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Yes, it is possible to look presentable after the gym.     Photo: Gregor/Flickr

No-Sweat Gym Grooming Essentials

Nine tools to get you cleaned up as workouts move indoors.

There are a million excuses to skip the shower after a gym workout, but consider this: even if you don’t stink (pro tip: always assume you do), sweating buckets weakens skin’s defenses while sparking a microbe population boom. That can mean breakouts or dandruff if you’re lucky, or conditions like athlete’s foot and ringworm if you’re not. These quick-drying, multitasking essentials will keep your locker-room grooming routine short, sweet, and effective.

Kiehls Cross-Terrain All-In-One Wash

  Photo: Kiehl's

Unlike bar soap, this multipurpose cleanser can be used multiple times a day—even on hair—without drying you out. The herbal-scented coconut-derived suds are gentle but still rinse away every last trace of sweat and oil. A little goes a long way: a week of regular use barely put a dent in our bottle. $18, kiehls.com


The Body Shop Body Polisher Exfoliating Cloth

  Photo: The Body Shop

To prevent bacne flare-ups, leave the bath puff at home. This scrubby nylon cloth is extra long, so it loops around even broad frames for effective two-handed buffing of the whole back—no yoga-style contortions required. $8, thebodyshop-usa.com


Gaiam Thirsty Yoga Hand and Mat Towels

  Photo: Gaiam

No towel service? No problem. Gaiam’s microfiber Thirsty towels are nearly as plush as the ones at home but dry in half the time, so you can wipe down and hit the shower without sogging up your gym bag. They’re also perfect for taking the drip and slip out of mat work and stretching: tuck the 30-inch-long Hand size under knees, glutes, and hands, or opt for the 68-inch Mat to cover all your bases. $11.98 and $24.98, gaiam.com


Jack Black Double-Duty Face Moisturizer SPF 20

  Photo: Jack Black

Muscles get all the attention, but skin also performs better with proper post-workout TLC. Jack Black’s lightweight Double-Duty lotion has it covered, with phospholipids to balance and restore, blue algae and antioxidants to subdue inflammation and redness, and SPF 20 to give skin a break from damaging rays. From $17, getjackblack.com


T3 Featherweight Compact Hair Dryer

  Photo: T3

Throwing a beanie over a wet head saves time, but it also creates stubborn hat hair and turns the scalp into a haven for microbes. This travel-size dryer from T3 weighs just over three pounds and packs down to smaller than a shoe. It also dries hair in record time—under five minutes for even the thickest mop, under ten for long locks—without frying it to a crisp, thanks to infrared heat and static-busting negative ions. The price tag is hefty compared to standard full-size dryers, but for a travel-friendly fast pass to great hair and a healthier scalp, we’ll take it. $150, t3micro.com


Badger Balm Pomade

  Photo: Badger Balm

Need to whip hair into shape? Badger’s classic burgamot-infused pomade blends Babassu palm and coconut oils with beeswax to deliver medium hold and shine without feeling sticky or greasy. And just like the company’s other trademark balms, the all-natural formula nourishes and fortifies, and soothes chapped skin in a pinch. $16, badgerbalm.com 


Acqua di Parma Colonia Intensa Deodorant Spray

  Photo: Bigelow Chemists

Body spray can’t take the place of a shower. But use after bathing and it can help skin dump excess heat and give the brain a little aromatherapy assist during recovery. We pack Acqua di Parma Colonia Intensa deodorant spray because it’s virtually impossible to overdo and smells classy as hell: refreshing lemon and bergamot mingle with spicy ginger, cedar, leather, and incense for a refined cologne that’s just as comfortable in the boardroom as it is on the trail. $42, bigelowchemists.com 


The North Face Apex Gym Duffel

  Photo: The North Face

With 45 liters of space, the water-resistant Apex swallowed everything we threw in it. For fast-and-light days, compression side clips keep the silhouette slim; unclipped, the Apex becomes a wide-mouth tote that works great showerside to keep your soap handy and your towel dry. And the volume doesn’t end at the main compartment: a vented external-zip pouch fits sweat-soaked duds, two pairs of shoes, and boxing gloves with room to spare. Bonus points: the internal stash pocket is lined with felt to keep devices extra safe. $74, thenorthface.com


Buff UV Half Buff

  Photo: Buff USA

Good: the burn of working up a good sweat. Bad: the burn of getting that sweat in your eyes. The Half Buff looks like our favorite cotton bandana but relieves the scalp of buckets more sweat for a less drippy and itchy session. Plus if you hang it up for a breather, it’ll truly dry in minutes to help keep you warm when you head out the door. $13, buffusa.com

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