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What’s the best makeup for the gym?

Answer: A few months ago I decided to make some changes. I started working out regularly, eating healthy foods, and taking better care of more than just my face and hair. Now that I’m about 25 pounds down (and counting…eek!), I can safely say that I’ve learned a little more than how to do burpees, bicep curls, and mountain climbs at the gym. After my very first workout, I remember looking in the mirror, horrified by the smudged eyeliner under my eyes, cakey concealer crease lines, and streams of mascara running down my face. After such an incident, I’ve tried, tested, and mastered sweat-proof looks that’ll out stand even the most brutal of workouts.

I know what you’re thinking: makeup…at the gym? No, I’m definitely not talking date night smokey eyes. Subtle makeup with the right products can really liven up your face, even when you feel like you’re on the verge of passing out.

I try to look on point during my daily treadmill time—no, not just for all the cute boys, but for myself too. Knowing that I look good makes me want to look even better, and pushes me not to give up when I start running out of breath or feeling the aftermath of too many lunges. I know first hand that going bare-faced in public can be uncomfortable for any beauty junkie, so here are some tips to help you look fit for the gym, while you get fit at the gym:

Leave the blush, foundation and powder at home.

First off, stay away from face products as best as possible. I know, that’s half your beauty routine gone right there. Foundation is definitely a no go, even if it’s a light formulation. Not only will it slide off your face the second you get sweaty, but it can also clog pores and contribute to acne. Your pores open up when you sweat, so wearing full on face products will prevent your face from breathing. The result? Those dreaded breakouts, of course. Now, if you really can’t go without foundation or just need the extra coverage, opt for a BB or CC cream to help even out your skin. They’re sheer, moisturizing, and ultimately won’t do as much damage.

The same rules apply for concealer as well. If you’re a victim of dark under-eye circles (like myself), using the slightest bit can go a long way. Vouch for a liquid concealer rather than cream, as it won’t appear as cakey and overpowering against a bare face. Avoid concealer on blemishes, and let your skin naturally breathe and recover.

Neither blush nor powder are necessary for your workout. Your cheeks will be naturally flushed once your blood gets pumping. Anything extra will look overdone. As for powder, embrace the fact that you’re going to get sweaty; there’s really no avoiding it. No amount of powder is going to help you maintain a matte face, so you may as well exclude it from your routine.

Okay, let’s talk eyes. Shadow really isn’t worth the hassle, considering how quickly it’ll crease once you start exercising. If it’s a must for you, stick to neutral matte shades, as opposed to shimmery ones that’ll oil up and look gross as soon as they come in contact with sweat.

Stay clear of liquid, gel, and pencil liners—that is, unless you want to leave with panda eyes. Once in contact with moisture, they easily move around and transfer, often bleeding into your eyes. A better option? Load up an angled brush with dark brown or black eyeshadow and wiggle the brush as close to your lash line as possible. No crazy wings or 60’s flicks wanted here. Instead, go for a natural look to bring out the eyes and give them some definition.

Mascara: yay or nay?

Mascara is probably the product I struggle with most. I use an ungodly amount of mascara every day, except when I workout. Mascara always, and I mean always, ends up smeared all over my face. I’ve never been a huge fan of waterproof formulas due to how difficult they are to take off, but give them a go if that doesn’t phase you. Try curling your lashes instead. Just two or three squeezes with your curler will give them a nice, natural-looking lift.

For brows, powder and gel formulas will stay on better—penciled on brows tend to smudge. Only apply as needed, filling in gaps. A tinted bow gel on top will keep your hairs in place.

Lip wise, it’s smart to stick with a matte lipstick or lip pencil if you’re looking for a little color. Matte products tend to be on the dryer side and won’t be slipping or sliding all over your face. Better yet? A lip stain that’ll stay on through all the bottles of water you guzzle down, or a lip balm (either uncolored or tinted will do) for a natural-looking shine.

Do you wear makeup at the gym? Why or why not?