Going without makeup in everyday life is cool now *bows down to Alicia Keys.* But there’s a new expectation that maybe we should be wearing it while working out (the one time it seemed totally acceptable to skip it!). “Athleisure” makeup, targeting health-conscious, active women, is popping up all over beauty shelves from brands like Tarte, Birchbox, and (the aptly named) Sweat. Whether that makes you want to roll your unmascara-ed eyes or start shopping for a new contour cream you can wear to Spin class, here’s what you need to know, according to dermatologists.

Tarte Athleisure Photo via Instagram @ninzeey

WTH is athleisure makeup?

“Many athleisure makeup products are waterproof and sweatproof—they’re designed for exercise,” explains Lauren Ploch, M.D., a dermatologist in Augusta, Georgia. Additionally, some feature natural ingredients that are less likely to clog pores during sweat sessions. That said, you don’t need them—even if you love wearing makeup to work out. It’s just smart marketing that’s capitalizing on the $97 billion athlesiure apparel industry. “Hundreds of products on the market offer the same benefits without the 'athleisure' label,” Dr. Ploch says.

Isn’t exercising with makeup on terrible for your skin?

Not necessarily. Any formula—athleisure or otherwise—that’s noncomedogenic (translation: won’t clog your pores) and/or oil-free, should be OK, Dr. Ploch says. To prevent a major breakout, avoid thick, heavy, or oil-based makeup, which can lead to acne when mixed with perspiration. “I like the power of powders when it comes to working out,” says Mona Gohara, M.D., associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University. “They’re absorptive, but they can also conceal, and even add shimmer or bronzing.”
Athleisure Makeup Photo: Sweat Cosmetics/Colorscience Her favorite: Colorscience Sunforgettable Brush On Sunscreen, but the new Sweat Mineral Foundation SPF 30 Twist Brush has a similar formula. And if you wear mascara to the gym, just make sure it's waterproof, so it doesn't run into your eyes. Your go-to favorite will do the trick; no need to purchase one from an active beauty line (unless you want to!).

Any pre- and post-workout skin care tips I should follow?

Before you put on any makeup pre workout, wash your face with a gentle cleanser to start with a clean slate, Dr. Ploch says. We like BeautyRX Gentle Cream Cleanser. And don’t forget to apply sunblock if you’re going to be exercising outdoors or near a window. “Noncomedogenic sunscreen is a must for exercise so that your pores don’t trap sweat, dirt, and oil,” she says. Look for a mineral one with zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide like Colorscience or Sweat mentioned above. If it’s tinted, it can double as makeup.

After exercise, wash your face with a non-soap cleanser, Dr. Gohara says. Or stash some cleansing wipes or micellar water, which removes makeup and cleans your skin without needing to be rinsed, in your gym bag so you can freshen up on the go, she suggests. We love Simple Skincare Cleansing Face Wipes, or Yes to Coconut Ultra Hydrating Micellar Cleansing Water.

I'd go #makeupfree at the gym...if I looked like Alicia Keys...

We hear ya. Although we'd encourage you to embrace the skin you're in, if you’re bothered by acne, dark circles, or redness, consider seeing a dermatologist to discuss treatments, Dr. Ploch says. “It’s important to address any insecurities about the skin so that makeup can be fun and optional, not a necessity,” she says. Derm not an option? We get that too. You can always just spot conceal with a concealer to avoid a face full of makeup at the gym. Try: Cover FX Cream Concealer or Clinique Acne Solutions Clearing Concealer for blemishes.

So what's the bottom line?

Do whatever is going to make you feel the most confident and perform your best during a workout. If that means fully done up, look for noncomedogenic makeup or formulas that are waterproof—but just know that those don't necessarily have to be labeled "athleisure" or "active." If it means going completely barefaced, right on. You do you. Just be aware of this new marketing trend and shop accordingly.
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