No episode of “Keeping up with the Kardashians” or fierce dedication to the athleisure phenomenon could get us to wear the makeup at the gym, despite various recent attempts by some of our favorite cosmetics companies to act otherwise.
Athleisure makeup, much like athleisure clothing, is an emerging makeup trend featuring products made to stay in place at the bar and at the gym. These products include items that already existed before, like waterproof mascara and tinted moisturizer, but they’ve been put in a new, made-up category called “athleisure makeup.” It is, to quote Racked’s Cheryl Wischover, “total bullshit.”
Aside from the fact that you simply don’t need to wear makeup to the gym (or anywhere, for that matter), you can probably guess that there are medical reasons to stay away from the stuff during your next sweat sesh, too.
We’re not here to tell you what to do. If you’re excited about the prospect of makeup that stays put through Soulcycle, more power to you and your impressive commitment.
We’ll just let these dermatologists explain how they feel about it instead.
“I’m not a big fan,” Angela Lamb, director of the Westside Mount Sinai Dermatology Faculty Practice, director of dermatology at the Institute of Family Health and an assistant dermatology professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai told The Huffington Post. “It is best to wash your face before workouts and have a clean face. This will prevent buildup and clogging of the pores that can happen when you mix makeup with sweat.”
Dr. Heidi Waldorf, director of laser and cosmetic dermatology at The Mount Sinai Hospital, explains what happens if you don’t wash off your makeup before working out. “The number one problem is acne flares in susceptible individuals,” she said. “Even noncomedogenic makeup will change with sweat,” she said. “Non-comedogenicity means it won’t affect the sebaceous follicles (the combination hair follicle and oil gland which are the basis for comedones and pimples), however, the addition of sweat creates the equivalent of a flood which can move makeup toward the opening of the sebaceous follicle or pore and irritate it, causing acne.”
But it’s not just sweat that clogs our pores. We’ve downward-dogged into a rented mat enough times to feel some kind of queasy way about shared gym equipment. Regardless of our attempts to disinfect, Waldorf said, “There are also times you can’t avoid your face touching or even laying directly on gym equipment. Makeup tends to harbor bacteria – especially after it has been open for a while and applied with a finger – so it’s a conduit to spread bacteria to others.”
Finally, Lamb added that in addition to clogging pores, makeup can also drip into your eyes from sweat and “cause irritation.”
Lamb’s aversion to athleisure makeup goes more than skin deep.”I think it puts unnecessary pressure ― particularly on women ― to look ‘perfect all the time,’” she said. “Come on. Anything that adds to your regimen when you are just trying to focus on your health is a downer in my book.”
Lamb believes that cosmetics companies are hopping on this trend not only to make money but to feed “the relentless desire for perfection and being ‘watched,’” but says if you are going to wear makeup at the gym, be sure it’s something “very light and oil free.”
Waldorf added that could mean “a noncomedogenic tinted primer, like Colorescience Sunforgettable Primer,” as she said “primers are meant to stay in place, so you are less likely to have problems while sweating. Alternatively, a water-resistant sunscreen formula with tint” would work, too.
So, again, we’re all about athleisure, but think we’ll stick to just wearing yoga pants that feel brunch-appropriate for now.