The Faux Workout Glow
Recreate all the beauty benefits of a heart-pumping session with a few easy tricks (and not a drop of sweat).
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Picture yourself after killing a good-but-not-grueling workout: Your cheeks are slightly flushed, your skin looks clear and dewy, and even though your lip gloss is long gone, damn, you look good. The same reasons that a regular fitness routine does your body right extend to your post-workout aesthetic as well. “When you’re exercising, the increase in your breathing rate causes an increase of oxygen in your blood; your heart begins to beat faster to move the newly oxygenated blood to your muscles, and your small blood vessels widen,” says David E. Bank, a dermatologist in Mount Kisco, New York and founder of The Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic and Laser Surgery. "It leads to an increase of blood flow to the surface of your skin."
Whether it’s because you’re not hitting the gym until later or you've given yourself the day off, here’s how to get that fresh-faced effect. No workout required.
Why You Get It: Disclaimer: We're after the pretty pinkness (not look-like-you're-gonna-die redness) that you get after a to-the-point strength and cardio hybrid. “The dilation of your blood vessels works to release heat,” explains Dr. Bank. “And since the air is usually cooler than our body’s 98.6, the blood runs under the surface of the skin, throws off heat to help cool you — and it’s this increased blood flow that causes the red appearance of the face after exercise.”
How To Fake It: Sure, you can layer on some pink blush and call it a day, but that’s not going to create the same finish as a natural flush. Kick start blood flow and increase circulation by applying a stimulating fruit enzyme-based mask (such as Kate Somerville's ExfoliKate Gentle Exfoliating Treatment), to clean skin, directly along cheeks for 30 seconds max, suggests Sage Maitri, a makeup artist in New York City. Then wipe off with a clean tissue.
Why You Get It: “While there is no direct influence, regular exercise can help decrease the appearance of dark circles and puffiness underneath eyes,” says Dr. Bank. “Many times dark circles under the eyes are caused by low blood circulation and the increased blood flow can help them disappear.”
How To Fake It: All you need is a highlighter to reflect light off of skin. Maitri’s makeup kit staple: Prtty Peaushun Skin Tight Body Lotion in plain or light. (She says to ignore the body tout on the label and feel free to use it under brows, along the brow bones, and across lids). “Use this slightly iridescent and tinted cream over the body to perfect flaws, then tap what's left on your fingertips onto cheekbones, and a bit on the eyelid,” she says.
Why You Get It: As exercise increases oxygenated blood to the skin, expect a complexion-perfecting side effect. “When the small blood vessels widen, they aid in carrying waste away from cells,” says Dr. Bank. “Your body then releases toxins through your sweat glands — all of which leads to even and clear skin.”
How To Fake It: Two words: tinted moisturizer. These lightweight formulas offer the perfect cocktail of hydration and tint — evening out skin tone, not hiding it. If your skin is dry, opt for hydrating Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30; more on the oily side — try Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 Oil-Free ($43, lauramercier.com). “Because you want to keep some rosiness to your skin, keep your cheeks bare and use the tinted moisturizer everywhere else,” suggests Maitri.
Full, Rosy Lips
Why You Get It: Once again, you can thank the stellar blood flow. “When there is increased blood circulation, the result is a flushed face — which includes your lips,” says Dr. Bank. And since lips are naturally a bit tinted, a workout can take your born-with-it hue up a notch long after you put in the towel. “After exercise, this increased circulation keeps blood pumping for several hours,” he says.
How To Fake It: Not only do you need a surge of see-through color, you also need it to look fresh and hydrated. “Keep lips like yours but with a bit of moisture and a tint of color,” says Maitri, who reaches for tinted lip balm Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Lip Protectant Stick Sheer Tint Sunscreen SPF 15.