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Sure, we don’t always regret choosing a sweaty SoulCycle class or sunrise yoga over that extra hour of sleep. However, we’d be lying if we insisted that finding (or rather, making) the time to squeeze in workouts while balancing a 9-5, some semblance of a social life, self-care, and oh yeah, 8 hours of sleep, is an effortless feat. Sure, your favorite spin class may only be 50 minutes, but once you factor in the time it takes to commute there and back, the actual workout, and of course a shower, that’s a huge chunk of time already shaved off your day. And if you don’t have the proper beauty products in your gym bag, consider your day basically over.
Plus you’re likely feeling accomplished after making it through another workout, but the panic of feeling rushed to attend to everything else can bring about anxiety. Ironically, we tend to this vicious cycle all in the name of wellness. But scheduling aside, you already know that while a good workout can do wonders for your skin (a rosy glow and reduced facial swelling, to name just a few), the opposite is equally plausible.
Think rosacea-level redness and relentless upper lip sweat. Aside from exercise’s short-term effects on the skin, failure to properly cleanse and re-hydrate can lead to congested skin and breakouts as the pores open up when our body’s temperature rises and circulation improves. While these effects are generally positive, sweat, residual makeup, and other impurities on the skin’s surface will also have an easier time penetrating. Thankfully, there are ways to combat it all.
Your gym bag is most likely stocked with the fairly obvious skin and beauty essentials: deodorant, facial cleansing wipes, your go-to lip balm, and dry shampoo. Fortunately, if you don’t have the time or patience to tote all of your faves, there are some lesser-known time-savers that will help you look, feel, and smell fresh too. Of course, aside from a drenched complexion, you don’t want offensive B.O. to reveal your morning workout.
Luckily, if you don’t have time for a full-on shower at the gym, there’s a slew of no-rinse, “shower in a bottle” type cleansing products and wipes for both your body and face. Sure, it won’t be as refreshing as your steamy shower at home, but these products will get the job done and will remove sweat and odor in minutes. And then there’s the issue of greasy (and possibly musty) hair. Aside from your slightly error-prone dry shampoo (the powdery fall out on your LBD for example), there are plenty of other oil-absorbing products that are both fool-proof and ultra travel-friendly. From an abbreviated (yet effective) post-sweat skincare routine to odor-blasting body care, we’ve rounded up some innovative beauty staples that will save you some serious time. Get ready to glow up.
Sweat Comsetics Mineral Foundation Powder & Brush
After you’ve cleansed and refreshed your skin, this portable mineral foundation and brush duo is a must for those days when you have to go straight from the gym to a meeting. This mineral powder is a triple threat delivering non-comedogenic buildable coverage, SPF, and skincare ingredients in one easy to apply product. It’s also great if you want to throw on a thin veil of coverage pre-workout rather than braving it with a completely bare face because it won’t clog pores and is sweat resistant for up to 40 minutes of wear.
$42 at Revolve
Cake Beauty The Take Out Dry Shampoo Sheets
These miraculous sheets are just like your favorite oil-absorbing blotting sheets –except for your hair. Not only are they gym-bag friendly (compared to your jumbo-sized aerosol bottle of Batisse) but they’re also dual sided, with one side to absorb excess oil from the scalp and the other that deposits a thin layer of scented dry shampoo for fresh, odor-free locks.
e.l.f. Redness Relief Express Mask
Flushed, rosy cheeks are pretty, but excessive redness that looks more like a severe rash than a subtle rouge is less than desirable. During exercise, blood capillaries widen causing a flushed effect on the skin that can take hours post-workout to go down. To help accelerate the cool-down process, try applying a quick, redness-reducing mask to the skin while you change into your clothes or rinse off your body to save extra time.
$6 at e.l.f.
Yuni Shower Sheets
These super-sized shower sheets are a game-changer for fitness aficionados. They thoroughly cleanse the body and are infused with a refreshing (not offensively perfumey) scent to combat odor and wipe away oil, bacteria, and grime from the skin without water.
Replenix Acne Gly/Sal 102 Spray
Body breakouts are among the unpleasant side effects that come along with working out. Back, chest, and yes, even butt acne is a real thing and the best way to prevent it –aside from a thorough cleanse– is with salicylic acid treatments. There are plenty of body-acne washes formulated with acne-fighting ingredients, but this portable spray gets the job done way more conveniently by the killing bacteria and blasting away oil.
$28.50 at SkinStore
Fine Vine Foot & Shoe Powder
Now, we know this isn’t the chicest in the gym-bag beauty department, but you’ll definitely thank us later. Your face and body aren’t the only areas where sweat presents itself, and damp shoes and feet can easily become a feeding ground for harboring bacteria that can quickly lead to a nasty infection. Aside from the bacteria-fighting properties, a foot powder can also help soak up excess moisture and deodorize your shoes to prevent the dreaded locker stench from destroying your favorite pair.
Clinique Fit Post Workout Powder
If you need a quick fix to combat redness and mattify the skin, this color-correcting twofer is a godsend. Not only is the formula designed for active and on-the-go beauty, but the packaging is equally as thoughtful. It features a twist-to-open design with a built applicator making it ideal for tossing in your gym bag without worrying about spills.
$29 at Nordstrom
Wet Brush Pro Detangler
It may be tempting to leave your sweaty hair pulled back with an elastic hair tie, but wet (and sweaty) hair is more prone to breakage — especially when you factor in the well-known damage posed by wearing traditional hair ties. To keep your locks breakage-free, gently untie your ponytail or bun, and brush through any tangles or knows with a wet brush before going about your day.
Clarins Hydra-Essentiel Cooling Gel
Tomato-hued skin post-workout is not only a cosmetic issue, but the burning, inflamed sensation is also just downright uncomfortable. This cooling gel gentle soothes the appearance of redness by delivering a cooling effect to the skin and restoring moisture without leaving a greasy residue behind.
$48 at ULTA
Aloe Vesta No Rinse Foaming Body Wash
If cleansing wipes aren’t your thing (we know, they’re not the most eco-friendly), this no-rinse foaming body wash is a great alternative to refresh and wash fast without water. It’s infused with aloe to help soothe the skin and retain moisture so it won’t leave your skin feeling stripped.
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