” Bacteria can lead to blackheads, congestion, irritation and serious acne. Babaian recommends having a face wash or a scrub in your gym bag and using it before you leave. If your skin is sensitive, she recommends cleansing twice with a gentle cream or oil-based cleanser. If your skin handles exfoliation well, use a mild exfoliator with enzymes or warm water and a washcloth to clear dead skin cells, makeup and debris from your pores.
What Do YOU Think?
Do you wear makeup when you workout? Why or why not? If you do, what's your go-to makeup routine like? Did you find any of these tips helpful? Will you use any of them during your next workout? Share your thoughts, suggestions and questions in the comments section below!
Tracy O'Connor is an expert on beauty and style.