your face is saggy

I expect this from publications like the Daily Mail and frankly can’t be bothered to get angry any more about their disgusting approach to women in general.

When Laura tweeted some images of what the Stylist had published in their most recent issue I couldn’t believe my eyes. Here was a publication that dedicated a whole issue to Feminism and usually does a good job of balancing their beauty/style recommendations (aka advertising sales) with good articles by knowledgeable writers.

Photo via @lazygirlrunning

Photo via @lazygirlrunning

Then they wrote an article about the made up and frankly insulting term ‘runner’s face’ and dry swimmers’ skin. I’m not a doctor or qualified in any way to speak about human physiology (and doubt the author is either) but this is absolute bullshit. It’s not even worth my time explaining why because it’s clearly just a way to sell expensive skin products to women who are again being told to worry about false beauty standards over health.

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Photo via @lazygirlrunning

This article brought up two major issues I’ve been trying to work over in my brain. First, articles like this perpetuate the problem of women being told that not only do they have to look good to exercise, but the only goal of exercises is to look pretty. Why are you running? It better be to lose weight. Yoga class? Long and lean limbs. Weights? Toned arms.  This shouldn’t be the message that the media puts out to women. I exercise because it’s fun. 99.9% of my running is done with friends, at an event with beer at the end, or with my husband on our way to brunch.

Second, it again tells us that we need more stuff and professional advice to ‘do running’ properly. Going on to say that you should change your running technique to save your skin from the dreaded ‘runner’s face’ is another step too far.  The Running Industrial Complex is insane enough trying to convince you to avoid weak glutes, run in shoes that are more supportive, run in shoes that are less supportive, kick your heels like Mo, run at this pace, and dance around like a monkey in compression gear (you get the point) to add changing your running form to avoid a saggy face. Seriously. Fuck. This.

On our flight to Berlin I found a great article in the BA Flight Magazine by Richard Askwith about Running Free and it reminded me that all this garbage about running better (or prettier according to the stylist) is rubbish and not at all applicable to why we run.




Look, I go to the “leading manufactures” events, help lead a run club with a running apparel store, and accept products to be reviewed on my blog as much as the next person so I’m not trying to say we should all strip down and run naked in the hills, but I am saying we should all be responsible to remember why we run and not be influenced by people/blogs/magazines telling you something because they are trying to make money.

The next day, after more than a few people tweeting at the Stylist asking what their response was to the criticism of this article – I was contacted and asked to email the editor with my concerns and I took the time to do so. Her response is below, which to me does a lot of explaining but not enough recognizing the problem of “troubleshooting ways of looking after your skin” in an article about fitness. It’s fine though – I’ve just added the Stylist to my pool of Daily Mail type publications and hope you do to.



14 thoughts on “your face is saggy

  1. Katie

    Great article Laura!

    I like this par best: “Look, I go to the “leading manufactures” events, help lead a run club with a running apparel store, and accept products to be reviewed on my blog as much as the next person so I’m not trying to say we should all strip down and run naked in the hills, but I am saying we should all be responsible to remember why we run and not be influenced by people/blogs/magazines telling you something because they are trying to make money.”

    Off on a MASSIVE TANGENT NOW>>> I’ve been getting really bored lately of people judging others on why they run. I run because it keeps me fit and stops me getting fat. Simple as that. Races, medals and… GLORY keep me at it. If others run because they just like the simple act of running, that’s GREAT! But the ‘industrialisation’ of running is happening because there we’re all different and, as running gets more popular and mainstream, there will be a wider market to serve; with people that want all the ‘bumf’. We don’t have to be influenced by it, or let it affect our own reasons for running.

    HOWEVER, this Stylist article was just ABSOLUTE TOTAL SHIT. RUNNERS FACE???? Are you having a fucking laugh?

    Keep up the good work, you badass. x

    1. lauraestewart Post author

      Not a tangent at all Katie! That’s exactly what I was trying to say in my own confused brain! I 100% think the responsibility lies on each person to make their own decision on why they run and what they wear and while it’s good to have a few different voices in the arena that has been dominated by the big brands for so long… their opinion isn’t always the right one for you either.

  2. splutterandroll

    I’m wading back in on the Comments section again – make way, I’m coming through!!!

    Really interested in the editor’s justification for this nonsense: “feedback from readers”.
    I have been running for three years and have NEVER, EVER heard ANYONE talk about Runners Face. Perhaps I am mixing in the wrong circles.

    Below are just three genuine – but perhaps less sexy – ‘beauty’ issues that runners commonly come up against:

    1. FEET (corns, blisters, hard skin/ peeling skin)
    3. B.O

    Can Stylist please address these????

  3. kathleen

    I tweeted Paula Radcliffe in a tongue in cheek way and she tweeted me back about the moisturiser she uses: she alternates a Boots one with Creme de la Mer. I googled the last one. £105.00 for 30ml. I’ll stick with Nivea I think!
    I have no problem with people using expensive products, it is an indulgence, it’s decadent and it is something that makes me feel pampered. I love running and I love make up and smelling pretty. However for the magazine to advocate that female runners ‘need’ such a product and one at that cost is totally ridiculous. It won’t prevent ageing and it certainly won’t reverse skin damage. If anything runners should be told to regularly wear an SPF to protect their skin and protect nasties. Runners, more than anyone else are regularly exposed to the elements and it would be good practice to protect our skin not necessarily for vanity reasons but in the same way we eat a good diet or avoid smoking. And to me there is a thing called runner’s face but it is completely different to the one they are on about. A runner’s face is happy, smiling, glowing and content with all the happy miles they’ve just run *gets off computer to bathe in buckets of Creme de le Mer in the hope it will give me magical Paula powers*

  4. blackandtabby

    I think I’ve seen “Runner’s face” on some of my race photos, and it ain’t pretty. However I seriously doubt any cream, however expensive, will manage to change my expression of fatigue / doubt / glee / delirium / zombification into something more photogenic, and I really don’t want it to!

  5. lucysax

    Interesting blog! Completely agree that exercise and running should be fun and expensive moisturisers are con. Love dancing around like a monkey in head to toe compression though 😉

  6. leahevansnz

    I didn’t read the article, but I agree that calling ANYTHING “runners face” is a load of bollocks. I think they were on the right track, but just kind of missed the mark (based on what you are saying). I have actually had the worst skin in my 30 year life since upping my mileage with marathon training (the only thing that is different that I can put my finger on – seriously, breakouts worse than a teenager), and so I would have been interested to know more about how exercise and sweat can impact negatively on your skin, but also POSITIVELY too (there are definite benefits!). I wouldn’t take kindly to being suggested to use creme de la mer, but maybe a guide to keeping your skin clean & fresh after exercising might have been a better take on it? Rather than putting the fear into people for exercising (ie. I could easily say “training for a marathon has made me break out”) how about saying “well done on training for a marathon. You are going to be sweating a lot more than your skin may be used to, so here’s ways to combat the effects”. Or something. I’m rambling too! haha! Hope that makes sense 🙂

    1. lauraestewart Post author

      Great ramble. I totally agree a more balanced approach would be useful but they lost all credibility for me when they called it “runner’s face” right at the beginning.

  7. secret_marathon_runner

    The publication’s reply saddened me almost as much as the article. Is it me or is that final line a bit patronising?

    Although there are a huge amount of women who run, for every woman getting out there there is another at indoors without the confidence to actually get started. How can we expect anyone, regardless of gender, to think that running is the all-inclusive sport that it is and which. in truth, doesn’t have to cost much to do?

    I hate to think that there are people out there who may have read that and now think that on top of the cost of shoes and kit they also have to worry about lotions and potions and ending up looking like Zelda from the Terrahawks* and missing out on the ultimate benefits of lacing up and releasing your inner Phoebe Buffay.

    *I am old – you may have to Google this.

    1. lauraestewart Post author

      I think you nailed it on the head SM! I don’t think it’s responsible for publications to put out stories like these to sell products on the insecurities of women. I don’t mind being sold to but think it should be done on the positive aspects of body image and exercise!


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