How To Stop Sweat In Eyes When Cycling

How can I stop sweating so much on my face?

Sometimes, when I’m out cycling, I feel a bit like Ted Striker in that scene from ‘Airplane’ when he takes control of the plane to try and land it. The pressure builds as the plane touches down on the runway and the perspiration starts to flow… a lot.

I suspect that the actor, Robert Hays, had some sort of sprinkler hosepipe attachment hidden under his hair for that scene. Pouring a continuous stream of water down over his face.

Now, when I’m out for a bike ride, I tend to feel quite calm, peaceful and relaxed. I don’t feel the kind of stress that comes from being an ex-fighter pilot trying to land a massive passenger plane with broken engines. I’ve checked my hairline repeatedly for any kind of sprinkler system – it’s receding, so this is becoming an easier task. And yet, when I cycle, I find that I have sweat pouring down my face just like Striker did.

Answer: Halo II Headband


Excessive sweating while working out

It’s a bit of a pain. The sweat stings my eyes which is, quite literally, a pain. It also stops me from seeing too well out of my glasses. They’ve either got trails of moisture running down them or they fog up with condensation. So, it’s not exactly a safe situation either.

You may have had similar problems?

Fear not! Because, having wrestled with this particular irritation for many years, I’ve come up with a range of tried-and-tested methods for stopping sweat in its tracks.

Shall we take a look?


Cycling sweat in eyes: the solutions

  1. Cool yourself down by wearing less (this book was my inspiration for this method)
  2. Cool yourself by not pedaling so hard (okay, just kidding. Waaay to competitive for this one…)
  3. Replace helmet with open vented style like this
  4. Replace worn foam pads on helmet with these
  5. Wear a sweat-wicking headband under your helmet (Awesome!)

Why do I sweat so much from my head?!

Ok, let’s take a look at my top recommended methods of stopping the sweat in more detail:

Option 1 = Cool yourself down by wearing less
Hear me out on this one. I’m not talking about some sort of weird nudist cycling fetish here.

Waaay too much chafing to make that a fun option.

What I mean is that, if you can reduce your body temperature, then you will naturally produce less sweat and so stay drier. I used to go for a cycle bundled up in so many layers: base layers, fleeces, waterproof jackets, etc. Within the first five minutes of pedaling I’d already be too warm and then the sweat would start pouring.

Then I had a bit of an epiphany after reading this book. The main thrust of the book is about the benefits of cold exposure for your body’s autoimmune system. For me though the biggest benefit has been in staying much drier when I cycle by heading out in just shorts and a light jersey. Yeah, it’s a bit bracing for the first few minutes, but then you forget about the cold and start enjoying the ride.


Option 2 = Cool yourself by not pedaling so hard
“Not pedaling so hard” – what?!?!

Um, yeah, okay, me neither. Too competitive for my own good, I guess. But, y’know, it’s an option….?

Okay, I’ll just accept defeat on this one and move along to Option 3.


Option 3 = Replace helmet with open vented style

As your mom always used to tell you, “You lose most body heat out of your head, wear a hat when you go outside!”

Now, I suspect that, whilst mom meant well, it’s actually not the case and you really lose a similar amount of body heat from your head as from anywhere else on your body. That being said, when you exercise your head will generate lots of heat. If the heat can escape then this will keep you cooler and your head will sweat less, so have less perspiration running down your face.

I bring this up because my friend used to have this issue when he had a helmet like this one, that had very few ventilation holes. He would find that his head would rapidly get very hot and the sweat would flow. He asked me:

Why do I sweat more than I used to?

So, I told him it was probably his helmet and suggested he replace it with an open vent style like the one below, he found that his head was much cooler as it was constantly bathed in a lovely cool breeze and therefore less sweaty.


Option 4 = Replace foam pads on helmet

I’ve had my bike helmet for a few years now. The foam pads inside it did a pretty good job of stopping the sweat in its tracks for a while, soaking it up and stopping it rolling down my brow. After a while though I noticed that the sweat was on the march again. That’s when I took a look inside my helmet and discovered that the existing pads were worn thin and tattered.

Clearly I have a fairly abrasive forehead…

This was an easy fix (the helmet, not the forehead). Grab a set of universal replacement pads like the ones below and you can swap out the old ones for a thick and absorbent new set. Et voila! As they might declare in the Tour de France. The existing helmet was returned to its former sweat-collecting awesomeness.


Option 5 = Wear a sweat-wicking headband under your helmet

This for me is the pinnacle of sweat-catching. Better than finding the mythical golden fleece, the holy grail, and Atlantis, all on the same weekend. And only for a few dollars.

What am I talking about? Well, I recently heard about Halo headbands. They look like this. At first glance you might think, “okay, looks fine, but what’s Ben getting so worked up about…?”

They come in a range of different colors, and also a variety of different styles depending on your requirements. There’s a bandana, skullcap, and super-wide tie sweatband.

They’re made from a soft, absorbent, and wicking fabric, and are close-fitting and go easily under a bike helmet. But can you see the yellow strip that runs along the inside front of the headband? That’s the really exciting bit. This is a non-slip rubber gripper that catches the sweat as it rolls down the top of your forehead, and then channels it back along and past your ears.

This means that the sweat stays out of your eyes and you can see again! All amazing products for sweat-free cycling.


Why do I sweat so much when I workout?

I’ve heard that sweat is just ‘fat crying’. That’s all well and good. But when that fat is crying in your eyes, making them sting and stopping you from seeing the road in front of you? That’s not too good at all.

Use one or more of these methods of stopping the sweat getting in your eyes when you’re next out for a bike ride and you’ll be happier than a blow-up copilot…

Stay dry and have fun.