Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Girlie Post: Makeup & the Bike

Guys (unless you wear makeup), turn back now. There's nothing here for you.

Ladies, let's talk about makeup. Because let's face it, whether you came by car, plane, bike, or train, usually you want to look put together and a very valid concern of many women involved in cycling is that they'll look sweaty and disheveled when what they need to look is put together. Many of my male cycling peers are baffled at the fact I regularly cycle in dresses, etc, but the real miracle of my appearance is that I can (usually) keep my hair and makeup together, even when the weather is working against me. It's something I've been working on for a while, so let's talk. I'm going to say up front that I am no expert, but these are the tricks I've learned through experimentation and a lot of time on the internet.

This is what I look like on a 90 F evening with 50% humidity immediately after getting off my bike, 14 miles later. This is a pretty "normal" makeup look for me, the kind I'll wear to work all day, then bike in.

Mid-September in Texas is still summer

I'm a little shiny (because holy fuck, humidity), but nothing that can't be cured by patting myself off in a bathroom with some paper towels to absorb the sweat. For something a bit (a lot) more elaborate:

Sugar skull!

This was Halloween, and I biked something like 15 miles in this makeup. And I got it to stick and not run everywhere. Here's how I pull this off.

Basically, if you're planning to bike in makeup, you need to put it on the same way you would if you were going out to a club. Here's the order of products, from start to finish.

Cleanser -> Exfoliate -> Moisturizer -> Sunscreen -> Primers (eye and whole face) -> Makeup -> Setting powder or spray.

Just to be clear, I've only started using the setting sprays/powders recently, and those products are not fucking around. I probably wouldn't trust them to let me jump in a lake or in the pouring rain, but for regular usage they make your face stay where you damn well put it that morning. So, the point of all these products? Let's review.

The first four steps are all about protecting your skin and setting your self up for success. Clean your skin, get rid of all the nastiness on it, moisturize it, and protect it from the sun. The sunscreen is a really, really critical step for those of us who spend a lot of time in the sun - if you're on a bike, THAT MEANS YOU.

Primer is what makes the stuff stay in place. It's sort of like applying gesso to a canvas before beginning a painting - it fills in some spaces and smoothes everything out so your makeup has something to adhere to. There are a lot of fancy products available to do this but if I'm completely honest I use an anti-chafing gel (seriously, check the ingredients, it's the same stuff).  I use a separate primer on my eye makeup, which in the case of the Halloween makeup above, meant I used it all the way round.

Once you've got all these base layers down, you're 90% of the way to having bike-proof makeup. Do your face up like you usually would. Once that's done, setting it will take you the rest of the way. There are a LOT of products on the market for this, both powder and spray-based. The sprays are essentially formulated to be like hairspray for your face.

After getting all this on your face and set DON'T TOUCH IT. Let me repeat that. STOP TOUCHING YOUR DAMN FACE. I know, you're a stone-cold fox. But your makeup will look JACKED UP if you sweat in it, then touch it - this is a big cause of smears. It's the whole reason you put an anti-friction product between your skin and your makeup. So once it's on, leave it alone.

Waterproof products help a lot, especially in the eye area. But I don't use them as often as you'd think one would because they are a HUGE pain in the butt to remove and by priming and setting everything they're not really necessary in dryer weather (even if it's pretty hot out - I've biked to dates in 95 F weather and looked fine with regular products).

Last thing - once you're done for the day, take the makeup off, girl. DO NOT pass out with it on if you can't absolutely avoid it. The combination of sweat, makeup, and whatever was in the breeze smacking you in the face (dirt, pollens, and pollution) really doesn't need to spend a night getting ground into your pores. I use olive or coconut oil to remove my makeup and I'm pretty fanatical about it because I have learned the hard way that biking in a face full of makeup then sleeping in it will wreck shop on your face.

So there it is - this is how I bike to the bar and still get my cute girl on despite the fact I rightfully should be a sweaty wreck all the time. I'd absolutely LOVE to see some pictures and hear some tips and tricks from my fellow makeup wearing cyclists too, so feel free to comment or message me!

Monday, November 18, 2013

What I Wore To Bike To Work Today, Pt 2

I forgot to take a picture yesterday, but I remembered today! Yesterday was both warmer than anticipated and insanely humid (the daytime high was in the 80s), so I wore a pretty comfy dress. Today was less humid and a bit cooler, so it's back to jeans and just whatever top was clean:

Goofy face.

Getting my caffeine on
Once again, notice that I do not dress any differently than I normally would. These jeans just went through the washing machine and were a little stiff this morning for biking but are otherwise quite comfy up to moderate distances (20 miles seems to be the comfy-in-jeans daily maximum for me). I brought a hoodie in case I got chilly, but it was a beautiful day for a ride other than the rudeness of the cars around me. Yay biking in ALL your clothes!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Monday, November 4, 2013

A new series! This is what I wore to bike to work today.

One of the points endlessly hammered upon by people attempting to encourage others to bike is that you genuinely don't need too much specialized equipment to do so. A bike, some lights, and a lock, and go. But I rarely see folks putting their money where their mouth is on that point. So, without further ado, this is me right after walking into my office today (admittedly, at my office we don't have a dress code).

Today's weather: 61 F (16 C) and intermittent rain. I have a rain jacket bundled up in the bottom of my bag in case I need it. 

As far as "What I'm wearing" goes, it's a sweater from H&M, Levis, the shoes are Clarks, and the socks are from the pack of 5 that they have at CostCo. Because I'm high fashion. Here's my bike exactly as it appears when I commute in:

Unless I'm worried about theft, I never really remove the lights or anything, and my locks live attached to the back rack. I add air to the tires when I remember, and clean it when I look at it and go "HOLY CRAP my bike is filthy." So it's pretty "grab and go." Every day I bike in, I'm going to try to remember to take a picture of what I wore that day because the point here is that you don't have to be even a little bit "Extreeeeme" to bike to work. Happy Monday, y'all!