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Wearing Eyeliner to the Gym | Personal Essay

I've Been Shamed For Wearing Eyeliner at the Gym — Here's Why I Don't Listen

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Tennis pro Venus Williams has swept the stuff across her lids before walking onto the court. Fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad made headlines for "winging" it at the 2016 Summer Olympics. I'm not a pro-athlete — far from one — but there's one thing that I have in common with them: I use eyeliner to power my workouts.

In short, it makes me feel good. Eyeliner makes me feel sexy and, whenever I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror between reps, I feel like I can take on whatever comes my way. It has always made me feel like my best self, which only improves my performance in the gym.

It's not just me, either. Beauty brands have also recognized that people don't necessarily want to abandon all makeup just because they booked a Flywheel class. This year alone, three beauty giants — CoverGirl, Wet N Wild, and Maybelline — all came out with full collections that were formulated to last through workouts and were dedicated to its fitness-loving (or, at the very least, athleisure-loving) followers. I paint on the CoverGirl Get in Line Active Eyeliner, a waterproof liquid formula, prior to my morning workouts, which often includes intense exercises like rowing, box jumps, weighted kettlebell swings, and pistols. Through 55 minutes of me sweating my face off, it doesn't budge, so I never worry about it slicking into my eyes or making a mess across my skin.

People always tell me that wearing makeup to the gym will cause breakouts. Maybe that's true for some people, but for me, it hasn't made a difference in my skin. (More tips on how to wear eyeliner to the gym safely below.) They also say I'm wearing the liner to get a date, but nope — I wear makeup for me, and me only.

That's why I've stopped listening. It's my face, and if my eyeliner isn't hurting your performance, what does it matter if I wear it to the gym? If you ask me (and, likely, Williams and Muhammad), we're stronger for it.

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