When I say I wear make-up to the gym, I’m not saying I look like a contestant from RuPaul’s Drag Race at my yoga and weights session. I just like to glam it up a little bit, regardless of where I’m going – and the gym is no exception.
I rarely head to the supermarket without at least putting some concealer on. It’s about preparing to face the world and whatever little rituals we can do to make ourselves feel more bullet-proof are our own business, as long as they don’t harm anyone else.
In fairness, I teach yoga, barre, pilates and occasionally, BodyPump, so the gym is also my place of work. And so just as most women – and some men – feel more confident getting the job done when they are armed with foundation, bronzer, and mascara, it makes me feel more confident too. I don’t do it to disguise flaws, or to make myself into someone I’m not. I just really love make-up.
There’s something hugely powerful and transformative about being able to express yourself through your fashion, makeup, hair and movement. All of these things are expressions of who we are.
I used to go to a BodyPump class with a teacher who wore matte red lipstick that stayed flawless regardless of how sweaty and red her face became. The power of it hadn’t struck me until I showed up one Saturday and there she was, makeup free.
There’s a lot to be said for the psychology of makeup: somehow that day she just didn’t seem as fierce and energetic. Think of that classic advice to dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Similarly, wear the lipstick for the energy you want- not the energy you have.
Listen: Rebecca Sparrow and Robin Bailey ponder the question – Do you want to be fit? Or do you want to be thin? (Post continues after audio)
Personally, I’m not a bold red lipstick wearer, but I do want my makeup to survive barre, yoga, BodyPump, lunch and an afternoon meeting before another evening class, though.
So this is my ritual. Wake up and shower. Coffee while buffing on E.L.F stick foundation – the great thing about this is that it has a matte effect so it won’t look like an oil slick by mid-morning. This goes in my gym bag for touch ups so I don’t have to tote around a separate concealer. After copious amounts of coffee (which I really do need to chill on), I go in on the liquid lipstick and liner.
Something about a powerful mouth makes me feel a bit more battle-ready in the gym and beyond it (Kat Von D Lolita for everyday and Homegirl for special occasions, like a BodyPump/Yoga double).
And listen, some people would call that enough, which would be totally fair, but I like to always go a step further. There is always blush and highlighter in my arsenal – because even if I’ve been doing hundreds of downward dogs, squatting like a madwoman and lifting kettlebells all morning, I still look like I got 12 hours’ sleep.
Don’t tell anyone, but Mecca Cosmetica “Enlightened” illuminator doubles as an eyeshadow and if they ever sell out, I’m going to be furious.
From a 7am start through to lunchtime, my lipstick does the distance and my foundation goes dewy with some sweat and heat but I love that look. My mascara survives without any dripping. I do need to reapply lip and highlighter around midday but I tend to leave the same foundation on until I get home, which can be any time from 3pm through until 7pm.
Look, a bare face is a beautiful face, don’t get me wrong. But also, ultimately, you came to work out and get stronger. Me too. So, come as you are, however it is and I won’t judge you. All I ask, is that you don’t judge me either. And if you want to compare favourite lipstick names? I’ve always got time between sets for that.