beauty

ROAD TEST: "I tried the $16 face antiperspirant that promised to mop up my sweaty face."

I have a bit of a problem with face sweat.

Yes, excessive face sweat, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. OK, I’m a little bit ashamed but I’m working through it.

You see, as soon as the weather edges above the early to mid twenties and I have to catch the train to work, my face loses its cool and breaks out into a sweat. If I were to shake myself like a wet dog on the train (which I don’t because, decorum), little droplets of face sweat would spray my fellow commuters.

It’s very inconvenient, not to mention highly embarrassing. Face sweat ruins my makeup, brings out my cowlicks and adds nothing to my life.

“Oh, you look so dewy,” my colleagues kindly remark when they see me sitting in front of my desk fan. But I know what they’re thinking.

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What you think you look like versus What you actually look like with a sweaty face. Image: Supplied.

Like all good things, I was alerted to a possible solution for face sweat by a group of women who claim they have the answer.

It's called the Neat Feat 3B Face Saver Gel, and it will set you back about $16.

From the makers of one of my favourite thigh chafe creams, the Neat 3B Action Cream, Face Saver Gel is literally antiperspirant for your face. Unlike a deodorant, which only masks the smell of your sweat, antiperspirant blocks the production of sweat (but not the odour).

Face Saver Gel promises to help decrease the amount of perspiration visible on your face and the excess perspiration and shine... which I really need a hand with.

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I decided to give this unicorn-type product a go for my morning commute, after which I usually arrive at the office looking like I've done several laps at the pool. Or one lap. I'm drenched in sweat is what I'm trying to say.

Think of Face Saver Gel as a primer - the instructions recommend applying the product before any other facial cosmetics i.e. after cleansing but before any serums. I skipped my serum and went straight to moisturiser because I didn't want to waste any product that might not penetrate the skin's barrier.

The clear gel formula works by evaporating rapidly from the the skin's surface, leaving a thin film of the aluminium active ingredient. It feels light and cool to apply, and goes a bit tingly after a minute or two. The product dries straight away, meaning it didn't slow me down with my speed morning makeup routine.

Aside from the cool feeling (like a cool breeze on your face, without the breeze bit), you don't notice the Face Saver Gel is there. It didn't pill under my makeup - everything applied smoothly over my skin as normal.

But the real test started once I left the house.

My first observation is that it does what it promises to. The sweat around my hairline, under my eyes, on my upper lip and my chin - all the areas that normally fall victim to droplets of sweat - were noticeably drier. Sure, I was a tad damp on the back of my neck and in the decolletage area, but my makeup stayed in place and I didn't need a sweat towel to mop myself up.

Me with makeup, but without Face Saver Gel. Image: Supplied.
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Makeup is still there, but sweat is pooling under my eyes and droplets are running down my cheek. Cute. Image: Supplied.
Me with Face Saver Gel and no makeup. Image: Supplied.
Sorry to get so up close, but as you can see, minimal face sweat. Image: Supplied.
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Me with Face Saver Gel and makeup - only a slight dewiness on the ole upper lip. Image: Supplied.
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And me as soon as I got into work (apologies for the sleepy eyes). Image: Supplied.
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I did experience a weird side effect though, which after putting my health on the line for a whole week trialling this product, I can confirm isn't a coincidence.

The biggest thing I noticed is that on my commute while wearing Face Saver Gel, I would feel a bit... funny. I couldn't get past the light-headed feeling like I might faint. The feeling would stay with me for the entire commute until I was sitting comfortably at my desk.

My theory is that, as a sweaty person, my body uses my face sweat to regulate temperature and cool my system down. Like a kettle that evaporates or, less flattering, a hot water system that leaks. With that significantly reduced, my body didn't quite know what to do with itself.

I also tried applying the product sparingly in the areas that need it the most - under eyes, hairline and a swipe above the upper lip - and it helped a bit, but I still felt a little bit ill.

For that reason, it's not a product I'd include in my everyday routine. As annoying as it is, I can handle my sweaty face without it by a) doing makeup at work, b) wearing my hair in a bun up off my neck for ventilation, and c) lots of setting spray and translucent powder. I might wear it if I had an event or had to go on TV (ha, good one) with hot, bright lights, but other than that, we're not a good fit.

That doesn't mean it won't be an option for someone else, though. Many of the women in Mamamia's You Beauty Facebook group said it's prevented many a face of makeup from melting away in the summer months.

Face Saver Gel definitely does what it advertises, and at less than $20, anyone whose sweaty face really bother them can afford top give it a try.

Do you have any good hacks for managing face sweat in summer? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

For more sweaty face tips, listen to Leigh Campbell's sound advice on the You Beauty podcast below.

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