Your skin needs special care after working out, which means it needs a special K-beauty routine for the gym. This is the one that I swear by.
The biggest adult thing I do in my life is trying to workout every morning before work. I’m pretty good at it (I manage to pull myself out of bed before the sun rises at least four mornings of the workweek). I’m also the kind of person who gets intensely red and flushed after I have a good cardio session. Walking into work with a beet-red face is not a good look, so I’ve tested a bunch of different products to tame the redness over the past two years, and I’ve created a pretty solid quick routine that I do after I get out of the shower.
There are two good things about this routine: First, it’s only five steps so it’s nice and abbreviated for those stressful mornings when you’ve spent too much time in the sauna and you’ve got to make that early morning work meeting. Secondly, it’s full of products that are easy to travel with. So, let’s get started!
Double Cleanse: The Enature Moringa Cleansing Balm + the Missha Near Skin pH Balancing Cleansing Foam
The Enature cleansing balm has been a cult favorite oil cleanser for years. I love it because I only need to use a tiny bit for it to over my entire face and throughly cleanse it without any leftover grime or residue. The addition of moringa seed extract helps to build up collagen and prevent the signs of aging. It’s also extremely travel-friendly and easy to use. Just open it up, scoop some out, screw the cap back on, and throw it back in your gym bag.
After you’ve washed off the Enature cleanser, cleanse again with the Missha pH Balancing Foam. I absolutely love this foaming cleanser (you can see evidence of that here) because it leaves my extra dry skin feeling actually clean and hydrated—a near impossible feat for foaming cleansers and me. The formula of this cleanser was specifically made to keep your skin at the optimal pH level of 5 so you never feel tight and gross after rinsing it off.
Normally, I wouldn’t double cleanse in the morning but when I’ve been sweating so hard, it’s imperative to get all the bacteria and grime out of my pores so I can start my day with clean, fresh skin. This cleansing combination does just that.
As I said, working out leaves your skin full of bacteria, so it’s best to get it clean right away after your sweat session. After double cleansing, I take a cotton pad and swipe on this Acwell licorice cleansing toner all over my face. Since it’s a cleansing toner, it actually gives my skin somewhat of a triple cleanse and wipes away any of the remaining dirt and gunk leftover on my face. Warning: You’ll be surprised how addicting using this toner becomes; I’m always shocked by how much dirt is deposited on my cotton pad.
I also love how this toner contains green tea extract to get to work on calming down my redness and evening out my skin tone. The licorice extract adds a punch of brightness to my complexion.
Moisturize: Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream
Don’t get tripped up by the name—you can totally use this cream during the day. And it’s especially great for post-gym skin. Have I told you that I get red easily? Well, this cream has been a savior in calming everything down. The star ingredient in this cream is guaiazulene—a fancy name for a plant-based component derived from camomile oil, which is a plant known for its skin-soothing properties. It’s also what gives this cream its pretty light blue color.
On top of guazulene, this light moisturizer contains centella asiatica, a powerful anti-inflammatory ingredient that helps tone down the look of acne scars and helps bring down any puffiness. After smoothing on this cream, my skin is so much calmer and less red. It almost looks like I never even worked out, letting people guess as to why I have such a healthy glow in my cheeks.
Sunscreen: The Acwell Daily Sun Control Emulsion SPF 50/PA+++
And finally…sunscreen! Since I’m usually in a major rush in the mornings after the gym, I like to reach for a sunscreen that offers superior protection but also serves as a great primer for my cushion compact. This Acwell Sun Control Emulsion has become my new favorite “busy” sunscreen. It easily glides into skin, seeps in fast, and really hydrates.
As the name suggests, this sunscreen is more of an emulsion so it acts like a hybrid between a lightweight moisturizer and a sunscreen (with a strong SPF50 protection). It also works really well as a base for my cushion by creating a smooth, bouncy canvas for my cushion to easily adhere to.
So there you have it! My personal post-gym routine for calming down redness and prepping my skin for the day. You may notice that I don’t include any exfoliation or serums and that’s because I just don’t have the time in the morning. But this doesn’t mean you can’t add a serum or a good exfoliating pad (I’d recommend the RE:P Toning Pads). By all means, if you have the time, go for it.