How to Train BJJ or MMA and Still Look Good in Everyday Life

Sally Arsenault

Contributor - Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Gear Reviews

Halifax, Canada

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, MMA


When I walk out of Titans Fitness Academy after Brazilian jiu jitsu class, I don’t want to look as though I’ve just been in a fight. I want to look like a girl again. I want my nail polish to look fresh and I want my skin to be free of bruises and ringworm. Many of my teammates work in professional environments as well so I’ve developed this guide to help them leave the gym at the gym.





coverfx, dermablend, bjj, bruises, covering bruises, bruise makeupI’ve been waiting for one of my teammates to get a black eye so I could test various concealers on him and this weekend my patience was rewarded. I’m sure the punch in the face was no fun for him but now we know CoverFX and Dermablend are the real deal.


Initially we tried my CoverFX cream foundation on the purple area because it matched his skin tone. I bought the product last summer to cover bruising on my legs so it’s darker than my regular color. He was hesitant at first and wouldn’t allow me to get video or photo evidence of our success but with a little bit of layering, his black eye disappeared. He was so impressed, he planned on going to Shopper’s Drug Mart this weekend to buy some for himself. I find the cream foundation to be a little transferable, though, so I wanted to try the Dermablend as well.


coverfx, dermablend, bjj, bruises, covering bruises, bruise makeupThe day after we tried CoverFX, we applied Dermablend Concealer to the bruised area and had similar results. It didn’t look as flawless as the CoverFX simply because the Dermablend was a few shades too light for him but the bruising was concealed. In addition to the facial concealer, Dermablend offers a Leg and Body Concealer which is transfer-resistant so it is less likely to come off on clothing.


To hide the black eye, the following steps are suggested:

  1. Moisturize affected and surrounding areas
  2. Using your fingertip or a make-up brush, pat the product onto the bruising, feathering it out onto the surrounding area and blending it in. I didn’t rub the product onto the skin. I used my fingertip to spread it over the bruising with tiny dabs
  3. Add layers as necessary, finish with translucent powder


There are instructional videos on YouTube for face and body concealing techniques for both CoverFX and Dermablend. And if you need any further proof that make-up can cover anything, check out this amazing video of Zombie Boy's transformation:



Healthy Skin



I’ve heard around town that Spirit Spa esthetician Christine Fader is a polish and cosmetic genius. Christine also lifts and trains Brazilian jiu jitsu at the same gym as UFC lightweight title contender TJ Grant here in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She’s been training at FitPlus MMA long enough to develop her own tricks for keeping up appearances.


Said Fader, “Having nice clear skin is always the top of my list and it's hard to maintain it when you are constantly sweating and mixing that sweat with others’. I always keep facial wipes in my gym bag. I cleanse my face before training and then again after. Before training is always a courtesy to get my makeup off so it doesn't stain my white gi... Or my partners white gi!” This is my pet peeve: other people’s cosmetics on my $60 rashguard.


My Personal Routine


coverfx, dermablend, bjj, bruises, covering bruises, bruise makeupI have my own routine before training. I keep a bag at work with face wash, elastics, and oral hygiene products so I can floss, clean my teeth and tongue, wash my face, and braid my hair. Titans’ Women’s Only BJJ follows our advanced BJJ so I leave class early to wash up and change my clothes before the women arrive. The products I keep on hand are a hand towel, baby wipes, and deodorant. I dry off with the hand towel, wipe my whole body with the baby wipes, apply deodorant, then wash my hands and face in the sink so as not to disgust the women in my class.



After the women’s class, I put on my flip flops and shower with Body Shop Tea Tree Oil Body Wash and wash my hair with Head & Shoulders Itchy Scalp Care because it has anti-fungal ingredients such as Pyrithione zinc and eucalyptus. A pharmacist told me regular soap, shampoo, and conditioner would work just as well, but I’d rather be safe than sorry. I think my routine works, as in five years of training I've never had a skin infection - or a cavity.





Cauliflower ears are a badge of honor to some athletes but many of us would rather avoid them. Ear guards prevent nasty ears and if you’re wondering about brands, Meerkatsu has provided an ear guard comparison on his blog. I’ve never had issues with my ears but if I did, I’d try the Cliff Kean slicker plus ear guard set to accommodate my hair.




My eyelashes are blonde and although it’s silly, I hate for people to see me without mascara. To avoid having it run down my face or onto people’s clothing, I use Cover Girl Lash Blast Water Proof Mascara. It stays on through all of the face washing I do throughout the day. Although I’ve tried other brands, LashBlast has proven to be the best.





coverfx, dermablend, bjj, bruises, covering bruises, bruise makeupLast but not least one thing women have to say goodbye to when they start Brazilian jiu jitsu is long fingernails. And even if they’re short, the polish just won’t stay on if you don’t add extra steps to your mani/pedi. I asked Christine (that's her on the left in the photo) what she would suggest for women on the mats and she said, “For polish to last longer, UV light-cured polishes such as Shellac last way longer and are more durable. Hangnails on the hands and broken nails are a constant battle for me, so I keep a nail file in my bag to smooth nail edges and then I put Polysporin on my hangnails to help them heal up faster.”


I had no idea what Shellac was so I did a little research. In her article Pros and Cons of Shellac Nail Polish, Connie Thompson explained:


Shellac is the brain child of a California company called Creative Nail Design, more commonly known as CND. The company says it spent five years perfecting the product. Shellac is frequently described as a hybrid of the popular gel manicure.


Shellac offers a more nail-friendly solution by taking gel to the next level -- no sculpting or filing, just thin coats of polish on your natural nail, with a brief time for curing under a UV lamp between every coat. Ahern says the UV is used for 10 seconds after the base coat, and two minutes each between the two coats of color and the top coat.


Personally, I usually use Sally Hansen color and add three layers of top coat to make my polish last for a couple of weeks. It’s a lot more time consuming than having Shellac applied at the salon but if you have a free evening, it works very well.


coverfx, dermablend, bjj, bruises, covering bruises, bruise makeup


I’m glad I was able to share some of Christine’s tricks with you and I hope the help of the Dermablend and CoverFX experts prevent you from ever going to work looking like a victim of domestic violence again! Many of the products I’ve mentioned in this article are manufactured by Proctor & Gamble. Check out Brand Saver for valuable coupons.


BJJ photo provided by David Brown Photography.

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