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Ever Beauty-Conscious, Japanese Women Embrace Sports Makeup

Running (except for the makeup)
Running (except for the makeup)

TOKYO — At September's annual RunGirl Night, one 35-year-old exercise enthusiast prepared for the evening group run by applying lipstick, foundation and eye shadow. "I would feel extremely self-conscious if I was around so many other people without makeup on," she said. "After crossing the finish line, I want to look good in group photos, too."

She's not alone. The number of women who wear makeup while exercising is on the rise. So-called sports makeup is becoming increasingly popular, as evident not only from the growing popularity of no-smudge cosmetic products but also from the makeup symposiums held in tandem with running events.

Clearly, there are women sports lovers who want to look beautiful even during and after a sweaty workout.

At RunGirl Night, a number of women listened enthusiastically to lectures about various aspects of sports makeup. "You have to make sure that drawn-on eyebrows don't disappear even after crossing the finish line," one speaker warned. "For blush that goes well with any outfit color, choose apricot."

Kaori Nagai, a hair and makeup artist, is a member of RunGirl, the body that hosts the event. "In the past three or four years, the number of female runners wearing makeup has certainly been increasing," she said, adding that the previous norm among sporty women was to apply sunscreen but no makeup. "Female runners who run to keep in shape are increasingly beauty conscious."

As sportswear too has become more sophisticated and stylish, more women have begun to view makeup as a necessity. "A face without makeup doesn't match such nice sportswear," one woman said. Said another, "I feel like I can look stylish if I match my makeup to my outfit."

Sportswear maker Mizuno Corp., developer of the women's brand Mizuno plusme, even holds popular demonstrations about proper makeup technique at running events.

Makeup that stays

Sports makeup can be bewildering to women accustomed only to more traditional cosmetics. In particular, female athletes worry about sunburn while exercising outdoors and want to prevent makeup from being smudged or removed by sweat. So cosmetics that offer ultraviolet protection and that don't wear off even with water and sweat are especially popular.

For example, cosmetics maker ORBIS Inc. sells a sunscreen powder that can be applied over makeup and an eyebrow coating product that protects eyebrow makeup from sweat. Ballet goods manufacturer Chacott Co. became popular with sports lovers recently after word spread that the company's stage makeup face powder was remarkably resistant to perspiration.

Recent sporting events have included everything from large-scale marathons to bubble runs, unique events in which participants run through a frothy trail of soap bubbles.

"As the number of participants in sporting events has increased, people have become less concerned about the simple act of moving their body and more about looking good while doing so," said Wako Hashimoto, director of the Japan Sports Beauty Association. "It's common to take pictures and selfies during physical activity to share with friends, and an increasingly important aspect of exercise for many people is showing off."

Natural, healthy makeup

Hashimoto says that it's important for sports makeup to look "natural and healthy." Drawing lines that are too strong or wearing loud makeup to outdo brightly colored outfits should be avoided. The model she presented at the RunGirl event wore makeup that gave off a lively, energetic aura.

For makeup resilient to sweat, she recommended liquid foundations, eyebrow mascara and cream blushers.

She also stressed the importance of removing any excess oils on the face with a sponge after applying foundation and taking extra care to apply sunscreen on the hairline and cheekbones, which sunburn easily.

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What's Spoiling The Kids: The Big Tech v. Bad Parenting Debate

Without an extended family network, modern parents have sought to raise happy kids in a "hostile" world. It's a tall order, when youngsters absorb the fears (and devices) around them like a sponge.

Image of a kid wearing a blue striped sweater, using an ipad.

Children exposed to technology at a very young age are prominent today.

Julián de Zubiría Samper


BOGOTÁ — A 2021 report from the United States (the Youth Risk Behavior Survey) found that 42% of the country's high-school students persistently felt sad and 22% had thought about suicide. In other words, almost half of the country's young people are living in despair and a fifth of them have thought about killing themselves.

Such chilling figures are unprecedented in history. Many have suggested that this might be the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but sadly, we can see depression has deeper causes, and the pandemic merely illustrated its complexity.

I have written before on possible links between severe depression and the time young people spend on social media. But this is just one aspect of the problem. Today, young people suffer frequent and intense emotional crises, and not just for all the hours spent staring at a screen. Another, possibly more important cause may lie in changes to the family composition and authority patterns at home.

Firstly: Families today have fewer members, who communicate less among themselves.

Young people marry at a later age, have fewer children and many opt for personal projects and pets instead of having children. Families are more diverse and flexible. In many countries, the number of children per woman is close to or less than one (Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong among others).

In Colombia, women have on average 1.9 children, compared to 7.6 in 1970. Worldwide, women aged 15 to 49 years have on average 2.4 children, or half the average figure for 1970. The changes are much more pronounced in cities and among middle and upper-income groups.

Of further concern today is the decline in communication time at home, notably between parents and children. This is difficult to quantify, but reasons may include fewer household members, pervasive use of screens, mothers going to work, microwave ovens that have eliminated family cooking and meals and, thanks to new technologies, an increase in time spent on work, even at home. Our society is addicted to work and devotes little time to minors.

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