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Should You Wear Makeup to the Gym?

Natalie Luttmer, Mrs. America 2017
Mrs. America 2017 Natalie Luther shows us her gym look. Photo: Mrs. America 2017 Instagram

It is a New Year, and of course, we all hear the mantra, “New Year, New You.” As a pageant girl, you probably are no stranger to the gym and treadmill. (Read: Top 5 New Year Fitness Challenges for Pageant Girls)

A new year means lots of new members at your local gym, and quite possibly your own personal trainer as you begin your prep mode for the next pageant.

The question begs to be answered, should you wear makeup to the gym? When you do work out, it is probably after a long day – meaning your makeup is already on. Should you go ahead and workout with it still on your face?

Today we answer that question, and I reached out to a personal trainer for an expert’s advice!

Should you Wear Makeup to the Gym?

I get it, either you are already a titleholder and need to upkeep your image, or you are in your countdown to the crown prep. Either way, you need to be taken seriously, no matter where you are at.

Let’s first talk about the repercussions of wearing makeup during a sweat sesh.

1. Bacteria

Bacteria is always on your face, but we can limit the amount of damage it does to our pores. Any time you get your heart rate up and start to sweat, your pores will open up. An open pore is the gateway to bacteria creeping in and clogging up an otherwise clear complexion, causing breakouts.

Makeup will form a barrier on your skin and will mix with dirt, oil and bacteria. As you start to sweat, your pores open up to help release sweat and cool you off.

2. Breakouts

With a face full of makeup, not only will this prevent your pores from releasing the sweat, it will also allow the dirt, bacteria, and makeup into your pores. This will hinder your skin’s ability to breath and can lead to breakouts, blackheads, and skin irritation.

What about using sweat-proof makeup? It doesn’t matter; the sweat, bacteria and dirt will still mix with the makeup and enter the open pores.

Your Best Plan

The best idea is to head to the gym with a clean, fresh face. If your workout is after a long day, keep some moist makeup removing wipes in your gym bag to wipe away most of the foundation and bacteria before you get your warm-up on.

I like the Yes to Cucumber face wipes, available at Target.

Yes to Cucumber
Yes To Cucumbers Facial Wipes, available at Target.

If you still can’t fathom the idea of working out without a trace of makeup on, opt for an oil-free, lightweight formula or even a BB cream, chapstick or tinted lip balm, and a silicone-based mascara (this won’t break down and start to run on your face; no raccoon eyes here!).

If you need more advice on how to achieve a natural look for the gym, read:  4 Easy Steps to Achieve the No Makeup Look. 

Personal trainer and Pageant Planet contributor Jackie Caroe had the following to say when I asked her opinion on wearing makeup to the gym.

“When you workout you should be sweating, assuming you are training hard enough, which opens your pores,” Caroe said. “If you have foundation on while sweating it can cause breakouts. However, a little bit of eyeliner and waterproof mascara never hurts and if it makes you feel better, then by all means. Just remember why you are there. Wearing some mascara won’t help you lose fat or get into shape faster.”

I think the key to Jackie’s suggestion is to remember your goal of working out. As a pageant competitor, your number one goal at the gym should be to stay healthy and showcase that commitment to health through your physique at the competition stage.

What to do after working out

Let’s just say you decide to not follow my advice and work out with a face full of makeup. Here is what you should do immediately after working out to save your skin.

It is crucial to cleanse, tone and exfoliate right after working out. The sooner the better, as your pores will stay open for a little while after you stop sweating. (Read: How to Remove Your Pageant Makeup Without Damaging Your Skin)

Using warm water, use a foaming facial cleanser to not only remove surface dirt and oil but to also remove any trace of makeup. I cannot get enough of Esteé Lauder’s Perfectly Clean cleanser, available at most department stores.

Estee Lauder
Estee Lauder’s Perfectly Clean Facial cleanser is perfect for after the gym.

I would also recommend using a gentle exfoliator after cleansing and be sure to tone your skin. Toning afterward will help clean up any remaining dirt and oil, plus it will close up your pores again, helping them resist any invading dirt and oil. (Read: 7 Home Remedies to Look Beautiful for Your Next Pageant)

No matter what you decide to do, keep in mind you are doing the best thing you can do for your body – exercising! This will help you in the long run as you continue competing and working towards your health goals.

As always, if you have a specific makeup question you want answered, leave it in the comments section! We at the Pageant Planet are here to help you succeed in pageantry.

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