They say you shouldn’t wear make-up while doing sport, and indeed doing it wrong can result in disaster, but we like to break the rules. Another rulebreaker is Swiss football player Alisha Lehmann, who is always sure to slap on a full face and a high ponytail for every match. 

Alisha Lehmann at Barclays Women's Super League match in 2019 / Image credit: Action Foto Sport / Alamy Stock Photo

Alisha Lehmann at Barclays Women's Super League match in 2019 / Image credit: Action Foto Sport / Alamy Stock Photo

So how can you wear make-up on the pitch, at the gym or on your morning run without sweating it off or your eye make-up running? Just let us talk you through it.


You should always prime your face before wearing make-up whatever the situation, but when you’re playing sports it’s essential. Opt for a matte primer with no orange-reddish tint as you’re going to get flushed enough. Apart from creating a smooth canvas for your foundation to go on evenly, you also create a barrier between your skin and your make-up to prevent your pores getting clogged up; playing sports increases your body temperature which means the pores will open up more, so a primer will help keep spots at bay.

Low to medium coverage foundation

It’s probably not a good idea to go for your heavy coverage base because it tends to be obvious when it rubs off or moves on your face, giving a patchy look. Low to medium coverage is the best, and a tinted moisturiser is even better. You also want to avoid anything that’s shimmery or dewy, otherwise you’re going to end up resembling a floodlight.

Avoid the blush

It probably doesn’t need to be said, but your face is going to get some natural colour to it while you’re undertaking a heavy amount of activity, so avoid blush or bronzers like the plague if you don’t want to resemble an embarrassed tomato. 

Lash extensions

Your usual fake lashes aren’t likely to cut it when you’re working out or playing sport, so consider semi-permanent lash extensions instead. These stay on for up to 8 weeks, but you have to make sure you give them at least 24 hours to dry before your activities. 

Sweatproof vs. waterproof

There’s a big difference between sweat and water; sweat contains 1% salt and fat and is often blended with other bodily oils, which means it’s perfectly capable of smudging waterproof make-up. When it comes to brow and eye products, you’re best opting for a formula that forms a protective waterproof coating, and while you’re at it, you want to be sure to exfoliate your skin gently before your make-up with a chemical exfoliant containing glycolic acid or salicylic acid to reduce the amount of oils sitting on the skin.

Translucent powder

If you’re using a liquid foundation, you’ll want to set it with a matte powder. Not only will it maintain that matte look while you get your sweat on, it will soak up the excess oils and keep your make-up in place for longer.

Setting spray

Invest in a high-quality setting spray to finish; it forms a protective veil that will help prevent your make-up from moving. You can usually take it or leave it if you’re using a setting powder, but getting sporty requires extra measures. Again, you don’t want too much of a dewy finish

MORE: What Can Help Women’s Football Grow in Popularity?

Lip balm

It’s probably best to avoid heavy lipsticks while working out as they’ll come off or get patchy super easily. You’ll be (hopefully) drinking a lot of water from the bottle which will rub the lippy off, so go natural and just use a tinted lip balm that you can easily reapply without a mirror.

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