Jiu-jitsu and beauty don’t really go hand-in-hand. Most women who train usually come out looking, well, not so feminine. This is part of training, and we accept this. But for some women, the struggle of trying to look like a polished lady during the day collides with our goal of trying to rip people’s arms off in the evening.
Jiu Jitsu Cowgirl is a cosmetic and clothing brand that’s trying to change that. Founded by blue belt Masters World Champion and mom-of-three Geeta Bhat, the company stocks a variety of products that are designed for people who want to “look good and roll hard.” So far, JJCG’s cosmetic line includes smudge-free eyeliner, durable nail polish, triple milled blush, water-resistant mascara, Shea butter sea salt bath bombs, illuminating lotion, and vegan lipstick.
The brand also carries clothing that includes V-neck rashguards, sports bra cover-ups, lightweight gis, t-shirts, hoodies, and spats. Bhat is also working on “Camel NOMO” spats, which, as the name implies, intend to prevent crotch ride-up.
Bhat says that the idea for the brand came after her own journey of finding her confidence again through jiu-jitsu. “After I had children, I gained a lot of weight. I managed to lose 75 lbs over five years through diet and exercise including jiu-jitsu. As I went through my journey, I focused on health, self-care, and style. The better I looked, the better I felt and the more confident I became, and it translated to every aspect of my life. I created this lifestyle brand to empower women through self-care and style to look good, feel good, and live confidently both on and off the mats.”
She says the company’s unique name embodies two of her favorite hobbies and the tough femininity that so many BJJ women possess. “The name is a double reference to my two passions: Jiu-jitsu and country western dancing, both of which I participate in actively. Jiu Jitsu Cowgirl is also a nod to a woman who embodies the two. She has both physical and mental toughness, focus, and determination, but is also smart, stylish, fun, and badass. She looks good and rolls hard.”
Bhat provided the Jiu-Jitsu Times with a few product samples to try out. As a quick and important disclaimer, I’m not a beauty influencer, I don’t have fancy lighting or a fancy camera, and I’m certainly (and, uh, obviously) not a model. In the photos for this review, the only products I’m wearing are the specific product mentioned in the section, plus eyebrow powder. Your results with these products might vary if you use additional makeup or primers.
I don’t wear a lot of makeup on a daily basis, but mascara and eyebrow powder are the only things that save my pale face from looking completely washed out. The problem, though, is that forgetting to take off my mascara before I train often leads to me having “panda eyes” and my partners having black smudges on their white gis.
Bhat notes that her mascara isn’t waterproof, but water-resistant. It also contains vitamins A, C, and E and is said to be great for sensitive eyes or contact lens wearers. So I put it to the test at a few sweaty no-gi open mats, and here’s what I found:
I really enjoy the look of this mascara and have found myself using it as my “going out” mascara, not just my “I have to train later” mascara. My little baby lashes looked long, there was minimal clumping, and the formula is smooth and not “gunky.” It probably wouldn’t be the mascara I’d turn to if I wanted to pull off a super dramatic look, but it’s elegant and pretty.
The claim of the mascara being “water-resistant” seemed to be accurate. It didn’t stay completely on during rolling, but it didn’t run down my face and give me “panda eyes” either. My eyelashes still looked dark after training, and when it came time to wash off the rest, it came off easily with just warm water. There was some smudging, but nothing like I experience with my normal mascara.
At first, I was a little put off by the fact that the mascara wasn’t waterproof, but now, I’m kind of glad that it’s not. This mascara strikes a happy medium of staying on well enough that I don’t look like a horror movie monster halfway through training and washing off easily enough that I don’t rip out half my eyelashes in the process. I love the lightweight feel of the formula and the fact that it makes you look better without making me look like I showed up to BJJ wearing a ton of makeup.
I love wearing eyeliner, but it usually looks so bad after training that I normally go without it during the day. The JJCG version is a pencil that so far comes in tanzanite, black, topaz, and emerald.
I’m normally a liquid liner girl, but I wasn’t upset about how this liner (in “tanzanite”) went on. It adds a great pop of color and goes on smoothly. I would normally choose black or gray over blue, but I kind of liked breaking free from my normal makeup routine for something a bit more colorful.
I had a bit of trouble initially getting this eyeliner to stay put. I have oily eyelids to begin with, so applying this straight to my skin seemed to make it rub off rather quickly, and the same happened when I applied multiple layers or applied eyeshadow underneath it. I contacted Bhat for suggestions and she recommended sharpening it first. Once I did that, it was like night and day — the eyeliner (mostly) stayed on despite grueling open mat sessions. There were multiple times in which I thought for sure a teammate’s arm had rubbed it all off, and yet at the end, a surprising amount was still where it should be. It wasn’t perfect, but for someone who normally leaves such sweaty training sessions completely bare-faced no matter what was on my eyes earlier, this was a shocking (and welcome) change.
I’m super happy I persisted with this liner, because it rocks. I truly can’t believe that it stays on as well as it does, and although I won’t be switching over completely from my liquid liner anytime soon, I really like JJCG’s as an alternative for the days I want to look decent but also train later on. Again, just make sure you give it a sharpen for best results.
A lot of women who are new to jiu-jitsu (and even ones who have been doing it for years) lament the fact that they have to give up their longer nails when they train, and pretty manicures are just a waste of money when all that grip friction makes them chip after just a day. JJCG’s nail polish claims to really stay on, though, and as someone who hadn’t painted her nails in well over a year (maybe two or three), I was curious to see if this kind of polish would succeed where others had failed me. It comes in multiple bright colors (Ogoshi Pink, Purple Belt, Throat Punch, Closed Guard, and BigBig Blue), all of which are highly pigmented.
The color I was sent was Ogoshi Pink, and I kinda love it. It takes a while to dry, but you really only need to apply one coat. It wasn’t overly runny or goopy, and it didn’t chip during my day-to-day life.
This is another product that performed much better than I expected it to. The photos above are after a whole week of training, which included two gi sessions and two no-gi sessions. There was some chipping, mostly towards the nail bed, but it wasn’t enough to make it look bad enough that I felt obligated to take it off and reapply. I have a terrible habit of picking at my nails, too, and this polish stood up remarkably well to that as well.
A lot of women have said that the only type of polish that will completely stand up to tough training is gel, but I’m a lazy (and cheap) girl, so this polish was a great middle-ground for me. Although I love the bright hues, I’d also love to see this in other, more subtle colors as well. But as a first roll-out, this was great, and the fact that I only need one coat is just another reason for me to wear it all the time.
My Final Thoughts on Jiu-Jitsu Cowgirl Cosmetic Products
For a young company, JJCG is making good on a great idea. Using these products made me realize the changes I’ve made in my beauty routine for the sake of jiu-jitsu, and although I will never be someone who puts on makeup specifically to look good while training, I love the idea of being able to look cute during the day and still look reasonably cute after some tough rolls. I’m not sure how these products would stack up for today’s major beauty influencers, but for a woman who just likes to look feminine and also simulate murder, Jiu Jitsu Cowgirl is a small blessing.
You can view and purchase these JJCG products and more here.
These products were provided to the Jiu-Jitsu Times in exchange for a complete and honest review.