Running in Makeup

This is the kind of post that is probably going to have a lot of haters, so for goodness sake, please don’t share it on Reddit!  The “serious” runners will get their $60 custom performance undergarments (panties) in a bunch over the concept that someone might want to know what makeup works best while running.

The funny thing is that I rarely wear makeup, only for special occasions like work presentations, nights out with friends and races.  The reason I like to wear makeup for races is that it makes my race photos look so much better!  Vanity?  Probably, but it’s been so long since I’ve liked pictures of myself that I’m going to celebrate with the best race photos I can get.  As you can see, I don’t layer it on, but it does help keep me from looking too washed out.


Racing isn’t easy on makeup.  The first requirement is that it is comfortable and doesn’t cause any skin or eye irritation.  The last thing you need when you’re racing is to have your makeup give you trouble.  Ideally you won’t even notice it.  The next requirement is that it needs to stay put, even with sweating and in the rain.  Finally, it needs to be smear-proof so that if you do need to rub your eyes it won’t turn you into a raccoon.

After some trial and error, here are the items I now use for my races:


L’Oreal Double Extend Mascara is just amazing.  I hate mascara.  I always end up rubbing my eyes and smudging it all over my face.  The reason this mascara is perfect for racing is that it won’t smudge and it doesn’t irritate my eyes (even with contacts in).  The tube has two halves each with their own brush.  The first is the primer which is white.  Then you put on the colored (brown or black) mascara over the white primer.  Magic happens (or maybe science happens) and results in the mascara turning into little plastic tubes on each eyelash.

If you rub your eyes, the worst that happens is that the tubes kind of flake off and you can just brush them off your skin.  Rain and sweat don’t cause any smearing or smudging.  To remove you just use warm water and a washcloth.  The friction of rubbing warm water is what just kind of peels off the tubes.  It is a little more clumpy than other mascaras, but it’s the only mascara I’ve ever been able to use and it works great for running

Too Faced Perfect Eyes Waterproof Eyeliner is a recent find for me and I love it.  I had the same trouble with eyeliner that I had with mascara.  I rub my eyes more than I should and it tends to smear.  This eyeliner applies very smoothly and stays put better than any other brand I’ve tried.  And it doesn’t irritate my sensitive eyes!


Covergirl Outlast Lipstain has been a long time favorite for me.  I’m just a tomboy, low maintenance kind of person at heart.  I have no time or patience for makeup that needs to be reapplied or that tends to smear if you touch your face.  Traditional lipsticks last for about 45 seconds on my face so I never saw the point, but lipstains last for hours without any fuss, smears or issues.  Perfect for races and they have the added benefit of not having the risk of melting if left in a car or sparkleskirt pocket!MU3Prescriptives Virtual Skin Foundation is another one of my old favorites.  I think you can only buy this online now, but I’ve stocked up and one bottle lasts me about a year.  This is a super lightweight foundation that doesn’t feel heavy at all.  I don’t usually even bother with foundation when I race but if I do, this is what I use.


Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray is the final touch.  You spray it on your face after putting on your makeup and it helps keep it all in place.  It’s a little disconcerting to spray it directly on my face, but it doesn’t hurt my eyes and after it dries I don’t feel it.

Even though these are my favorites, everyone will have things they like more than others.  Do you wear makeup during races?  What’s your favorite product?  Have you had any disasters?  Are you a “serious” runner and now you’re all offended that I even wrote this post?


Running in Makeup — 17 Comments

  1. I am gonna do some makeup shopping now!! I appreciate you taking on this topic, forget the Haters. Some of us spend a lot of money on these races, between the race fees, undergarments, compression gear, nutrition, travel, outfits, and then to wind up with photos we hate, NO WAY. If I am going pay the high prices for photo’s I want them to look GREAT and if that means I wear make it, then so be it! Thank you for doing the research and giving us these great finds!!!

    • I just know some oh-so-serious runners get irritated when these kinds of things get discussed! It makes me laugh though. Hope you find something that works for you!

    • Like most things in life, different things work for different people and if I want to wear makeup on a run or race I can’t imagine HOW it could possibly affect anyone else, right? If it makes me happy and doesn’t hurt anyone, it’s a good thing in my book!

  2. I have been SEARCHING and SEARCHING for a mascara that I can wear while running that will stay put. I actually just messaged someone yesterday because I noticed hers looking good this weekend at a race. I have six different tubes and as of yet no luck – so I very much appreciate this post! I will be purchasing your recommendation today and testing tomorrow! Thanks!

    • Let me know if you like it. I actually wear basically the same makeup for racing as I do for any other special event since I can’t stand reapplying or smearing whether I’m running or just at a club.

  3. I wear makeup too! I used to not (I was worried it would make a mess) but have since become a convert! I wear a bit of concealer, eye liner, mascara, light eyeshadow and a bit of lipgloss. It honestly makes a huge difference in race pictures and I have never had any issues with it running or being ruined
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    • I don’t do eyeshadow for some reason but might need to give it a try!

  4. I don’t wear makeup very much for running. I feel like most race pics are far enough away that it doesn’t make much difference. I do wear an SPF foundation regularly, so I could probably wear it running for additional sun protection. On race days, that would mean an even earlier wakeup, though.
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    • I think it’s funny that I can’t be bothered with makeup for my normal life (work or personal) but for a race I’m all about it. I think it’s part of the costume fun for me…like playing dress up.

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  6. I’ll wear make up when I’m at the gym after work because I don’t take it off until I get home. Races are different because I’m too tired (and lazy). I don’t look good in race photos so I don’t worry about those. I think if you’re running costume and the make up helps, why not? It’s your race.
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    • Thanks! It’s kind of part of the whole dressing up in costume fun for me. I think because I rarely wear makeup normally, wearing it feels special and fun to me!