Beauty and the Beast(mode)

As you will have seen me boldly state on the Wildcat Fitness Personal Training website – fitness IS my number one passion in life. But do you know what comes a close second? Make up and beauty products, as my overflowing bathroom cupboards and bedroom shelves will testify. You might think make up and the gym are not a match made in heaven, and for many people they aren’t, but personally I still like to look good even when I sweat, and I certainly like to appear groomed when I train my clients or go to meetings, so it’s very rare that you’ll see me bare faced. However, I also like to look after my skin and hair and also not feel like I am caked in products and my skin can’t breathe – so over the years I’ve honed down the contents of my make up and toiletry bag and have a handful of products I now swear by. And I’m about to share them with you!

And whilst I love to pretend that this is my routine every day before working out, sadly this is a flash back to a photoshoot with Tom Miles and my amazing make up artist Lauren Ross!

Before I go any further I just want to say I know some people will think I am crazy wearing make up to the gym. And if that is your opinion I totally respect it, however I still like to look my best when I train, and being completely honest I am very uncomfortable without make up, and so whilst I may have got the natural look down, I’m not prepared to swap natural look for au naturel any time soon. Many girls CAN rock up to the gym bare faced and look beautiful and I am in full and genuine admiration of these girls, but I look like a shiny bug eyed hamster with no make up and my clients and classes are normally horrified enough at the moves I put them through during a session, so they don’t need to be terrified of my first thing in the morning face as well. This very well may make me sound vain and self obsessed, but I just don’t have the confidence to go bare faced when I train (myself or others), but I do have confidence now finally in my body and in my workouts, so just as I wouldn’t rock up to a session in baggy tracksuit bottoms with holes in and a stained t-shirt, I don’t face the world with blotchy skin and unkempt brows either.

HOWEVER – by the same token I also don’t think that gym make up and going out make up are one and the same. Far from it. I wear completely different products on a working day to a day off because I have completely different looks and needs. So whilst you will see me with products on my face in the gym, you wouldn’t see me in full foundation, lipstick and false lashes as I personally believe that to be overkill for a training session. Again, if that works for you and that’s how you feel most comfortable I once again respect the way you feel, but for me personally there’s a fine line between looking groomed and looking like I’ve glammed up for a night out.

Of course, I need performance from the products I use on a daily basis – I do sweat in them, and often I can be out of the house and on the go for up to 14 hours a day, so I need them to last too. I want them to care for my skin and still look good – and from years of trial and error I think I’ve found a make up bag full of essentials for my day to day look, and I’m very happy to be sharing them with you as these are genuinely products that I use most days and that I have seen great results from.

I was overjoyed last year when I saw that finally a range of make up specifically for active women had been launched – and Sport FX has genuinely been a revelation to me and my daily regime. I was also somewhat comforted because this must mean that I’m not the only crazy girl to wear make up when I workout! The team at Sport FX very kindly sent me a box of their products and customized pens to try a couple of months ago, and having used most of the products in the range now there are a few that personally stand out for me.

Firstly, their Balance Boosting BB Cream. I use this as my base most days now – it provides great coverage without looking caked, but it also allows my skin to breathe when I am training. It also lasts really well, even through extreme sweating – I wore this product on the day I launched Body Pump 100 and taught three classes (so two hours of Body Pump and one hour of Body Attack) and despite sweating heavily my skin still had even coverage after 3 hours of training – I was pretty impressed. The product is non-comedogenic (non pore-clogging) and even though I do wear it when I train I have had no complaints in my skin and no breakouts at all. It is paraben free, SPF 20 and contains vitamins and green coffee bean extract which has been shown to help skin increase collagen production. I have to say, a little definitely goes a long way, and when I first tried the product I was probably using a bit too much and finding it quite hard to blend and still look natural, so with this one the key is most definitely less is more – but I love the coverage and the feel on my skin.

I usually always try to play up my eyes when it comes to make up, so a good mascara is essential to me, but a lot of the ones I love to wear when I go out (Urban Decay Perversion and Lancome Hypnose are my two current favourites) aren’t gym proof – which is where the Sport FX Sport Stamina Mascara comes in. The curved brush ensures great lash coverage and gives volume, but unlike a lot of waterproof mascara it doesn’t flake when it dries. This is probably because it contains almond oil and a vitamin blend which conditions lashes as well as making them look great. Trust me when I say I have put this product through its paces – cardio, weight lifting, running and even a New Years Eve workout and party – it has lasted the lot! In fact my only slight criticism of this amazing mascara is the fact that without a decent removal product it can be very hard to take off (but more on that later!)

Next up is the Sport FX Raspberry Rhubarb Recovery Lip Balm – super cute packaging and an even sweeter smell! Do you remember those Rhubarb and Custard boiled sweets from your childhood? They were one of my Pick n Mix favourites as a kid, so the fact that this lip balm smells exactly like them is most definitely a bonus! I am never without product on my lips (it is actually a running joke among many of my instructor friends that my pre-class checklist consists of music volume, mic battery check and lip gloss application!) and I love how easy this is to apply – I cannot stand tin or pot lip balms that you have to apply with your finger – especially when it comes to the gym and exercising the last thing I want to be doing is spreading sweaty germs from my hands to my mouth, so this simple applicator works a treat. As well as smelling incredible, this balm contains natural oils and shea butter so it really does protect and moisturise and provide just a hint of colour. A total gym bag essential for me!

My last essential from the Sport FX range is the Time Out Face Mist and Fix. Being frank, I’ve never really got facial or primer sprays. I fell for the hype when Smashbox launched a primer spray and rushed to buy a bottle but am still at a loss as to what it actually does to be honest. This product on the other hand does exactly what it says – fixes your make up and also provides a wonderfully refreshing post workout spritz to revive even the sweatiest of skin. It contains menthol essence which feels fresh and cool as soon as it hits your skin and the Vitamin B complex helps reduce inflammation – once again this has saved me many a time when heading straight from a workout to a meeting or client session where I need my skin to calm down, and it just feels like a little post-workout pick me up that gives your skin a boost when it needs it most!

Two products which have been absolute life savers for a year or so now are the Charlotte Tilbury The Retoucher Pen and Niod Photography Fluid. Another product I’ve never really got is primer, and so once I’ve applied my skincare I tend to go straight for my BB Cream or Foundation, but the Niod Photography Fluid has changed all that. This product was actually created with the advent of HD Technology to help skin look even better under a powerful camera lens with light refracting prisms and hue correctors to offer a photo finish effect to the skin. It is oil free and quickly absorbed and just a little of the product goes a very long way – a bottle lasts me at least 6 months usually. I use this under my eyes and across my cheekbones before I apply my foundation or BB cream and I think makes a huge difference to the way my skin looks. It is subtle, but I think helps even my skin tone and add radiance and now I’ve tried it I wouldn’t be without it. Same goes for Charlotte Tilbury’s Retoucher Pen –  it is my go-to for covering blemishes, redness and dark under eye circles, and just a few little clicks are enough to transform my face either first thing in the morning, or post workout before I dash to my next appointment. It contains black tea to help hydrate and smooth the skin, and a Lipo-Siliconic compound that effetely create a “plaster” over any imperfections, and when blended this looks completely natural. These two products are absolute heroes to me, especially when I have super long days or am especially tired – they can cover up signs of fatigue but also give a very much needed boost!

Those of you who know me well will know I love a tan – ideally from a tropical sun, but when needs must a bottle is fine too! So I was overjoyed to discover Vita Liberata Trystal Minerals Self Tanning Bronzing Powder last year – make up that helps you tan as you wear it! Why has no-one thought of this before?! This product does exactly what it says – offers a great mineral powder bronze look, whilst also providing a subtle lasting tan to the skin. When I am lucky enough to have a natural tan, just a hint of BB cream and a sweep of this over my face provides brilliant coverage, but in the thick of winter I use this as my go-to daily bronzer, sweeping across my cheekbones and t-zone to give me a natural, golden glow (even in the depths of January). This is another super long-lasting product, even though I’ve used it every day, I still have a pot I purchased in October last year.

Last but not least, how do I actually take off all of these products I wear on a daily basis? I take my skin care as seriously as I take my make up and always ensure I fully remove everything every night so that I can treat my skin as I sleep. So how do I get rid of every trace of all these great products? Of course with another great product – Sport FX Face Off Make Up Remover Wipes. These wipes are the only thing I have found strong enough to properly remove the Sport Stamina Mascara without having to scrub my eyes – I tried a few cleansers and removers which just weren’t up to the job – which is why I mentioned above that if you’re going to use the Sports FX Sport Stamina Mascara you definitely need to invest in a great make up remover because it won’t budge otherwise! These clever little wipes come in sachets of two with separate wipes for Face and Eyes – they are so tiny and light that they’re literally perfect to carry in your gym bag. They contain micellar water, green tea, olive oil and aloe vera, so whilst they will remove every scrap of your make up, they will also care for your skin – and being in a handy wipe form they’re quick to use too. I use these to remove all my products and then cleanse my face and that routine has been working a treat for me for the past couple of months.

So there you have my make up bag and daily essentials when it comes to look and feeling groomed in the gym. In fact this morning after taking a Body Combat class I showered and refreshed my make up and took a selfie so you can see the products on my face – this is me wearing Niod Photography Fluid, Sport FX BB Cream, Mascara and Lip Balm, Charlotte Tilbury Retoucher and Vita Liberata Bronzer. The lighting is good, yes, but there’s no filter or retouching on this photo, and my clients and classes will vouch this is the type of make up I wear pretty much every day.

I’ve included links to the make up products where I’ve referred to them so you can check them out for yourself, and once again, in the interests of full disclosure, whilst I was given a box of Sport FX cosmetics to try, they are not paying or sponsoring me. All other brands and products mentioned in the post are ones I have bought and paid for myself and the views stated in this post are 100% my own.

Please let me know if you do try any of these products and what you think – and of course I am always open to hearing about any other make up or beauty products that you guys swear by – there’s always room in my make up bag for more 😉

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