5 Ways MMA Has Impacted My Fashion and Beauty Choices


The saga of my MMA fight training continues.

And let me tell you — man, do I love fight training.  It’s been glorious so far, and I’ve enjoyed each new skill I’ve learned, each opportunity to drill the same thing over and over again for the sake of gradual [but sure] improvement, the whole blood/sweat/tears “ordeal”, personal fitness developments, learning new things about the human psych, and feeling better and better about myself along the way.

Yes, I’m being serious — I really and truly do love all these things (even the blood/sweat/tears part).

amaranthineBut MMA really is an all-in type of a thing.  I spend most of my day sweaty, frizzy, grungy, and sans makeup.  When I’m not training, I’m at home… being clean, grungy, and sans makeup; I’m not usually looking all that glamorous as I run the Instagram (@BloodInkandRoses) and this very blog.  There was a time when you could find me spinning content from a cutesy coffee shop, decked out in winged eyeliner, liquid lipstick, and a well-planned outfit, but those days are now a distant memory.

Fight training has affected me, a fashion and beauty blogger, in those very two departments: fashion and beauty.  In fact, when I started training, I kept joking that I was “sacrificing” them to do MMA.

But now, I realize that what was originally a bunch of [hardly reluctant] “sacrifices” has shape-shifted into a new type of aesthetic altogether.  It’s not sacrifice — it’s change. 

These are five ways MMA fight training has impacted my fashion and beauty choices.

1. I need constant reminders that denim is still relevant.

The rest of the world is still rocking denim, but catch me in running shorts, yoga pants, rash guards, or sweatpants all day, every day.

amaranthineI’m not exactly wearing jeans to fight training, am I?  Additionally, I work from my phone and computer — this doesn’t exactly require me to adhere to a strict dress code.

I used to be the type of person who believed un-ironically wearing any of these athletic-type items in public was essentially the 8th deadly sin, left her house in stilettos and pencil skirts or jeans most days, and wrinkled her nose at the very thought of entertaining flats.

But, the only thing constant in life is change — the jeans in my closet are now squished between some Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gis (uniforms), and they’re probably gathering dust.

And that’s absolutely fine because, as it turns out, athletic wear isn’t the devil.  It can actually be quite stylish!

Who would’ve guessed?

2. I’ve come upon the realization that highly decorative bras can be… kind of uncomfortable. 

This is probably something that started as a result of my chest muscle injury, but was majorly enabled by my daily use of sports bras — I’ve began to consider lace, wires, and push-up padding in bras excessive and uncomfortable [in most cases].  I never really used to feel this way, but now I do.

All of these things still have a place in my wardrobe for when I dress up a bit, but I see no reason why a very simple t-shirt bra or bralette can’t do the job on those days when I’m wearing a baggy v-neck shirt to the mall.

There’s not anything wrong with those fancy, pretty bras — this is just a change in my personal preference.

And yes, simpler bras can be extremely stylish if you know where to look.

3. It’s occurred to me that I don’t actually need cat eyes to be a feline warrior. 

Makeup isn’t a high-priority in my life anymore, and that’s something I never thought I’d hear myself saying.

I applied my first cat-eye when I was 14 years old, and I never looked back.  I fell in love with lipstick when I was 18 years old, and sauntered into the world of contouring at the ripe age of 22.  I’ve never been one to pile on a lot (aside from eyeliner, of course {#scenegirl}), but I always did a lot with the little makeup I did apply.

But there’s just no way you’ll see me wearing makeup to fight training.  If I don’t sweat all of it off and traumatize my pores within the first few minutes of whatever it is I’m doing, I’m sure I’ll get it all over myself, my clothes, my training partners, their clothes, my wraps, my gloves, and the mats when I grapple.

I’m not gonna lie — it was weird at first.  Not wearing makeup most days, getting used to seeing myself without eyeliner on all the time, talking to people without atleast some kajal on…

And then, I got used to it.  I got comfortable with seeing myself without makeup on when I’m out in public.  It doesn’t feel that strange anymore.

In fact, when I do put on a tiny bit of makeup and glance in the mirror these days, I kind of feel like there’s an alien staring back at me.  I stare wide-eyed at my reflection because I’m not used to seeing myself that way anymore.

I’m whole without cosmetics; we all are.  Makeup is supposed to be fun, not mandatory.

I’m so grateful that MMA helped me see that.  Now, I know when I put on my makeup that it’s something I’m doing for me, not something I’m doing because I have to.

On the other hand, R.I.P. my Ipsy Glam Bag.

4. Declawing myself was difficult, but staring down at my natural, unpainted nails doesn’t make me want to cry.

In fact, I’m strangely merry when I see my short, rugged, unpainted, uneven, natural nails.

I had my acrylics for 5 straight years (Claws: 2013-2018), and I used to tell anyone who would listen that I’d NEVER, EVER remove them.

Apparently, I lied.  When it came down to choosing between MMA and fake nails, I looked down at my fierce claws with tears in my eyes and whispered solemnly, “Boi, bye.”

I knew I’d made the correct decision, but I never would’ve guessed I’d be wholly happy with my non-fancy nails.  In fact, for the first few weeks without my claws, I applied thick nail polish to hide my natural nails from the world — it took me about a month to realize I don’t need to cover them with paint.

The funny thing is that my natural nails chip and break far more than my acrylics ever did, and I can’t really take super cute nail photos of me holding random objects (see below) for my Instagram anymore… but I’m pretty happy with these natural nails o’ mine anyways.

Also, while I have your attention, here’s a bunch of photos of my beautiful gel acrylics over the years (just please put up with me right now, okay?).

Three cheers for five years!

5. Beauty pampering doesn’t have to be extravagant. 

For me, beauty care during fight training has been all about good hygiene, clean eating, exercise, and natural products.


I never really did much “beauty stuff” even before I started fight training — sesame oil on the skin once in a while, argon oil in the hair, a fancy facial cleanser, some fragrant lotion, maybe a skin scrub in the shower.  Still, I suppose I did put a lot of thought and some money into it.

It won’t surprise you to hear that fight training is draining.  There’s a lot of days when I just want to come home, shower, and stuff my face with healthy food.

This means that I’m not really lingering around doing mud masks before my shower or intensely moisturizing my skin afterwards.  Honestly, I shave far less than I used to, and I’ve let my eyebrows grow out (I don’t know why I waited so long to stop getting them threaded so often — they’re getting thick again!).

I’ve figured out that you don’t need much for beauty care — scent-free body wash, soap, and lotion has helped my skin stay clean and hydrated — they’re also gentle enough for someone with naturally dry skin who has to shower twice a day because of multiple training sessions (aka me).

Coconut oil is great for the lips, and I apply it when I’m home.  Hair can get a bit dry and sad when you’re sweating and fighting all day, so it never hurts to massage ample, warm coconut oil into it and let it sit for a few hours to give your strands a boost (wash it out afterwards if you don’t want to look greasy).

amaranthineIf your skin, hair, and lips feel dry, I’ve found that keeping a humidifier on while you sleep (don’t add essential oils to it if you have cats [or any other pets, really] at home!) helps a ton.

Drinking lots of water and eating healthy foods, especially good fats (like avocados), really make you feel good from the inside out.

As it so happens, I’ve found that I don’t need fancy treatments, oils, mud masks, sheets, etc. to keep myself looking healthy (R.I.P. my Ipsy Glam Bag… again), nor do I need to shave, pluck, or thread excessively.

My body knows what it needs, so all I really have to do is listen to it.  I think that, in a lot of cases, is the trick to beauty.

In conclusion, just because you’re more sweatpants than pencil skirts, fragrance-free lotion than shimmery highlighter, or basic soap than volcano clay facial cleanser doesn’t mean you’ve abandoned fashion or beauty — it’s literally just a different style, and a more relaxed aesthetic.

Be you, do your thing, and be happy.

Yes, I’m sticking to that advice — don’t even try to change my mind.

In other words, Just Do It.

All images used in this entry are the sole property of Ami J. Sanghvi.



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