By Devin Almonte
Is it me, or did makeup recently slither and sneak its way into gyms across America as an acceptable athletic accessory? When did this happen and why? And more importantly, is it really safe to wear makeup during a workout?
We used to be afraid to show our bodies at the gym out of fear of what people would think of us for being a bit too heavy or untoned. How dare we go to the gym to get in shape looking like that! It’s almost sacrilegious. And now we are afraid to show our real faces? Dear Lord, we are a sick bunch.
I guess I can be included in that sick bunch because I am guilty of this relatively new trend. Now, I’m not in a full face of makeup, but I’ve definitely used concealer to hide a few things that make my face look tired and dull. Plus, I want to have blemish-free, glowing skin while I do my burpees and shimmy across the studio floor!
Before we go any further, I want to stress that I am advocate for good health, including our skin. Good health and good skin is naturally beautiful. So I’m all for nurturing our skin and body for health reasons before caring for it cosmetically. However, given that women want to “look good” at the gym (a place for healthy living), I wanted to find out why women wear makeup to the gym and if it’s okay to wear makeup during your workout. Because that makeup you are wearing could be doing more damage to your beautiful face than you realize. And all for the mere sake of looking good while working out for an hour!
WHY WOMEN WEAR MAKEUP TO THE GYM
1. To look your best no matter what.
Looking your best is a great motivator to get you to workout. So whether a cute new fitness outfit or makeup makes you feel your best, this becomes the motivator you need to get your butt to the gym and it can help boost your confidence.
2. To feel less self-conscious.
Makeup can help someone feel less self-conscious about themselves and their supposed flaws. Just as someone who is overweight or not happy with their body can feel totally vulnerable and exposed at the gym, so does the person without makeup. Not everyone feels this way, of course, but particularly for those who struggle with body image issues, makeup may give them the courage to show up. And if that is what it takes to get them to the gym, then I am all for it because with a healthy body will come a healthy mind. And hopefully, makeup will no longer be needed for these superficial reasons!
3. For selfie reasons.
It’s hard to believe that this alone is a reason to wear makeup to the gym but it is. In this new world of Instagram and Snapchat, everyone wants to look their best when they post to their accounts, showing off at the gym in their new outfit and newly toned arms. So we dare not take a gym selfie without a face full of makeup! After all, we have an image and reputation to uphold online to all our followers and fans. Not to mention that gyms are encouraging such selfies because it helps to promote their gym.
4. It helps you play the role.
About a year ago, the NYT had a chance to catch up with Eve Kessner, an instructor at SoulCycle studios in Brooklyn Heights and Union Square, to ask her her thoughts about makeup at the gym. For Eve, getting ready for the gym each morning goes beyond brushing her teeth and pulling on a pair of leggings. Before heading out to classes that often start before 8 a.m., she applies Eyeko Sport Waterproof Mascara and a face luminizer by RMS Beauty or Josie Maran Cosmetics. “Wearing some amount of makeup makes me feel good,” Ms. Kessner said. “Part of getting ready and feeling prepared for class are the steps I take in the morning.”
5. You're headed to the gym from work.
Many women head to the gym right after work. Some of the women I interviewed have admitted that they are just too lazy to take off their makeup before class. Plus, they are scared to see what is under that makeup after an eight-hour day at the office! Others said they are just rushed trying to make the 5pm or 6pm exercise class and don't have time to take off their makeup, so they don't bother.
THE TRUTH: WHY YOU SHOULD SAVE THE MAKEUP FOR LATER
1. It clogs your pores.
Metro.co.uk asked Andy Millward, facialist, aesthetician, and member of the British Association of Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology, why working out in makeup is so bad for our skin, and he pointed to congestion and blockages within the pores as a major factor. ‘Unlike skin care products which are designed to be absorbed into the skin, makeup is designed to sit on the surface of the skin to give it that flawless, airbrushed appearance,’ Andy told metro.co.uk.
2. It can make your pores bigger.
Since the makeup may cause congestion in your pores, the pores may stretch or enlarge to manage the blockage, which could cause larger pores over a period of time.
3. Toxins become trapped in your skin.
We are an organic and all-natural obsessed culture. By wearing makeup during your workout, your own body is essentially working against you because you are not allowing the sweat and toxins to be naturally released. This sounds anything, but organic! You are allowing the makeup to trap in the toxins instead of allowing them to evaporate off the skin, as they should naturally. So for the sake of looking good, you’re holding your sweat toxins hostage under that foundation. Time to let them go free.
4. Breakouts are likely to occur.
What happens when you hold in pent-up emotion? It gets worse and worse until it explodes. You need to release it (in a healthy way of course). Your face on makeup is no different. Your skin needs to breathe and release - during a good workout even more so when your pores open up. Mix in sweat, heat and open pores and over time the skin will become blocked under a face full of makeup. Eventually it will explode in the form of blackheads, whiteheads and dull texture. No thanks!
5. It may promote aging.
According to Samer Jaber, MD, of Washington Square Dermatology in New York City, working out with makeup is believed to be a contributing factor to aging. Wearing makeup while exercising inflames the skin, and chronic inflammation is the root cause of skin aging.
IF YOU MUST...
After reading this, there are many of you who won't listen to this advice and will opt for makeup anyway. I get it. We spend hours of torture to look better anyway, so what if I am trapping toxins in my skin? As long as I look good for that hour, I'm happy!
So, if you must, I suppose you must. At least the skincare products and makeup products have come a long way to accomodate our needs. And you are starting to see some cosmetic companies specialize in Workout Makeup like Sweat Cosmetics and Tarte. Like I said, if you must, here are my recommendations pre and post workout:
In preparation for your workout, make sure you take a 3-step approach for your pre-workout skincare routine. Use a great cleanser, toner, and moisturizer to get you prepped for your workout. Think simple with a soapy cleanse, hydrating toner, and oil-free moisturizer:
Now for the makeup. You want to keep it light and fresh so that your skin can still breathe. And stick with waterproof mascara and finishing sprays to keep everything in place:
Congrats! You've finished your workout for the day. But don't let your health kick "go on hiatus" just yet. You skin still needs some love after all that grueling work you just put in. Keep it clean, hydrated, and refreshed:
My advice? Do what feels best to you that will help you stay healthy. If that means a little makeup during your workout, then go for it. Thank goodness there are some products out there that work with your active lifestyle. But be sure to always give your skin some downtime to breathe.
For more information:
Health & Wellness Expert - Health, Fitness, Wellness, Beauty