By Fiona McKim
Exercise and beauty are not necessarily a great pairing.
Whether you’re a pilates fan or prefer a fast and furious spin class, the goal of fitness is to challenge yourself and release feel-good endorphins, not to worry about your gym skincare routime or what you look like while you’re doing it.
Of course if you feel more comfortable wearing a bit of makeup then crack on – no judgement – but if you’re fine to go without, your skin will almost certainly thank you for it. So, you won’t find any recommendations for a sweat-proof smoky eye here, but as a yoga and boxing fan I’ve learned through trial and error which products make sense in a gym beauty bag.
Think skincare to clean and calm, multitasking serums and makeup that’s portable, speedy and doesn’t need six brushes to get onto your face. Read on to discover the best post gym skincare and makeup products for your gym beauty bag now.
Post gym skincare
Here are 4 post gym skincare products I love. You don't need to use them all, pick one or more that suits your routine and go from there.
CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser, £9.50
If you’re anything like me working out = significant amounts of sweat, so the first thing you’ll want to do post-session is give your face a good wash. Foamy gels feel great on hot skin and are easily worked in with your hands, just make sure you pick one without drying surfactants (sodium laureth sulphate is a big no-no) This ticks all the boxes, is refreshingly foamy and contains ceramides to soften, not strip skin. The huge pump bottle is great value but not particularly portable for a gym beauty bag, so I procured one of the tiny 88ml bottles to decant into as needed.
Vichy LictActiv Peptide C Ampoules, £59 for 30
The last thing anyone feels like doing after a group class is stand around in a changing room layering up six skincare steps then lug the bottles around for the rest of the day. No, fast, multipurpose and portable is what’s needed. These clever ampoules contain 10% vitamin C, a powerful brightener and antioxidant, plus hydrating hyaluronic acid and cell-communicating peptides. This alone would give your skin everything it needs for the day (with a bit of SPF on top of course) and the tiny glass vials will fit into any crevice in your gym beauty bag, it's a fab addition to your post gym skincare routine.
Rosalique 3-in-1 Anti-Redness Miracle Formula, £29.99
This spearmint-toned cream was developed for rosacea and hypersensitive skin, but works very well on post-class flushing, particularly if – like me – your skin takes a while to cool down after a workout. As well as calming and hydrating, it also instantly counterbalances redness thanks to its cool green tone and leaves a smooth base layer on skin that helps with makeup application.
Clarins Instant Poreless Mattifying Primer, £24
Have you ever tried to apply makeup after exercising only to watch it melt right back off your hot, still-perspiring skin? I have and let me tell you, this stuff really helps. It’s got a lightweight gel-like texture that dries down to a grippy, powdery feel. Apply it all over, take five minutes to give your hair a blast (cool setting!) and you’ll return to a complexion that is smooth, matte and able to hold onto makeup very nicely. The fact this comes in a compact, flexible tube is helpful for packing purposes too.
Post gym makeup
Bareminerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Stick, £29
Foundation sticks make perfect sense for a gym beauty bag, they’re compact and portable, won’t ever smash or spill and are a doddle to apply without a brush. Usually the downside of stick formulas is a thick pancake-y texture and flat matte finish, but this little beauty is nothing of the sort. It’s a solid version of the beautifully light Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream, swipes on silkily, blends easily and gives skin a lovely eveness and radiant glow. I genuinely use this after every morning boxing class and often get compliments on my skin when I do.
Charlotte Tilbury Instant Look in a Palette, £49
So few palettes actually contain the products you need day-to-day, but as the name suggests this is pretty much every base covered, and as it’s Charlotte Tilbury you can bet the pigment is strong and the shades flattering. There are a few versions of this so you can pick the colours that suit your usual look, this Stoned Rose edition is the absolute bedrock of my gym makeup bag. Kudos for not wasting space on those pointless little brushes nobody uses anyway and giving us more product instead – just add mascara and your gym beauty bag is complete!
As woman&home's Senior Beauty Editor, Fiona Mckim has tried more products than she’s had hot dinners and nothing makes her happier than raving about a brilliant beauty find on womanandhome.com or her instagram grid (@fionamckim if you like hair dye experiments and cute shih-tzus)
Fiona joined woman&home as Assistant Beauty Editor in 2013, working under legend Jo GB, who taught her everything she needed to know about the industry (clue: learn about ingredients and employ extreme cynicism).
In a previous life, Fiona studied journalism back home in bonnie Scotland and honed her skills as a magazine features writer, with a brief and terrifying stint on the showbiz gossip pages of a tabloid newspaper in between. She's a skincare fanatic who can’t resist adding an extra step to her routine if it’s all the rage in Japan, loves fragrance, has fun with makeup and never turns down the chance to test a new hair tool. Basically, she loves it all.
When not slathering herself in self tan or squinting at a tiny ingredients list on a moisturiser, you’ll probably find Fiona enjoying something to do with food - cooking it, eating it, cajoling her friends into trekking across London to try a hyped pop-up in a dirty car park.
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