Wearing Makeup In The Open Water

Wearing Makeup In The Open Water

Open water swimmers tend to be a happy, self-confident but humble group of individuals. Feeling good is all part of the game, but looking good can also play a role for some.

Where does makeup play a role in the open water world? Are cosmetics something to be considered? Opinions tend to go against use with some exceptions:

Jamie Rubino comments, “I don’t believe in wearing makeup while I workout, either in the pool or at the gym or outdoors because I don’t think it’s good for your skin. It clogs your pores. When you’re sweating, your skin needs to breathe. Of course, I wear sunscreen which probably has the same effect, but at least it’s protecting my skin.

I never tried mascara in the pool because I wouldn’t want it running down my face. And I wouldn’t trust waterproof mascara. The one thing I’m not opposed to wearing while working out is a little lip gloss or stain. A bit of color on the lips has always been my number 1 makeup must-have. At least wearing something on your lips doesn’t clog pores. You can even buy colored lip balms with sunscreens which not only adds a pop of color, but are also great for the health of your lips.

Joelle Johnson agrees, “I would never put makeup on to go swimming, but I wouldn’t go to the effort of taking it off either. That’s just too much work for me. If I go out the night before and swim the next morning, the chlorine is going to be what’s taking of my makeup.”

Keri Naffziger, another young swimmer in her 20s, explains, “There is no point in wearing any makeup. If makeup is on [before getting in the water], it is removed before swimming because makeup clogs your pores and running mascara is the worse enemy when wearing contacts. Tinted SPF 50+ proof sunscreen can be applied along with Vaseline (or any other heavy lip balm). Also, after swimming in the pool, it is recommended to rise your mouth with fresh water because chlorine weakens the tooth enamel.”

However, some swimmers may sometimes feel the need to wear makeup in the water. Although a bit more challenging than on land, there are products that help fulfill the need as best they can.

Waterproof mascara is available. “It often does appear to work,” says a California swimmer, “But it also makes it difficult to remove. Often you see it caked up, layer after layer with daily use. It can also cause thinning or loss of lashes, but if you use it on special occasions where you truly need to feel your best in the water, then the waterproof mascara serves its purpose.”

Alternatively, fake eyelashes are glued on directly above the lash line. They can be inexpensive and are relatively simple to apply. However, as one experienced ocean swimmer explains,

A leak in your goggles, getting through the surf, choppy seas, contact with a fellow swimmer, or a sloppy glue job may send these beauty amplifiers straight to the bottom.”

Another popular beauty technique becoming more popular for lashes are extensions. A professional esthetician can add length to each individual lash. Often, they are made of silk to replicate the actual lash. Surgical glue is used to so they stay on similar to the normal lifespan of your actual lashes. Like false eyelashes, this timely and expensive process can have comparable issues in the open water. “Extensions can also restrict vision or cause eye irritation in your goggles. Waterproof eyeliner can be found as well and if you feel the need to wear it, there is really no harm.,” explains one open water swimmer.

But it is clear that a waterproof foundation can create the illusion of flawless skin in the water just like on terra firma. Besides enhancing one’s natural beauty, an element of sunscreen is usually included in foundation cosmetics that provide additional benefits. “I use the Vertra Foundation Stick Sunscreen or Watermans Face Stick“, says Jamie.

In conversations with and observations of open water swimmers, it seems that many female swimmers actually do not wear a lot of makeup whether they are in or out of the pool relevant to their land-based athletic colleagues. In contrast to synchronized swimmers who use cosmetics to enhance their costume and performance, the beauty of open water swimming is being enveloped in nature within the unrefined element of water. “One can feel natural without makeup and appreciate their own inner and outer allure just like we do Mother Earth which happens to be the foundation of the sport,” says Californian swimmer Lexie Kelly.

Amy Ahearn says, “I prefer not to have any makeup on in the water because mascara runs and it looks Gothic. When I have makeup on, I feel like I always have something in my eye so I’m constantly stopping to check. I also figure that if fellow swimmers are already seeing me in a bathing suit, they’re not gonna be looking for perfection with or without makeup. I feel people are generally swimming to get a good hard workout in, not cruising for a date since that happens after at coffee and other social events.”

Rubino agrees, “I don’t wear make up in the water because I’m not there to pick up guys; I go for a workout. And even if I did want to pick up a guy I’d feel like he was thinking “…that girl is high maintenance with all that make up on at the pool.”

I don’t see the reason for wearing makeup in the water. If I happen to have it on, it’s because I am coming directly from somewhere and didn’t have the chance to take it off. I almost am more self-conscious when I wear it in the water because I am worried about it running down my face or causing raccoon-looking goggle rings around my eyes. Makeup in the water is just too high-maintenance. One of the reasons I enjoy being around other swimmers is because they are so laid-back and comfortable with who they are in only a swimsuit, cap, and goggles,” explains Kelly.

Photos above show world-class marathon swimmers Christine Cossette of Canada, Olympian Yurema Requena of Spain, Britta Kamrau of Germany and Yvetta Hlaváčová of the Czech Republic.

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source
Steven Munatones