While no one expects you to walk out of the gym looking like Gisele Bündchen, you don’t have to look like you’ve just stumbled your way through 10 excruciating laps either. We’re here to keep that from happening. Enter these beauty hacks, straight from the beauty pros themselves that will take you from the gym to happy hour (or wherever!) in record time. Cheers to that!
1. start with cleansing your face right after working out
“One of the biggest concerns after working out are breakouts,” says Joshua Zeichner, MD, Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in Dermatology at The Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC. “As oil and dirt mix with sweat when we work out, the pores can become clogged and the skin can become inflamed. This translates to potential acne flares.”
Don’t let a blemish be your plus-one to happy hour. Stop breakouts before they even happen by thoroughly washing your face to remove sweat and oil, says Dr. Zeichner. For an even deeper clean, he recommends a hydroxy acid cleanser, such as the Ghost Democracy Transparent Daily Facial Exfoliating Cleanser.
“This cleanser contains a combination of glycolic and mandelic acids to remove excess oil after working out without causing skin irritation.”
2. if natural skincare is your thing, try this skincare cocktail
If you’re looking for a more natural solution to banish breakouts and go from weights to margaritas (or collagen mocktails), this skincare cocktail should do the trick.
Mix equal parts apple cider vinegar (raw is best) and water to use as a pre-gym toner, advises Gina Marinelli, licensed esthetician and co-founder of Skinney Medspa.
“Apple cider vinegar is great for combating acne as it has alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) that exfoliate your skin while fighting bacteria."
3. protect your skin while you work out
If you’ve only been wiping down machines and mats after using them, you could be putting your health at risk.
If not wiped down properly before using them, these areas could become a breeding ground for bacteria, fungi and viruses, says Dr. Hadley King, MD, a Board-Certified Dermatologist practicing in New York City.
These are not the kinds of things you want to be dealing with while mingling with friends or co-workers over drinks. On that note, don’t skip the shower shoes, either, adds Dr. Hadley: “They decrease your risk of contracting athlete’s foot, toenail fungus and warts.”
Since super sweaty workouts can make you more prone to sweat rashes, she recommends wearing loose-fitting, breathable fabrics that wick away moisture during your workouts.
4. when you're strapped for time, make your own shower
“Taking a quick body shower after working out is ideal. But if you don't have time or are not dripping with sweat, you could use a wet towel to wipe off any sweat on the body,” says Aimee Paik, Medical Director of Apostrophe.
You could also use portable body wipes. A great option for this is salicylic acid wipes, recommends Dr. King, since they rid the body of excess oil.
5. apply dry shampoo before you work out
Yes, before. Not just after! “This will absorb all the sweat and oil as it happens,” says Tabitha Fredrichs, trichologist and fine hair specialist. She says to apply it in areas that get oily the fastest, such as around the hairline and the base of the neck. “Then use a blow dryer afterward to remove moisture and voilà, hair with lots of body.”
Strapped for time? You can skip the blow dryer and just use your fingers. “If I find that I am super sweaty, I will quickly blow out my hair along the hair line using my fingers and then spray a bit of dry shampoo along the part line.” Her personal favorite? Oribe Gold Lust. “It smells amazing and hides the wet look with the dry spray!”
6. Work out with no makeup on
“Wearing makeup pre-gym is a big no-no as the makeup, oil and buildup can go deeper into pores clogging them and causing breakouts,” says Marisa Martino, licensed esthetician and co-founder of Skinney Medspa.
If you find it’s too much hassle to remove your makeup every single time, makeup artist Mary Irwin recommends swapping your regular mascara for waterproof on workout days. “That will keep you from smudging all over while you’re sweating and making an unintentional smoky eye!"
7. work with your post-workout glow
When you accentuate your post-workout glow (it’s not all sweat), you’re working with your skin, not against it.
“I love a tinted moisturizer to keep the glow I just got from exercising to lock in moisture,” says Irwin. “A few drops applied with fingers gives you beautiful coverage in a flash.”
When you’re in a hurry but still want to fresh up your look, Irwin recommends beauty products that multitask. For example, a cream shadow stick can become a 60-second smoky eye.
8. carry makeup essentials in your gym bag
Your workout may have been intense, but your post-workout beauty routine should be simple. “I like to keep my post gym makeup simple enough that I can do it without brushes,” explains Irwin.
Paik agrees. “I always bring a little bag with my makeup essentials to apply afterward,” she says. “Add a little mascara and blush, and you are good to go!”
You’ll also want to pack your gym bag with Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides, which is odorless, flavorless and can be easily added to your post-workout shake.
9. change up how you tie your hair
If you’re dealing with creases, dents or breakage in your hair while working out,
Fredrichs recommends tying your hair back in a loose bun or ponytail that’s made with a soft fabric. “This will also help with volume when you are done with your workout.”
If your hair is super thick, another option is to use hair clips, says Kerry Yates, beauty inventor and founder of Colour Collective. Simply position one clip in one direction and the other clip facing the other direction, she says. “This will keep your hair off your face, will prevent creasing from a hair band and when released, it gives you instant volume and just the slightest wave.”
If you’re really brave, though, Lindsay Loo, Wella Master Colorist and Renegade, recommends working out with your hair down. Yes, really.
Allow her to explain: “This is a hard one, but even with a little sweat, you hair will be allowed to move and your scalp can breathe.”
This should leave you with a very tousled messy look in the end that only requires a few touch-ups. “You can smooth areas down or reduce any moisture from sweat with a quick blow dry and then you are out the door.”
10. correct red cheeks with a cold compress
If you don’t want it to look like you overdid it on the blush, follow Yates’s tips. “My go-to beauty hack to correct red cheeks is super simple,” she tells Lively. “I will apply an ice cold wash cloth to the cheeks for five to 10 minutes. Then I will pat my skin dry and apply vitamin C drops (or any similar liquid that leaves the skin feeling cool) to my face.”
“I will then pat loose powder onto my cheeks using a beauty sponge,” Yates shares. Make sure not to add any oil or heavy cream to the cheeks since this will just extend the amount of time that your cheeks stay red.
11. make use of the beauty products your gym offers
No one wants to show up to happy hour with a head full of frizz, so if you forgot your curl creams or oils to use during your post-workout shower, take advantage of the beauty products your gym has to offer.
“Grab the conditioner from the shower and use VERY little, scrunch the conditioner into your curls and use a towel (or paper towel if that is your curl preference) and remove any access conditioner while scrunching” says Loo.
“You can also use conditioner to define your curls as well. Still use a little as this goes a long way.”
With these tips, you don’t have to cancel those evening plans. You can get your workout in and sip margaritas too (it’s all about #balance, right?) and you can do it all without stopping at home to freshen up.