For the last several months I’ve been training for a series of races, including my first half marathon, which I completed on Sunday. Though I crossed the finish line with a smile on my face, I also ended with streaks of sunscreen on my cheeks and arms, tanner splotches on my legs, and my hair looked like I recently traveled through the eye of a hurricane. Cute, right? Wrong.
While exercising is far from a beauty pageant for me (I’m happiest makeup free with a messy ponytail), it would’ve been nice to look back at my pictures and think you don’t look so bad! as opposed to you look like a streaked pale tiger in need of a shower and blowout.
In effort to combine my love for fitness with a desire to look at least somewhat put together during sweat sessions, I compiled five tips for saving your face (and body) on race day.
1. Treat every run like race day
While researching training tactics, I always came across this little tidbit: treat every long run like race day. The experts may have been talking about your pre-run meals and exercise attire, but the same holds true for your race day beauty routine. Before the big day, make sure to test-drive your sunscreen, makeup and hairstyle. While I love Aveeno, the sunscreen I used was too thick and opaque. Something thinner like Kiehl’s Super Fluid UV Defense SPF 50+, which is light and non-greasy, would’ve worked better. I also suggest sticking to waterproof eyeliner and mascara.
2. Protect your skin
No one looks good with a sunburn. Save your face and body with sunscreen that will hold up to sweat (and make sure you wear at least SPF 30). Protecting your skin from the sun, however, isn’t enough. Despite how naked you feel sans foundation, do not, and I repeat, DO NOT wear heavy makeup when you’re working out. If you can’t go bare, use a light tinted moisturizer like bareMinerals and stop at that. Anything else will clog your pores and lead to breakouts—no thanks.
3. Handle your hair with care
If I had a nickel for every hair tie I’ve broken, I’d be one rich lady. My hair is thick and heavy, and likes to do it’s own thing—which is be wavy, wild, blow all over the place and not be tied back. To tame the beast, I have to blow dry it straight, use two thick, durable hair ties, and keep my bangs in check with an elastic headband (I love these sparkly ones on Etsy). I left my hair wavy on race day, and it was continuously blowing in my face and bouncing all over my head, which was not the distraction I needed. I should’ve stuck to what worked.
4. Keep a bag of tricks
And by tricks, I mean necessities like lip balm (I opted for tinted), extra hair ties, and makeup remover wipes. Crossing the finish line was an amazing feeling, but wiping the grime off my face when I got home took my relief to a new level: not only were 13.1 miles behind me, my face was clean! (For those who know the post-run sticky face feeling, you’ll understand.) Though I ended up dropping my Burt’s Bees half way in, having them made me relaxed—a key component to succeeding in anything.
You may feel like you’re literally a gym rat when hitting the treadmill or pavement, but exercise has tons of beauty benefits, and it IS possible to both look and feel good while sweating.
How do you stay pretty on race day?