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8 Skincare Tips for Before and After a Workout

Exercise is great for your body and mind, but heavy sweating can impact your skin. Keep reading for pre and post workout skincare tips!


  1. Take a shower
  2. Cleanse your face thoroughly 
  3. Shampoo and cleanse your scalp
  4. Use a calming toner

    I love practicing yoga. That’s not a secret. In fact, at one point, I was even a yoga teacher.

    I mean, what’s not to love about it? It’s been well documented that yoga provides people with a plethora of benefits, such as increasing strength, balance and flexibility; improving your posture and other bodily functions; helping you relax, relieve stress and sleep better. 

    Best of all, yoga can help you make healthier lifestyle choices and stay connected with your spirituality.

    The only teeny, tiny setback to yoga that I can think of?

    You sweat. Like, a lot! Especially if you’re venturing into the more advanced levels, such as hot yoga, then you can 100% expect to be drenched in sweat afterward. 

    Now, sweating has many health benefits. However, it does complicate your skincare routine a little bit. And I’m sure many of my fellow yoga practitioners and gym-goers can relate. Should I do my skincare routine before the workout? Or should I do it after? Does sweating give me pimples? Etc.

    So many things to consider here.

    Not to mention, you’ll definitely be touching lots of sweat-covered surfaces, which you’ll then probably spread to your face as well. What does that mean? Germs, bacteria, oils and dirt, all of which are gonna get onto your skin and into your pores. Now that’s a party!

    So how should you properly take care of your skin when you’re working out? Here are the 8 skincare tips that you should follow before and after your workout, as proven by moi!

    Before your workout

    1. Only do a light skincare routine 

    Yes, I’m totally team #SkincareBeforeWorkout.

    However, the trick is to not go overboard with your skincare routine. You’re not really doing yourself any favours that way. Think about it, you’re gonna sweat it all out anyway. And inevitably, you’re gonna have to shower and cleanse your face of all the gunk and impurities, so your skincare won't have a chance to work its magic. Plus, if you layer too many products, they can actually end up clogging your pores when combined with the dirt and sweat you’re bound to run into during your workout. And that means acne!

    Instead, what I like to do before a workout session, and what I recommend you do, is skip the cleanser, toner, serum, and just go straight to the moisturizer.

    So, why moisturizer, you ask?

    Here’s the thing: As you work out and do your exercises, you sweat. And you may sweat a lot or just a little depending on your body and the intensity of your workout. But either way, when that happens, the sweat will evaporate off your skin and take away your skin hydration with it. As a result, your skin becomes dehydrated.

    Using a moisturizer beforehand can help you keep your skin hydrated throughout your workout, ensuring that your skin isn’t dry and dehydrated beneath all that sweat.

    PRO TIP: Choose a light moisturizer, such as our gel-like Phyto Clear to moisturize your skin properly without clogging your pores.

    Phyto Clear bottle with product smear

    I understand that you may feel a bit iffy about not cleansing your skin beforehand. Well, that brings us to our next point.

    2. Plan your workout time to complement your skincare routine

    If your schedule allows for it, I recommend you work out first thing in the morning, before your first official breakfast.

    Here’s why: You can skip the cleanser.

    Whoa, what? What did you say, Graydon? Skipping the morning cleanse? How’s that gonna work?

    Okay, I hear you. I hear you. Your questions and disbelief are both valid. After all, it kind of goes against conventional skincare wisdom. After all, applying product onto un-cleansed skin is bad, right? Wouldn’t that trap all the impurities in your skin?

    Well, not necessarily.


    If you’re like me, and most people, then you probably already have some sort of nighttime skincare routine in place. And that skincare routine would definitely involve a cleanser (or preferably, even a double cleanse). So by all accounts, you’re already going to bed at night with a clean canvas. And if you’re extra vigilant about staying hygienic, then you probably also change your bedsheets and pillowcases regularly, too.

    PRO TIP: Keep your hair off your face when you’re sleeping by braiding it or putting it in a nightcap. This prevents the oil in your hair from smearing all over your face.

    This means that, in theory, you’re already waking up in the morning with clean skin. And so, you could probably forego the use of a cleanser in your morning routine.

    I need to note that, whether you cleanse in the morning or not is entirely up to you and your skin needs. And you should do whatever fits your skin the best. However, for our discussion today, I’ll endorse skipping the pre-workout cleanse.

    (Wanna bring your cleansing routine to the next level? Give our Double Cleanse duo a try.)

    3. Skip your makeup (if you wear it)

    If you’re a bit like me, then you probably want to look cute all the time, even as you workout. 

    I mean, can you blame me?

    And so, what 20-something-year-old Graydon used to do was go to the yoga studio with a face full of makeup. Little did she know, that was a bad idea. As in, bad, bad idea. At the time, I didn't know that, as I was doing my advanced yoga poses, brimming with sweat, my makeup was also streaming down my face in streaks

    That wasn’t cute! 

    And the foundation box even promised it was water-proof. Lies!

    As it turned out, that was actually the least of my worries. After a long time doing this, I woke up one day realizing that my face was breaking out horribly. While there might be many factors to this, I largely contributed this to my use of heavy makeup at the time. What happens is, as your body heats up during the exercises, your pores also expand. This leads to all the sweat, makeup and impurities settling into your pores. 

    And once your pores are clogged, that’s a recipe for horrible breakouts!

    So if possible, I highly advise that you forego using your makeup if you’re going to workout.

    That being said, you might be someone who has a delicate relationship with your skin. And you might not feel comfortable going out bare-faced. I get that. I understand. I’ve been there myself. And that’s a valid concern to have.

    If this is you, then no worries! In this case, I recommend using a tinted moisturizer or tinted sunscreen to give you light coverage, without completely blocking your pores. 

    Not sure what to get? I got you covered. Try our multi-award-winning Face Glow—the tinted moisturizing skin primer. It can help you combine your moisturizer and makeup into one quick, easy step. Talk about feeding two birds with one scone!

    Face Glow bottle with product smear behind

    4. Prepare your gym bag with some skincare superstars 

    Through many trials and errors, I’ve finally learned to always carry these three nifty tools with me as I practice yoga. The best part? They’re really nothing fancy. In fact, you probably have them in your vanity already.

    Those three things are: (reusable) cotton rounds, a gym towel and a hair tie.

    Here’s why:

    Cotton rounds: A super handy and useful way to get rid of excess dirt and oil. I love using them to wipe down the front and back of my neck, chest and between the breasts as well (this area can get particularly sweaty and hold on to lots of impurities). However, anywhere that your sebaceous oil glands are active, pumping out sweat and sebum, is fair game. Face, chest, underarms, you name it!

    Gym towel: An obvious choice, but did you know that using the right type of towel matters? Also, bringing your own towel ensures that you won’t have to use the gym-provided towels that are washed with detergents you’re not used to, or worse, allergic to. I suggest you use a smooth towel of medium thickness that doesn’t have a lot of fibre, nooks and crannies to it, making it less likely to trap in bacteria. 

    Hair tie: Another easy choice. If you have long hair, then it’s always a good idea to keep it off your face as you’re working out. Loose hair will most definitely get all over your face, which is annoying if you’re trying to workout. But also, pulling your hair off and away from your face can prevent oils and other hair products from clogging your pores, which may lead to acne.

    After your workout

    1. Take a shower

    I mean, this one seems obvious enough. Right?


    But my advice has more to do with the type of soap that you should use.

    Look. If you are, or used to be, a frequent gym-goer, then you might've run into this small problem: Your gym bag not being able to hold everything you need.

    You know what I mean.

    You need to pack a ton of things, gym clothes, clean clothes, towels, shoes, water bottles, personal care products and maybe even meal preps. That gets annoying real quick when you’re trying to excavate it, digging for that one thing you need at the bottom of the bag.

    Yeah, no thanks!

    To help with this, I encourage you to combine multiple steps into one whenever possible. Or, in this case, use multipurpose products that can save you a ton of space in your gym bag.

    One product that could do this is our multipurpose All Over Soap

    Bottle of All Over Soap in front of suds

    It’s basically the Swiss Army knife of cleansing products. Especially useful for those who want to simplify their shower routine, it can be used as a body wash, face cleanser and shaving cream. It can basically wash anything, you name it! It also contains some of my fav ingredients, such as geranium, lavender, rosemary and eucalyptus oil. These high-grade essential oils act as a form of aromatherapy to uplift and energize both your body and mind, which is much needed after an intense workout session.

    2. Cleanse your face thoroughly 

    While you may be able to get away with not cleansing your face pre-workout, you definitely need, need, need to cleanse it post-workout!

    No matter what you do, this is the one step that you cannot afford to skip. 

    As I’ve mentioned throughout this article, after a workout session, your sweat will mix in with the oil, dirt, bacteria and other impurities accumulated on your face. This is a recipe for disaster if you don’t take care of it properly. Think, acne, breakouts, dirty and dull skin. Cleansing also helps to cool off your skin after your skin temperature rises during your workout.

    While a quick splash of cool water post-workout is a good first step, I highly encourage you to use a cleanser to properly cleanse your skin. You can use a soothing cream cleanser, like the Aloe Milk Cleanser, to calm down redness, or a foam cleanser, like Face Foam, to deep cleanse the pores. There’s no right or wrong here, just pick whatever suits your skin needs the best.

    After that, just use a layer of moisturizer and you’re all set!

    PRO TIP: No need to double cleanse if you’re working out in the morning. You should double cleanse just once at night!

    3. Shampoo and cleanse your scalp

    This might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at the number of people not washing their hair after working out.

    This always baffles me. 

    After a workout session, similar to your face, you’re also likely to trap a ton of sweat, oil, dead skin cells and other impurities on your head. And if you don’t get rid of them properly, they can cause a lot of buildup on your scalp, which lead to many problems, such as hair loss, dandruff and folliculitis

    And I wouldn’t advise you to use dry shampoos either. They actually contribute to the buildup on your scalp

    So, personally, I recommend shampooing your hair with a gentle cleanser, like Matcha Mint Shampoo, after every workout session.

    I understand that this routine only reflects my personal preference and, to an extent, those with a similar hair type to mine. If you’re someone with wavy, curly, or kinky hair, then this might not be suitable for you. In which case, I’d recommend speaking with your hairstylist, aesthetician or dermatologist to work out a hair care routine best suited for you and your hair needs.

    4. Use a calming toner

    After working out, your skin might become slightly red and inflamed. If you’re someone with a skin condition like rosacea or eczema, workouts and your skin might not exactly be BFFs.

    But how come?

    Here’s the skinny: As you work out, your body temperature rises and the blood supply to your skin is also increased. This can trigger your eczema and rosacea to flare up and make your skin more red and uncomfortable than usual. 

    However, while working out might be a trigger for these skin conditions, you shouldn’t stop because exercise is so vital to our human health. Instead, I recommend using skincare products with soothing ingredients to calm down the skin inflammation. While they won’t get rid of your skin condition, they can help you manage it a little bit better.

    Look for anti-inflammatory ingredients such as tea extract, oats, aloe vera, hemp oil and blue tansy to soothe your skin redness

    man in front of a mirror spritzing face food mineral mist

    PRO TIP: Use a facial mist, like our Face Food Mineral Mist, to keep your post-workout routine quick and easy. Formulated with white tea and a mineral complex of zinc, magnesium, copper and malachite, it’ll calm down your skin with every spritz. Just spray it on your face and you’re good to go!

    And there you have it! With these 8 gym skincare tips, you’ll never have to be afraid of some sweat again. So go and work out to your heart’s content. And remember to cleanse! Your!! Face!!!

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    Smoothies played a major role in the beginning of Graydon Skincare. Click here to learn how I took smoothies from a healthy snack to a skincare staple.

    Credit for main image: skynesher

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