At the 2012 London Summer Olympics that begin today, hundreds of female athletes will be performing daring feats of athleticism. But we’re not talking about the 10 meter platform dive, 200 meter dash or the uneven bars. These women are doing more than pushing their bodies to the limits, they’re going to be putting their cosmetics to the ultimate test in some pretty extenuating circumstances—high humidity, sweat and chlorinated water.
That’s right, their makeup has to endure without seeping into eyes, running down faces and keep them looking camera-ready in case a trip to the podium is in order. And all this (no pressure) in front of millions of viewers worldwide. So just how do these women manage to look cool when the heat is on?
In synchronized swimming, a show-stopping makeup look is crucial to a team’s presentation. “I feel more confident when I look good,” says Team Canada Olympic synchronized swimmer Tracy Little, who adds that waterproof colors that won’t run or smudge are essential in the pool.
Meanwhile, American swimming icon, Summer Sanders, who took home two golds, a silver and bronze medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, cops to only wearing mascara and sunscreen during her demanding workout sessions. “I open my lashes with a Shu Uemura eyelash curler, and then coat up with Maybelline Waterproof Great Lash mascara. That stuff stays!” the now 39 year-old says.
In the spirit of these games, we’ve tested scores of long-wear cosmetics to uncover those that truly make the cut. We didn’t swim any laps, but we subject these picks to several five-mile runs, a challenging barre class and vinyasa yoga. Here are the top medalists.
Make Up For Ever
Brand founder Dany Sanz created the Aqua line in the ‘90s when French Olympic swimmer and friend, Muriel Hermine, was on the hunt for colorful, waterproof shades. The tradition continues today with the latest cream shadow and eyeliner range tested at the Make Up For Ever Open, an international synchronized swim meet held every spring in Montreuil, France.
At the London Olympics: Keep your eyes peeled for the Canadian team’s glittering look created with these Make Up For Ever products.
Don’t ditch the lipstick for sweaty circumstances—upgrade to a long-wearing formula. Maybelline SuperStay 14HR Lip Color contains flexible resins and rich pigments for a finish that’s light and stays put. The gloss slicks on a shine that clings to lips for hours. Just make sure long hair is pulled back, lest strands get stuck in the glossy finish.
The Infallible Eye Shadow collection is a favorite of brand ambassador and athlete Aimée Mullins, who competed at the 1996 Paralympics as a double leg amputee. These velvet-like shadows are super-blendable and endured a long run in 90 degree temperatures without settling into creases and fine lines.
Tested and approved by the American Lifeguard Association, Tarte’s emphasEYES Amazonian clay waterproof liner and brush contain natural plant waxes to seal in the color—and it did, throughout our entire, sweaty run. Try the jumbo-sized smolderEYES liner for easy on-the-go smudging
For makeup that continues to disguise imperfections through heat and sweat, MAC Pro Longwear foundation and concealer lend creamy, buildable coverage even in high humidity. Medical-grade patch polymers and micronized pigments add up to a matte finish with marathon wear.
The only bronzer we tested that didn’t go muddy when mixed with sweat. This rendition by It Cosmetics is chockfull of anti-aging peptides, hyaluronic acid, green and white teas. A warm blush and light-reflecting highlighter are also included; all three are waterproof.
It Cosmetics Waterproof Vitality Anti-Aging Brightening Face Disc, $38, launching on qvc.com
These no-budge, eye-brightening shadows give you 15 different options for an au naturel eye. For sheer color, dab and blend with finger tips, or brush on with a cream shadow brush for deeper saturation. The formula is ophthalmologist-tested and safe for contact lens wearers who may otherwise be easily irritated by cream-based eyeshadows.
For lip color doesn’t stray, nothing beats a classic stain. TopShop’s marker version infuses lips with rice bran wax, quenching shea butter and castor oil. Draw the outline first then color in between the lines. Slick an SPF lip balm over top for hydration and protection.
This waterproof mascara is triathlete-tested, holding up to the rigors of back-to-back swimming, biking and running waves. The flexible formula is rich in panthenol and vitamin E to guard against flaking. Testers found that two or three light strokes wore better than one heavy-handed application.
Check out this foundation that steers clear of typical pore-cloggers such as oil and petrolatum. While we didn’t test the entire 25-hour claim (those disco dancing days are long behind us), the coverage did wear well through multiple downward dogs and an active 12-hour Saturday.
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