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I woke up like this

Gym ready.

There is one thing I never leave the house without. Ever.

And it’s not the obvious collection of keys, phone and wallet. I can live without those.

It’s makeup. That, I can’t live without.

It doesn’t matter where I’m going. Whether it be the supermarket, school drop-off or child birth – I always have something on. Even if it’s only a light dust of bronzer or a suggestion of blush. It’s a non-negotiable step to leaving the house.

The only place I don’t wear makeup, is to bed.

I even wear makeup when I work out. By this I don’t mean, I just happened to be wearing makeup earlier in the day and then left it on to exercise. I mean, if working out is the only thing I’m doing that day – I will still intentionally apply makeup.

And I’m not alone.

In a Facebook poll asking Pretty Strong 40 followers if they wear some form of makeup to the gym, 40% of the 146 respondents answered ‘yes.’ A similar poll of the Australian moderated, 90,000 strong Facebook group – The Makeup Social, yielded mixed results. This group, consisting of professional makeup artists and devotees, was passionate in their responses, with many respondents against the use of makeup for exercise.

In makeup circles, wearing cosmetics to work out is a controversial and divisive topic that invokes a wide spectrum of beliefs.

For some, there is nothing worse than the horror of a face dripping with oily, paraben enriched, technicolour sweat. There exists an underlying fear of perspiration being forcefully restrained by stubborn pore clogging foundations or powders. There exists an even greater fear this may result in acne causing toxins.

For many people, how they look when working out has no impact on the benefits they derive from the experience. As Makeup Social member, Elle Walker says, ‘I don’t go to the gym to look hot, I go to make myself hot.’

And of course, there is the logical concern about the point of wearing makeup that will likely get washed away in a rush of sweat.

Didn't you wake up like this?

However, for many of us, myself included, barefaced working out is not an option.

Exercise is an important and positive contributor to my physical and mental health and overall well-being. My time in a gym or dance studio is prized, and usually carefully orchestrated around kid’s meal times, babysitting, work and study. When I work out, I like to make the most of it and part of that includes feeling good about how I look. It has the flow on effect of boosting my confidence as I move my body in front of ever present studio mirrors. Without over analysing my philosophical and psychological desire to improve my appearance, simply put, I wear makeup because I feel like I look better with it on.

This doesn’t mean my face is buried in product. Sometimes it’s just brows, mascara and fake tan – the makeup/no makeup look. When I was younger this would have been my preferred option, as I attempted to play it cool and conceal my need for makeup. However, the 40+ me is out and proud and painting the gym red - burnt tan 06, to be exact.

The desire to look good at the gym isn’t breaking news. The rapid expanse of the activewear market in recent years, is testimony to this. This trend has not gone unnoticed by the Beauty industry, with many brands releasing ‘gym proof’ products that won’t ‘clog your pores’ and stifle your sweat.

Niki Kiskiras, Senior Product Manager at L'Oreal Luxe Australia, shares her favourite gym 'go-to' products with Pretty Strong 40.

So, the choice is yours Pretty Strong 40s - will you wear makeup to your next gym session?

I’d love to hear about it.

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