Beautifully bare or total glam, take a look around the gym (and your #fitspiration feed) and you’re likely to see both. But from clogged pores and irritated skin to raccoon eyes, working out in makeup is never a great idea.
We’ll admit it — we’re guilty of it, too. We squeeze in those lunch-break Pilates classes and forget our cleanser at home. Or sometimes, it’s just one of those days when we need a little confidence boost, a.k.a., a slick of mascara, to get you through your workout.
So what’s the compromise? Here’s a cheat sheet of our dos and don’ts when it comes to beauty and breaking a sweat.
Do: Go bare (if you can bear it)
Whether it’s a hot class or simply your own body temperature, heat opens pores and encourages clogging, and that mix of sweat with cosmetics is a recipe for breakouts. Combine sweat with foundation, bronzer and eyeshadow — plus all the touching, wiping and smudging that’s par for the course during a workout — you’re doubling up on skin-irritating bacteria. Bottom line? You should never really wear any makeup to the gym, if possible. Your skin is expelling and sweating out toxins, and the last thing you want to do is clog your pores unnecessarily.
Don’t: Overdo it
For those days when completely bare feels like too much, there are some lighter options that can help save your skin. Instead of covering your whole face with foundation, spot correct with a concealer as needed. Alternatively, a lighter CC or BB cream can be a good option here; just make sure you choose oil-free makeup to keep clogging to a minimum.
Do: Play up your brows and lips
When it comes to minimal gym makeup, think about framing your face. Well-groomed brows bring symmetry and focus, while a healthy lip colour can brighten up your complexion. Just be sure to keep your products light and natural. A clear brow gel and tinted lip balm is likely all you need.
Don’t: Dull your shine
Instead of caking on a mattifying powder to prevent shine, why not give your skin a chance to breathe? Blotting papers will calm shine without adding product, so that you can embrace your natural post-workout glow and rosy cheeks without clogging your pores.
Do: Choose waterproof mascara
While we don’t recommend wearing eye makeup at the gym (that smokey eye won’t look so cute when it’s running down your face), it can be hard to up our beloved mascara. If you must coat your lashes, be sure to choose a waterproof brand to avoid those dreaded raccoon eyes.
Don’t: Over exfoliate
If you’re convinced that a good post-gym exfoliation can reverse the effects of wearing makeup at the gym, you might only be compounding the issue. Often people are too tough on their skin, and over-exfoliate as a way to slough away dirt and grime from their pores. This can ironically cause breakouts and redness. Instead, focus on a gentle, hydrating cleansing that won’t irritate your skin.
Do: Commit to cleansing
Taking the time to gently cleanse your complexion before your workout is just as important as it is afterwards. Instead of toting your entire beauty and skincare kit to the gym, look for things that can make your life simpler. One-step cleansing cloths are easy to grab on the go, and can easily wipe away any sweat or residual makeup after your workout.