The other day, I committed to a cycling class, champagne lunch and a writer’s deskside — all within a span of three hours. I first cursed myself for signing up for the cycling class before developing a game plan based on this fact: There is no way in hell I can take a shower.
This is when “athleisure beauty” would come in handy. Many popular brands (including my beloved Tarte Cosmetics, givers of my newly unchapped lips) have come out with kits expressly meant to be used during and after a workout.
Athleisure beauty is touted as viable solution to minimizing your malodorous dampness, often including some combination of waterproof, sweatproof, non-pore-clogging products spiked with SPF (presumably so you can save your office neighbors from an olfactory assault). It’s also supposed to make you look like you stepped out for lunch, ate a perfect quinoa salad in the breezy shade and return with a rosy glow.
Tarte’s “no shower happy hour athleisure essentials” come with deodorant, dry shampoo, tinted moisturizer with SPF 20, blush and lip paint. Supergoop offers a Barre to Bar Beauty Set that comes with a sunscreen serum, CC cream, SPF 50 mist and lip/cheek stain.
Then there’s Sweat Cosmetics twist-up brushes with SPF 30 mineral foundation. The main differentiator is that Sweat Cosmetics makeup is water- and sweat-resistant for up to 40 minutes. “The dense brush felt surprisingly luxurious despite the synthetic shabby brush,” said our editor-in-chief. Kim is adamant about working out sans makeup and agreed to apply the mineral foundation before a tennis class. “I can see how this product can minimize shine for someone who feels self-conscious about how sweaty they get.” The thing is: I don’t really care if you can see my acne scars or persperation during exercise. I mean, do I really need foundation as I’m trying to trick my instructor into thinking my resistance knob is turned all the way to the right?
Am I the only one who doesn’t get it?!
Are these “athleisure” moisturizers infused with technology that dissipates my stench and turns it into the woody earthiness of sage? Does the dry shampoo cleanse my scalp and nourish my follicles? Do the CC creams stop my dry heaving? Nope. Then what is athleisure beauty? To me, they’re simply kits containing predetermined items for which I have far better alternatives.
For example, instead of any ol’ dry shampoo, I’d much rather take the travel-size version of Living Proof’s Dry Shampoo because it’s the closest you can get to actually cleaning without sudsing up. The super-advanced technology actually absorbs and removes oil and sweat while delivering a time-released scent so you continue smelling nice throughout the day — not just moments after you spray. It also takes care of that Ross Gellar “too much hair gel” look.
And what about micellar cleansing wipes so you can wash your face without a sink? “Micellar” refers to the tiny molecular balls called micelles that entrap and dissolve dirt, oil, makeup and other pore-clogging particulates from skin. Micellar water is so effective that French women use it in lieu of faucet water when they wash up. So why wouldn’t this be part of your athleisure beauty? The one from Simple Skincare is cheap and leaves your skin purified, petal-soft and balanced.
If my muscles feel tight or stressed, I use Eir NYC Cooling Butter. This natural alternative heals aches, bruises, muscle inflammation, burns and swelling with an arnica-infused formula. The whipped balm will make you smell peppermint-y (which is basically the best scent option to divert from any… sweat-induced odors).
Finally, if I want to even out my skin tone after I work out, I’ll just use my trustworthy Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 20 thankyouverymuch.
The One Athleisure Brand That Actually Makes Sense
During my journey to learn more about athleisure beauty, I did discover one line that didn’t confuse me at all: Yuni Beauty.
Yuni offers a couple products that have become my saving grace for times when I can’t bathe away the pungent evidence of a workout. First up is their Flash Bath No-Rinse Body Cleansing Foam. At first I was skeptical because their website states you can replace a shower with this product. (Side note: I loathe taking showers so the idea of a shower in a bottle seems too good to be true. Side note for my side note: Obviously I wouldn’t use this every day instead of bathing, but it still sounds so futuristic it rendered me doubtful.) This experience initially reminded me of the first time I used micellar cleanser. It felt foreign and downright unhygienic not to splash water on my face, but I realized the benefits pretty quickly.
After my spin session, I peeled off my sopping wet clothes and toweled off any visible beads before slathering this mousse-textured foam all over. It absorbed quickly into my skin and left zero sticky residue, which was my main concern. The formula contains one of my favorite botanicals, neem, which is known for its potent antibacterial properties. It made me feel refreshed knowing the festering bacteria was being destroyed. And to my shock, everything actually felt clean. I can’t explain why but it did. I say this foam is a game changer.
Then there’s Yuni’s Shower Sheets, which look and feel like facial wipes, only bigger. Like the foam, the sheets contain neem and aloe vera, but there’s also peppermint oil, which adds more antibacterial power to the whole thing. I was unsure of this too because Yuni says these are better for heavier workouts (and even camping and surfing), but I was convinced when a friend told me she loves using these after hot yoga. (Yes, after twisting herself into all sorts of positions in a 105 degree Fahrenheit room full of other sweating, albeit very peaceful, people.)
I used the Shower Sheets on areas with crevices, such as my underarms and behind the knees. The minty freshness definitely adds a cooling sensation, while there is no residue–just skin that’s hydrated but not greasy. I absolutely love it. And since I happen to be a fan of wipes, I would prefer these over the foam.
Last but not least, the Yuni product that intrigued the most: the Hot Head Microveil Hair Treatment. This oil-based formula is activated by body heat, which opens up your hair cuticles and paves way for the oils (like argan and kukui) to deeply penetrate hair so it nourishes it from inside out. This raised my right brow the most. The thought of something conditioning my hair while I’m sweltering makes me imagine a thick paste. But even more so, it felt gimmicky. After all, as long as I’m sweating my ass off, my cuticles will react the same way regardless. That means I can apply any hair oil and it will get all up in there. But either way, I have to say that after I showered (a real shower, that is), I noticed my hair was not only a lot shinier and smoother than usual, but guess what? My itchy, flaky scalp was no more!
I imagine this product would be a godsend for guys and gals with thick, coarse, frizzy, dry hair and apparently dandruff. For fine or oily-haired people, I’m not so sure. Either way, we should all be using our hair treatments while we’re burning up!
As far as I know, Yuni Beauty doesn’t even advertise themselves as an athleisure brand (the company was founded by two yogis–for yogis), but their products are so useful they can be used by anyone who sweats and can’t shower. To me, that’s what athleisure beauty should be.