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!

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