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 • Makeup  • Makeup Guides  • No Sweat: The Ultimate Post-Gym Makeup Routine
A quick post gym makeup routine

No Sweat: The Ultimate Post-Gym Makeup Routine

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Main Image – Live That Glow

If you’re like me then, rather than a mega-watt glow, the immediate payoff from working out is mostly a very sweaty face and a patchy redness that takes an unreasonably long time to go away.

So after years of embracing my blotchy post-workout skin au naturel, I’ve perfected a mini (and super quick) makeup routine that’s easy, doesn’t irritate my sensitive post-exercise skin, and also makes me look passably human enough to go back to work/out for lunch/to meet friends.

We’ve also consulted with celebrity makeup artist Pilar DeMann about her top tips for a post-workout beauty routine.


All About the Base

While my skin is often pretty red after working out I do also get a bit of a glow going- and I like to use this to create a really healthy, natural-looking base.

So instead of using foundation, I like to make a little skincare/makeup cocktail by mixing a few products together in my hands. This takes seconds, can be applied really easily with fingers, and gives a really dewy look.

But since I’m the sort of super sweaty person that takes about 4 hours to actually cool down, first I like to cleanse my face and wait until I’ve stopped sweating before applying a thin layer of moisturiser and making my makeup concoction.

DeMann adds, “After a workout cold water can help tighten skin but it can also add more flush to the skin. Cool water is probably better than cold when your skin is really hot. You may have to rinse skin more than once to truly bring the heat down.”

Healthline says, “If you want to make a splash with your skincare routine, try washing your face in cold water. There are many benefits to this, such as tightened pores, acne prevention, and a face that looks more awake.

“For most skin care needs, though, you should look to using lukewarm water” after working out.

When I do, the first thing I always include is Drunk Elephant’s D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops– a concentrated bronze-coloured serum designed to be mixed with other skincare products- which provides enough bronzing action to make skin look really healthy without covering it up, as well as antioxidants to give post-gym skin some free-radical protection (a must for city dwellers and sun worshippers).


Image – Live That Glow


Next, I add in some more protection with SPF. I find Dr Sam’s Flawless Daily Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50 gives skin a bit of a glow and wears well with other makeup, although those who like a matte look might prefer something like REN’s Clean Screen Mineral SPF 30.


Image – Live That Glow


DeMann advises, “Your skin is going to be cooling for several hours and you should be looking pretty good from this, so a light SPF or tinted light SPF is probably all you need.”

And finally, if I want to ramp up the glowiness more I add in a couple of drops of liquid highlighter or light-reflecting serum like Marc Jacobs Dew Drops Coconut Gel Highlighter Filter or Becca’s Backlight Priming. Oiler skin types can skip this step if the thought of further glow is a step too far though.


Image – Live That Glow


To mix my cocktail I combine a couple of pumps of each product between my palms before using my fingers to apply over the whole face- the sort of lazy girl makeup routine that even I can get on board with and can do even if I’ve only got a few minutes before I have to head off.

Depending on how much I use, the D Bronzi and light-reflecting serum tends to cover up most blemishes, but for under eyes or any particularly noticeable spots I use a skin-friendly concealer like RMS’s “Un” Cover Up Concealer, which keeps the glowy look going while offering enough coverage to conceal dark circles.

For a slightly more matte look, I also like Colourpop’s No Filter Matte Concealer.

DeMann agrees, “Concealer is always good when used sparingly. I like Jones Road The Face Pencil. Super easy to apply only where it’s needed!”


Pack light

After using a couple of different products to get skin looking healthy, I tend to stick to two-in-one blusher and lip colour products for the rest of the face, enhancing any natural flush on cheeks with something like Milk Makeup’s Lip + Cheek.

I also really Olio E Osso’s Tinted Balm, which contains shea nut oil and oil fruit oil to soothe dry post-workout lips and offers a pretty pop of colour in 15 shades, or Kjaer Weis’s Cream Blush, which despite its name can also be used on lips thanks to its natural ingredients.

“Lip and cheek tint is always great. Fast and easy,” confirms DeMann.

Similarly, one of my all-time favourite beauty products, Bybi’s Babe Balm Bronze, works as a bronzer, highlighter and eye shadow in one, giving skin a warm wash of coppery sheen, while the shea butter formula moisturises.


Image – Live That Glow


Finally, a quick coat of mascara finishes off the natural look enough to take me through shopping, brunch or a lazy day. I tend to focus on technique rather than the amount of mascara I use by applying it while looking down at a mirror and starting at the root of my lashes before wiggling the wand and then sweeping it through to the ends.

My favourite for natural-looking volume as well as condition ingredients that look after lashes is Wander Beauty’s Mile High Club Volume and Length Mascara.


Image – Live That Glow

One Step Further

While that covers lazy day makeup, if I’m going somewhere exciting or a bit more formal and want to amp up the look a little more I also throw in an easy-to-use eye shadow palette.

My preference is for neutral shades which can work for most situations and formulas which can be applied with fingers- making it so quick to do either a wash of colour or a smoky look, depending on what I want.

My favourite palette for ease of use and neutral colours which work everywhere is Roen’s 75° Warm Eye Shadow Palette, with enough shade range to offer a lid colour, a darker tone for lining the eyes, and a light gold for highlighting brow bones.


Image – Live That Glow


The Takeaway

Post-workout skin can be sensitive so I like to stick to gentle formulas as well as using that hard-earned glow to create a natural-looking, dewy base.  I save time (and money) by enhancing any natural colour with a product that can be used on both lips and cheeks and eye products that can be used both day and night.


Meet the experts

Pilar DeMann is a makeup artist and the founder of Pilar BLLaC.


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Sally Underwood is a journalist, *serious* beauty fan, and Editor-in-Chief of Live That Glow. Formerly Editorial Director of one of Europe's largest newspaper groups, Sally has been a beauty obsessive since her teen years spent dragging her long-suffering (but immaculately-groomed) friends around every beauty counter in London. She now leads Live That Glow's editorial operations.

Expertise: Skincare, Body care
Education: University College London
  • Kent Colebatch


    Hello administrator, Your posts are always a great read.

    16th December 2023

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