Exercise Is Good for Your Body—But Even Better for Your Skin

Updated 10/04/17

There are big things that make us happy (such as Instagram-worthy beach vacations and pricey spa treatments), but it’s the small things that keep us sane and smiling on a daily basis. We’re partnering with Clinique on a new series to help you look and feel your best every day. Check back each week for ways to take your life from good to great, whether that means finding a foundation that boosts your confidence (try Clinique’s Even Better Glow™ Light Reflecting Makeup Broad Spectrum SPF 15) or learning how to eat more mindfully. This week, we're sharing how to fake a workout glow. 

Think about the last time you had a really good sweat sesh. Your skin looks clear and plump, your cheeks are slightly flushed, and your natural lip color is enhanced—you aren’t afraid to admit that you look good… really good. “Breaking a sweat isn’t just great for your body; it can give way to more radiant, glowing skin,” explains Shari Marchbein, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and a fellow in the American Academy of Dermatology. “When you exercise, the blood vessels in the skin dilate, allowing more blood to reach the skin’s surface, [improving] free-radical damage and [boosting] collagen formation.

The pores also open, which allows for dirt and oil to be pushed from the skin.”

We know what you’re thinking: What about the days when you just don’t have time to hit the gym? As it turns out, you can still achieve that post-workout glow without all the work (although admittedly you’ll be missing out on some of the above skincare benefits). “I think people want to re-create this look because it’s healthy-looking and much more about sheer, dewy skin rather than caking on makeup,” says NYC-based makeup artist Neil Scibelli. But before we go into more detail, let’s be clear: We don’t suggest skipping your workouts altogether; it’s still important to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle. That being said, today Scibelli is sharing his tips for faking that post-workout glow.

It all starts with prepping your skin, explains Scibelli. And that means staying hydrated—drinking lots of water will give you a natural, radiant glow. “It’s ultimately what’s going to plump the skin and have it peek through your makeup,” he explains. Another key player is moisturizer. But Scibelli likes using a hyaluronic-based serum first, to further plump the skin.

Once you’ve prepped your skin, it’s time for foundation. Scibelli suggests getting your fingers ready for application, because while you may prefer using a brush for your everyday look, your fingers will give you a fresh, raw look that more closely resembles natural skin.

“Dab your foundation onto your forehead, both cheeks, and chin, and then pat it into your skin,” says Scibelli. “I use a gentle patting motion to get the product to adhere to the skin and to the moisturizer [you applied during prep].”

For an even more natural look, dab a slightly damp makeup sponge over your foundation to get rid of any harsh lines or product buildup. And if you want a dewier finish, Scibelli suggests patting a touch of oil around your cheekbones, down the bridge of your nose, and above your brows.

When we say flush, we don’t mean the tomato-red face you get after boot camp—we’re talking about a subtle hint of pink after doing cardio and strength training. “It’s an effortless glow that happens once you’ve had some blood circulating,” says Scibelli. 

Simply smile to find the apples of your cheeks, dab some  color on with your fingers, and work outward to meet the center of your ear. If you’re looking for a sheerer look, go over your blush with a makeup sponge to further blend out the pigment.

In order to achieve a just-bitten lip, your lips need to look (and feel) hydrated. If you’ve got time on your side, exfoliate them; then swipe on a moisturizing lip balm. Leave this on while you get ready so it has time to sink in and do its job. Next, wipe it off with a cotton swab, and follow with your lip color. “Look for the shade that’s closest to your [natural] lip color—then go a shade darker,” says Scibelli, who often draws a waterproof lip liner all over the lips to create this effect. But if you prefer lipstick, swipe on the color; then sheer it out with your finger to soften the edges.

The key to maintaining your glow all day? “Use a hydrating mist that leaves a radiant finish,” says Scibelli. Then, shop more glow-giving Clinique products.

Clinique Moisture Surge™ Hydrating Supercharged Concentrate $39
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Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Correcting Serum $46
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Clinique Acne Solutions™ Acne + Line Correcting Serum $45
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Clinique Clinique Smart™ Custom-Repair Serum $60
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Clinique Even Better Glow™ Light Reflecting Makeup Broad Spectrum SPF 15 $28
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Clinique Clinique Pop™ Oil Lip & Cheek Glow $19
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Clinique Chubby Stick™ Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm $18
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