Makeup for Horse Riding: Recommendations from Fellow Equestrians


Many of you reading this spend a lot of time around a stable and horses. It’s not exactly the cleanest of environments nor the most glamorous, right? We don’t know about you, but sometimes we just really feel the need to counter-balance all that dirt a little. And one of the ways we do (but by NO means the only one), is by applying a little bit of makeup. It can go a long way in making us feel just a little perked up.

Truth be told, we were a bit hesitant to write this post. Aren’t the stables a place where we should be free from having to think about our looks but focus on the amazing animals that are the reason we are there? But then again, many of us wear makeup every day and don’t really make an exception for the stables. It’s not about adapting to the environment you are in, it’s about YOUR preference and what makes YOU feel good. So, we decided to run with it and share our tips and product recommendations.

We all have different skin, different styles, and tastes and there is no one-size-fits-all, but here are some tips we have picked up over the years and a few recommended products we swear by, and that hold up even in the wet and sweaty conditions equestrians are faced with on a daily basis. Huge disclaimer: we are by no means makeup experts, but we are women who have worn makeup for many years, and these are products we love and use, both in and out of the stables.

Equestrian Make-up for Normal and Dehydrated Skin

If a natural look is your jam, you will enjoy this run-down! There is a mix of luxury, mid-range and drug store products that I have landed on after lots of trial and error in make-up land (or should I say universe – there is just SO much choice!). For reference, I am in my mid-thirties and have normal but dehydrated skin.

Base

When it comes to base, I love a natural look with a slight glow. My skin is clear and smooth, so I just want my base to even out my skin tone and make me look more awake than I probably am! And that is exactly what Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua does. It is hands down my all-time favorite foundation, not just for the stables but for life in general.

I discovered this foundation as I was binge-watching Lisa Eldridge’s makeup videos on YouTube. The texture is quite liquid and a little goes a very long way (which is good because the price tag is intimidating)! It evens out the skin tone more than covering it up and just makes the skin look hydrated and glowing. It also has a low SPF of 15.

I usually apply it with my fingers, but you could also use a brush or a beauty blender. The packaging is super compact and light – it’s perfect for travel or taking with you in your bag. With regards to staying power, this foundation does need a spritz of setting spray to stay put during a long day and I use Urban Decay All Nighter Make-up Setting Spray which works like a charm. More on that later.

This is definitely a luxury buy and I don’t always repurchase when I run out of it (#thehorseatemymoney), but I do keep coming back to it when budget allows. Nothing really seems to compare. If you are in the market to treat yourself to a little splurge, you can pick up the Vitalumiere Aqua on Amazon here.

Concealer

I have a pretty dark area running from the corner of my eye down along the sides of my nose. That’s why concealer is one of those products I almost always apply, even on a ‘no-makeup day’. And although I don’t love the name, I do love Maybelline’s Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Treatment Concealer. It has good coverage, the applicator is great, it stays on for a long time, does not crease and to top it off it is affordable! Definitely a drugstore favorite. You can grab it here on Amazon.

Blush

I adore products that I can apply with fingers – it saves so much space in a makeup bag not having to lug around a host of different brushes. As someone who travels a lot, multi-purpose products, minimal packaging and small and light products are always at the top of my list. For all of those reasons, I love the Daniel Sandler Watercolor Blush. This is a liquid blush that gives amazing, but discrete color to the cheeks lasts for a long time and also doubles up as a cheekbone highlight because it has SO.MUCH.GLOW. The consistency is very liquid and takes a little bit of getting used to, but once you do it’s fantastic! And again, you need so little it will last you for ages. If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend you give it a go and let me know how you like it. It’s available on Amazon here. Obviously, if glow is not your thing – stay far away from this one…

Mascara

This is such a personal one. It almost feels like everyone has a different favorite and which one to get will depend so much on the look you like for your lashes. Personally, I look for more length than volume. The one thing I would recommend for horse riders though is keep it waterproof! Whether it’s rain, sweat or the ‘I-just-gave-my-horse-a-bath-and-he-thanked-me-by-shaking-his-entire-body-shower’ – waterproof is just generally a good idea.

I am not very faithful when it comes to mascara brands and types and tend to end up buying new ones quite often, but one of my clear favorites that I have repurchased several times is Lancome Hypnose Waterproof Mascara. I find that Lancome mascaras, in general, are really good and this one gives me the perfect amount of length and volume (not too much) and sticks around all day. If your mascara is running dry and needs a replacement, you can find it on Amazon here.

Lips

Mine is aaaalmost empty, but cutting off the top reveals a lot of remaining product!

I don’t personally wear much lipstick as I don’t have the patience and dedication to reapply during the day. I also find that the long-lasting versions make my lips feel like the Sahara Desert, so I tend to just keep a good lip balm on me that keeps my lips hydrated. Being outside in all kinds of climates (especially winter) can make my lips chapped so I find it’s the most practical solution and it also gives them a little bit of a shine. My absolute favorite since it was gifted to me last Christmas (thanks mom!) is Clarins Hydra-Essentiel Moisture Replenishing Balm. It is not sticky, but still very moisturizing. It stays on the lips for a long time and doesn’t disappear in minutes as many other lip balms do, leaving you to reapply like a crazy person. It has a screw cap and an angled, flat applicator surface, so you just need to squeeze and apply – super easy when you’re on the go and no need to dip your finger full of horse goo into a jar (*shudders*). If you’d like to give it a go, you can find it here on Amazon.

Setting spray

Once you have spent that extra 10 minutes applying this stuff, you’d like it to last the day, right? Well, I often find that my skin almost ‘drinks’ my foundation and even the longest-lasting makeup will fade throughout the day and certainly when exposed to the elements, so I tend to finish my routine (if you can call it that) with a light spritz of the Urban Decay All Nighter Make-up Setting Spray. This sets everything into place and it’s amazing how well everything stays in place. We actually both use this and highly recommend this product to anyone who wants to extend the longevity of their make-up. Up for grabs on Amazon here.

Equestrian Make-up for Dry Skin

Just like my sister, I also prefer a natural makeup look, however as we have different skin types, we tend to like different products. I am rounding 40 in a few months and my skin can get very dry to the point of peeling (especially in winter).  

Base

Not wanting to clog my skin up too much, I usually opt for BB creams over foundations. My most recent purchase has flown up to the top of my list and it’s the Shiseido Perfect Hydrating BB Cream. It is lightweight, has just the perfect light coverage and it feels smooth and moisturizing. Aa added bonus is the 30 SPF. Not the cheapest, also not quite in the luxury price range. I got it 2 months ago and am still using it so it lasts a good while! If you have dry skin, I recommend this highly. You can buy it here on Amazon.

Concealer

My undereye area is really dry and I have found a product combination that really works great for me! It is the Photo Finish Hydrating Under Eye Primer and the High Definition Concealer, both from Smashbox. Applying the primer first gives the area a hydration boost making the application of the concealer so much easier and stops creasing (which is a huge issue for me). I love this combo and don’t think I’ll ever stray away from it. If you want to try, you can find them both on Amazon (primer and concealer)

Bronzer

Living in a place with long, cold winters, I tend to use more bronzer than blush to give an illusion of a slight tan or summer glow. The below 0 temperatures gives me a natural blush, so there’s a beauty tip for you…

I love a bronzer that gives my skin a bit of glow as I find it gets dull in the winter. The Body Shop Honey Bronze Blush On Beads does exactly that. It’s easy to apply, gives a natural-looking result and is easy on the wallet. I also love the Body Shop for their cruelty-free products and sustainable business practices! If you think this bronzer is a match for you, you can pick it up at Amazon here.

Mascara

I don’t like to spend a lot of money on mascara and find that so many of the drug store options work just fine. There are a couple of brands that I tend to favor; Loreal and Maybelline. They are both easily available at my local supermarket and work great for my needs. My favorite is Maybelline New York Volume Express The Rocket Waterproof Mascara with the L’Oreal Paris Cosmetics Voluminous Miss Manga Rock Waterproof Mascara as a close second. Both are available on Amazon (Maybelline | Loreal)

Lips

This is a mini travel size

Just like my sister, I don’t like wearing lipstick and swear by lip balms and light glosses. I also highly rate the Clarins Hydra-Essentiel Moisture Replenishing Balm, but since she snagged that one, I’ll give you my all-time favorite lip gloss which is the Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector. It is the perfect combination of moisturizing and glossy and gives just a little more shine to the lips than a regular lip balm. I have a couple of them (often picking up 2-packs at the airport tax-free when I go traveling) that live in my purse and my car. If you’re in the market for an easy-going lip gloss (can you call a lip gloss easy-going?) it’s available at (can you guess it..?!) Amazon (gasp!).

Voila. That’s it. We hope this can be helpful to some of you looking to beautify. Remember, you are beautiful as you are – only use makeup if it makes your day better! Happy application!

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Horse Learner

Behind Horse Learner are two passionate horse enthusiasts. One horse owner and competitive dressage rider and one horse riding adventure traveler. Between then they have more than 40 years of experience with horses and horses and horse riding.

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