Many women don’t wear any makeup at all when motorcycling. I understand that, and that’s definitely sometimes me.
But sometimes I want to [a] look better (or at least better-rested), and [b] benefit from the more-positive social responses people in Western societies tend to have towards women wearing makeup.
But who’s got time for a full face of makeup when there’s so much adventuring going on!? (Also, wind and dust are going to make your eyes water on a motorcycle: you might as well face that fact.) So it’s important to hit a good balance between practical and desirable. Here’s where I go with that (all drug-store brands):
1 – Moisturizer (includes SPF)
This helps keep skin healthy and helps protect against wind- and sun- burn (which we take on daily when whizzing through the atmosphere at high speeds).
2 – Concealer
I only use a bit of concealer under the eyes, and only if I feel I really need it (for instance, if I didn’t get a great sleep, or if yesterday’s makeup has somehow migrated where I don’t want it). I use just about any stick of concealer that matches my skin tone: I’m not fussy. The texture of stick concealers blends well with just fingertips when moisturizer has been freshly applied, and sort of melts into skin so it doesn’t look weirdly different from the rest of the face.
3 – Lipstick and Blush
I use a stain-tinted liquid or cream lipstick, blended well into the lips with the fingertips (then you can use the extra on your fingertips for a hint of blush, which should also blend nicely when your moisturizer is fresh). This stain type of lipstick has advantages, not the least of which is the fact that regular lip-balm can be applied over it, and you still get a pretty natural look. Also liquid lipstick can’t melt out of its screw-top container in hot sunshine (which is a thing that happens to lipsticks on motorcycles, leaving you without lip colour but with a mess you’ll never quite get out of whatever bag or pocket it self-destructed in).
4 – Long-Lasting Eyeliner
I go back and forth between a grease-pencil type and a felt-pen style eyeliner (sometimes I use them together!) They’re both “long-lasting” or “12-hour” eyeliner, on the upper lids only (remember, your eyes are going to be watering due to motorcycling, and gravity is going to pull any resulting goo downwards). As attractive as the idea of “waterproof eyeliner” is, it’s not worth trying, even just for your top lids. That stuff cracks and flakes when dry: it’s horrible and does not contribute to a look that’s fresh, happy, or natural. I wouldn’t even try it for the rocker or goth looks I sometimes go in for: too flaky.
5 – Waterproof Mascara
This stuff is, for some reason, totally different from waterproof eyeliner. Waterproof mascara is absolutely what you want when you’re motorcycling in makeup. Again: you’re really only going to want to use this on your top lashes, as you can expect to be wiping tears and dust from around the bottom of your eyes all day, so putting mascara on lower lashes just makes a mess and a waste.
6 – Pressed Powder (Optional)
Well, it’s all optional, really. But pressed powder is something I’ll leave off entirely unless whatever lighting I’m using shows me looking unusually greasy and shiny that day.
7 – Makeup remover and a little cotton rag
You might want to consider packing along a travel-size bottle with actual makeup remover; the long-lasting eyeliner and waterproof mascara in particular need a little help coming off at the end of the day. I try not to sleep in makeup if I can help it. I always also carry a little cotton rag (a piece of an old flannel bed-sheet, to be precise): toilet paper and paper towels are awful for your skin, and I’m not really into disposable things like makeup pads. The rag comes in handy when correcting makeup application too, and it’s easy to wash quickly in any sink with hand-soap; it’s barely there, so it’s dry in minutes.
8 – Mirrors
My toiletries bag has a little mirror velcro’d to the inside of it. It’d do in a pinch, I guess, but it’s not the easiest to get angled correctly for my height or the lighting. When I’m out in the woods, I’ve got this little rig I made from a magnetic locker mirror and a rare-earth magnet sewed onto a little bag on a string; when I tie the string around a tree, it lets me arrange myself with the best available lighting and set the height where I like it.
Because it’s magnetic, I can just snatch it off the tree for some close-up makeup or tweezer work, and then slap it back onto the tree for a head-and-shoulders view.
Of course, if there’s a convenient, well-lit mirror at a campground or other stopping spot, that’s an option too.
Depending on the look you like and your comfort level when facing the world with a naked face, your motorcycling beauty routine might look different from mine. Got tips? Post them in the comments!