Should You Wear Makeup For a Race?

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A couple of months ago, Runners World posted a video of how to do your makeup for a race.  This got a lot of attention in various running communities, mostly with a lot of disdain.

Who needs to wear makeup during a race?

Racing isn’t about looking good!  It’s about racing!

If you’re doing it right, your makeup will wear off anyway.

I didn’t really participate in any of these conversations, but I have to admit that I’ve been thinking a lot about appearance and sport.

First off, no one should feel like they have to wear makeup for a race.  In one of the threads I saw, a woman commented that she didn’t necessarily want to wear makeup, but she felt that the appearance of her skin was so bad that she needed to.  This just makes me sad.  As long as all your key parts are covered and you don’t have offensive sayings written anywhere, you shouldn’t ever have to worry that your appearance at a race is bothering anyone else.  No one has to wear makeup to a race.

But along the same lines, if someone wants to wear makeup to a race, why does anyone else care?  We all have different motivations for racing.  Heck, we all have different motivations for racing depending on the race.  Some races, I go out to push myself and try to set a PR.  Some races, I go out to have fun with my friends, and my plan may even include running and chatting with a friend for the entire distance.  Both are valid reasons to run.  None of these things have any effect on anyone else’s race.

And let’s be honest, a lot of us do pay attention to what we wear to a race.  Yes, I want to be comfortable, but I also want my kit to be cute.  I’ve loved racing in my Coeur Ambassador tri kit this year, and weather permitting, I will be wearing it for my upcoming road races as well.  I feel great in it, not only because it’s comfortable, but because I think it looks really great.

When it comes to a triathlon, I have never worn makeup, because, well, swim.  Though I do often use a tinted moisturizer (mainly because it’s SPF 50 and doesn’t destroy my sensitive skin).  Does that count as makeup?  And for a road race, I sometimes put on waterproof mascara, though that happens less and less as I get older and care less about what other people think.  (Don’t get me wrong though – I wear makeup for work every day because I enjoy it – I love a bold lip and defined eyes.)

But who am I to judge if someone else wants to wear makeup?  Maybe they feel more confident with makeup on.  Maybe that added confidence helps them be a stronger runner.  Maybe applying it is a calming part of their race day ritual for all I know.  Maybe they want to ensure their photos look great (note – photos can look great with or without makeup, but it’s definitely personal preference).

So makeup or no, go out and rock your race.  No one should feel like they have to wear makeup (I certainly won’t be), but if you want to, go for it!

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