Look as great as you feel after working out.
You work hard at working out: Perhaps you slip out to the gym during your lunch hour, or you hit the treadmill on your way home from work. But when you have somewhere important to be after a scheduled sweat session, like a work meeting or book club gathering, you're likely to either (a) skip the gym altogether (not great for your middle), or (b) stress out about getting your look pulled back together after your workout. Here to your rescue: A look-great post-workout plan. Follow our tips on what to do before, during, and after your workout so you walk out of the gym just as polished as when you walked in.
Before Your Workout
During Your Workout
- Remove all makeup. Allowing makeup to sit on your skin while you sweat is a veritable invitation for pimples. Thanks to sweat, makeup like foundation, powder, and blush can sink into your pores, clogging them and causing pimples. Your first step at the gym, then, is to wipe away all makeup. Moist facial cleansing towelettes let you do this job quickly and without mess.
- Loosely tie back hair. You want to avoid pulling your hair into a tight bun or ponytail, since doing so can leave a telltale ponytail bump on the surface of your hair when it comes down. Instead, use a looser method. One tool that works particularly well: A headband made of terry or other absorbent material. Headbands pull hair away from your hairline (preventing it from getting in your face), but also absorb some sweat (so your post-workout 'do will still look good).
After Your Workout
- Dab sweat gently. Gym floor towels are notoriously rough, so when wiping the sweat from your brow or body, be gentle. Rubbing too hard can cause redness and irritation, which will stay with your skin well into the night. Instead of rubbing, dab your forehead and other sweaty parts gently.
- Pull hair back again. We've found that taking down your workout 'do and pulling hair back a second time helps keep hair from getting matted.
- Cleanse the sweat from your face. Use another moistened towelette to remove all traces of sweat from your face. Like exercising with makeup, letting sweat sit on your skin can cause unnecessary breakouts. Avoid using the body wash in the gym shower to cleanse your face -- it's much too harsh.
- Spritz hair with refresher pre-shower. Unless you have loads of time to wet, wash, and dry your hair after your workout, you'll have to make your hair look great without water. Before you step into the shower, spritz a hair-refreshing tonic throughout your locks (look for one with an astringent ingredient, like tea tree oil or peppermint). The heat and moisture of the shower will help the tonic penetrate your hair and scalp, giving a great makeshift cleansing.
- Shower strategically. During a workout, certain parts of the body sweat more than others, so when you hop under the water, target those areas with the gym's body wash. Avoid sudsing up "clean" parts of your body if you can; too much harsh body wash can dry out skin.
- Revive your hair. After you've showered and dressed, your hair should be slightly damp thanks to the moisture in the shower and the tonic you spritzed on it. To get your hair back in shape, style it as you normally would at home: That is, use a blow dryer to completely dry your hair, then, if you use them regularly, do your curling or straightening iron routine. By this time, hair should smell great and all traces of sweat should be gone.
- Go for a minimalist makeup routine. You won't have time for a full makeup application at the gym, so streamline. Define brows, add a swipe of neutral eye shadow and a thin line of powder liner, apply a coat of mascara, dust on some blush and finish with a slick of a lip-toned lipstick.
Originally published on LHJ.com, December 2005.
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