Runners put beauty before sweat | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Female runners listen attentively to a makeup lecture at RunGirl Night. Photo by: The Yomiuri Shimbun
Female runners listen attentively to a makeup lecture at RunGirl Night. Photo by: The Yomiuri Shimbun
Female runners listen attentively to a makeup lecture at RunGirl Night. Photo by The Yomiuri Shimbun

JAPAN — At RunGirl Night, a running event held in Tokyo in September, a 35-year-old company employee prepared for the run wearing lipstick, foundation and eye shadow. “I would feel extremely self-conscious if I was around so many other people without makeup on. After crossing the finish line, I want to look good in group photos, too,” she said.


The number of women who wear makeup while exercising is on the rise. “Sports makeup” is becoming more and more popular, as can be seen in the increasing popularity of no-smudge cosmetic products and makeup lectures held in tandem with running events.


The increase in popularity seemingly corresponds with an increase in female sports lovers who wish to look beautiful even in the midst of a sweaty workout.


Lectures for runners


At RunGirl Night, a number of women listened enthusiastically to lectures on various aspects of sports makeup. “You have to make sure that drawn-on eyebrows don’t disappear even after crossing the finish line,” said one lecturer. “For blush that goes well with any outfit color, choose apricot.”


Kaori Nagai, a hair and makeup artist, is a member of RunGirl, the general incorporated body that held the event. “In the past three or four years, the number of female runners wearing makeup has certainly been increasing,” she said, adding that the previous norm among sporty women was to apply sunscreen but no makeup.


“Now, however, female runners who run to keep in shape are increasingly beauty conscious. They want to look beautiful even while they’re running,” she said.


Recently, as sportswear has become more sophisticated and stylish, more women have begun to view makeup as a necessity. “A face without makeup doesn’t match such nice sportswear,” said one female athlete. Another said, “I feel like I can look stylish if I match my makeup to my outfit.”


Sportswear maker Mizuno Corp., developer of women’s brand “Mizuno plusme,” even holds popular demonstrations of proper makeup technique at running events.


Makeup that stays


Sports makeup can be bewildering to women accustomed only to normal cosmetics. In particular, female athletes worry about sunburn while exercising outdoors and wanting to prevent makeup from being smudging or removed by sweat. Cosmetic items that combat these concerns are especially popular.


For example, cosmetics maker ORBIS Inc. sells a sunscreen powder that can be applied over makeup and an eyebrow coating product that protects eyebrow makeup from sweat. Ballet goods manufacturer Chacott Co. became popular with sports lovers recently after word spread that the company’s stage makeup face powder was remarkably resistant to perspiration.


Recent sporting events have included everything from large-scale marathons to bubble runs, unique events in which participants run through a frothy trail of soap bubbles.


“As the number of participants in sporting events has increased, people have become less concerned about the simple act of moving their body and more about looking good while doing so. It’s common to take pictures and selfies during physical activity to share with friends, and an increasingly important aspect of exercise for many people is ‘showing off,’” said Wako Hashimoto, director of the Japan Sports Beauty Association.


Natural, healthy makeup


According to Hashimoto, it is important for sports makeup to look “natural and healthy.” Drawing lines that are too strong or wearing loud makeup to outdo brightly colored outfits should be avoided. The model she presented at the RunGirl event wore makeup that gave off a lively, energetic aura.


For makeup resilient to sweat, she recommended liquid foundations, eyebrow mascara and cream blushers.


She also stressed the importance of removing any excess oils on the face with a sponge after applying foundation and taking extra care to apply sunscreen on the hairline and cheekbones, which sunburn easily.

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