These brands are targeting women who want to be able to integrate makeup into their active lives and fit activities without worrying about clogging their pores and breaking out.


Wearing makeup to workout is something that has been frowned upon in the past but to dedicated makeup wearers, like myself and even Olympic athletes like Kirsten McCann, popular opinion has never thwarted us from putting what we perceive as our best faces forward.


The Athleisure Beauty trend recognises the power and confidence that makeup gives, rather than focusing on makeup as a negative or something to hide behind.


The minute I saw this trend, I knew I wanted to hop on-board and set out to look for makeup brands available in South Africa that fall into the athleisure beauty realm. I failed to find products with “gym friendly” or “workout specific” tags on their packaging, and so I decided to dig deeper into what makes a brand of makeup gym friendly enough to be labelled as Athleisure Beauty.


What classifies makeup as Athleisure Beauty?


Athleisure Beauty isn’t solely about workout friendly makeup and it certainly isn’t about makeup that is a thick glue like formula that sticks to your face without budging.


On the contrary, the same way that Athleisure Fashion disrupted the classic workwear wardrobe by introducing pieces that are breathable and easy to wear and move seamlessly from working, to working out, to leisure time – Athleisure Beauty does the same.


Athleisure Beauty is light and allows your skin to breathe without clogging your pores. Makeup that falls in this realm contains Natural Ingredients, is free of oils, fragrance, silicone and parabens. In some cases it offers UV Protection, is Hypoallergenic and Dermatologist Approved too.


Athleisure Beauty make-up in essence, is makeup that is good for your skin, no matter what activity you put it through.



I began to realise that Athleisure Beauty was a rebranding of Organic Beauty.


Even though South Africa might not be home to the latest crop of makeup brands, what we do have, readily available, are brands that tick off all the boxes.


I did all the legwork so you don’t have to and found the brands that fit the bill. I then tested out their offerings to help you achieve the best Athleisure Beauty and workout friendly makeup face. For a full month I wore the products below to work, gym, for speed runs and even to Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu. I sweated through every session (we’re talking pools of sweat, not a glistening glow), walking away without makeup dripping down my face.


What I uncovered was a select few brands and products that I had never tried before but that completely won me over and will be part of my makeup routine for the rest of my make-up wearing days.


During this experiment, my face felt great every day. At no point did I feel buried under a pile a products, aching to be set free at the end of the day. I also suffered zero breakouts, proving that these products are in fact workout (and everyday life) friendly.


The Brands

1. Breathe Make-up Therapy by Naturalmente

Breathe Make-up Therapy’s name says it all – it’s a make-up brand that prioritises the well-being of your skin. As a brand, they are concerned about the increasing amount of make-up products that contain potentially hazardous substances and how young girls are using them.


“Today, as consumers, we can choose what we want to put on our faces in full awareness.”


The Breathe Make-up line is made up of ingredients coming from plants and flowers grown with organic farming. The result is a range of make-up products that are natural, moisturising and gentle, thus becoming a treatment for your skin.


All their products are produced in Italy and are Qualita Reale certified. They have banned the use of silicones, parabens, oil and its by-products, artificial colouring, SLS and PEG. Their products are nickel tested, cruelty-free and recyclable.


Their packaging, a stunning minimalistic ode to their ideals and practices, is the most unique I’ve ever seen in a makeup brand; They manage to marry a recycled paper look into a very upscale feel.


Shop the full range here.


2. Zuii Organic

Zuii Certified Organic products are made with a unique blend of certified organic flora and are specifically designed to benefit, nourish and protect the health of your skin.


Made in Australia, their professional makeup range has no harsh toxins or chemicals and is certified with NASAA (National Association of Sustainable Agriculture, Australia) and BDIH & COSMOS (European Certifying Body).


Their cosmetics are not tested on animals, are Food grade and Preservative free. They contain no petrochemicals, parabens, talc, GM ingredients, nano particles and even offer a few Vegan-friendly options.


Shop their full range here


 3. Dr. Hauschka

Dr. Hauschka as a Skin Care range became a reality in the early 1960s but their natural make-up line only followed in 1999. The make-up line was launched with the purpose of creating products to enhance a woman’s natural beauty while nourishing her skin.


Their products are 100% organic and/or natural skin care products, certified to NATRUE standards. They are free of synthetic fragrances, dyes and preservatives, mineral oil, parabens, silicones and PEGs. They have also been dermatologically tested for sensitive skin and are never tested on animals.


Shop their full range here

4. Physicians Formula

Physicians Formula is all about Healthy and Glamorous Beauty.  The brand was created in 1937 by Dr. Crandall, a leading allergist in Los Angeles, California at the time. His wife had sensitive skin, so out of love, he developed the first hypoallergenic, dermatologicist approved make-up designed specifically for sensitive skin and eyes.


Physicians Formula products are gentle and safe, yet effective and they offer glamorous solutions for the specific, yet common skin problems that women face every day.


None of their products contain any of the over 132 known harsh ingredients and allergens found in makeup. They are Cruelty free, non-comedogenic, gluten free, oil free, fragrance free, paraben free, hypoallergenic, clinically tested and dermatologist tested. They have also been ophthalmologist tested and are safe for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers.


Physicians Formula can be found at Dis-Chem stores.


The Products


How they handled workouts


I first wore all the products listed below for speed repeat runs, containing bursts of all out intensity with small recovery periods in between. They all held up the same – By the end of each session I was dripping with sweat yet my face looked flawless. There wasn’t a smudge, but the minute I stepped into the shower and ran my hands over my face, the makeup came off. These products are not all waterproof; however they do not drip off your face. During gym workouts, they held out the same but most of the foundations did come off onto my tissues. I have a charcoal sweat towel and didn’t notice any make-up on it but some had to have transferred, my face however still had a made up look after being wiped down.


So long as you steer clear of rubbing your face onto anything white and avoid hugging anyone wearing a white t-shirt, you’re safe using these in a sweaty gym environment.


The mascaras – although not waterproof – held up very well, however, I found placing mascara on my lower lash line did in some gym specific cases smudge a tiny bit.


Foundations & Concealers


Best Natural Face


Breathe Make-up Therapy Liquid Foundation and Concealer

R480 (Foundation) at Gentle Approach

R305 (Concealer) at Gentle Approach


The concealer is salvia sclarea and chamomilla flower extract based liquid that is ideal for all skin types. It offers a medium coverage to conceal skin blemishes and also moisturizing the eye area. They recommend you apply it with the brush applicator or your fingers but I found finger application to work best.


What you should know before you buy


The foundation is only available in 3 shades and the concealer only in 2. After applying the foundation (with your fingers) it feels slightly tacky to the touch, but hang tight for a few minutes. It settles into the skin for a beautifully matt and no foundation feel finish. It has a scent to it, which I love but might not be for everyone.


What I loved about it


The foundation is very light and feels like a moisturizing cream when you apply it. I was incredibly impressed with how well the shade I tested (no. 1) settled into my skin tone – it has to be the best colour match I have ever used which is something I truly was not expecting.


The concealer has a thicker consistency than the foundation and does a good job concealing. They work incredibly well together.


Easiest Full & Even coverage


Zuii certified organic compact powder foundation and Concealer Pencil

R380 (Foundation) at Zuii Organic

R266.76 (Concealer) at Zuii Organic


Zuii Organic Flora Powder Foundation is enriched with unique floral powder produced from Certified Organic Rose petals, organic Chamomile flowers and organic Jasmine flowers. It provides broad spectrum UVA and UVB sun protection (exact SPF not specified).


It contains Vitamin C acts to help damaged skin and protects against premature aging. It’s long lasting and is water resistant. This is one of Zuii’s Vegan-friendly products.


The Concealer pencil works well in addition to the powder or even on its own to cover up and imperfections on the skin. It combines hiding and treating skin conditions like rosacea, acne, blemishes and pigmentation. It comes in 4 shades.



What you should know before you buy


Powder foundation is fantastic at giving you a luxuriously matt satin finish but probably looks the most make-up-ey. It is not forgiving on fine lines so you should avoid applying it around your eyes and dust it lightly over areas you crinkle (i.e. forehead) during the day to avoid tell-tale foundation lines. It does not come with a brush or an applicator sponge so make sure you have on hand.


The pencil requires a sharpener to retain its precision but make sure you take it along with you when purchasing one because its thickness is somewhere between a pencil and a chubby stick.


What I loved about it


The foundation is so easy to apply and you don’t risk a streaky painted on look. It took just a quick swipe of a brush on each area and my face was good to go. It is also buildable so you decided how much coverage you want. It is also the absolute best at covering blemishes. I had one hormonal pimple toward the end of this experiment and where liquid foundations tend to slide off of bumps, this covered it right up.


It is also great to dust on top of foundation to mattify your look.


The concealer pencil is fun to use and very effective. It draws onto blemishes with is and then blends into the skin well.


Best Outdoor and All Rounder


Physicians Formula Super CC

R274.95 Available at Dis-chem

CC Creams are all about Color-correct and Care and multi-tasking makeup and skin care hybrids. This one tube replaces 4 products by providing anti-aging treatment, moisturiser, Foundation and SPF. It has an SPF of 30 and claims to visibly correct age spots, dark circles, blemishes, dullness, uneven skin tone, redness, dark shadows, discoloration, fine line, wrinkles and signs of fatigue.


What you should know before you buy


It is not waterproof. They do recommend wearing a waterproof sunscreen underneath it when swimming or sweating and reapplying it every 2 hours for sun protection measures. I wore it out on my runs without any SPF underneath and found it to be sufficient but I do run very early in the morning before the sun reaches its burning peak.



What I loved about it


It has a thicker consistency than a weightless formula but goes on very light. It also feels great on the face and really brightened and evened out my complexion. It stayed on very well in an 18 hour day setting and my face felt cared for all the way through.


Best Flawless Face/ Value for money


Physicians Formula Nude Wear Touch of Glow Foundation and Touch-Up Tool

R274.95 (Foundation) Available at Dis-chem

R244.95 (Concealer) Available at Dis-chem

The Nude Wear range from Physician’s Formula claim is “look perfected without looking made up!” and it really delivers. It’s a weightless fluid which illuminates and covers. The Nude wear range also has a touch-up concealer/ highlighter tool with a flow-thru brush applicator that really complements the foundation.


What you should know before you buy


Al­though it does have a natural skin effect, this is not a no make-up look foundation. Also, the touch-up pen tool requires 5-10 twists on the first use to activate. I didn’t read that and was stumped when no liquid was presenting itself.


What I loved about it


The entire Nude Wear range has the most high-end lux packaging of all the products tried. The light pink leather look material and rose gold lids and bow accents are incredibly pretty. The foundation also comes with a matching brush which is an incredibly useful touch and at its price point is an incredibly good deal.




Best Blush


Physicians Formula Nude Wear Glowing Nude Blush

R249.95 Available at Dis-chem

This belongs in the Nude Wear Foundation Family with the same claims and packaging. The box says, “perfecting “no makeup” blush delivers a complexion-boosting, lit-from-within blushing glow for a fresh a beautiful bare skin effect. And it does just that.


What you should know before you buy


You might want to throw out your other blushes after using this.


What I loved about it


Everything. This is definitely the best blush I have ever used and most possibly the last. It gives you such a radiantly glowing natural blushed look without looking like you painted colour on your cheeks. My favourite part was the “secret compartment” at the back. Just like the front lifts up to reveal the multi-coloured palette, the back lifts to reveal a brush and mirror. Both sides also seal with hidden magnetic strips meaning nothing falls out.


Best Bronzer


Dr Hauschka Translucent Bronzing Tint

R498 at Tocara Skin &  Body Science

This is truly an innovative product that has a very unique spot in the athleisure beauty trend space. It isn’t actually makeup but really elevates your complexion, giving you both a glow and a very subtle evening out which is the affect many of us are going after when applying makeup for activity. I also love how little of this you need to give you glowy results meaning the price is well worth the bottle because it will last you forever

The Translucent Bronzing Tint is a liquid mineral tint offers a sun-kissed glow while gently blending and softening the appearance of blemishes and imperfections.

It is made from Witch hazel, olive oil, beeswax and colouring pigments which moisturize and tone for a healthy, fresh, even-toned and radiant skin. Translucent Bronzing Tint combines the moisturizing powers of medicinal plant extracts with the creative possibility of colour-based nuance.


What you should know before you buy


It is best used with a moisturiser but can be used alone. It doesn’t take a lot of product for a beautiful affect so pump lightly. And on that pump, the bottle doesn’t come with a lid to cover it. Oh and apparently Matthew McConaughey uses it. If it’s good enough for him… ;P


What I loved about it


This is truly an innovative product that has a very unique spot in the athleisure beauty trend space. It isn’t actually makeup but really elevates your complexion, giving you both a glow and a very subtle evening out which is the affect many of us are going after when applying makeup for activity. I also love how little of this you need to give you glowy results meaning the price is well worth the bottle because it will last you forever.




Best Eyebrow Definer


Zuii Organic Eyebrow definer in Taupe

R277 at Zuii Organic

This soft long-lasting pencil has a non-greasy formula. Their unique formula combines a wonderful blend of essential oils and extracts to ensure your natural brows are nurtured and protected. It’s available in 2 shades.


What you should know before you buy


It applies best to non-greasy/shiny skin so dusting on some of the Zuii powder foundation before, helps your application.


What I loved about it


Besides for being incredibly easy to use, the brush stroke this retractable pencil delivers are incredibly natural looking. It also lasts very well through a workout, through wiping sweat down after a workout and through an entire work day.


Most effective minimalist eyeliner

Breathe Make-up Therapy Eye Pencil in Marrone

R210 at Gentle Approach

Naturalamente offers their eye pencil in 2 shades. They are botanical wax based soft pencils that are suitable for all eyes, even the most delicate. They are easy to blend to get a soft effect and they do not contain irritating synthetic substances.


What to Know before you buy


It doesn’t last on the waterline long. It is also an old school style pencil which requires sharpening.


What I loved about it


I chose the brown shade because I know how difficult finding a good one is. The biggest concern with an eye pencil for me is – will it colour your waterline, even more so a brown pencil over black. It worked amazing on both the water line and upper lid lash line and even blended like a dream to create a softer eye shadow look on the lid. I loved how much of a natural pop it gave my eyes when I applied it on my waterline. It enhanced my eyes without looking like eyeliner which is exactly what I’d expect from an Athleisure Beauty eyeliner look.


Best Natural Look Mascara


Zuii Organic Flora Mascara

R270.55 at Zuii Organic

This unique formula cares for your eyes and conditions your lashes. It boasts high definition and long-lasting colour is reinforced with a unique blend of Certified Organic Nettle and Horsetail extracts to soothe and regenerate. It is rich in lash conditioning nutrients including Vitamins D and E, contains beeswax to stimulate lash growth and has rose flower oil to moisturise lashes. It comes in 5 shades.


What to know before you buy


It has a light scent to it which reminds me of yogurt.


What I loved about it


It is very light in that it very naturally enhances your lashes without pumping them. It is perfect for when you don’t want to look like you’re wearing mascara but the thing mascara does for your eyes has been achieved.

Best Eyelash boosting Mascara


Physicians Formula BB Lashes

R244.95 Available at Dis-chem


Just like the Physicians formula BB Cream, this is a multi-tasking mascara that volumises, lengthens, thickens, defines, lifts, builds, primes, sculps and conditions. It is an EcoBlend featuring OrganiSoy® which helps provide nourished and healthy lashes and Eco-Olive® which has natural antioxidants to protect lashes. It is a 100% natural coconut cocktail and botanical blend. 70% of the ingredients are Organic.


What you should know before you buy


Once you retract the brush out the bottle, scrape down the excess product from the centre to avoid clumps and smudges.


What I loved about it


It’s has a 2-in-1 brush that builds fullness on the one side and defines and separates on the other. It also works well which isn’t always the case when you buy 2-in-1 brush products.




Best clear gloss


Breathe Make-Up Therapy Gloss

R315 at Gentle Approach

These glosses have a natural soft effect with long-lasting coverage. They’re available in 3 shades and I tested the clear to just subtly bring some shine to the lips.


What you should know before you buy


It is packaged exactly the same as the concealer so don’t confuse the two.


What I loved about it


The minty fresh smell and zing really makes it great for morning use. It is also so soft giving you more of a glistening “licked my lips” feel than heavy old school gloss.


Best Lip Tint


Zuii certified organic flora Tint

R300.96 at Zuii Organic

Zuii Flora Lip Tint delivers a high gloss finish. It is made of a unique blend of Certified Organic Musk Rose Seed Oil, Aloe Vera and Beeswax to moisturise and nourish dry or chapped lips plus contains the added benefits of Vitamins E and C. It is available in 9 shades.


What you should know before you buy


Store upright. When lying on its side the Musk Rose Seed Oil, slightly seeps out leaving residue on your surface.


What I loved about it.


It feels incredibly moisturizing and provides a very subtle lip tint enhancement. I tested the lightest two shades.


Make-up remover


If you’re going to all the trouble of using athleisure beauty or Organic makeup brands you might as well be using a makeup remover that is equally good for your skin too.


Zuii Organic Makeup Remover

R273.60 at Zuii Organic

This is a lightweight hydrating cream based remover that can be used on the eyes, lips or face to gently and effortlessly remove makeup. It is made up of a unique blend

of botanical extracts and organic oils such as Camellia and Macadamia. It moisturises, soothes, calms and conditions your skin. It is also one of Zuii’s vegan friendly options.


What to know before you buy


You need to have cotton pads on hand to pump the cream onto the pads to swipe over your face for the easiest removal. It also takes more than 1 pump to clear your whole face because it dries quickly.


What I loved about it


It is the first cream based makeup remover I have used and it was incredibly effective. It leaves your skin feeling moisturised and treated which is a stark contrast to the feeling generic oil based makeup removers give you.


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