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...

Women's Health Australia - - LIFE ETC - By Amelia Jean Jones

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.


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.

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