If you manage to muster up the energy to pop out for an early morning run, the only people you’re likely to see are the postman and a few sleepy dog-walkers, so looking good probably isn’t your top priority. But you might consider wearing makeup to the gym.

If you’re heading to a trendy versaclimber or HIIT class in a packed gym, the pressure to be perfectly preened and dolled up in the latest Lululemon leggings is real.


“The reality today is that many of us go to the gym early, before work, or post work when we still have make-up on,” says Sisley make-up artist Tania Grier. “Busy schedules mean we have to adapt – and you never know who you’ll bump into, from a new love to a future employer!”

Is wearing makeup to the gym a good idea?

Surely exercising with a full face of make-up can’t be good for your skin, can it? We asked Grier and five other beauty experts and discovered that actually, their opinions on the topic varied.

Here, they give their verdict on the great gym debate and share their top products for pre- and post-workout…

1. Karim Sattar, international make-up artist at Dr. Hauschka

“I wouldn’t advise exercising whilst wearing make-up – as soon as you begin to exercise, your pores open, pushing out sweat and toxins. When this happens, make-up can easily clog your pores. Plus, smudged mascara is never a good look in a spin class!

“If you really feel you need a base when heading to the gym, try something lighter, such as Dr. Hauschka Tinted Day Cream (available on Amazon) which gives skin a healthy glow and highlights your natural beauty.”

A lip and cheek tint will also give you a polished look without being too heavy. Try Benefit benetint rose-tinted lip & cheek stain (available on Amazon).

2. Sascha Jackson, UK lead pro-artist at Stila

“I’m not a fan of wearing make-up to workout, but I also know that sometimes this can’t be helped, especially when rushing from work to catch a class. Sweating may not be hugely glamorous, however, it’s a good way to rid the skin of built-up toxins. And if your skin has a layer of make-up on, sweating on top of this will block up any open pores.

“If you can’t bear the thought of the gym without something to enhance your face, add a bit of definition to the brow, along with a sweep of mascara – Stila Huge Extreme Lash Mascara (available on Amazon) is ideal, as it’s water-resistant, meaning you can avoid those panda eyes!”

3. Dr Justine Hextall, dermatologist

“Breakouts may occur if make-up is worn whilst at the gym, particularly thicker foundations, which can irritate the skin as we perspire, causing redness and blocked pores.

“Some women do prefer to wear make-up during a workout, so if going makeup-free is not an option, I recommend cleansing straight away. Use a very gentle skin wash, such as La Roche-Posay Toleriane Dermo-Cleanser.”

4. Tania Grier, make-up artist at Sisley

“If you’re simply doing a quick round on the bike or a gentle class, or if you don’t sweat too much, then don’t worry if you have make-up on. The only thing I would stay clear of is heavy foundations before a very sweaty workout. This clogs pores and that means spots! You need the skin to breathe, as sweat is our way of pushing out toxins.

“There are only three things I’d suggest if you really want or need to look good at the gym, and they are waterproof mascara, concealer and lip balm. Your lips can get super dry when you workout, and licking them is actually bad because it breeds bacteria and can give you spots around the lip line. Sisley Phyto-Cernes Eclat concealer (available on Amazon) is always in my gym bag, great for under-eye dark circles and random spots. Plus – if you have to go out straight from the gym, you can use it in place of foundation, to eliminate the redness on your cheeks.”

Burt’s Bees 100% Natural Moisturising Lip Balm (available on Amazon).

5. Candice Gardner, education manager at Dermalogica

“It’s a far greater priority to wash your face post-workout at the gym. Ideally, choose mineral-based make-up that is less clogging if you feel the need to cover up during a workout, but provided you cleanse and treat correctly after exercising, you should have little additional issues, if any.” She recommends Dermalogica special cleansing gel (available on Amazon).

6. Zain Shah, make-up artist at SportFX

“Wearing the wrong type of makeup to the gym has the potential to cause breakouts and uneven skin texture.

“SportFX has a range of workout-friendly products on the market that are both kind to skin and sweat-proof! A good, waterproof mascara is a beauty essential. The Sport Stamina Mascara (available on Amazon) stays put for eight hours without sweating off, flaking or stinging your eyes.”

If you’re going to be wearing makeup to the gym, SportFX also sell a mist and fix recovery face spray (available on Amazon) to keep your makeup in place through your workout.

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