We go to the gym to look hot. Or is it the other way around? Scroll through all the painted-to-perfection workout selfies on Instagram and you’ll feel the need for foundation, blush, mascara — the whole Caboodle, so to speak — before cranking out a single rep.
“I don’t wear a full face of makeup to the gym, but I still like to look pulled together,” says Birchbox co-founder and CEO Katia Beauchamp, who cops to dabbing on products from the company’s popular Arrow athleisure beauty line before every sweat sesh. “I’ll swipe on the ‘Boost’ Color Enhancing Lip Balm and Sculpt Tinted Brow Gel for a subtle, natural look.”
A growing category, gym beauty can be divided into two camps: perspiration-proof makeup to help you look more polished while you’re busting your moves (i.e., Sweat Cosmetics “Gleam On” Mineral Illuminator SPF 25, ELF Cosmetics Workout Ready Lip & Cheek Palette, and Kinx Active Gel Eyeliner) and après-exercise skin-care designed to help you clean up and calm down (i.e., Arrow Refresh On-the-Go Cleansing Cloths and CliniqueFit Post-Workout Neutralizing Face Powder).
But is highlighting your face before SoulCycle really a good idea? New York dermatologist Sejal Shah doesn’t think so. “Wearing makeup while working out can cause several problems, regardless of the formulation,” she says, noting that bacteria and the rather ominous-sounding “other debris” get trapped beneath it. “The barrier that makeup creates can also affect the way your skin functions and dissipates heat,” she adds. “Newer formulas that are designed to wear while exercising are likely lightweight, but can still negatively impact the skin.”
Still can’t face bare-facing it? Makeup artist Justine Purdue recommends choosing the sheerest foundation or tinted-moisturizer formula you can find — with SPF, if you’re heading for the hills. And even if you’re a huge fan of primer, give it a rest on gym days. “That extra layer may feel occlusive,” warns Purdue.
For the five mega-athletes (including Olympic gold-medalist Lindsay Tarpley) who founded Sweat Cosmetics, the workaround for post-workout clogged pores is minerals, minerals and more minerals. Everything in their line (with the exception of their Skin-Balancing Cleansing Towelettes) is crafted from a base of finely milled, mineral-based powder that can withstand punishing outdoor workouts.
“Our moms, teammates, friends, grandmas and local gyms helped us test our formula,” says co-founder Leslie Osborne, an ex-member of the US Women’s National Soccer Team. “We knew we had one shot at perfecting it.” Score.
Arrow “Boost” Color Enhancing Lip Balm, $14 at Birchbox