Gym Makeup Essays

One of the biggest reasons I don't like going to the gym, besides actually having to go to the gym and do something other than sitting on a yoga mat, is that I don't like being judged. The muscle-popping guys in the weight room always give me a side eye when I walk in, grab a pair of 10-pound barbells, and give them an almighty curl. They look at the nonexistent definition of my triceps muscles, then at me, with eye rolls and smirks, as if to say, "working out or hardly working?"

The answer I give, out loud, as I drop the weights close to their feet, is "none of your business."

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But the judgement doesn't just end with how untoned I am or how my diet — of carbs and sugar — should be swapped out for protein powder and dry chicken; it extends to what I'm wearing when I'm at the gym.

Why are women expected to show up to the gym looking like they're going to brunch? Why are they supposed to have their hair done, held back in a combed-out ponytail, with a full-face of makeup, and a coordinated and matching workout outfit that costs more than an entire month's membership to that gym? Why do they have to wear sports bras that look like they could be worn to a nightclub and yoga pants that have the right amount of patterns on them to make their butts look good? Why can't they just wear whatever they want, like the guys do?

Have you noticed how guys look when they go to the gym? Most of them look like they dug through their "please donate now" box of clothes, picked out a collection of the most-stained and wrinkled items, and tossed them off for a pump session at the gym. Their shorts are from 10 or more years ago with logos from their past schools or youth groups on them and t-shirts that look like they'd live a better afterlife as cleaning rags than as an item of clothing worn in public.

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But nobody judges them ever. Nobody tells them that their leggings are too see-through to be worn when they are doing squats or that the baggy t-shirt they are wearing makes them look soooo not put together.

I, on the other hand, no longer care what the social norms are when it comes to picking out an outfit to go to the gym. Sometimes I wear a sports bra, but sometimes I don't. Sometimes, when I haven't done laundry in a long time, I wear a normal bra that makes my boobs bounce a little bit, and sometimes, when I'm lazy and going to the gym in my apartment building, I don't wear a bra.

Sometimes I wear yoga pants, but oftentimes, I wear a baggy pair of shorts that I took from my boyfriend, because I'm not interested in having a trainer at the gym tell me that I need to do more squats so that my ass doesn't look so saggy. Sometimes I wear the t-shirt I wore to work that day, and sometimes I wear an old crop top that I used to wear when I went out to clubs, but now I'm retired and use it to go out to the gym.

I'll wear what I want to the gym, and I'll laugh when you tell me that I look funny. Does the gym have a dress code? If so, I'll gladly stop going and do bicep curls from my couch instead.

Image Source: Unsplash / Bruce Mars

Photo: MjDigitalArt / Getty


We all know that it’s not generally a good idea to put on a full face of makeup for the gym, thanks to the threat of breakouts and smeared mascara. Still, some days you just don’t want to go out into the world bare-faced. Don’t use that as an excuse to skip your workout and stay home, though. Wearing makeup to the gym is totally doable—if you do it right. Here are our ultimate do’s and don’ts for wearing makeup to the gym.

DON’T: Overdo it with lots of products.

The more products you put on your face, the more touch-ups you have to deal with when you inevitably get sweaty and smudgy. Not to mention the potential for epic breakouts triggered by the unholy mix of sweat and cosmetics. Celebrity makeup artist Rosie Johnson says, “You should never really wear ANY makeup to the gym. Your skin is expelling and sweating out all the toxins and you don’t want to clog those pores.”

DO: Keep it light and minimal.

That said, if you absolutely cannot bear the thought of going bare-faced, just keep things extremely basic. Kate O’Brien, founder of all-natural mineral makeup line Alima Pure, suggests using a loose powder “because it looks natural and is quick.” Just be sure to use a light hand.

Johnson also says that “a brow gel is great for keeping your brows groomed and nicely shaped.” Even if the rest of your makeup is minimal, filled-in brows will frame your face and keep you looking put-together.

DON’T: Wear anything too greasy.

“Never use anything too hydrating or greasy. You’ll feel like an oil slick after your workout,” O’Brien says. This means no oil-based products, nothing that promises a dewy look, and nothing that simply feels too thick or heavy.

DO: Use products that help with shine.

Johnson says, “One of the best secrets to looking dewy (not sweaty) after any gym session is blotting sheets.” You don’t have to spend a lot of money on these either; try e.l.f. Essential Shine Eraser ($3) or Palladio Oil Absorbing Rice Paper ($4).

DON’T: Wear foundation.

Foundation can be great in some cases, but for the gym it’s simply too heavy. You will be hard-pressed to find a foundation that doesn’t get sweated off during a workout and end up clogging pores. As Johnson says, ” Very light and breathable makeup is going to your best option for the gym. I would skip foundation altogether.”

DO: Spot-correct.

Instead of covering your entire face with foundation, use a matte finish concealer with a somewhat tacky, thick consistency to spot-correct areas as needed (such as scars, under-eye circles, and hyper-pigmentation or acne). A concealer that is too runny or promises a dewy, luminous glow won’t hold up well at the gym. We love Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer ($32), as it comes in a wide range of shades, covers even the most stubborn spots and is even waterproof.

DON’T: Wear lots of color.

O’Brien warns, “Never wear anything bright or dark that may smear if you touch your face or sweat. Lipsticks, a smoky eye look, and bright blush probably wouldn’t be a great idea.”

DO: Try a tinted lip balm.

If you absolutely can’t go without a hint of color on your lips, try a tinted lip balm. O’Brien recommends Alima Pure Lip Tints ($14), which “moisturize the lips and give a gorgeous splash of color, too.” Petal is the perfect shade for the gym, as it provides that craveable ‘your lips but better’ look.

DON’T: Wear a lot of eye makeup.

This is not the time to create an elaborate smokey eye. The last thing you want during a workout is to reach up to wipe the sweat out of your eyes and end up smearing black eye shadow all over your face.

DO: Choose waterproof mascara.

Of course, it can be hard to give up your beloved mascara. That’s fine, but Johnson recommends that you choose waterproof mascara. Everyone’s mascara preferences differ and you’ll probably have to spend some time doing trial and error before you find one that’s gym-worthy, but we’ve had great success with Covergirl Lash Blast Volume Waterproof Mascara ($9).

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