If you’re a man with an affinity for metal plates and bulging biceps you’ll know this problem well:
You’ve just finished a convincing session of showing the weights who’s boss and you’re feeling like an apex predator ready to obliterate any challengers.
As you walk to the locker room to intimidate the mirror like Terry Crews, you remember you have to be somewhere after this where it’s generally frowned upon to smell like a pig.
You need to take a shower, which means you need to have packed for it, and your endorphin and pre-workout supplement-laced brain begins to piece together what to bring in your gym shower kit next time.
You may have no idea what to pack, which is how you ended up here. Keep reading, because by the end of this article you’ll be prepared to crush the gym and whatever activities you may have afterwards without being mistaken for a waterlogged kodiak bear.
What You Need in your Gym Shower Kit
I’m going to cover the barebones list of gym shower kit essentials in this article, so by no means is this list exhaustive. Depending on who you are, when you go to the gym, and the self-care routine you have you can easily add more to your kit to suit your preferences.
At a minimum we recommend the following:
- Dopp Kit: keeps your shower kit organized and succinct
- Bar Soap: to scrub off the stank
- Face Wash: to keep sweat from clogging the pores on your face
- Moisturizer: to rejuvenate and hydrate your face
- Deodorant: your best defense against smelling like a water buffalo
- Compact Microfiber Towel: your backup plan in the face of ratty gym towels
- Flip flops: to protect your feet from getting any uglier than they already are
Here are some quick additions for those who are going for a full self-care routine:
- Shaving Cream
You’ve seen the list of my recommendations above, but let’s dive into why I chose these items and what specific brands I recommend.
Item 1: Dopp Kit
The Dopp Kit is the foundation to any successful gym shower kit. Not sure what a Dopp Kit is? It’s a small toiletry bag dedicated to holding your grooming supplies.
I bet you’re asking, “Isn’t that what gallon Ziploc bags are for?”
I used to think the same thing until I got my first Dopp Kit. Sure, they both hold stuff, but Dopp Kits are stylish, will last way longer than a Ziploc, and typically have some internal organization that keeps your toiletries within reach.
There’s also an air of sophistication that comes from using a Dopp Kit. Any casual observer of a man who whips out a gallon Ziploc versus a man who uses a Dopp Kit will likely make assumptions about whether the Ziploc acolyte lives in his mom’s basement or not.
I’m a big fan of Herschel’s Dopp Kits. I’ve used their Chapter Travel Kit for the last three years and have always been surprised by how many toiletries I can pack in and how little space it takes up.
Item 2: Bar Soap
When it comes to getting good and clean after an intense sweat sesh, I prefer bar soap over body wash. Bar soap lathers well, often costs less than body wash, and does a better job at rehydrating skin (if you get the right brand).
Best of all, using bar soap lets you treat yourself to the sweet sudsy bliss of Dr. Squatch’s bar soaps.
Dr. Squatch has individually waged war on big soap brands that technically produce detergents rather than soap. These disguised detergents are harsh and dry out your skin, leaving it dehydrated and tired.
I choose Dr. Squatch’s bar soap because they’re formulated with organic ingredients and healthy oils, and smell so good you’ll have to stop yourself from chomping on the bar. In my experience they have the same effect on women, except in this case you’re the bar.
The Squatch’s soaps come in a wide variety of titillating scents, from Grapefruit IPA and Cedar Citrus to Pine Tar and Bay Rum. They even have limited releases that will get you access to unique shower experiences. Dr. Squatch’s soaps practically infuse your skin with essential oils and turn you into a walking diffuser, so if you want to skip cologne, you’ll still have some subtle fragrance action going.
For those of you who think I’m a lunatic for throwing a slurpy bar of soap in my Dopp Kit, fear not. Dr. Squatch provides a washed linen burlap bag to dry your soap and keep it from touching your other items.
While not always necessary, if you’re prone to head sweat and like to shampoo after the gym, Dr. Squatch has you covered again. Their natural shampoos and conditioners are designed to keep healthy oils in your hair to keep it softer and stronger long term.
A pet peeve of mine is when a bar soap smells good, but it doesn't transfer that smell to your skin. I'm a big fan of these soaps (especially the Cedar Citrus) because the natural oils and shea butter nourish your skin and infuse it with essential oils.
Item 3: Face Wash
Sweating like a pig after getting gains can be detrimental to the skin on your face. Sweat can clog your pores, leading to acne breakouts, enlarged pores, and even wrinkles. That’s why I recommend a good face wash with any gym shower kit.
For face wash, I recommend Geologie’s Everyday Face Wash. Geologie is a personalized men’s skincare brand that formulates high-quality products backed by science. Their skincare kits include two bottles of face wash — one for the sink and one for the shower — so you’re already set to chuck one in your gym shower kit.
This leads me right to the next item any gym shower kit should have.
If you’re not keen on looking like a sundried tomato later in life but don’t know where to start, Geologie provides affordable trials sets that are personalized to your needs. Thoughtful touches like packing in two face washes (one for the shower, and another for the sink) really show that Geologie has my back when it comes to building a routine.
Item 4: Moisturizer
After you’ve washed your face and cleaned out your sweat-inundated pores, it’s important to moisturize. A good moisturizer will keep your skin hydrated and nourished without clogging your pores or making you feel like a greasy line cook in a fast food restaurant.
Geologie formulates several moisturizers that’ll fit the bill, but I’ll recommend their Vital Morning Face Cream. This moisturizer is made with proven, natural ingredients to keep your skin healthy and plump, and also has SPF 10 to keep harmful UV rays from turning your face into an old leather bag.
Skincare is a necessity. But customized skincare? Now that's luxury. Take care of your biggest skincare need, whether it's deep wrinkles, dark circles, or acne---Geologie will create a custom formulation with actual skincare ingredients.
Item 5: Deodorant
Your workout got your blood pumping and since you’re not a maniac who thinks cold showers are a good idea, your core temp is probably still running a little hot. And you know what that means.
Thus, deodorant is a necessity, and I have good news. Dr. Squatch now makes deodorant, so you can get those fresh smells and natural ingredients all up in your pits. Why rub a bar of chemicals and aluminum all over your underarms when you can healthily smell like a fresh waterfall instead?
Why rub a bar of chemicals and aluminum all over your underarms when you can healthily smell like a fresh waterfall instead? Dr. Squatch deodorant features deactivated charcoal, arrowroot, and probiotics, all of which help cleanse your body of toxins, prevent odor-causing bacteria from forming, and help you develop a healthy microbiome in your pits so you smell less in the future. Win-win-win.
Squatch’s deodorants come in some of their most popular scents, including Pine Tar, Birchwood Breeze, Fresh Falls, Bay Rum, and Alpine Sage. Their sticks are aluminum-free and formulated with a plethora of natural ingredients to give your pits a spa day on every application.
Made with no baking soda and no aluminum, this deodorant won't stain your clothes, won't clog your pores, and the added probiotics help keep the funk away hours after the initial fragrance has faded.
Item 6: Compact Microfiber Towel
There’s nothing worse than finishing a shower and having to use a ratty, tattered gym towel that may not have been bleached properly. Rather than risk sullying your freshly-cleaned body, pick up a compact microfiber towel and rest easy in the knowledge that you’re not scrubbing another man’s sweat into your skin.
You can easily find these on Amazon for between $10 and $20, like the Youphoria Outdoors Towel, which comes with its own convenient mesh carrying case. Towels like these absorb so much water and dry so quickly that I’m pretty much convinced they all stole ShamWow’s patent.
Item 7: Flip Flops
Our last item in the list of bare necessities (*cue the Jungle Book*) is flip flops.
Gym showers are dirty. Unless you like the idea of getting plantar’s warts on your feet or any other number of podiatric maladies, get yourself a cheap pair of flippies. Again, Amazon is your friend.
Havaianas makes a cheap pair for $10, which is a small price to pay when compared to the mental duress and physical expenditure of removing a plantar’s wart.
These are the necessities for any decent gym shower kit, and will get you fresh and healthy after a good workout.
Again, feel free to add more to the kit to meet your individual needs and preferences.
Cheers to happy gym showers!
What do you take to a gym shower?
Take your microfiber towel, flip flops, soap, and face wash to the shower at the gym.
What should I put in my gym locker?
You should put flip flops, soap, shaving cream, a microfiber towel, razors, styling gel, cologne, a toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash, and moisturizer in your gym locker.
What do you do with your wet towel after the gym?
Put your wet towel in a plastic zipper bag after the gym if you need to bring it home. If you have a gym locker that’s yours, hang it up to dry.