What’s Up With Wearing Makeup At The Gym?

We’ve all seen it. You’re huffing and puffing away on the elliptical machine, red-faced, sweat dampening your ampits and hair sticking to your forehead. That girl over there, two machines over, looks cute. She’s wearing eyeshadow. And blush. And oh my God, is she wearing lipstick to exercise?!

A new survey by the UK retailer Asda found that a surprising number of women do put on makeup before exercising in public, which I take to mean at a gym or on a street or at public park. Here are the findings:

  • 17 percent wear spray-on tan
  • 19 percent wear lip balm
  • 20 percent wear mascara
  • 21 percent wear lip gloss
  • 34 percent wear foundation.

It’s unclear whether these women surveyed were incidentally wearing makeup (perhaps for the workday) when they exercised. But this factoid seems to imply they’re actually making up to work out: a quarter of the women surveyed admitted to primping more than 15 minutes before exercising.

I’ll admit to havng put on a little makeup sometimes before working out at a gym where I used to belong. It was a “fancier” gym and a lot of people who go there were good-looking. They wore cute workout outfits, like lululemon, while I’d just be wearing my old sweatpants and a tee shirt. I’d feel self-conscious about my dark undereye circles and pimples, in addition to my not-yet-gym-toned body. Wearing a little bit of makeup — with the knowledge it would all be sweat off and then washed off in the shower post-workout — helped me feel less self-conscious.

That’s what makeup is for, of course: Women wear it for fun but also to feel less self-conscious. Yet I have to admit that beauty standard is self-enforced and the anxiety is self-perpetuating. I’m not exactly proud I put on some makeup to work out. But I also realize it’s on me, and only me, to force myself not to care.

Do you wear makeup when you exercise? Or do you think these these women surveyed and I are coo-coo-bananas?

[New York Daily News]

[Photo: Thinkstock]