For much of my 20s, I spent my days as a high-heel-wearing entertainment TV producer and my nights as a competitive boxer, wearing a blood-stained T-shirt. At one point, I also dabbled in designing floral headpieces while dominating the Tuesday night axe-throwing league. I could keep going, but the point is I’m a living contradiction: tough but vain (#sorrynotsorry).
These days, thanks to my career as a boxing coach, finding a balance between my fighter and glamorous sides has become even more of a challenge. While I’ve come to grips with the fact that a bold lip is just not in the fight cards, there are some beauty staples I simply refuse to give up: Good skin, lashes and brows. The problem is, even the longest-lasting foundation, mascara and brow filler don’t live up to my long days at the gym. Instead of trying another mascara, tanning cream or brow gel, I decided to go the non-makeup route to looking good while you sweat. Here’s how:
A strong brow is an integral part of my look, but I usually use brow powder rather than liquids or gels, which tend to look a bit extreme on me. The issue is, the powder barely lasts through my warm-up. Sure, if I’m training in the ring it’s NBD, but if I have a client later on I can’t always guarantee time for touch-ups. This is why I was intrigued by the new semi-permanent eyebrow embroidery, which promises to last up to four years. I went to see embroidery goddess Heather, at Ritual in Toronto. Here’s the lowdown: Using a small blade (looks like a dainty scalpel) that has the special embroidery makeup on it, the technician/artist makes fine but deep scratches into the brow with a delicate feathering technique. The treatment takes up to two hours and, yes, it can be painful (nothing a little numbing cream can’t help). It costs around $500 for the whole shebang, but included in that price is the initial consultation, as well as the mandatory six-week touch-up, which ensures the pigment lasts. The biggest caveat for me was no sweating allowed for seven to 10 days post-treatment (#FML). Still, with hesitation and mild anxiety, I did it and am beyond glad that I did. Not only does it eliminate the need to reapply brow powder in between clients, but now I actually wake up like this. Worth the money, the pain and the temporary sweat-free existence.
The only way to bypass foundation and bronzer at the gym, IMO, is to get some all-over colour on your face. But, full disclosure: Artificial tans make me nervous; there’s a fine line between looking like you spent a few days in the Bahamas and giving off major Snooki vibes. I’ve also never had a great experience. It’s either embarrassing streaks or dirty-looking knees and elbows—even when I try to do the DIY self-tanner thing. But since I plan on aging like Helen Mirren (a.k.a. staying out of the sun for the rest of my life), I figured I’d give spray tanning another try. I tried the airbrush booth at The Beauty Bar in Yorkville, Toronto. Here are the stats: The whole process took less than five minutes, cost $40 and my tan lasted a solid week. Post-spray care includes wearing loose clothing and staying out of the shower (and the gym) for six hours minimum. I usually find these rules hard to follow, but it paid off. I wasn’t streaky or splotchy or orange. The morning after, I led a super-intense conditioning class, and I finished with bronzed and even-toned skin (even my usually tomato-red face was less jarring than usual). Although I was really happy with the results, I’m not sure the weekly maintenance is doable budget-wise and schedule-wise.
When it comes to beauty, everyone has their “thing.” Mine is my lashes. You’ll rarely find a time when I don’t have a few coats of L’Oréal Double Extend lacquered on (even when I walk the dog). I don’t use waterproof mascara, though, because I’m convinced it causes breakage: There was a time when I exclusively wore waterproof products but noticed that my natural set got significantly thinner, likely from the intense struggle to wash it all off. I never considered lash extensions because I always felt like this is one upgrade I could get away without, but when I realized it would eliminate the threat of runny makeup or constant reapplication at the gym, I reconsidered. I didn’t want to look like I was wearing a set of falsies—I just wanted it to look spectacularly casual, all of the time. While some people have complained of losing lashes with their extensions, I was assured I wouldn’t at Winks Eyelash Boutique. I got the “natural set,” so 45 individuals on each eye. It took less than an hour and only cost $125. (You can get a $50 “refill” every three weeks, or as needed.) To make them last, washing and touching your eyes is discouraged, as is using mascara at all…which is kinda the point. The only time I find these rules annoying is first thing in the morning when all I want to do is give ’em a little rub. Otherwise, I must admit, they are more of a game-changer than I expected. I never have to worry about looking like a raccoon mid-gym session and they’re always fab. Not sure I’ll go back to au naturel anytime soon.
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