THE GYM GIRL’S GUIDE TO MAKE-UP
The athleisure trend is muscling in on the cosmetics market – but isn’t wearing make-up while you sweat, well, less than ideal? Not with the new breed of kit...
What are your gym bag essentials? Runners, headphones... lipstick? Apparently so. Yep – actual make-up in the gym.
It’s on the rise: the hashtag #gymselfie has been used more than 1.6 million times on Instagram as women seek to look more polished while they pump iron. And why not?
While make-up is by no means a must-have when you’re hanging out with dumbbells, “often the make-up we apply in the morning needs to last through our work day until our gym session later,” says Gemma Rogers, Estée Lauder education manager for NSW. “These products need to stay fresh and non-pore clogging, despite us sweating.” In fact, market research giant Mintel recently noted that 39 per cent of women were frustrated that colour cosmetics didn’t last the distance or survive their sweatiest F45 session.
Market researcher NPD Group echoed the idea of make-up as the latest workout essential, with sales increasing across the board during 2016-2017. The star performers? Eyebrow products, which rose by a whopping 31 per cent, while lip colour increased by 18 per cent and long-wear foundation by 13 per cent. The demand for athleisure-inspired beauty products has even led brands to launch specific gymfriendly collections. Sadly yet to be stocked here, Us-based Sweat Cosmetics and Birchbox now offer entire ranges of lightweight make-up designed to stay put while you sweat.
UNDER YOUR SKIN
So, just say you’ve decided to embrace a fully made-up face while you work out, rather than dutifully removing your slap pre-lunchtime HIIT class – do you need to worry about what cosmetics are actually doing to your skin as you exercise?
“Exercising boosts blood flow, which nourishes the skin with oxygen, while sweating cools and detoxifies the body, cleansing pores of dirt, dead skin cells and excess oil,” says Dr Howard Murad, dermatologist and founder of Murad Skincare. “This helps to detoxify the skin and get rid of debris from the day, so it’s important to choose products that will allow the skin to do this job and not inhibit the removal of toxins.”
Cosmetic dermatologist Dr Frances Prenna Jones explains, “If you wear really heavy full-coverage make-up as you exercise, your skin will heat up, causing your oil and sweat glands to hyper-secrete in an attempt to cool you down. And as high-coverage bases tend to have a high talc content, the secretions and talc will combine to form little plugs in your pores, which, as your body cools down, will harden (a bit like melting a lump of butter then bringing it back to room temperature). The little hardened plugs – known as milia – will then trap more secretions, which can stretch pores and become infected, leading to a spotty breakout.” Delightful stuff.
The bottom line: if you’re going to wear make-up, switch your fullcoverage base for something lighter that’s more appropriate for sweating skin. And if you’re to prioritise, which workouts are more important to do barefaced? “Going make-up free is more important for highintensity cardio workouts where you sweat heavily,” says naturopath Rhian Stephenson. “Detoxification is such a prominent benefit of cardio that you want to do everything possible to maximise that process. Products that prevent you from getting a full sweat on your face will only impede the release of toxins.”
What about longer-lasting effects? Good news: there’s no evidence that heating up the skin and sweating while you’re wearing make-up will age your face. In fact, having a bit of slap on when you’re exercising outside could even be a positive. “Providing your make-up contains an SPF, always make sure you have it on when you’re [exercising] outdoors – even if you know it’ll make your skin break out,” says Jones. “The fact is, the sun damage and related signs of ageing that will occur if you get out there barefaced – even if it’s cloudy – are far harder to reverse than breakouts.”
But a face full of spots is hardly ideal, so if you’re going to wear an Spf-enriched base (because you always should, really), how can you prevent them? “Make-up containing silicones will clog pores, resulting in more spots, whereas mineral-based make-up will have less of an impact on skin clarity,” says Stephenson.
Try bareminerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream, $42 (1) on for size, ASAP.
Murad says, “It’s important to cleanse skin straight after a workout rather than waiting to shower when you get home, even if you reapply make-up before you walk outside. This way, you can swiftly remove all the bacteria and dirt that have been released on the skin’s surface and may lead to problems if left there.”
Try Murad Essential-c Cleanser,
$60 (2), to revive post-gym skin and remove the toxins that have just been sweated out – without sapping vital moisture from your face.
Fact is, wearing make-up in the gym isn’t bad for your skin – on the proviso that you wear specific or lighter formulations. But with so many products out there, how can you tell what works and what doesn’t? The following pieces have been put through their paces and can withstand the sweatiest workout as well as you do. Fitness never looked so good.