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Athleisure Makeup Is Total Bullshit

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Let’s discuss.

Pre-workout strobing.
Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

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Athleisure has taken over our collective consciousness, as leggings invade streets, restaurants, and, for all I know, boardrooms across America. And where fashion goes, beauty usually follows, which means it was only a matter of time before someone introduced us to athleisure makeup. Well, that time is now.

Tarte just dropped a line of makeup it’s officially calling “athleisure.” It includes a “sweatproof” mascara, moisturizer, tinted moisturizer with SPF, and a powder and blotting paper compact, according to Allure. There’s also a teeth whitening pen, because who wants to see yellowing teeth gritting back at them in the mirror during Zumba?

Tarte isn’t the first to offer this category, though it’s definitely the first use I’ve seen of the word “athleisure” applied to makeup. Last year, Birchbox launched a house beauty brand called Arrow, which “is designed to keep up with your on-the-go, active life, whether that means going straight from Pilates to brunch or just powering through an action-packed, appointment-filled day,” according to the description. It includes items like a “cooling cheek tint,” a lip balm, brow gel, and natural deodorant.

Then there’s Sweat Cosmetics, a line of mineral powder makeup and wipes founded by a group of female pro and Olympic soccer players. It boasts that its powders stay put during an hourlong workout.

Tarte Cosmetics beauty products Photo: Tarte Cosmetics

Athleisure, according to the official dictionary definition, means “casual clothing designed to be worn both for exercising and general use.” So in the case of makeup wouldn’t that just be... makeup?

Theres already a lot of good long-wearing, waterproof, subtle, and mineral-based makeup out there. (And no, I’m not going to judge you if you wear makeup to the gym, because I would never set foot in a class without wearing mascara and concealer at the minimum. I am vain, and I’ve learned to embrace this part of myself.) But there’s also a part of me that likes the pure chutzpah of these offerings. Bronzer made especially for workouts? It’s so crazy that it just might work, especially in an industry that gives us hyper-specialized products like bottom lash mascara and promotes 19 different skincare steps.

So do we need these collections? No way. Will more brands offer them? Yes, of course, because gym culture is huge. But if you’re looking for gym options, you don’t need athleisure-specific marketing that whacks you in the face. There are tons of great mascaras that will stay on during a workout. Try a traditional waterproof mascara like one from Maybelline, which are consistently excellent. (Speaking of hyper-specialized products, clear topcoats for waterproofing regular mascara also exist, like this one from NYX.) Or if you hate scrubbing off waterproof formulas, go for a tube mascara, which is what I use, like Too Cool for School’s Dinoplatz Escalator Mascara, which basically puts a smudge-proof coating on your lashes that’s easy to gently rub off with warm water.

No concealer is going to stay on during a super sweaty workout, but to make it last longer, after I put concealer on a spot or blemish, I powder it to cement it on there. It usually goes the distance as long as I don’t rub my face with a towel vigorously during a workout. (Dab daintily, people.) And lately, I’m just using a super inexpensive concealer palette from H&M that cost $5, and it generally stays on.

Anyway, I’m watching this space carefully and fully expect sport-specific beauty products to come next. Special hand cream to maintain your hard-earned CrossFit calluses, anyone?