Gym Bag Essentials

Requirements: the right approach and a kickass arsenal of products…

You did it, you made that classic New Year’s resolution: get healthier. You’re eating more greens, getting more sleep, you even joined a gym, and wonder of wonders, you’re actually going pretty regularly! And while your body and mind are definitely reaping the benefits of all those exercise-induced endorphins, your skin is a different story.

Yes, exercise increases blood flow which can work wonders on your complexion, and all that sweating is an excellent way to expel gunk and toxins. But sweat can also wreak some serious havoc if you’re not careful. Remember: it’s not actually the sweat that’s problematic, it’s when the sweat dries on your skin and leaves behind a film of salt that is not your skin’s friend. What’s more, if you’re exercising with makeup or wearing a lot of product, it’s possible to wind up with that stuff deep in your pores as they open during a sweat sesh. And if you’re really interested, the sweat you leave behind on your skin is a literal breeding ground for bacteria, and we all know that bacteria and pimples are two peas in a pod.

Now listen, you don’t have to stop exercising (and sweating for that matter), no matter how good an excuse skin troubles might be. You just need the right approach and a kickass arsenal of products. And since you’re already schlepping so much stuff around already, we’ve narrowed it down to the five things no gym bag should be without.


Before we even get to the skincare portion of the evening, let’s get the obvious out of the way and put deodorant at the top of the list. For the sake of everyone around you in the gym or vinyasa class, let’s not forget this one.

What to try: A personal favorite, Schmidt’s Deodorant pots take a little getting used to if you’ve never applied cream deodorant before, but the learning curve is well worth it. The scents are refreshing, it’s oddly fun to apply, totally free of aluminum, phthalates and parabens, and the arrowroot powder/baking soda/coconut oil combo ensures you stay dry and stank-free. If you’re a deodorant traditionalist and can’t imagine applying the stuff with your fingers, you’re gonna want to use a stick. Luckily, Kaia Naturals makes a killer vegan, aluminum-free version with its Takesumi Detox Deodorant (and it comes in three scents). The best part is that the bamboo charcoal (aka takesumi) base naturally deodorizes and keeps you dry while doing so.


If you’ve got the time, it is absolutely worth it to take a shower immediately after a workout and wash your face. Cleansing is the first step to ensuring your skin won’t freak out down the road from that early morning spin class. If you’re in a rush or the idea of communal showers skeeves you out, first buy a pair of flip flops, then get yourself some cleansing wipes. They’re the next best thing to a full cleanse if you don’t have the time. And the nice thing about wipes is that you can also use them pre-workout to get rid of any makeup or residue that might end up on your chin, buried in your pores.

What to try: A personal favorite, the transport-friendly bottle and all-in-one nature of the Easy Does it Balancing Gel Cleanser from One Love Organics is a gym bag hero. Use it on your face, body and hair if you’re going full shower mode to soothe and cleanse without drying. Bar soap more your style? The Miracle Bar by Joanna Vargas lives up to its name thanks to the activated charcoal that will work its butt off to detox your face and leave it hydrated. And for the wipe enthusiasts, we’ve got Leaders’ Labotica Cleansing Tissues for pre- and post-workout needs. Both the Bamboo Water and Argan Oil versions remove makeup, cleanse and leave your skin primed for a skin worry-free workout. If your skin leans to the oilier side, opt for the Bamboo Water wipes as they help keep oil and shine in check, while the Argan Oil wipes are deeply hydrating.

Dry Shampoo

Another no-time-for-a-shower savior is dry shampoo. (But try to limit its use to light schvitz workouts: no matter how hard you try, dry shampoo is not going to work on hair that’s soaked with sweat.) A quick spritz on your roots has the ability to transform your locks from limp, oily strands to hair you won’t be embarrassed by in public. Of course, dry shampoo can’t replace your regular suds, but it’s great to have in a gym-based pinch.

What to try: For days when you just need a little (literal) pick-me-up for your mane, the Feed Your Style Dry Shampoo & Styling Powder from Yarok is a great option. It’s little, so it barely takes up any space in your bag, soaks up oil and sweat in a couple of minutes, and the combination of aloe and essential oils (orange, lemon, lavender, geranium) keeps your scalp hydrated all the while. For a little more oomph at the roots, Rahua’s Voluminous Dry Shampoo adds crazy volume to limp hair.


Once you’re cleansed and sweat-, grime- and makeup-free, it’s time to rehydrate your skin. You’ve come this far, don’t sleep on the moisturizer! Making sure your skin recoups all the moisture it’s lost during your workout is vital to the health and well-being of your epidermis. Fluids and water-dense foods like cucumbers are great ways to replenish from the inside out, but you’ve also got to treat the outside.

What to try: If you like an SPF in your moisturizer, Juice Beauty’s SPF Tinted Moisturizer should be on your radar. This four-in-one BB cream is a serious multi-tasker, providing sun protection, light color coverage, a serious dose of antioxidants and vitamin-rich essential oils for hydration purposes. Not into SPF? No problem. Kopari’s Coconut Face Cream is lightweight so it won’t leave you a greasy mess, but rich in the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants your skin craves.


By no means is post-workout makeup necessary, but if you want to get your rouge on, there are a few hero products that can pull double duty to lighten your load. Yes, I’m cheating a bit—there’s more than just one thing here—but deal with it! You can thank me later.

What to try: You’re already covered on the tinted moisturizer front (see last section), but if you want another option, check out the CCC Cream from CLE Cosmetics. With five shades, you’ll be able to find one that melts seamlessly into your skin to provide lightweight coverage and a healthy dose of hydration. A multitasking stick like one from Vapour Organic Beauty will help cut down on the number of products you’ll need as it can serve as blush, lip tint and eyeshadow in a pinch. And if you only carry one piece of makeup, there’s nothing more transformative for the face than mascara. The all-natural, highly-pigmented version from RMS Beauty stays put all day long and adds serious life to your lashes.



  1. Awesome Post!!! I always try to keep all my stuff into my GYM bags.I actually skip most of these in my bag apart from makeup. Thanks For the Sharing………..

  2. Useful post for the stuff to keep in the gym bag!
    Hope to don’t bother anyone if I also report you a link for a nice crowdfunding campaing for gym bags to carry all the stuff! :)

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