Makeup Tips for Cyclists: Can you Wear Makeup While Cycling?

There was a time when I wouldn’t step outside without makeup, even for a quick trip to the local store or a drive-through errand. I convinced myself it was a matter of preference. My days were filled with exploring the latest makeup trends, flipping through popular beauty magazines, and constantly refreshing my look. Keeping up appearances demanded much of my time and energy.

Interestingly, this habit continued even when I began cycling. I was meticulous about my makeup, but intense rides often left it smudged and uneven. The question lingered: should makeup be a staple even during sports like cycling?

With time, I’ve realized that my makeup routine stemmed from a fear of not being attractive enough without it. This insecurity, I’ve learned, is common and changes over time, influenced by life’s varying stages and experiences.

What caused this shift in perspective? Cycling played a pivotal role. The onset of Covid-19 and the shift to remote work diminished my need for makeup. This new lifestyle brought me to a place of comfort and acceptance of my natural appearance. While I still enjoy a touch of dramatic eyeliner and mascara for special occasions, my everyday self is now makeup-free and content.

But what about those who wish to wear makeup while cycling? I say, go for it! Personal reasons for wearing makeup are valid and should be respected.

Many cyclists, particularly women, might want to add a touch of femininity to their look while biking. After all, a helmet can obscure a well-styled hairdo, sunglasses might cover expressive eyes, and let’s be honest, helmet straps don’t do any favors for our jawlines.

There are several reasons you might choose to wear makeup while cycling. Maybe you’re commuting to work and want to arrive looking polished. It could be that you’re heading to an appointment, running errands, or even going on a date straight from your ride. Or perhaps you simply enjoy the process and feel of wearing makeup. Importantly, if wearing makeup boosts your confidence and, in turn, enhances your cycling experience, that’s perfectly valid. We all want to feel good about our appearance, even when we’re on two wheels.

So, the question arises: how can we ensure our makeup stays put during a bike ride? Let’s dive into that.


Skincare is the foundation of any beauty routine, even for cyclists. It’s essential to wash your face twice daily, moisturize, and address any skin concerns. If seeing a dermatologist isn’t feasible, online resources like offer affordable, professional skincare advice. Tackling skin issues at their root reduces the need for heavy makeup like foundation and concealer.

Sunscreen is non-negotiable. It protects not just against skin cancer but also prevents dark spots, uneven skin tones, and wrinkles. It’s a must for any outdoor activity, cycling included.

When it comes to makeup for cycling, consider ditching the foundation. It’s likely to smudge or cake under the stress of a sweaty ride. Opt instead for lighter alternatives like a tinted moisturizer, tinted sunscreen, or BB cream. These products blend into your skin rather than sitting on top of it, providing a more natural look. For instance, Cover Girl Clean Matte BB cream is a great choice for oily skin – it’s budget-friendly, widely available, and you don’t need to be too precise with matching your skin tone.


For eyeliner, simplicity is key. Avoid heavy applications – remember, it’s a bike ride, not a fashion show. A waterproof eyeliner like Sephora’s Retractable Eyeliner in Deep Plum can add a subtle definition without being overpowering. It’s advisable to only line your upper eyelids, as the lower lids are more prone to smearing when sweating.

Waterproof Mascara

Mascara is another area where less is more. Apply waterproof mascara only to your upper lashes to avoid smudging on your lower lids. Products like Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof Mascara or the more luxurious Two Faced Better than Sex Waterproof Mascara are excellent choices. False lashes are best avoided for a more natural, practical look while cycling.


If you feel the need for eyeshadow, go for neutral, matte shades like pale beige or cream. These colors open up your eyes without drawing too much attention if they wear off during your ride. Remember, a light application is key.

Lip Care

When it comes to lip care during cycling, it’s practical to keep it simple. Given that you’ll frequently be drinking water during your ride, it’s wise to steer clear of bold lipsticks. A clear lip gloss or, as I prefer, a swipe of your favorite lip balm is adequate. Remember, constantly stopping to reapply makeup might slow you down!

For those who want to add a touch of femininity to their cycling attire, there are other ways to do so. Keep your eyebrows well-groomed, choose vibrant nail polish colors, and opt for cycling kits with a more feminine flair.

Less is More

The overarching principle when it comes to makeup and cycling is that less is more, and waterproof is key. This approach ensures that your makeup remains intact and doesn’t interfere with the enjoyment of your ride.

Above all, I hope you carry yourself with confidence, whether you’re on the bike or off, with or without makeup. It’s important to remember that you’re not obliged to conform to beauty standards, showcase flawless skin, or emulate a look that doesn’t feel true to you. Your worth and identity are not tied to your appearance. You are perfectly adequate as you are, cycling enthusiast or not.


a 35-year-old web developer and cycling coach based in Boulder, Colorado. Over the past ten years, my passion for cycling has transformed from a casual hobby into a way of life. As a lover of all things cycling, I am thrilled to share my journey with others who share the same enthusiasm for this incredible sport.