We all have visions of ourselves running around in the summer, Baywatch style: hair flowing behind us, red swimsuit clinging to our curves but not riding up our butt.
The reality is often a little different.
Wet hair plastered to your head is rarely flattering. Neither is the expression we pull when we realise we have sand where sand should never be.
It makes sense, then, that we try to compensate by putting on makeup before we head to the beach or pool.
Even if we end up swimming and our eyeliner runs down our face, at least we’ll have looked incredible before taking a dive, we reckon.
But is wearing makeup while swimming a good idea?
We don’t mean in terms of logic or money-saving, to be clear. Putting makeup on your face only to have it smeared everywhere 10 minutes later is clearly not a wise idea in that respect.
We’re talking about skin. Namely, will wearing makeup then putting our head in a swimming pool wreck our skin forevermore?
Facialist Kate Kerr explains that wearing makeup while swimming is a ‘double-edged sword’.
‘On the plus side, the makeup provides a barrier to help prevent some of the skin damage caused by chlorine,’ she tells metro.co.uk.
Chlorine and other cleaning agents used in pools are not great for skin, if you didn’t know, stripping the skin of moisture and causing irritation for those with sensitivity.
Contact with chlorine can leave the skin dry, oily, and prone to breakouts. Not great.
So if makeup can provide a bit of a barrier between your skin and chlorine, says Kate, that might actually be a good thing.
But that doesn’t mean you have free rein to smother yourself in foundation before going for a dip.
While makeup may provide a slight barrier, it doesn’t do your skin any good to sit around post-swim with a mixture of foundation, chlorine, and dirt resting on your face.
Makeup provides the perfect slightly sticky base for chlorine – or salt water, if you’re swimming in the sea – to stick to.
Kate suggests that this can lead to ‘free radical damage, thus damaging cell DNA and speeding up skin ageing.’
It’s not great for acne or sensitivity, either, keeping drying agents on your face where they can cause all kinds of irritation.
The important thing, then, is to cleanse the skin quickly after swimming, so you don’t let any nasty stuff sit on top of your face and wreak havoc. That rule applies whether you’re wearing makeup or not, but it’s especially important when you have foundation on your skin.
In short, wear makeup to the pool if you fancy – although we’d recommend keeping it light and waterpoof to avoid your contour ending up half way down your chin.
Just make sure that once you’re done paddling, give your face a wash with a gentle cleanser and rub in some moisturiser. Your dry, chlorine-covered skin will appreciate it.