Tuesday 22 August 2017

Working out if gym-selfie makeup is here to stay

As long as the gym remains the selfie-lover's vanity project, expect more sweat-proof makeup to follow, writes Sophie Donaldson

MADE IN CHELSEA: Louise Thompson’s workout photos may signal the end of humanity
MADE IN CHELSEA: Louise Thompson’s workout photos may signal the end of humanity
Sophie Donaldson

Sophie Donaldson

Is nothing sacred anymore? The gym, along with Christmas Day and funerals, was a final refuge in our selfie- plagued society where it was permissible to have a face both red and swollen. But the gym selfie is here, it's a 'thing' and it's happening right behind you, over there by the weights room.

As an ardent gym-avoider, I'm horrified on your behalf.

It's hardly surprising that market research company Mintel has tapped 'Active Beauty' as a key trend for 2017. Yes, that is makeup designed specifically to be worn while sweating buckets.

We could hold the cosmetic giants accountable for this latest transgression against our dignity. We could accuse the sexist beauty standards women are held to. But we really only have each other to blame - because we've brought this upon ourselves.

Well, I haven't, but the rest of you selfie-loving-gym-bunnies have inflicted it on your peers.

The gym is the new Ivy, the only place you need to be seen thanks to a deluge of #fitspiration on our newsfeeds. It comes mostly from fitness bloggers, Victoria's Secret models and reality stars like Made in Chelsea's Louise Thompson whose workout photos with her personal- trainer boyfriend really do signal the end of humanity. In most of them he uses her four-foot-something frame as a human dumbbell.

These high-profile women have mass online followings that are highly susceptible to endorsements, especially when they are promoted through the intimate sphere of social media.

Gigi Hadid, the poster girl for "strong not skinny", may front a Reebok campaign but it's fitness bloggers and reality stars like Geordie Shore's Charlotte Crosby and Gogglebox's Scarlett Moffatt who are far more influential. Their followings may be miniscule when compared to the likes of Hadid, who has 31 million on Instagram while Crosby and Moffatt have five and one million respectively - but theirs is the attainable type of body.

As much as young women idolise models they know that genetics will ultimately have the final say. But gobby, endearing gals like Crosby and Moffatt are relatable and so are their struggles with weight loss. Their kilo-shedding journeys were ogled by their fans and the resulting fitness DVDS have proved lucrative business. Crosby's 3 Minute Belly Blitz remains the fastest-selling fitness DVD, ever. I imagine the only thing more exhausting than a cardio class is trying to get the perfect gym selfie afterwards. Fitness fanatic, or not, we all know what a post-workout face looks like and it doesn't involve bronzer.

Yet brands like Sweat Cosmetics, only launched in 2015, are experiencing unprecedented success. Designed by a group of five professional female athletes, the makeup and grooming products are meant to be worn while exercising. Sweat's monthly revenues grew by 560pc last year and you can bet that's not down to a horde of foundation-loving sprinters.

The gym is no longer the domain of lone fitness hopefuls sweating quietly on the treadmill. The new breed of gym-goer now comes with a pack mentality jarringly similar to its close relation, the clean eater.

Another commonality between the two is obsessive photo taking: the clean eater fastidiously documents every carefully presented meal while the gym-goer clenches and unclenches her abs between takes. They both like to Snapchat their green smoothies.

"Active wear" makeup is already being admonished for pressuring women to look perfectly made up while working out but it's simply a case of supply meeting demand. As long as the gym remains the selfie-lover's vanity project expect more sweat-proof makeup to follow.

Personally, I've never been less motivated to go to the gym in my life.

Sunday Independent

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