how to quickly freshen up post-workout

With a busy schedule but a commitment to exercise, you’re bound to have times you dash straight from a workout to your next appointment. Sometimes showering is simply not an option. In these cases, you need to freshen up post-workout – STAT!

I’ve gotten so much practice with this.

Both in college and when I had gym memberships, I would use these tricks all the time. I either wouldn’t have time to shower, wouldn’t have access to one, or simply didn’t want to lug all my shower stuff with me every workout.

I mean, who wants to lug books, a gym bag, AND your shower stuff when going straight from the gym to class?

Yeah, not me. I’ve already done my workout – I don’t need another!

These strategies are also perfect for exercising at work in the morning or during a lunch break. They also just work at home if you don’t have much time to freshen up post-workout.

So let’s get into the things you need and my tricks for feeling, looking, and smelling nice and fresh!

Please note: This post may contain affiliate links. For details please visit my Disclosure page.

How to Freshen Up Post-Workout -STAT!

Face wipes

This one’s kind of a no-brainer. How can you feel fresh after the gym with a sweaty, sticky face?

My tip here is to first wipe off any foundation or concealer BEFORE your workout. There’s no better way to get clogged pores than by exercising with a layer of makeup on your face. Personally, if I already have it on, I’ll leave eye makeup on for a faster clean up and so I feel a little more put-together at the gym.

Of course, you’ll also wipe your face clean after your workout. Face wipes are nice and cooling, helping to bring down your temperature post-workout. Once you’ve wiped your face, splash on some cool water to really get it clean before drying.

Because I’m frugal, I’ll also use my face wipes for my body. Wipe your neck, your back, and your underarms with the same wipe!


Once you’ve wiped down, dry off with a clean towel. I just bring a small hand towel from home. It’s lightweight and won’t weigh down your bag if you’re out and about.

I’ll then use the towel to dry off my hair.

I have extremely thin and fine hair, so it’s not uncommon for a workout to leave my hair sweat-soaked (don’t be grossed out – I go hard in the gym! Haha)

I have the kind of hair that has to be washed every single day and after EVERY workout. There’s no question.

But if I don’t have time and still need to look presentable, I’ll use this alternate routine.

Water-based scented spray for hair

Once I’ve towel-dried my hair as best as I can, I re-wet it a little. Yep, but with water this time. I’ll focus special attention on the sides because those are what will look the worst if not styled carefully.

I’d recommend using a water-based scented spray for best results. Something like rosewater will make your hair smell amazing. And even a heat protectant can smell really good.


Then brush your hair through with a hairbrush – another gym bag essential. This will distribute the water throughout your hair so all strands become damp.

Hairdryer with a cool setting

Finally, blow dry your hair. While using a hot blow dryer after working out may sound like the last thing you want to do, it won’t take too long.

Since your hair isn’t shower-wet, you’re simply blow drying for styling purposes.

An extremely helpful tip is using a hair dryer with a cool setting. That way, if you do get too hot while blow drying, you can flip that on and let the cool air bring your temp back down.

Heat tools

Then comes the styling. Depending on your hair type, your hair may look completely fine! You may not need any other styling before carrying on with your day.

If your hair’s looking a little rough but you can’t devote any more time to it, a ponytail is probably the way to go. Since you’ve blow-dried the sides, it should look fairly sleek.

But if you have a second more, grab your favorite heat tool and quickly do some styling.

For me, a straightener can instantly make my hair look much neater. It’s my go-to!

If you’re at the gym or at work though, a little heat-protected pouch will be a must! Your tools likely won’t have time to cool off completely before you’re back on the move.

Lotion for fixing eye makeup

Once your hair is situated, it’s time to move back to your face!

I love to keep a little unscented lotion in my bag – it’s perfect for removing eye makeup that’s smudged out of place. Even better than a face wipe!

Foundation/tinted moisturizer

This is a must! Even if you’re not a big makeup person, this is the best way to cover up a post-workout tomato face.

I’ve always gotten extremely red from working out, and this saves me! Plus, now I pretty much always wear a foundation or tinted moisturizer to even out my skin tone. So this is just another part of my getting ready routine.

Tinted moisturizer is especially nice for a quick freshen up post-workout. It’s lightweight and I find it faster to apply. I use this one from Garnier!


Another no-brainer. Of all the things to put on your list of gym bag essentials, deodorant is the most crucial!


If you’re a perfume wearer, this is probably a good time to bring it along too!

Don’t forget new undergarments

If you’re off to work or a more formal meeting, you’re of course going to bring your full change of clothes.

You can absolutely bring another full set of clothes for running errands or meeting up with friends too, but a few things are more important than others. I like to at least change into a fresh shirt. That way you won’t be damp and sweaty when hugging your friends hello or passing an unsuspecting shopper in the store. If I know I’ll be staying out for awhile, I’ll also bring some new undergarments. These are key!

Oh, and don’t forget new socks/shoes!

Remember: it’s sweat hanging out on clothing that causes most of the post-workout smelliness. So don’t forget to change!

And that’s everything I do to freshen up post-workout if I can’t shower! These things make me feel way cleaner and put together when I go on my merry way after a workout. And if there’s any part of your routine that I didn’t include but you absolutely can’t miss, just add it right in there.

Sometimes working out just seems so inconvenient. That’s why so many people prefer to do it at the start of the day – then it’s done and you only have to clean up once. But I hope these tips at least help make your freshening up routine a little easier!

How to freshen up quickly post-workout

Where are you usually dashing off to post-workout? Class? Work? Errands? Get-togethers with friends? Share in the comments below!