If you’re anything like us, then you’ll have spent the past five months since lockdown lounging around the house in old tracksuits, hair thrown up in a bun, without a single scrap of makeup on. With nowhere to go and no one to see, lockdown was the ultimate opportunity for a total aesthetic reset. And then, just when we were getting comfortable, the gyms re-opened again.
If you were someone in the days of BC (read: before corona) who used to put on a tiiiiiny bit of foundation or a few strokes of mascara to hit that HIIT class, you might want to think again. We know - we’ve all been told a million times that wearing makeup can be bad for our skin when working out, but we all slip up occasionally. After all, it’s not easy feeling confident enough to brave it bare-faced every time you head into the gym.
But if like us, you just want that little extra confidence boost from time to time, or you’ve got a hot post-workout date, don’t sweat it. Luckily, there’s a bunch of beauty products out there that can help you feel your best while working out, that don’t come with any repercussions for your skin. Say goodbye to those post-pilates pimples and hello to healthy, supple skin that’s living its best life.
Why you shouldn’t wear makeup to workout
It’s well-known that we’re better off going fresh-faced when exercising. In an interview with ELLE, Dr Anjali Mahto, Consultant Dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson, said: “Ideally, it’s best to avoid wearing makeup to the gym. Sweat and increased temperature brought on by exercise can lead to open pores which can become blocked by particles of makeup. This can easily lead to breakouts and, in turn, uneven skin texture.”
But aside from our own sweat (and tears), there are several other factors we encounter at the gym that can have negative effects on our skin. Before lockdown and the days of social distancing, just think how many surfaces you’d touch at the gym, and how many other people had touched them too. From bikes, to yoga mats, to dumbbells, to kettlebells, gym equipment is the quintessential breeding ground for germs and bacteria. And when, on average, we end up touching our face 16 times an hour, this can be a recipe for a skin disaster. So, what can you do to protect those pores and ban those blemishes?
Our top gym-proof beauty hacks
1. Cleanse properly before and after the gym
Everyone knows that cleansing your skin properly is one of the most important pillars when it comes to your beauty routine. Even more so if you’re going to be going to the gym with any kinds of products on your face. If you’re going to the gym later in the afternoon or evening and have been wearing makeup or other beauty products throughout the day, make sure to properly remove them before re-applying anything you want to wear in the gym. Makeup collects pollution and microbes throughout the day, so it’s good to start with a fresh base to minimise the congestion and build-up in your pores.
Then, after your workout, give your face another good cleanse to make sure all the residual dirt, sweat, and makeup products have been fully removed. There’s nothing better than that post-gym shower, right? We recommend carrying some cleanser or cleansing wipes with you in your gym bag too, just in case you’re super tight for time. For simple, gentle brands that suit most skin types, try Cetaphil or CeraVe.
To find out more about how to properly cleanse your skin post-workout, click here.
2. Wear a non-comedogenic moisturiser
If you’re a skincare junkie, you’ll already know what we’re going to say here. And if you’re new to this topic, then listen up. Even if your skin isn’t naturally oily, you should invest in a decent non-comedogenic moisturiser. ‘Comedones’ is the medical term for blocked pores, so ‘non-comedogenic’ describes skincare and makeup products that are made in such a way as to not cause pore blockage and breakouts. If you’re prone to acne or breakouts, you should probably try to use non-comedogenic products anyway. But if you’re going to the gym with anything on your face then opting for these kinds of products is a great way to reduce the chances of any potential spots of bother arising. Brands like La Roche-Posay and Bioderma have plenty of non-comedogenic options in their ranges.
It’s important to remember though that everyone’s skin reacts differently to different products, so even if something is labeled non-comedogenic, it may still not work for your skin type. It may take a little while to find the right thing for your skin. But if skin troubles persist, then always see your doctor or dermatologist who can assist with finding you a solution.
3. Opt for a BB cream instead of foundation
If you’re a die-hard makeup lover, foundation can be a tough one to kick. Especially if you’re not feeling ready to go fully (face) naked just yet. If this sounds like you, try a BB cream instead. Bursting onto the beauty scene a few years back, BB (‘beauty balm’) creams sit somewhere between a moisturiser and a foundation. Essentially a tinted moisturiser, it provides more coverage than a normal moisturiser - if you’re looking to hide any existing breakouts - while it has other properties including things like SPF filters and anti-ageing benefits. The reason why a BB cream would work perfectly for the gym is because it’s not as heavy as a foundation, and it’s closer to skincare than makeup. Again, look out for non-comedogenic options and always opt for SPF if you can. We love Glossier's Perfecting Skin Tint and Clinique's Acne Solutions BB Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 40.
To find out more about some of the best BB creams of 2020, click here.
4. Waterproof mascara
Who doesn’t love long lashes? If you’re someone who simply can’t go without their mascara, but hate the fact that you normally leave the gym with serious panda eyes, waterproof mascara could be the way forward. In the past, waterproof mascaras have often left our lashes feeling hard, crispy, and flaky, but luckily today there’s a range of formulas which cater to all sorts of situations. No flakes necessary. Whether you’re off to a steamy hot yoga class or doing a few laps in the pool, you need never leave the gym with streaky black eyes again. We love this Eyeko Yoga Waterproof Mascara, as it’s full to the brim with ingredients such as vitamin E, ceramides and collagen which help keep your lashes moisturised and protected from damage.
To check out the rest of this year’s best waterproof mascaras, click here. Now, go forth and conquer.