In a dream world, all gyms have eucalyptus scented steam rooms, waterfall showers, and ionic hairdryers that leave locks shiny and perfectly coiffed in five minutes, and every gym-goer has plenty of time to luxuriate in the locker room after their sweaty workout.
But in reality, most of us are cutting our workouts short because real life calls—kids to pick up, or groceries to buy. So instead of taking time to shower and beautify, more often than not most women resort to pulling hair up into an unkempt bun, re-applying deodorant, and spritzing on some perfume hoping that will mask the post-sweat session, erhm, scent.
But you don't have to short-change your gym routine just because you're not exactly camera-ready when your workout is over–all you need are a few beauty hacks that leave you feeling beautiful and ready to take on the rest of your day in just five minutes.
Whether you're running straight to work from your yoga class or meeting a friend for drinks after your evening run, you don't always have time for a full shower. “Make-up remover wipes are a must. I always carry them and give my body a quick scrub if I don’t have time to change between clients”, says Lindsey Clayton, celebrity trainer and co-founder of Brave Body Project, and star of Bravo’s upcoming show Work Out New York. As a New Yorker who carries her life around in her gym bag, she’s perfected her après sweat look as she runs from photo shoots to training sessions to business meetings. If you’re trying to combat mascara raccoon eyes, she suggests a soothing towelette like these cucumber facial cleansers. Bonus? Their light and refreshing scent.
Have skin that’s prone to breakouts or know you’re not going to be able to shower for a few hours after your workout? Use a wipe infused with bacteria-neutralizing essential oils like tea tree, rosemary, lemon, peppermint, and oregano. These have salicylic acid and willow bark, which work together to fight pimples while soothing skin redness.
Dirty hair, don’t care
Unless you’re walking out of a Bikram yoga class, your hair might be a little sweaty but it’s still probably salvageable. Bid your ponytail holders adieu and instead pack your bag with a great dry shampoo. Dry shampoo is your hair's BFF because over-washing your tresses will lead to dried out locks and split ends galore. Make your own dry shampoo with arrowroot flour and a few drops of the essential oil of your choice–simply sprinkle on your roots, tip your head upside down and give it a shake, and you’re ready to have a good hair day.
Embrace a no-makeup look
If you've got sensitive skin, clear your skin with a swipe of witch hazel to clean pores and remove excess lotion or makeup. If you're heading to the gym straight from work or want to wear a little bit of makeup–hey, gotta look good for that gym crush–try a natural makeup.
“I wear mineral makeup everyday, even while I’m working out. It’s the lightest stuff I’ve found, it doesn’t mess with my skin even when I’m sweating, and it looks really good.” explains Clayton, who often has to be on-camera during her workouts. Embrace the natural flush you’ll have after working your tail off in your sweat session and keep makeup to a minimum. Stick to a tinted moisturizer, some mascara, and chapstick to give your skin time to breathe and glow.
“I chug coconut water!” Clayton laughs, and for good reason. Loaded with potassium and electrolytes that can quickly boost your skin’s radiance factor, coconut water can help o help rehydrate skin and tissues. The good stuff is also high in tons of other vitamins and minerals like magnesium and zinc that are essential to healthy hair and skin. Because vitamin C and vitamin B12 are also important for skin’s vibrancy try dissolving something like Emergen-C or Eboost into your water for a pre-workout boost of energy and the vitamins and minerals you need for glowing skin.
When you have a 4 a.m. wake-up call most mornings, coffee becomes a necessity. Clayton opts for cold brew because it's less acidic (and some say tastes smoother than regular coffee). To make your own, simply stir together 1 parts ground coffee with 4 parts water and let sit in the fridge overnight. Strain the next morning, and you've got cold brew!
Caffeine will certainly help you perk up, and works even better paired with a cooling and soothing eye creme packed with botanicals to aid puffy eyes and banish dark circles too.
You've already made it to the gym, which is the hard part. By following these tips, you can get fit—and look great—in no time flat.
Photo credit: Paul Delmont