Everything you need to know about this new thing called athleisure beauty, Everything about this new thing called athleisure beauty
When the term “athleisure beauty” first arrived on the scene, we gave it a somewhat wide berth. After all what does that term really even mean when it comes to skincare and make-up? However, as the momentum for sweat-proof, gym-ready, exercise-compatible beauty continues to grow, we thought it was about time to take a look at the state of play. Everything about this new thing called athleisure beauty
What does athleisure beauty mean?
In terms of make-up, athleisure beauty products seem to sit in three camps. First up, there’s the products that claim to be sweat-proof and budge-proof so that you can undergo an entire spin class and leave with your make-up intact. So think Eyeko’s Sport Waterproof Mascara, which is designed to last from your morning yoga class until your evening jog, or the likes of Primark’s PS… No Sweat Mattifying Face Powder. The second camp is “natural” make-up that claims to be less damaging to skin whilst you exercise – like US brand Sweat Cosmetics, which offers mineral-based foundations and powders, or Tarte’s Athleisure collection. The third camp comprises the products simply inspired by our society’s increased focus on wellness, fitness and sport. For example MAC’s new Work It Out collection, which has a pleasingly Let’s Get Physical vibe to it. Everything about this new thing called athleisure beauty
But, isn’t wearing make-up at the gym still bad for you whatever type it is?
The quick answer is, yes (as one of Vogue’s most-read online articles states clearly). “As your circulation and heart rate increase when you exercise, your sweat glands go into overdrive to cool the skin down. This helps to detox the skin and get rid of dirt and debris from the day, so it’s important to allow the skin to do this job and not inhibit the removing of toxins,” says Dr Howard Murad, a certified dermatologist and the founder of Murad Skincare. “Make-up can prevent this detoxing process and can block the pores, leading to breakouts. This is why it’s important to try and cleanse the skin after a workout so you remove all of the bacteria and dirt that may have been released on the skin’s surface.”
Everything about this new thing called athleisure beauty
Yes, some formulations are markedly better than others (if you absolutely must wear foundation, Oxygenetix Oxygenating Foundation is impressively breathable considering the coverage provided), but make-up effectively creates a barrier which prevents your skin from doing its job. So any make-up that sits directly on the face (for example foundation, powder, blush) is particularly important to remove if you want to maintain a fresh complexion.
“Before exercise you do need to remove make-up, so opt for a cleanser that removes waterproof make-up gently. Just make sure you cleanse really well to keep your skin looking as great as possible,” says make-up artist and Decléor ambassador Wendy Rowe. “If exercising outdoors I’d recommend finishing with a light moisturiser – I love Hydra Floral Hydrating Light Cream by Decléor. If you are doing something inside, then facial mists are a great option, as they provide enough hydration whilst not being too heavy.”
So why do people still want to wear make-up at the gym?
Well, there’s good, old-fashioned vanity – the same reason we put said make-up on every day in the first place. Also, with the sheer volume of mirrors at gyms and exercise studios you’ll find you see more of your own face whilst working out than at practically any other time.
“In the last five years we have experienced a high-speed gym-volution, morphing our places of exercise into hybrid social spaces that – for millennials – are replacing pub, club and coffee shop as the spots in which to hang out,” Alexia Inge, the founder of online beauty emporium Cult Beauty, told us. “The prospect of meeting a future partner at the gym does rather concentrate the mind, especially if one has a beetroot-esque propensity…”
And then there’s the convenience factor. After hot-footing it across town to make it to a 6pm barre class after work, a thorough, 10-minute cleanse isn’t always possible.
“The morning classes are full of people without make-up, and then throughout the day it slowly switches over to people who were already wearing make-up for their day and just keep it on until after their session,” says Rhian Stephenson, CEO of Psycle, who admits that she often does the same herself. “There’s been a big shift towards natural beauty and confidence over the last few years. Less women are putting make-up on specifically before they exercise and are worrying less because the fitness environment at Psycle is more inclusive and non-judgemental… I think that puts people at ease.”
But do we need athleisure beauty products?
The fact is, working out with a clean face is always going to be better for your skin than working out with make-up on. However, if you’re not willing to forgo it entirely, then there are ways to ensure you do as little damage as possible.
“Definitely leave the skin to breathe, but if you really want to wear make-up you could use products on the eyes – like a waterproof mascara – and a tinted lip balm for a bit of colour,” suggests Rowe. Indeed, colour-enhancing lip balms like Dior Lip Glow or the Boost balm from Birchbox’s new athleisure line Arrow offer subtle colour as well as care.
“Sweat-proof is, not surprisingly, a term we are seeing searches more on the site,” Inge says of Cult Beauty’s fitness-conscious customers. “People don’t want to work out in a face full of make-up, unless they are pure-posing, because this will clog pores as they open during exercise. But they do want a mascara that won’t slip – Japanese DJV mascaras are perfect for this – and a complexion product that won’t sweat off the minute their heart rate rises.”
However whilst the lesson with athleisure make-up seems to be to wear as little as possible – and to remove it the very second you’ve uttered your “namaste” at the end of yoga – there’s also a growing market for products designed specifically for use post-workout. Everything about this new thing called athleisure beauty. Everything about this new thing called athleisure beauty
“At Cult Beauty, we have seen a noticeable rise in demand for what we call ‘gym-bag-beauty’. Customers are asking for smaller and lighter packaging, travel-size kits, energy- and focus-boosting pulse point oils and supplements. We are actually launching a brand in May that’s focused around yoga and gym needs,” Inge told us. “As most brands haven’t yet started marketing their brands using gym lingo, customers are using their initiative and buying into travel kits because this is the easiest way to access their favourite products in gym-bag-friendly sizes that can then be refilled from the mother bottles.”
Everything about this new thing called athleisure beauty
So until someone launches the perfect gym beauty kit, beware products with glass packaging (not only might it smash, it’ll be extraordinarily heavy), choose containers with spill-proof lids and opt for multi-use products to keep your gym bag as light and as orderly as possible. Malin + Goetz and Aesop already offer great miniature versions of their popular products, whilst Lauren Napier’s single-sachet Cleanse wipes are perfect if you’re on the go. Oh, and then there’s this last little tip, to really get the most from your workout.
“Apply a heat-activated hair mask before a workout and the heat from your head over the hour will super-charge the effects,” Inge reveals. “Try Ouai’s single-use Treatment Masques.” Everything about this new thing called athleisure beauty