Fitness Articles

Post-Workout Beauty Tips

Shower-Free Solutions when You're Short on Time

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Sometimes, it’s all you can do to squeeze a workout during your lunch hour or before the evening PTA meeting. In an ideal world, you’d also have time to shower, fix your hair, and dress to impress. But in the real world, you don't always have time for all of this. Instead of skipping your workout altogether in lieu of extra shower time, consider some of these shower alternatives for time-pressed exercisers.

Workout Clothes
There are many different ways to refresh your body, from head to toe, starting with your workout clothes. Sitting around for hours in sweaty clothes isn't very comfortable or appealing to your co-workers. Bring a change of clothes to the gym, everything from socks, to shirts and even undergarments. Women especially need to bring a change of underwear to prevent yeast infections that might arise when wearing damp or sweaty undergarments for too long.

Consider buying exercise clothes made from synthetic fabrics that are specifically designed to whisk away sweat, keeping you cooler and drier, such as Dri-Fit by Nike, Double Dry by Champion, or Cool Max. Cotton clothes retain sweat and moisture, making your sticky and stinky. Also, wear breathable socks, not dress socks, while you work out. Women should always wear sports bras, not only for support, but also so that they can change back into a clean, regular bra when finished.

Head to Toe
If you have long hair, pull it up or back while on the treadmill or lifting weights. This way, it’s less likely to fall down onto your neck or face and pick up the sweat that lies there. Carry a small towel with you to wipe off excess sweat while you exercise. Never touch your hands to your sweaty face, as this spreads bacteria and increases the likelihood of acne. Just use your towel (blotting, not wiping) instead!

When you are done with your workout, let your hair back down. You can apply hair freshening products (in spray or powder form) after exercising to help neutralize or refresh the smell of your hair, such as Aveda Light Elements Reviving Mist or KMS Turnstylr Do-Over Cleansing Spray. Powder products also help decrease moisture and oil, keeping hair looking and smelling great until you have time to shower later.

Bring some disposable body wipes or towelettes (available at most drug stores and online). These wipes remove excess oil from your skin. Some varieties are gentle and can be used on your face, while others can be used all over your body. These are great option when you don’t have time to shower and they're small enough to keep a pack in your gym bag or car. Try Crabtree and Evelyn Citrus Travel Towelettes, L'Occitane Green Tea Refreshing Towelettes for Hands and Body, or Avon Clearskin Deep Cleansing Cloths.

A foot deodorizer can also help you feel clean after a heavy workout. After removing your workout socks, apply foot spray or powder directly to your feet before putting your regular socks back on. Some of these products go directly into your socks or shoes, and even baking soda works well. Either way, look for a product that kills germs and bacteria (which thrive harbor in warm, damp areas and cause foot odor), such as Gold Bond Medicated Foot Powder or Crystal Spray Foot Deodorant.

Shower Time
Obviously, showering after a workout is the best option. It cleans the sweat from your body and helps prevent both acne and that post-exercise funk. Just in case time allows, stock your gym bag with flip flops for the locker room shower, a clean towel, and a shower caddy. Save yourself packing space and time by bringing along travel-size and double-tasking toiletries, such as a shampoo that cleans your hair and body.


It’s great that you’ve chosen to work up a sweat and fit exercise into your busy day. By packing just a few extra things into your gym bag, you can freshen up and go about the rest of your day with confidence.

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Member Comments

  • I do the best I can. I always carry witch hazel wipes and always at least rinse off after I have a hard workout.
  • When there isn't time to shower after a work out, I use a moist towel to refresh my skin before getting dressed in new clothing. I also like to use essential oils--dabbing a bit into my hair, behind my knees, in my elbows to carry a lovely scent with me all day. Long after I'm no longer aware of its fragrance, my friends/family always comment "you smell so good"! I've even gone out later and had wait staff want to know what fragrance I'm wearing. Simple and wonderful.
  • gotta say, these suggestions would work in a pinch, but routinely . . . don't think so.
  • No shower after a workout is no option for me, and I hope it wasn't for some people that work with me ;-) Taking a short shower takes about 2 minutes! Applying all these different sprays and powders and such must take longer! And bringing a change of clothes doesn't seem like a very difficult thing to do!
  • I've never been able to work out during my work day. It's either before or after work. If I did work out during office hours, I'd have to just use the wipes. I wear compression hose, and it's an aerobic workout in itself just putting them on and taking them off. Trying to rush, take a shower, dry off, and get those hose back on would be too much trouble.
  • GAMMYDIY
    Seems like an awful not of chemicals to use. I usually wipe off with witch hazel. A little drying but if its for the occasional last minute workout, no harm done.
  • I have a genetic condition where I have very few sweat glands. Although others may know what sweat dripping down their face feels like, I have never experienced that in my life.

    So, "working up a sweat" is almost impossible for me. Although this means I don't have to worry as much as others about being offensive to others after a work-out, it does have other problems. Sweat is the way the body usually employs to cool off. The other way is by bringing blood to the surface of the skin, which is what my body usually does. So, oftentimes people think I am either on the verge of dying from a work out because I am so red, or if I am outside, people think I am sunburned.

    Needless to say, summer is miserable for me.
  • Ha, I work out and work at home so not showering would only make me miserable. I can't imagine NOT showering, yet in a pinch the suggestions in the article sound reasonable and doable. The greater good is getting a workout in, the kindness and respect for others comes in how you clean up your post workout self. Doing nothing is just nasty...
  • I don't do heavy workouts while at work. In my desk I keep body wipes, and baby powder.
    T-shirt, extra socks, and a change of undergarments if needed.
  • My boss could use some advice. He works out on the treadmill at lunch, no shower, and then there is a funk around him all afternoon! Best to schedule any meetings with him in the morning.
  • SPUNOUTMOM
    I work @ a gym, we are expected to workout when members are there so they can see that we know what we are doing. So showering during work isn't an option for us. So we all use these tips. But we are all happy to go home & take a shower. Some of us shower @ work when our shift is over just because. So this SP article doesn't lack reality.
  • I sweat like a dude, so "touching up" is not even on the table. I need a long shower with exfoliating towels and lots of soap.
  • I stumbled across this article while looking for tips on nighttime exercising. I'm a bit torn, so this article has been quite helpful. I get up very early for work, and I've been getting a lot of interviews lately, so I strongly prefer a morning shower. However, since I get up so early, I don't want to get up even earlier to exercise. I'm trying to find out if there are healthy ways to exercise at night (and yes, I do sweat quite a bit) and not shower until morning. It's not a permanent situation, just something I need to do until I find another job. I want to be as clean and nice looking as possible for an interview, which I can't do if I shower after my nightly exercise.
  • Just gross. Take a shower. Enough said.
  • After visiting my daughter when she was in the Peace Corp and not being able to take a shower for a week because of the water shortage, I know I can clean up with a sponge bath or moist towelettes after all!

    If you are clean in the first place, and clean your problem areas, put on clean clothes you are good to go.

About The Author

Liz Noelcke Liz Noelcke
Liz is a journalist who often writes about health and fitness topics.