I run hot. In the winter, it’s a bit of a blessing. Public parks are empty during the first frost, when I find exercising outside to be the most tolerable. I wear my favorite leather jacket and peacoat through March; my single puffer sits in the back of the closet. Plus, I save a lot of money on my heating bill. Life is less pleasant once the thermostat creeps above 70. That’s when I feel the first telltale droplet trickle down my face and I know: Sweating season is officially here.
Even though I am a very sweaty person, I actually don’t fret over common problem areas like my underarms or my back. My handy antiperspirant SweatBlock Wipes work like a charm in those places. But face sweat is a whole different ball game. While sweating can be unpleasant and unseemly in general, there are a lot of reasons face sweat is worse than other sweat. For one, it’s significantly more noticeable and harder to hide. Face sweat also ruins any hopes of wearing makeup between Memorial and Labor Day. And I can’t exactly apply traditional antiperspirant or my wipes to my face. (I’ve never tried, but I imagine the subsequent breakout would be swift and brutal.)
The most effective solution to face sweat that I’ve found is more natural: a steady breeze. It’s nice and cheap, too — but it’s not exactly reliable (or available in stuffy indoor spaces which, as much as I try, I can’t altogether avoid). The next best thing, I’ve learned, is to bring the wind with you. For a while I used a manual hand fan, but eventually I realized I needed more horsepower. Not to mention, furiously waving the thing just kind of made me sweat more. After a little perusing on Amazon, I stumbled upon a foldable, battery-powered fan that, for $16, I figured was worth a shot. Three summers later, it is now an essential, on par with my house keys and debit card.
While it isn’t the smallest thing in the world, when folded in half, the fan is compact enough to fit in my fanny pack. And it is, most importantly, powerful. The fan has three different speeds (I keep it on the strongest setting) and can go for hours when fully charged. Comparing this fan to my old hand fan is like comparing a luxury car to a horse-and-buggy: It blasts my face with air that feels cooler, as opposed to just fanning what feels like tepid air in my general direction. The fan is the closest thing you can get to sticking your head in a freezer on a steamy subway platform, somewhere I’ve used it countless times. I’ve whipped it out everywhere from outdoor bars to sweltering graduation ceremonies, where the fan has garnered looks of envy from friends and strangers alike. On full blast, it stops a stream of face sweat in its tracks before it even has a chance to get into my eyes. And if the sweat has already started dripping, it efficiently speeds up the evaporation process — no desperate wipe-and-rub-on-pant-leg move necessary. Because it folds, you could even bend it into a 90-degree angle and use it as a personal desk fan. But I prefer to keep it three inches from my face at all times.
And if you’d prefer a wearable fan…
For those who’d rather have something hands-free, Strategist contributor Alison Freer swears by this wearable neck fan she discovered on a visit to the desert in Palm Springs. “I was shocked by how much wind this little device managed to put out, and by how much less red my face was at the end of my walk,” she writes.
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