Former NFL player Michael Sparks shows you the best clothes and products for a quick turnaround after your workout.
Katie Chang 1 / 6
Saving Time After Your Workout
Even if you exercise first thing in the morning (or last thing at night), chances are a relaxing post-workout soak or shower isn’t in your cards. And if you’re among the many who prefer to squeeze in a good sweat session during the work day, time is seriously of the essence. If you can’t hit the shower, then, what can you do?
Turns out, lots. Here, Michael Sparks—he’s a former NFL player turned hairstylist and co-owner of Malibu’s Cie Sparks Salon—reveals his clever time-saving tips for looking (and, ahem, smelling) your absolute best after working out.
Get the Right Gear
Turns out what you wear can be the cause of stink. While we know that polyester-based fabrics are great for performance, some of them can unfortunately trap sweat and odors. Sparks emphasizes finding apparel that’s “sweat-resistant, so you can perform your best and be comfortable at the same time,” says Sparks. Next time you’re shopping for workout clothes, check the tags to make sure that the fabric is indeed sweat-wicking. Another option is to go the more natural route. tasc Performance features an innovative bamboo-based fabric that’s breathable, wicks perspiration away from the skin, shields against the sun’s damaging rays, and is chemical-free. Plus: it will shave precious time off your post-workout cleanup.
Cleansing the face is especially important, “because your pores can get clogged after a hard workout,” says Sparks.Ursa Major’s Essential Face Wipes are made of natural bamboo, and are thorough yet gentle: they cleanse, exfoliate, soothe and hydrate in one easy step. But before you step out, don’t forget to apply a moisturizer with SPF. Skin Defense Face Moisturizer from Murad Man delivers oil-free moisture and broad-spectrum sun protection in a quick-absorbing, lightweight formula.
“When it comes to guys, I always say ‘less is best'," says Sparks.Translation: degreasing hair after a good sweat session requires little. No matter your hair length, though, always towel dry hair first, “as dry as you can get it (to remove as much sweat as possible),” says Sparks.This important step ensures the styling product you apply next “can actually penetrate hair, as opposed to laying on top of it,” says Sparks.If you’ve got a short style, run a dime-sized amount of a matte pomade—American Crew makes a terrific one—through hair, so it looks dry, natural, and not overly-done. Longer-haired guys should enlist the help of a dry shampoo. EVO’s Water Killer Dry Shampoo is a favorite of Spark’s, because “it creates a little bit of texture and dries out your hair, so you don’t look like a sweat hog.”
With a combination of two easy-to-use (and affordable) products, “you can basically freshen up and head out immediately. It’s the equivalent of a quick shower,” says Sparks. To whisk away sweat and cool off skin at the same time, try a body wipe made expressly for men. These from Niche are generously-sized, and individually-wrapped for easy stashing in your gym bag. Then follow up with a generous dusting of body powder for an extra-clean, smooth and dry feeling. Sparks says don’t forget the feet, either: “It’s an absolute must for a sockless look, which lots of guys are doing these days.”
After wiping down your underarms, slap on some Jack Black Cool CTRL™ Natural Deodorant. It’s free of aluminum and uses natural ingredients to block (as opposed to mask) body odor. But perhaps the best part is the refreshing, cooling sensation you’ll feel upon application.
While now may be a tempting time to go overboard with scent, don’t. “One spray is enough, and you don’t ever want to be that guy. You know, the guy you smell ten minutes before he arrives,” says Sparks. Lacoste’s L.12.12 Jaune is an especially smart choice with invigorating grapefruit and green apple. Because these notes have been proven to energize and help lift spirits, you’ll leave the gym with a surprising spring in your step.