How to Freshen Up Post-Workout When You Don’t Have Time to Shower

Sometimes, when we say we don't have time to work out, we really mean it. It's not just the time on the treadmill we're talking about—it's the warm-up, the workout, and everything that comes after—a shower, makeup refresh and the like. Well, lack of time won’t be a valid excuse anymore. We talked to both college women and Dr. Elizabeth Hale, a clinical associate professor of dermatology at New York University and vice president of the Skin Cancer Foundation, about how to freshen up after a workout when you have no time to shower.

 

Skin

1. Blot away excess oil

When it comes to cleaning your skin after a workout, you've got options. Blotting pads are a great place to start because they wipe off all the excess sweat and oil on your skin before you wash your face.

2. Clean your skin with salicylic acid

Nothing really beats washing your face with your trusted face wash and a washcloth, but sometimes you might find yourself in a real rush. Easy solution? Face wipes with salicylic acid (like Clearasil pads) will help to keep acne away, according to Dr. Hale.

3. Use face and body wipes

Facial and body wipes are some of most recommended ways college women and Dr. Hale suggest to freshen up quickly. Margeaux Biché, a junior at Barnard College, uses wet facial wipes after she works out. “The wipes (which you can get for really cheap at places like TJ Maxx) make me feel nice and freshened up after getting grimy after exercise or sweating of any kind,” Margeaux says. But you don’t have to limit it to just your face; all-over body wipes (like these) are a total lifesaver too! They can make you feel as refreshed as you would if you had actually taken a shower.

4. #NoMakeupNeeded

Going all-natural at the gym has its perks. “When you’re working out, your skin is primed for absorption,” Dr. Hale says. Because of this, it’s easy for your skin to drink up any foundation or creams you may have put on your face. This is actually really cool, if you make it work for you. Instead of putting on foundation, Dr. Hale uses an antioxidant serum (she recommends Skinceuticals) on her face, which helps to counteract skin damage from the environment. In other words, it detoxes your skin while you're breaking a sweat. But if you don’t want to go all natural, Dr. Hale says waterproof mascara and lipstick are fine to wear while working out.

5. Don’t forget deodorant

As for the rest of the body, deodorant is always a safe bet for beating B.O. On top of that, Women’s Health recommends using baby powder to dry off your skin and changing into a fresh set of clothes if you can’t hop in the shower. Speaking of clean clothes...

6. Get out of your sweaty clothes pronto

Dr. Hale stresses one of the best ways to stay fresh is to immediately change clothes when you’re done working out. Otherwise, the sweat and grime will build up on your skin, causing bacteria. Dr. Hale recommends changing into a cotton shirt because the material is the best when it comes to allowing the skin to breathe.  

Hair

1. Dry shampoo is life

We straight up owe our lives to dry shampoo. College women swear by the stuff—because who has time to shampoo, right?

Lexi Hill, a junior at the University of South Carolina, has a whole procedure for this kind of thing. “When I don’t have time to shower after a workout, I normally blow dry my hair by using the cool setting on the blow dryer. And then, once it's dry, I put dry shampoo near my roots and a smoothing product on my ends. After that, I style however I’d like,” she says.

2. Baby powder—yes, you read that right

The real aim here is just to absorb the excess moisture from your scalp and be able to make your hair look clean. Baby powder is great for that reason, and it can do double-duty by working on both your skin and hair. Baby powder sounds like a weird product to use, but Elizabeth Lloyd, a senior at Minnesota State University, Mankato, says it works like a charm. “It sounds weird and scary at first but it works miracles! Sprinkle as much or as little as you need, let it sit a few seconds and work your fingers through your hair. All the white powder goes away and your hair is left fresh!” she says. To get rid of the smell, Elizabeth says she sprays a little perfume over it to diffuse the scent. If you don’t have baby powder, Margeaux says she’s had luck with powder deodorant too, which does essentially the same thing as dry shampoo and baby powder. Just in case you need another option.

3. Own that ponytail, work that updo!

Even if dry shampoo can work miracles, wearing your hair down after a workout doesn't always have you feeling your best. Luckily, styles like buns and braids are perfect for tying your hair back in a pinch while still making it look great. If you need gym hair inspo, we've got you covered. 

Obviously there’s nothing that beats a shower after a sweat sesh, but we’re busy women! So if you have to cut time, these options are a great substitute to make you feel fresh and clean sans shower.  

About The Author

Micki Wagner is a senior at the University of Missouri-Columbia where she is pursuing a major in Magazine Journalism and a minor in Classics. When she's not writing, she can be found watching Jeffree Star videos on YouTube, wandering around bookstores and daydreaming about her celebrity crushes. In addition to writing for Her Campus, Micki also writes more personal pieces on her blog at https://theresidentialblonde.wordpress.com/. You can follow her on Instagram @mickimouse95.