Don’t be sad, but today we’re wrapping up my three-part series on sports skincare. If you missed them, I covered smart sun protection in the first installment and looking like a beauty while training like a beast in the second. Today … today is the last cog in the wheel, the last essential: how to properly clean your face after all of your sweaty pursuits. All the sunscreen, any cosmetics you may have applied, layers of sweat, salt, mud, sand, sandwiched on by more layers of sunblock … your skin was a battlefield out there, yo, and now it’s time to take care of it.
Sports Skincare: the double cleanse
First things first: the double cleanse. If you haven’t heard of double cleansing (which has been recently eclipsed by the ridiculous triple cleanse and also a small minority debunking even the double cleanse), it’s exactly what it sounds like: washing your face twice, and it originated in Asia.
It’s not just washing your face twice with the same cleanser though; there are two products involved. I know, I know … like your shower or bathroom counter isn’t cluttered enough … do you really need two products to clean your face with? If you wear makeup and/or if you workout, then YES, you do. I promise, it’s worth it. This is the most important thing you can do to help your skin after working out, especially if you’ve been in the sun, and it’s also oddly enjoyable (seriously, it’s a sensory party).
Step one is applying a cleansing oil or balm to your dry (or dryish, depending on if your face sweat has dried yet or not) face, and massaging it in gently. This, my friends, is the most fantastic and beautiful feeling in the world if you’re coming in from a big, nasty workout. You may need two pumps if you’re really gross and using an oil. If you’ve worn mascara, work it in gently to get it all off (if you have eyelash extensions, avoid your eyes as the oil can prematurely break down the adhesive!). It will feel like you are using a physical exfoliant; as the oil breaks down the yuck on your face, it will feel gritty from salt and dirt being lifted up and out. Really, it’s just the best feeling.
When you’ve gotten your whole face massaged up, put a bit of water in your hands and rub between your hands, and then on your face to emulsify the oil. Then rinse. Hooray, step one is done! And no, you should not stop here. Why? The oil cleanser has broken down oil-based crap on the surface of your face (like attracts like), but now you need a gentle cleanser to get in deeper and get your face truly clean. Hey … you’ve put your skin through the ringer … doesn’t it deserve to be thoroughly cleansed?
So the second cleanse … if you’re very oily, you may not be balking at all at the thought of this. Dry skinned folks may be like, mmmmmm, yeah … I’m not going to do the next step. Thanks, though. Hear me out. Using a gentle cleanser, preferably under about 5.5 pH, should not strip your skin. Korean estheticians maintain that many of your skin woes will be eradicated if you will just cleanse your skin thoroughly. If you want more info (a lot of info, a real rabbit hole of info) on the benefits of a lower-pH cleanser, look here.
Anyway, there are lots of great cleansers out there. Pick your poison and wash your face for the second time. I like using my silicone Foreo-knockoff (I bought mine for 3000 yen, or $27ish USD, at my local Living Design Square, as $200 for the real deal was not in my slim budget) for this step to really clean my face. You don’t need to though; your hands, or a soft washcloth, are perfect. I have used a rotating brush in the past (again, my cheap ass had the Olay version of the Clarisonic because budget), but personally don’t like them as mine always molded and it grossed me out thinking of how many germs were on it pre-mold that I couldn’t see (yes I cleaned it). Rinse and voila, you are clean and shiny!
Sports Skincare: post workout and sun skincare
If you’ve been in the sun, please be kind to your skin after you’ve cleansed and continue on with your sports skincare routine. No matter how well you have protected yourself with sunblock, hats, etc, your skin has still been through the wringer.
If you are prone to acne or clogged pores, which can happen when you’re constantly using sunscreens and sweating, you can use a mild (very mild! be kind!) acid toner after cleansing and gently drying off your face. A toner with BHA like COSRX’s BHA Blackhead Power Liquid is a good choice, or a toner with salicylic acid may work for some as well.
A mild snail mucin product should help with inflammation (but I personally have experienced some stinging with a couple snail products, even when I’m not fresh out of the sun). Again, COSRX makes a gentle one you may like. If you’re not into snails (or steps), continue on to moisturizer.
A gentle moisturizer like the one from Simple or Cetaphil may be all you/want or need for your post-sports skincare routine. Aloe and honey are both really soothing ingredients for after the sun if you’re looking for a bit more oomph from your moisturizer.
And that’s it! Of course you can add as many more layers in your sports skincare lineup as you like, but the most important thing you can do to help your skin post-sun or post-workout is to cleanse it thoroughly. Soothing products applied post cleanse will help your skin bounce back quickly and be ready to tackle (or face … ha!) your next session.
Is there anything I’ve missed that you like to do after a workout to take care of your skin? Let me know below, and if you like this please click subscribe so you don’t miss anything!
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