Looking good while working out

This blog’s tagline is “Health, fitness and vanity.” There is quite a lot of talk on health and fitness but I count just two posts on vanity – one about how I have too many workout clothes and the other on the how endurance athletes have quite attractive body types to me. Does this mean I’m not as vain as I thought I was? 🙂

Today I’m going to talk about something quite bimbiotic – which is how to look good while working out. As you can tell, this post is targeted toward the female population because I have this impression that guys don’t really have the same hangups as we do about looking pretty while sweating!

My three tips to looking good while working out are:

  1. Put on makeup that doesn’t look like makeup
  2. Wear flattering clothes
  3. Prettify your hair

Put on makeup that doesn’t look like makeup

Ideally and practically speaking, you wouldn’t be wearing any makeup at all when you’re exercising. Your pores should be allowed to breathe and it’s nice not to get powder all over your towel when you’re wiping down. But unless you have perfect skin, you’re not going to look very pretty exercising bare faced. That doesn’t mean that you start caking on foundation and three layers of mascara like Kim Kardashian at the gym.

Kim Kardashian wears a full face of makeup to the gym
Kim Kardashian wears a full face of makeup to the gym

Instead, aim for a natural look like Olympics track and field athlete Jessica Enis, who confessed to competing with makeup. According to an interview on The Daily Mail, she said that “You don’t want it plastered on when you are competing as it will end up clogging your pores.” Jessica sticks to foundation, eyeliner, lip colour and waterproof mascara from Bobbi Brown.

'It makes me feel more confident,' she confesses. 'I always ensure my skin is clean and moisturised, and never leave the house without mascara and eye liner on.'
‘It makes me feel more confident,’ she confesses. ‘I always ensure my skin is clean and moisturised, and never leave the house without mascara and eye liner on.’

When I go for hikes, I like to kill two birds with one stone by looking good and protecting my skin at the same time. I really like Suki’s tinted moisturiser, which combines organic and natural ingredients with sun protection and some coverage. It’s not cheap and can be purchased for $83 at Pure Tincture. BB cream is also a good idea but be careful that you buy one with high quality ingredients that won’t clog your pores. I like Sulwhasoo’s Whitening BB Cream with SPF 50. It’s unique amongst other BB creams because it’s the only one where the first ingredient isn’t water or silicones. Instead, it’s Angelica Acutiloba root extract and 21% of this cream contain herbal ingredients. The good thing about these creams is that the coverage is light and you won’t look like you’re wearing foundation (even if you sort of are wearing something).

If you really, really must wear “proper” foundation or have a nasty breakout to cover up, then I would really recommend mineral makeup that does not contain parabens and mineral oil. The last thing you want to do it to exacerbate your skin problems. I’m a fan of Everyday Minerals; the ingredients are relatively simple, with the jojoba range containing mica, jojoba esters, titanium dioxide, iron oxides and ultramarines. I have also tried Lucy Minerals, which has fancier ingredients like green coffee bean extract, which is an antioxidant that supposedly fights free radicals.

Whatever you choose, make sure that you choose something that nourishes your skin at the same time. The best kind of makeup is good skin.

Wear flattering clothes

Up until I got out of university, I wore big T-shirts and FBT shorts to exercise. It was the uniform du jour for school kids. It was only when I started practising yoga did I become more interested in buying more fitting clothes. When you’re upside down in downward dog and your shirt bunches around your face, you know it’s time to get better fitting tops.

It was also around this time that I discovered Lululemon, which started as a small Canadian company in 1998 to a public yoga empire in 2007. Walk into any gym today and chances are that you will see at least a few people wearing Lululemon. Walk into a yoga class and maybe half of the class wears Lululemon.

What’s great about the success of the brand is that people started realising that women want to look good and also feel good while working out. Indie brands started popping up and becoming popular via social media.

My friends – Michelle and Alicia – started an online business recently selling these niche exercise wear. The website is OMgoing and they sell Teeki – which makes its tights from recycled plastic bottles – as well as other brands like Brazilian yoga wear Shakti Activewear and Australian label Body Angel Activewear.

I think they look fabulous in all the zany colours and intricately designed sports bras.

OMgoing yoga
OMgoing sisters – Michelle and Alicia

Even a yoga pose looks so much better when you’re dressed in the right attire.

Warrior III pose
Warrior III pose

It’s not just about looks as well. Make sure your workout attire is functional. In the past, I used to buy ankle-long tights just because they had some pretty prints on them. After a while, I stopped reaching for them and instead went for my shorter capris because they were way more comfortable. Some people like the long leggings but it makes me feel restricted. So now I only buy shorter leggings. These below would be perfect for me!

I love blue!
I love blue!

Granted, all these things may seem very shallow and I sometimes feel like I’m wasting my hard earned money. But the thing about wearing comfortable and functional attire is that I feel more motivated to exercise. I want to leap over rocks and get back on the trails in my new azure blue tights that not only makes me look pretty but also does a darn good job at wicking away sweat.

Prettify your hair

This is the one that I struggle with the most. I usually start my exercise with a well meaning bouncy ponytail. But about 10 minutes into my Body Combat class, the spritely ponytail will droop and I will have to do up my hair again mid punch. The result is usually a rat’s nest of badly bundled up bun.

I wish that my hair looks like this all the time.

exercise hair

Failing which, I think the next best thing are braids, Katniss Everdeen style. If this chick can run around in the forest fighting for her life in braids, I’m sure I can last an entire hour in an air conditioned class.

katniss hair

But as you can see, braids are pretty but they still look messy and bits will fall out during vigorous exercise. If you really want to look neat and ensure that nothing gets into your eyes, exercise bands are a good choice. Sweaty Bands, which get really good reviews online, are now available in Singapore at The Sports Shack. The price for these bands range from S$20 to S$26 and there are so many designs and widths you can choose from. If you get them from the company’s main website, there are over 700 designs to choose from.

sweaty bands tennis
Look how neat she looks with a hair band
sweaty bands mud
Good for crawling in mud

I don’t have this brand (yet) but I am quite certain the bands will help me look presentable when I’m crawling through mud.

What are your vainpot exercise tips? Makeup while working out – yay or nay?

2 thoughts on “Looking good while working out”

  1. Hey Joyce thank you for the shout out! And you look awesome in our clothes! Put your photo up! 🙂

    Yes i always try to go makeup free but when i see myself sometimes all sweaty and dirty with no makeup, i scare myself. In a perfect world, with perfect luminous skin, i would go without makeup definitely. For now, for most dancing classes, i put on slight makeup. 🙂

    1. Yes I struggle with this makeup thing too. I don’t want to look terrible but at the same time, I don’t want to be dripping coloured sweat!!

      Looking forward to more exciting launches at your new online store!!!

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