It’s scientifically proven that working out reduces anxiety, helps with sleep, and energizes the body — those are all reasons I turned to exercise in the first place. But, through the myriad of benefits I’ve found, there’s one thing I’ve struggled with: All the heat and sweat can really mess with my skin. When I go out running, I arrive home with a face the color of a ripe Roma tomato, and if I don’t change out of my sport’s bra immediately, I’m stuck with a strip of acne down my back. All that is to say that I’ve devised a post-workout beauty routine to combat the one negative I’ve found around my exercise habits.
Last year I shared the products I make room for when I’m headed out on a camping or backpacking trip, but for short workouts close to home (or even in my living room), my routine — and the holy grail products I use to achieve it — is less about short-term survival and more about making sure I’m caring for my skin for the long term by protecting, moisturizing, and being thoughtful about which chemicals or products I use regularly. Below, I break down my post-sweat regimen step-by-step and share the products that help me avoid breakouts and to stay hydrated internally and externally.
We only include products that have been independently selected by TZR's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
Post-Workout Beauty Routine: Get Clean Immediately
This first step is inevitably the most difficult for me, which is sad being that it’s literally the most basic and straightforward thing a runner (or spinner or weightlifter) can do. I’ll be much better off if I resist my post-workout laziness, strip off those sweaty clothes, and hop in the shower as quickly as possible. A two-minute sudsy rinse is all it takes to avoid the dreaded breakouts. I prefer a simple body wash like Neccesaire’s — a little bit goes a long way. When my skin is flushed and sweaty post-workout, I avoid any harsh scrubs or masks and just keep things gentle and simple. On my face, I use a light cleanser like Dr. Barbara Sturm’s and I make sure to clean along my hairline and my neck since those areas are easy to miss (which can in turn lead to breakouts). I don’t wash my hair after most workouts because it’s so long and thick, it would take forever. Instead, it stays in a bun for my quick 120 seconds under the water, and once I’m toweled off I just let it air dry.
Post-Workout Beauty Routine: Refresh The Skin
Then it’s time to care for my skin. Before any outdoor workout, I make sure to put sunscreen on my face, usually Supergoop’s Unseen Sunscreen. But, after my workout, I go through a more complete routine. Post-shower I always moisturize my body since my skin tends to be on the drier side and constant showering can leave me ashy. On my legs and arms, I use thick body butter. While my skin is still damp, I’ll slap on a vitamin C serum if it’s in the morning, otherwise, I’ll make sure to moisturize my face and re-apply my sunscreen, even if I’m going to be sitting indoors working from home.
Post-Workout Beauty Routine: Keep Makeup Simple
Since workouts leave my skin feeling refreshed and glowy, I prefer to keep my makeup choices simple. Mascara, a bit of highlighter or cream blush, a brow brush, and something moisturizing for my lips. Any blemishes can be dotted out with a concealer (I swear by Fenty), but I prefer to let my skin breathe after getting sweaty — that glow is one of the benefits of working out, after all.