Working out is rarely associated with looking good. More often than not you are sweaty, red-faced, panting and possibly grimacing in pain.
However, just because you’re busy targeting your insides at the gym, it doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice your exterior appearance and skincare.
By mastering the right cleansing, moisturizing and hygiene regime you can make sure your skin is glowing, your eyebrows are on fleek and your hair volumized. You’ll get a boost of confidence and ensure you’re looking on top form outside of the gym, too.
TRAIN for HER has interviewed a panel of experts to give you the very best advice on how to look after your skin when working out.
It seems obvious to give your sweaty, post-workout skin a good wash, but did you know, it’s actually key to cleanse before you head to your session? “Before exercise I would always recommend giving your skin a good cleanse to get rid of any makeup that can clog up pores from mixing with sweat,” advises Denise Rabor, international makeup artist and founder of WOW Beauty.
It’s best to use micellar water to remove any makeup you’re wearing rather than a face wipe as these often don’t get all your makeup off properly and move dirt around the face.
After exercise, sweep a gentle cleanser over your face and neck. “Thoroughly cleanse the skin after a workout because the pores have enlarged and you’ll have a load of sweat and grime accumulated,” says celebrity makeup artist and beauty consultant, KSAVI.
Remember to exfoliate regularly too. “Exfoliating ensures that topical moisturizers are penetrating deeper into the skin and not resting on a surface of dead skin cells,” says celebrity facialist Michaella Bolder. “Exfoliate your entire body three or more times per week – body brushing is a great way to remove the dead skin cells and aid circulation.”
If you’re looking to reduce sweating it might be worth investing in a really effective antiperspirant spray, ODABAN claims to one of the most effective and long-lasting solutions available and can last up to seven days.
After cleansing pre-workout, apply a hydrating serum to keep your skin hydrated and protected and then finish with a lightweight moisturizer or an SPF if you are exercising outside. Repeat this again when you’re done exercising, advises award-winning makeup artist Stacey Whittaker.
Of course, don’t forget to slather moisturizer on the rest of your body, too. Michaella says: “In the colder months our skin needs the extra nourishment and protection that heavier creams offer so I’d recommend switching to a richer moisturizer (or using a 50p sized amount of your regular moisturizer) and apply in the morning so your skin can feed off it throughout the day. In the summer, opt for butters (my favorite is shea) over lotions as they tend to be water based and better suited for warmer weather.”
Taking collagen as a supplement has become increasingly popular, and rightly so as this protein contributes to healthy muscles, bones, cartilage, and tendons, reduces cellulite, hydrates skin and boosts skin elasticity.
Exercise itself naturally stimulate the formation of collagen but, as we age, production decreases so it’s a good idea to counteract this by taking a collagen supplement. Potion London offers The Collagen Boost capsules which provide 400mg of pure marine collagen which helps to plump skin from the inside-out.
Other supplements to take include vitamin D – which is great for glowing skin – and Echinacea which supports the body’s immune system. Michaella recommends STRIPPD GLOW capsules as they contain vitamin A to turn over skin cells and help rebuild skin function, Vitamin E to protect from pollution and copper to help stimulate collagen production.
– RELATED: 6 Ways To Stay Fresh During And After Your Workout –
As we’ve established, it’s best to thoroughly cleanse your face before your workout, so wearing makeup is not advised. “When you exercise, your skin gets warmer and sweat gets trapped,” points out Denise. “When the skin is hot, it absorbs the makeup, which can lead to blocked pores, congested skin and blackheads.”
Stacey adds: “If you already have acne, wearing makeup to the gym can make it flare up due to congestion and can make pores larger, and if you have dry skin, it can end up making skin dryer as sweat can cause irritation and tightness and worsen dermatitis.”
However, if you do want to wear makeup, it’s best to steer clear of heavy foundations, as these can melt off on sweaty skin. Opt for tinted moisturizer instead. If the idea of not wearing foundation is unbearable, there’s Oxygenetix Foundation, which claims to be sweatproof and the world’s most breathable foundation. Facial mists are also great for allowing your makeup to last longer and will cool down the skin.
You can still make sure your eyes are wide and striking with waterproof eyeliners and mascaras. High-performance skincare range, Sport FX sells Sport Stamina Mascara which is sweatproof and waterproof; mango butter and sweet almond oil serve to condition and nourish your lashes.
One sure way to make sure you look on top form all the time is to have perfect eyebrows. Grooming salon Browhaus – based in London, New York Manila, Shanghai and Singapore – offers a range of treatments including their signature offering: color tweak, tweeze and thread. Not only is their décor impressive, but the beauticians take a lot of care over treatments and offer great advice.
When it comes to the hair on your head, you should wear it up while working out in order to keep the hair from going greasy and mixing in with sweat. Denise advises avoiding tying your hair in too tight a ponytail as this can pull and damage hair. Instead, go for a braid or a low bun.
Surprisingly, the right hair tie is crucial too. “The last thing you want is a hair tie coming away or a hair band greasing or making your hair oily,’ says KSAVI. “Your hair will break if you tie it in the same place each workout, try a fishtail as opposed to a ponytail in the same place each time. Finally, if you’re working out in the sun, use a UV protector spray on the hair to protect it.”
If you haven’t got time to wash your hair after exercise, dry shampoo is your greatest friend. Denise recommends CO by Andrew Collinge Invisible Dry Shampoo, which reduces oil and leaves no white residue, making it great for dark hair as well as light. It can also serve to give body to fine hair prior to styling.
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