How To Fake A Shower After A Lunchtime Workout

The 3 products I rely on to freshen up in my workplace bathroom after going on a sanity-saving midday run.

I wish I could tell you that this little nugget will be a tutorial about adding a few extra hours to your day. I wish! But alas, I lack the power to alter the time-space continuum. The past few weeks have been real buggers, and I’m struggling to fit everything that’s in my schedule into the hours between dawn and well beyond dusk.

The first thing they taught me in graduate school was the concept of self-care. A therapist cannot provide support to others if he or she is bogged down in his or her own poo, so to speak. My self-care is running. Well... eating, sleeping and running; but it’s the physical activity that allows me the euphoria of leaving my thoughts behind for an hour or so. It also makes the eating and sleeping part feel really good.

If I had my way, I’d run every day, but I just don’t have the time. Some days, I’ll drop off my kid, do the gym, shower, and get to work IF I plan it out and pack everything up the night before (I am HORRIBLE at planning ahead). But there are always those early morning meeting days that interfere with mama’s fix. I start to suffer when I can’t get my fix.

My ingenious solution is to run at lunchtime and deglaze myself as much as possible sans shower. (It helps if your office has a one-seater restroom.)

Rest easy. I am not about to bombard you with motivational running quotes. I know that’s the last thing we need here. Exercise any way you want it; don’t exercise at all; roll around in a pile of filth: I care not. My concern is that we get you out and about and on your way with minimal stank. We reserve stank for karaoke renditions of “Midnight Train to Georgia.” You know, put some stank on it? Man, wow, I am sleep-deprived.

The Dead Milkmen have a song called “My Many Smells.” I loved it when I was in middle school, but I can appreciate it even today, mostly because I still have the sense of humor of a 12-year-old. In it, we are treated to a long and descriptive list of how horrible a body can smell. I would describe my personal post-workout scent as a Greek salad kind of thing. Pungent and vinegary. Yeah, get in there and get a big whiff.

Now, what I’m about to lay out for you is colloquially known as a "whore’s bath." I feel much more comfortable calling it “taking care of your necessaries.” The places that need to be freshest before you conduct business, if you catch my drift. The fun part is, you can do this before or after any activity. Literally any activity.

I like to think I could have used these tips on my month-long backpacking trip. Maybe you can use it while road-tripping or after a day at the beach before you run out to dinner?


Put a towel on the floor. I think it’s good manners to stand on a towel before you wipe and powder. It just seems right. Plus, you don’t want to stand barefoot on a public restroom floor, right?

I use whatever kind of wipes we have in the house at the time. Right now it’s Pampers Baby Fresh Wipes, and I like that they’re hypoallergenic because we’re going to scrub down our crotch and underarms with them. Expert tip: Use a new wipe for each necessary bit.

I have also invested in Neutrogena Oil Free Pink Grapefruit Cleansing Wipes. (I enjoy the heck out body wash fromt that line and what it does to my bacne and shimples.) Quite refreshing on the face or chest or both.


As I child I coveted my mother’s cool, smooth container of Gloria Vanderbilt body powder. It was SO FUN to thwack the puff against my tummy and leave big snowball-shaped outlines on my skin. THWACK and the air would become hazy with a perfumed cloud of poor little rich girl.

My current non-shower routine is not as focused on playtime, but it is quite invigorating. I like Silky Underwear by Lush. It smells very nice and leaves my skin, well, silky. It takes that post-workout tackiness off the surface of my skin, and I almost feel like I showered. I put it under my arms, along the sides of my ribcage, and between my thighs. Put in on your feet, too, if you like.

The packaging is now a lot more travel-friendly that it was a few years ago. That’s a big plus if you clean out your gym bag as seldom as I do.


My hair is very thick, and when I sweat, it SWEATS in capital letters. I’m not overly greasy, but I dread smelling of old scalp.

My ideal dry shampoo is one that adds a nice enough fragrance, refreshes a bit, and doesn’t make my hair too voluminous or crispy. I stumbled across Dove Invigorating Dry Shampoo by chance, but I’m really digging it. It feels cool going on, and I haven’t had a problem with that whitish residue I've read about with other dry shampoos. I only use it at my hairline and part and brush through, so I haven’t had any issues with over-drying either.

I’m on a quest to try other dry shampoos, just for comparison’s sake, but this one has been good for a quick refresher. Throw a headband on or pin back your bangs for extra freshness. I feel best with my hair off my face, but that’s me.

I wouldn’t recommend this routine after a long stretch of not showering, and I wouldn’t do it several days in a row, only because it might take more elbow grease to get really clean. However, in a pinch, this has been working for me and I’ve been able to get my me-time even when I have a really strange, spotty work schedule.

I also recommend collecting samples (face wash or BB cream or anything that would shorten your grooming routine) from cosmetics counters, hotels, your mom’s house, wherever. They are very cute and very convenient in a gym bag. And we’re all about cute and convenient, us modern women.

How do you freshen up without showering? Anyone have any truck stop stories?