Tuesday 12 March 2013


 image from teawithhunni.com
History Student Elyse Clarke discusses the issues of vanity within the gym:

Recently my housemate and I have been trying to shift a few pounds, which has involved our renewed effort to go to the gym being undermined by our greater effort to convince ourselves that midnight pizza is a good idea. It’s not. Anyway, during one recent visit to the gym I was sweating away on the treadmill when I looked to my right and saw what I can only describe as some sort of gym angel bobbing along beside me. Whereas I end up resembling a human beetroot when I exercise, this girl was the embodiment of the ‘exercise glow’ - that elusive side effect of exercise that I have read so much about in magazines, but has sadly eluded me. So what are the rest of us supposed to do? To prevent the beetroot from making a public appearance, is it ok for those of us who aren’t lucky enough to ‘glow’ post-gym to cover up with make-up or is it an excessive vanity?

I do wear makeup to the gym, but my rationale is that it is purely defensive. I usually pop on some BB cream to tone down the impending redness, eye shadow through my brows to prevent the ‘egghead’ and maybe some mascara (just because). I think that if I’m not worrying about what I look like (human beetroot sans eyebrows) then I’ll work harder at the gym, look and feel better and thus eventually achieve inner Zen. 

Issues of vanity and Zen aside, there are questions about how good it is for your skin to wear a full face of makeup while exercising. If you’re doing it properly, you should be sweating and sadly your face is not an exception to this. As your pores open up to release the sweat, make-up can seep down and clog them, resulting in spots, dull skin and pesky blackheads. There is, therefore, something to be said for letting your skin breathe while you exercise because as you sweat, you sweat out toxins. Ever wonder why there’s that faint smell of alcohol floating around you if you brave a hangover gym session? You are literally sweating it out. Make-up can become a barrier and trap in what your body is trying to expel. Another more visible downside to wearing make-up (particularly heavy foundation) to the gym is that you are vulnerable to the sweat-tache and other similar side effects that can occur when you combine with foundation with sweat and gym towels.

Your best bet if you can’t go to the gym totally bare faced is to go for the lightest options – a tinted moisturiser, BB or CC cream – which will tone down any redness without effectively sealing over all your pores like a long-wearing foundation. And afterwards, make sure that you thoroughly wash and exfoliate your face to prevent any clogging of your pores.

What do you think is an acceptable amount of make-up to wear to the gym? Is it OK for girls slap it on before hitting the gym or should we go unashamedly barefaced, beetroot be damned?

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