Reader’s request: Save the Gym Hair!

This post has been a long time coming. I usually get an idea for a post, make it happen and write it up. Since I haven’t been working out during the day, there hasn’t been much point in saving my post-workout hair lately 😉 When I’m teaching at work, we need to look presentable, so we’ll freshen up in between classes, but there’s no way I was going to film in the fitness staff locker room (hi, creeper). 

So. Now that I have a gym membership and can work out during the day, I could finally get a little video for ya on how I save the gym hair!

Gym hair4

There’s not always time to wash, dry and style hair after a sweaty workout, and let’s be real: sometimes your hair looks good, is clean, and you want to save it instead of redoing it before heading back to work. Also, why waste time washing hair and blowdrying when you could be working out? When I used to work in retail, I had one hour on my lunch break to make it to the gym, work out, and get back to work, so I quickly learned how to get in a fast, sweaty workout without looking like a hot mess when I returned.

Here’s my little trick:

If hair is styled wavy/curly: low ponytail FTW. In this case, I’m not really worried about creasing my hair since it’s already wavy, so I’ll wear a low ponytail. After my workout, I’ll blow-dry the roots, spray dry shampoo, wash my face and freshen my makeup, then fix any of the rogue or wilted curls. Thank goodness messy waves are in- I use that to my advantage.


Gym hair

If hair is styled straight: low bun. If my hair is straightened, I avoid the dreaded ponytail crease like the plague, so in the video below, I demonstrate how I roll my hair into a bun, which keeps it up and doesn’t crease it. After my workout, I’ll wash my face, blow-dry, add dry shampoo, do my makeup, then run the straightener through my hair as needed. 

Gym hair 2

Here’s a little “Save the Gym Hair” video:

Tips for bangs:

-Straight-across bangs, like the ones I used to have, I’ll wash in the sink and blow-dry. If they get sweaty, the end up curling since I have naturally wavy hair, so I’ll shampoo them in the sink, quickly blow dry and run the straightener through them. If I pin back straight-across bangs, I’m committing to wearing them pinned back because they just look weird unless I wash them. (If you have bangs, you know exactly what I’m talking about.) In this case, I’ll do twisty bangs.

-Side-swept bangs, like the ones I currently have are pinned to the side of my head with one bobby pin. It doesn’t look cool, but keeps them out of my face and prevents kinks. In this case, I’ll blow-dry the sweaty roots when I’m done working out, spray dry shampoo, let it chill while I do my makeup, then quickly straighten with the straightener. 

-A thick headband also does a great job of keeping bangs out of the way, but I find that it makes them look funny unless I wash them in the sink after my workout.


Dry shampoo, small travel shampoo (if you need to wash your bangs in the sink), small travel hairspray (a light mist will keep frizzies at bay), blow-drier (most gyms have these, so I wouldn’t bring my own), straightener or curling iron. For the straightener, the travel ones are fantastic for the gym- they’re fairly inexpensive and heat up super fast.

If it still doesn’t look quite right:

I’ll style my hair into something quick and easy: a waterfall braid, side braid or messy burn will usually do the trick. Or, I’ll wash my hair and braid it if it’s past the point of saving (like if I just taught Zumba). As far as showers go, I take rinse-offs throughout the day, but avoid washing my hair because it takes a while to dry it- only if it’s drenched and I really need it.

What’s your post-workout beauty routine like? Any tips on saving the gym hair?



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  1. Jennie {in Wonderland} on August 14, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    I love this post!

    I work out during my lunch hour, and usually it’s Jillian Michaels’ videos, so I’m always a sweaty, hot mess by the end of it. To avoid the time-crunch, I continue wearing my hair in a pony most days, dry shampoo it, wash my face and re-do my make-up. It’s worth it to be able to cram my workout into my lunch break and not waste free time with my husband and our dog when I get home!

  2. Ashley @ Sweat for Sweets on August 14, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    This is awesome! I have honestly never even thought about working out at lunch, but it sounds like it’s quite a time saver! Thanks, Gina 🙂

  3. avery on August 14, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    These are great tips! Post work-out hair is my number one frustration with working out. I’m the type of person who LOVES being active. I’d routinely workout multiple times a day and bike everywhere, but the thought of reshowering/re-stying the hair makes me crazy! I LOVE biking to work because its an awesome workout, saves my gas$, mileage and the planet, but getting ready for work at work can be a challenge. We even have a little locker room at my work, but sometimes, the whole wash, dry, style routine can be time consuming especially when you are sharing a lockeroom space with others. I always forget to bring dry shampoo and just blow dry the roots. That could save me tons of time!

  4. Pam A on August 14, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    Great post!! I actually usually put off intense workouts until I am ready to redo my hair since it is thick and takes so long to get ready. I will try this though because I don’t want to put off working out just because of dealing with my hair! What kind of dry shampoo do you use? I’m only mildly enthused by my tresumme.

  5. Sonya on August 14, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Aaahhhhhahahahahaha!! YES!!! I love you!! GREAT POST!

    • Fitnessista on August 14, 2012 at 10:32 pm


  6. Juls @ The Wife Thing on August 14, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Loved the video and the song when the video was going in fast forward! Am going to add that to my playlist

  7. Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat on August 14, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Great post Gina!! I sweat TONS when I work out and even though it’s early in the morning and I don’t really care what I look like, it is nice to have some decent looking hairstyles so the post-workout work isn’t too difficult! One of my favourite finds: Dry shampoo!

  8. Annette @ FitnessPerks on August 14, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    I have a job where it doesn’t really matter what my hair looks like…but if I go out after working out or teaching a fitness class, I always style it in a cool braid or pony. I need to get some dry shampoo though–for those pieces by my face that tend to look a bit greasy….ewww 😉

    great post!

  9. Jennifer on August 14, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    I loved this! The pinning back your bangs part cracked me up- totally know the look!

  10. Laura on August 14, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    I can’t stand blow drying right after a workout because it takes me so long to cool down! I’m one of those red-faced, sweaty messes (my hair is always SOAKED) after exercising, despite the fact that I’m in pretty good shape. This is why I am only a morning exerciser and I avoid sweating otherwise. Yuck.

    Do you have a favorite brand of dry shampoo?

    • Amanda @ Diary of a Semi-Health Nut on August 14, 2012 at 8:18 pm

      I hear ya with the red-faced sweatiness!! Whenever I run I feel like my hair is not salvageable!

    • Melodie on August 14, 2012 at 9:48 pm

      I love Suave dry shampoo, it is the best one that I have found and super affordable!

    • Fitnessista on August 14, 2012 at 10:32 pm

      yup i love ojon

  11. Elle on August 14, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    thanks for the great tips! i work as a nurse from 3-11, so i workout first thing in the morning and shower right after. but i always get hot and sweaty at work (giving patients showers, running back and forth..and the nursing home always has the heat on in the summer because all of the elderly ladies are always so cold) and try to meet my friends at the bars after my shift. i’m going to have to give this a try the next time i’m trying to go out after work!

  12. Racheal @ Running with Racheal on August 14, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Thanks for the great tips! When I run during lunch, I usually end up just blow drying the sweat out of my hair and calling it a day. Not the most professional, but it beats cutting my run short.

  13. Abby on August 14, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    Love the sped up make up application haha, and your shoulders look awesome btw! Probably from a combo of strength training and baby lugging? Lol loved the video!

    • Fitnessista on August 14, 2012 at 10:31 pm

      thank you!!

  14. Casey on August 14, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Your video was adorable. 🙂 Great tips! Do you not wear foundation/powder? If not: I’m jealous. Haha.

    • Fitnessista on August 14, 2012 at 10:33 pm

      nope, the juice beauty moisturizer i use is tinted, so i think it’s a nice, light option. foundation feels too heavy on my skin

  15. G.G.R on August 14, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Gosh. So much effort. Sometimes I feel very unladylike. I got my blow drier for free with another purchase. I don’t have a flatiron or curling iron. I got my very first hairspray to use at Christmas (I ended up looking like a TROLL for about five minutes and then it was flatter than it was before the spray. Huh.) and I never wear make up. Sometimes I get these rushes of “TODAY I WILL BUY A LIPSTICK.” and then I go to the store and I stand there and there are a million lipsticks, get overwhelmed and leave. My hair is lucky if I brush it every day hahaha. I do tend to put a little bit more effort into my clothes though which probably saves me from being That Girl. Maybe you should do a post just for me on how to pick a bloody lipstick (and also how to wear mascara and not forget about it and smudge it all across your face because of sudden and intense eye itch…)

    • Fitnessista on August 14, 2012 at 10:30 pm

      your comment cracked me up. if you don’t have to wear makeup, that’s a good thing 🙂 makes life easier!

    • Sonia the Mexigarian on August 15, 2012 at 3:12 pm

      Bahahaha. So true with me too 🙂

  16. Amber on August 14, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    GREAT tips! Love this. Will definitely be using the low bun trick … I’m usually the bun on top of the head girl, but that always leaves my hair crazy.

    Now … I’d LOVE to know how everyone gets over the grossness of showering in the locker room showers?? Luckily, my locker room is pretty nice, but I still can’t get over the ick-factor of the row of damp, just-used showers. Ughhh. I practically fall over every time because I have to balance to not touch any of the walls. hahaha.

    • Fitnessista on August 14, 2012 at 10:31 pm

      haha i just wear my crocs in the shower. and pray.

  17. Michelle @ Eat Move Balance on August 14, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    I have not figured out the art of dry shampoo. It doesn’t seem to do much to help my oily hair situation. Maybe I haven’t been using a good product–I should try the one you use.

    • Alicia on August 14, 2012 at 2:19 pm

      Try Oscar Blondi’s Dry Shampoo Powder, it’s the best I’ve found for my oily hair.

      • Fitnessista on August 14, 2012 at 10:29 pm

        i’ll look into that too! for now, i love the ojon stuff

    • Stephanie on August 15, 2012 at 1:26 am

      My hair tends to get pretty oily too. Recently I’ve been loving the Not Your Mother’s Dry Shampoo. You can get it at ULTA for sure, my local grocery store carries it. I’m on a mission to find the best brand for me and this is topping the list right now. I’m on my fourth bottle and haven’t found a better brand. To add to the oily factor, I’m also a head sweater like crazy big time. I think its because my head is usually stuffed into a swim cap for cardio, so when I do yoga or run and can’t cool down in the water my hair gets drenched in an entirely different way. But NYM dry shampoo can get me looking work appropriate. Love that stuff!

  18. Alicia on August 14, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    Dry shampoo is the best thing ever created! I go to the gym during my lunch break as well. After sweating my behind off, I hop in the shower, rinse my body including my face (careful not to touch the eyes and lips) and I’m done. When I come out I lotion up and get dressed. After that it’s dry shampoo, moisturizer, powder on the nose and I’m out. Literally takes me 5 minutes!

  19. Katie on August 14, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Loved the video! 🙂

  20. Jody on August 14, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    I work out at lunch 5 days a week, My work has an on-site fitness center with great classes and a pretty decent locker room with showers. My strategey is for the classes I get super sweaty in (Zumba and Turbo Kick) that I wear my hair in a french braid (if it was a curled/wavy day t hat I start just behind my ears and use a goody headband with grippys to hold any little pieces back. After my workout, I shower, wash my face, redo my makeup, take out the braid, touch it up with the curling iron. I need the braid instead of a pony because I’ll get my hair too sweaty from my shoulders/back and then it gets really tangled. The only time I wear my hair straight are days I know I’m not going to be as sweaty then I can do a pony (itiher low or high) and I’ve found the wider the hair tye the less likely I am to get a dent but if needed I’ll then touch it up with the straightener (today I didn’t need to, but I’m on 3 day hair)

    I know this sounds gross but I usually only wash my hair 2-3 times a week, it’s not quite as long or as thick as Gina’s but it’s still a lot of hair. I wash it at night and then let it air dry. I try to avoid using the blow dryer unless I absolultely have too mainly because I’m terrible at blow drying my hair, it always end up fuzzy. On day 3 hair, like today, in the morning I use baby powder on my crown and the roots on the sides, rub it in and then brush it out to freshen it. It’s way cheaper then dry shampoo and it gives me the same effect.

    • Melissa on August 14, 2012 at 2:57 pm

      I only wash 2x a week too, and use baby powder! (talc free) it totally works.

      Thanks for the tips Gina!

  21. Heather on August 14, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    I’ve got curly hair so I any type of pony tail high, low ruins my hair since pulling it back straightens it out a little. I just have to rock the tail after I work out. I guess that’s what I get for having hair that only requires a hair dryer for styling!

  22. Sarabell on August 14, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Great tips! I also used to be a dancer in high school and I had to just commit to having yucky, sweaty, pinned-back hair all evening, which sometimes included my work shifts!

  23. Natalie @ FreshLifeFindings on August 14, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    I have yet to try dry shampoo! My hair is either afro curly and untameable unless I wash it or if it’s straight and I work out, my roots turn curly. Basically I’m a sweaty mess unless I’m doing yoga so I’ll have to try this dry shampoo.

  24. becky on August 14, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    thanks for the awesome post on saving the gym hair! now i need to read a post on your quickie makeup application 🙂

  25. Marie-Santé on August 14, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Oooh! I have a tip! I have long hair (between my shoulder and elbow length) and I have lots of them 🙂 Usually, one hair elastic won’t hold any bun or ponytail. So I do a regular bun (like your video) and add those weird twisty pins (I think they’re from the brand Goodies, they come in pack of two). No weird crease and they hold up SO WELL (bye bye gazillions of bobby pins).
    I loved to see how you used dry shampoo. I have a bottle and never uses it because I had no clue how to. Thanks!

  26. Allie on August 14, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    Dry shampoo FTW! I keep my hair wavy and depending on what kind of workout I do…I can get away with just rinsing off in the shower and using it on my hair. What’s your favorite brand?

    • Fitnessista on August 14, 2012 at 10:29 pm


  27. Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy on August 14, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    such a helpful post! i always go with a messy bun!

  28. Cat @ Breakfast to Bed on August 14, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    dry shampoo, a good blowdryer, and a solid distance between myself and anyone else.

  29. Aubrey on August 14, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    Thank You! I so often skip the gym on non-wash hair days. An excuse that I’ll have to give up now. Great post.

  30. Beverly Aragon on August 14, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    Awesome tutorial, thanks for sharing! 🙂
    I’m going to attempt this because I really look like a hot mess after my lunchtime workout. I’m in such a rush trying to get back to the office that I don’t put nearly the effort in that I should. I’m sure my co-workers would appreciate it if nothing else!

  31. Holly on August 14, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    What type of dry shampoo do you use? I haven’t been able to find one I like!

    • Fitnessista on August 14, 2012 at 10:28 pm

      i use ojon

  32. Harmony on August 14, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    Thanks for talking about this- it’s a relief that I’m not the only one who abuses the dry shampoo between classes! My hair gets wavy from sweat too, so I like to blow dry my hair with the cold setting to spare more damage- and it feels awesome when you’re all hot. And your right, it’s all about the waterfall braid if all else fails!

  33. Rachel C on August 14, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    First, I did the rainy day workout today after being soaked in a pouring rain this morning. 🙂 It was perfect. I only made it through 1.5 times because I ran out of time, but the workout is great. I’m doing it again on Thursday and aiming for 2 circuits with Tabata. Wish me luck!

    Second, I always work out during lunch and usually just shower, pull my hair in a messy bun and look semi-rough the rest of the day. But I love these tips! They are so helpful of the days when I need to do a little more fast. What type of dry shampoo do you use ?

    • Fitnessista on August 14, 2012 at 10:28 pm

      YES! amazing job! let me know how it goes on thursday- you’ll rock it out!
      i like the ojon dry shampoo

  34. Amanda @ Diary of a Semi-Health Nut on August 14, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    Hmm I really wish I could just blow dry my hair and get on with it, but I feel so gross after working out..especially running that I’m not sure this would work for me. Now after weight lifting or a class where I don’t happen to get too sweaty, this might be an option.
    Thanks for sharing!

  35. Erin @ The Grass Skirt on August 14, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    Dry shampoo is an absolute necessity. Suave makes one that is only about $2 per bottle, and it works really well!

    • Melodie on August 14, 2012 at 9:50 pm

      Suave is my favorite!

  36. Christie on August 14, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    Great post!!!

    Definitely trying the twist bangs next workout to class day.

  37. Bridget on August 14, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    I don’t work out at lunch (not enough time when I’m shoveling down a salad in front of the computer…boo) but this is super helpful for saving my hair from too many washings. I try to wash and blow dry every other day to save my hair a little. I’ve never thought of the bun – I’ll try it for tomorrow’s workout! I’m also a big fan of straight on the first day, then curling iron waves on the second to disguise the pony tail bump.

    • Fitnessista on August 14, 2012 at 10:27 pm

      ohh i like that idea!

  38. Bek @ Crave on August 15, 2012 at 6:47 am

    Thanks heaps for this! I must admit I do very little with my hair after the gym every morning- it’s just gross and way too sweaty. I definitely need to invest in some dry shampoo!

  39. Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin on August 15, 2012 at 8:29 am

    I almost always shower after the gym because I get way too sweaty and gross! 😛

  40. Nic on August 15, 2012 at 9:54 am

    Yay! I’ve been waiting for this post 😉

  41. Emma on August 15, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    Brilliant, I was really looking forward to this post. I tend to work out in the morning, before work or in the evening (I don’t really have lunch breaks, or I schedule them and try and zen out with a friend).
    Thank you!

  42. Lizzy on August 15, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    Instead of using dry shampoo try using a face powder brush to lightly powder the roots and hair with cornstarch. It is super cheap and extremely absorbent. It also does not leave any scent. Just make sure to use it lightly and brush and rub it thoroughly or else you will be left with white tinted hair. I also use it as a foundation setting powder. I have an oily T zone and it works better than any powder that I have ever used to keep me shine free for long periods of time (and I have tried many powders throughout the years).

  43. ash on August 15, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    Love the tips, i also do the side bangs pin thing it works! I dont remember life before dry shampoo!

  44. Joni on August 15, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    I come to your blog mainly for the awesome workouts…but I just have to tell you how much I seriously love your blog. Between the posts like this, adorable baby pics (and super helpful advice for when my hubs and I are ready to start trying!), fashion posts that are normal enough for a girl like me, and awesome recipes…every single post is so fun to read and most get bookmarked. Just thought you should know that your readers appreciate you more than you know – you really put your heart and soul into this blog and it shows!! 🙂

    • Fitnessista on August 15, 2012 at 10:36 pm

      thank you so much, joni! your words of encouragement mean the world to me. thank you for reading- it always makes me so happy hear when people enjoy my blog because i love writing it <3

  45. Eva @ Committed2Nutrition on August 17, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Love this! my hair gets wretched after teaching zumba..and I do a lot of the similar things you do. It’s so much easier to keep my hair in waves/curls.. because that style can get away with looking like a hot mess! 😉

  46. Lisa B. on August 26, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Loved the video! Thanks for the awesome tips. Please do more videos on the future!

  47. Leanne on August 30, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    My favorite method to “save” my hair has to be the spin pin. You can spin your hair into a bun and don’t have to worry about kinks or lines – works on both straight or wavy/curly hair, but would work better on straight, just b/c your hair will be twisted all the same way so it may mess with your curls. If you haven’t tried it yet, I highly recommend it. I have looooong, thick hair, and it works for me!

  48. Tammie on January 13, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    Loved this post. I have been coming up with excuses for not taking my spin class in the morning and my laborious hair routine is my latest excuse. Going out to buy these tools tomorrow. No more excuses! Love your blog.

  49. Erika on April 22, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    Thanks for this blog. I’m trying to loose my prego pounds and don’t want to work out after work…because I want to spend every second with my baby girl…but I couldn’t quite figure out how to do the workout lunch thing because my hair is super thick and wild and so washing/styling it during lunch seemed so problematic. I think your tips can help me over come it!

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