How To Wear Makeup While You Sweat, From A Peloton Instructor Who Loves A Full Face
Peloton instructor Emma Lovewell taught four workout classes before our Zoom call. Four! As if this intense activity wasn't enough of a feat, she also tells me she wears a full face of makeup during each sweaty, heart-pumping session—and manages to walk away with clear, even-toned skin. My jaw has fallen to the floor, in case you couldn't tell.
"The cameras are so good, and the lights are so bright that if I don't wear a little bit of blush, I might look ghostly," she says of her pre-workout makeup routine. "It's nice to put a little bit of color back into my face." Off the bike, Lovewell's skin remains positively radiant—practically glowing through my computer screen—with not a clogged pore in sight. How does she do it? Ahead, she spills the secrets to wearing makeup while you sweat:
Rely on primer.
Lovewell keeps her morning skin care routine quite simple: a gentle cleanser, vitamin C serum (particularly this Vitamin C + Ferulic Acid Serum from NOW Foods), moisturizer, and sunscreen. "Once I get to the studio to prepare for class, I apply a primer that's meant for putting makeup on top of," she says.
Now, when it comes to sweat-proofing your makeup, primers play double duty: Not only do they grab on to foundation so it doesn't smudge or smear during your workout, but they also provide a moisturizing layer between your skin and the makeup. That way, you have some sort of buffer that keeps pore-clogging ingredients from seeping into your skin.
Stick to a liquid base, and use it strategically.
"I've always used a liquid foundation," Lovewell says. "I feel like my skin might be too dry for powder, and I feel like powder and sweat just don't go [together] well." She's not wrong: Liquid over powder can pill, which can result in long, sweaty streaks through your makeup.
And when it comes to application, less is more: "I use [foundation] strategically. I don't cake it on—I'll sometimes mix it with moisturizer and then go back in with a concealer to really target [any] red spots." Sometimes she'll even snag a tinted moisturizer two shades darker than her complexion for an impromptu contour: Apply a teeny bit of product where the sun (or in Lovewell's case, bright camera lights) would naturally hit, and it will give you a bronzy, sculpted glow without the need for more makeup products.
Waterproof mascara is your BFF.
"If I wear regular mascara, I'll have raccoon eyes—mascara always has to be waterproof," says Lovewell. Plus, running mascara can easily get into her eyes when it mingles with sweat, which is a recipe for a stinging, itchy eye area. "I also have pretty straight eyelashes, so when I curl my eyelashes and then use a waterproof mascara, it holds the curl better," she notes.
Remove and reapply.
After a workout, Lovewell always removes her makeup—even if she's going to apply the same exact products. "I have sweat lines sometimes, and I just want to have a fresh face," she says. See, your pores are open shortly after a workout, which means they're more vulnerable to bacteria—so you don't want makeup settling in them for too long.
Lovewell washes her face with a gel cleanser, specifically NOW's Blemish Clear Gel Cleanser, then follows up with a micellar-soaked cotton pad to make sure there's no foundation residue. "It's mostly the foundation I'm worried about for breakouts," she notes. And if she has any meetings or events later in the day, she'll reapply the exact same makeup routine. Giving her skin some time to breathe—even if it's quick!—helps keep her complexion clear.
Use a hydrating mist.
OK, but let's say you don't have time to hop in the shower or even give your face a quick wash—it happens! Whenever Lovewell has a tight schedule, she leans on hydrating face mists, like NOW's Rosewater Rejuvenating Mist. "Makeup artists will use it as a setting spray, but I use it more as a refresher. It just feels really good," she says. "I'll use that spray after a workout to reset and invigorate my skin."
You might want to reach for a rosewater spray in particular, as the ingredient has a mildly astringent nature, so it can help reduce oiliness without a full wash. "It makes my skin glow a little bit more and feel nice and moisturized," Lovewell adds. "It smells great, too, so it almost feels like a quick shower." At the very least, it will hold you over until you can really rinse.
Yes, you can wear makeup in sweaty conditions and come out on top (read: blemish-free). According to Lovewell, it just takes some strategic tweaks. Whether you're heading to the gym or simply hoping to navigate scorching summer days ahead, you can wear a full face without aggravating your skin.
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in New York City.