In Style + Design

The Ultimate Pre And Post Gym Skin Care Routine

Inherent motivation to work out can be thin on the ground at the best of times and particularly when the tendrils of winter are still curling around the city. Knowing that schlepping your body to the gym, yoga, or F45 is the beneficial choice isn’t necessarily the most convincing at an ungodly hour before work or when staring out of your office window as the sun sets and the birds are absolutely not singing. Enter self-persuasion through excess, dangle the carrot in front of yourself by turning your post-workout routine into an ersatz, portable spa situation.

The first key to doing the most is the Boy Scout motto: be prepared. The below suggestions have been selected (as well as for their lushness and cruelty free status) on the basis of being multi-use, compact or generally portable. Decanting a couple of pumps into a chic travel kit will also allow you to save some space in your gym bag. Or alternately, go hard and bring your whole vanity. Be extra, whatever works.

Step 1: Kit off

Depending on when you’re working out you may need to remove some make up, or the grime of the day. A quick swipe of the RMS Beauty Ultimate Makeup Remover Wipes will minimise the risk of breakouts brewing from the combination of makeup, city pollution and sweat (yum). They’re made with the same certified organic coconut oil as the RMS Raw Coconut Cream and as well as being able to remove waterproof makeup, boast anti-fungal, antibacterial and moisturising properties. Unlike many conventional wipes they’re eco-friendly and don’t contain any of the usual fragrances, alcohols and preservatives needed to stabilise traditional wipes. Which are, to be fair, moist towelettes sitting on shelves for questionable amounts of time. Chuck a couple into your bag, they’re individually wrapped.

While the wipes are moisturising enough that you can power through pilates, no extra steps required, this isn’t the aim of the game. Now is a good opportunity to add a chemical exfoliant: simultaneously shedding some excess winter padding and dead skin. Chemical exfoliants are a quick, fuss free way to encourage dead skin cells to hit the road, by dissolving the bonds between the cells. AHAs like lactic acid and glycolic acid also function as humectants, drawing moisture to the skin, while the oil soluble BHA salicylic acid aids in combating breakouts and congestion.

The Doctor Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel pads are excellent for the gym-spa situation. Step one contains a blend of both AHAs and BHAs to help brighten and exfoliate skin, and the second step is a neutralising solution which contains a host of antioxidants and retinol to fight free radical damage and promote firmness and textural evenness. Like weights, choose based on the strength you’re after: it comes in gentle, universal and extra strength.

Step 2: Gear on

Once your swiping is done (max three minutes, so as not be late to class) here’s where you can really flex on your personal care regime: hair treatments. When was the last time you did one? Uncertain? Us too. While this addition is a little dependant on your hair type and preferred form of exercise, slathering on a hair mask and wrapping your follicles into a tight, slicked back bun or braid not only keeps it out of the way, but does double time repairing damage that may have occurred from chronic reliance on hair dryers in the cooler months.

The 3More Inches Pre Wash Treatment is made for this: slather it into the lengths of dry hair, no need to shampoo first, and marvel at how much your hair drinks up. The light, water-based gel enriched with amino acids and cashmere proteins almost feels too insubstantial to be doing that much good to your hair – incorrect. The first time you wash it out, you won’t recognise your own hair. And no one will recognise that your sleek and practical wet-look bun is actually your hair having a long drink. You could leave this on overnight if your hair truly needs the protein hit, but an hour-long yoga class will also do the trick.

If you’re not feeling a full hair mask, keep your cosmetics bag stocked with things that do double duty. An oil can be used for a multitude of dryness issues. The Kahina Giving Beauty Argan Oil ticks pretty much every mindful consumer box: organic, fair trade, cold-pressed and small batch, all the while being an excellent moisturiser for your skin and hair. Right before you head into your session rub a couple drops over wherever feels right. Perhaps lashes, brows and cuticles, or warm a few drops between your palms and work through your hair.

Step 3: Finish strong

As many HIIT instructors love to yell, it’s all about how you finish. Suitably moisturised and sweaty post-workout, now is the cathartic moment for thorough cleansing. Having already taken care of excess facial skin shedding, dig into the OUAI Scalp and Body Scrub. While chemical exfoliants are great for the delicate skin on your face, the tactile joy of scooping your fingers into this sugar scrub and rubbing down is hard to beat.

Enriched with probiotics (your scalp will love them as much as your gut) and coconut oil this scrub can improve microcirculation and, if you use a little elbow grease, also double as a quick post-workout massage, glorious. Oil up after showering with the aforementioned Argan oil and you should feel like a very fit, sleek baby seal.

This last one admittedly comes from an enterprising mystery woman in the Pitt St Yogabar: when you’re getting dressed in the change room and you have a spare five minutes, throw on a sheet mask or under-eye gel. There is a myriad of options here, tailor to your various skin goals: hydration, brightening, firming. The world is your hydrogel. If it’s chilled it’ll even reduce any post-exercise redness – genius. Now, you may not have been the most flexible person in your yoga class, but you’re definitely doing the most in the change-room.

Published 30 August, 2018