If you're crunched for time, hitting the gym right before work or during lunch might be your only options. And that probably means you can't squeeze in a shower. Here's how you can get back to work quickly without feeling like a sweaty, stinky mess.
Photo by alfonso venzuela.
To do this right, you'll need to first put together a small cleanup kit that will go in your gym bag. This is what should be in it:
- Wet wipes: These can be anything from fancy adult-branded "freshening cloths" like Herban Essentials to Ponds to baby wipes. Pick your favourite brand and throw a travel-sized pack in your kit. These are vital.
- Facial cleansing wipes: Yes, these are different. They're not as harsh on your skin and they smell nicer. You can usually find them by the makeup removers in the store.
- Dry shampoo: Your hair will feel wet, sweaty and gross after your workout. Dry shampoo lets you undo all of that super fast. There are a ton of brands out there, but our staff likes Batiste. You may also want to consider a hair refresher or spray moisturiser.
- Deodorant/Antiperspirant: This should be obvious. Once you've wiped away the sweat you need something to ensure you smell good. Go with something fresh and clean-smelling as opposed to something perfume-like for the sake of your coworkers. If you don't want to use deodorant or antiperspirant, diluted essential oils can work too.
- Headband: If you have long hair, or even just a long fringe, putting your hair up will keep it from getting caked in sweat. Preventative measures mean less cleanup.
- An extra pair of undergarments: Let's face it, you sweat a lot when you work out, and you don't want to be wearing sweaty underwear all day. Same goes for bras. You shouldn't be heading into the office wearing anything you wore during the workout.
- A frozen water bottle: This isn't for drinking, so it's in addition to your normal water bottle. If your face gets really red when you exercise, you're going to want this. Trust me.
Once you have your kit put together, you're ready to hit the gym and get your swell on. Or cardio on. Or whatever it is you do to look good. Before you start your workout, though, do these two things: Apply dry shampoo to your hair roots, especially if you have longer hair. It keeps excess moisture from building up and caking your whole head with sweat. And put your hair up, or put on your hair band. Now you can begin. Have fun.
When you're done with your workout, follow these quick-cleanup steps in this order:
- Cool down and dry your hair as much as possible as quickly as you can. If there's a gym hair dryer, put it on "cool" and fan your face and hair. Or stand outside for a minute or two if it's cool out or there's a breeze. This makes it easier to wipe sweat off your face and makes it easier for the dry shampoo to do its thing.
- Apply another layer of dry shampoo to your hair and make sure it gets distributed evenly. You don't want any spots.
- Wipe your face with your facial cleansing wipes. You're working from the top down here. If you happened to get any dry shampoo on your face you'll be able to wipe it off here.
- Use your non-facial wet wipes to clean up the rest of your body. Wipe down whatever you can, but make sure you hit the major spots like your armpits, back, groin, butt and so on. If you know you sweat a lot somewhere, make it a priority.
- Now put on your fresh pair of undergarments. This gives your body a few seconds to dry so you can...
- Apply your deodorant, antiperspirant or diluted essential oils, then put on your work clothes. Restyle your hair and reapply makeup if you have time and would like to do so.
This should all take no more than five to 10 minutes. But wait, your face is still all red! You don't want to head into your meeting looking all flustered like that. Remember the frozen water bottle? While you're heading back to work, place the froze water bottle against the side of your neck near the carotid artery. This will cool the blood going to your face and change your skin tone back to normal. By the time you're back at the office, nobody will have any idea you sweat up a storm 10 minutes ago.