How to go from sweaty to work-ready in a flash

Squeezing in your workout before the workday starts or during your lunch hour can make you feel like a boss, but showing up at the office red-faced and sweaty? Not so much. Luckily, with a little planning, you can get your fitness in and still look polished and put together soon after. Check out these savvy tricks to make a smooth transition.

Pack ahead

You’re bound to forget something in the morning rush, so organize your essentials before bed. “Work from the bottom up, starting with your shoes and socks all the way up to your ear buds and ponytail holder,” says Sarah Ruhl, fitness director for Chicago Athletic Clubs. “And make sure to include underwear! It’s the one thing you might forget, but the first thing you’ll want after exercising.”

Stock travel-size toiletries

Having to pack, unpack and repack your gym bag can be a major de-motivator, so stock up on mini versions of your favorite personal care products (e.g. deodorant, shampoo, face wipes) and leave them in your bag. “It saves time and keeps your bag lighter,” says Ruhl. “I also toss in my cosmetics that are almost empty, like mascara or eyeliner, so I don’t have to bring my makeup bag.”

Fake a shower

No time to rinse? Towel off, then rub your body with baby wipes and finish with a sprinkle of baby powder, a tip Ruhl swears by. “It works great to soak up residual sweat.” Even if you do have time to shower, you probably won’t be able to wash and dry your hair. A fast fix: “Pull your hair up and out of the way while you shower, then spray dry shampoo, on your roots to soak up oil and add volume,” says Chrisondra Boyd, a Chicago-based hair stylist and makeup artist. “Tousle your hair around and then pull it up into a messy bun, top knot or ponytail.”

Stay dry

“Always pack a wet bag so you have a place to keep sweaty clothes separate from your clean stuff,” says Ruhl.

Chill out

Putting clothes on a sweaty body is no fun. Sprinkle cold water or rub ice cubes on pulse points like your wrist and the back of your neck. “It’s a great way to bring your body temperature down quickly,” says Ruhl. “Mint helps, too, so I use a lotion with a mint scent or even chew mint gum to cool down and make me feel more comfortable getting dressed.”

Let loose

Give yourself some breathing room by planning to wear tops, skirts or pants in lightweight fabrics. “Think cotton and button-up shirts you don’t have to pull over your head,” says Ruhl. Fitted jeans won’t help you cool down and stop sweating faster, so opt for a skirt or flowy trousers, which provide more airflow. As for shoes, think cushy slip-ons. “Your feet are taking a pounding during your workout, so treat them to something comfortable,” says Ruhl.

Go for minimal makeup

Take advantage of your rosy post-workout glow! Avoid heavy foundations that can look cakey or muddy should you keep sweating a bit post-workout. “I recommend keeping it light with a tinted moisturizer,” says Boyd. “Never layer beauty products on skin after sweating, when your pores are open — it could lead to acne.” If your skin is splotchy, scale back on blush — which can accentuate redness — but do add a little concealer and waterproof mascara and eyeliner.”


Kelly Rowe for Chicago Athletic Clubs

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