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Easy Ways to Freshen Up When You Don't Have Time to Shower

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Mary has been an administrative assistant for seven years and enjoys studying holistic health and performing radio theater.

Headbands are a girl's best friend.

Head scarves and head bands can be very handy for making oily hair look presentable temporarily.

Head scarves and head bands can be very handy for making oily hair look presentable temporarily.

Shortcuts to looking clean come in handy when you're too busy or too exhausted to wash up properly.

We've all been there--you're a mess, you stink, you've got somewhere to be and no time to take a shower. It's an uncomfortable feeling to be dirty when you're too busy to clean up and no one wants to go out in public with greasy hair, gunky teeth or stinky body parts. However, when you find yourself in a situation where you don't have time to wash, you do have some options.

There's a variety of situations that may leave you "high and dry" when it comes to hygiene. Maybe you've been running around all day pedal to the metal, get home very late and only enough energy left to flop on your bed for 3 hours of sleep, only to get up super early the next morning and do it all again. Maybe you've been cramming for a test all night or working on an important project and barely have time to brush your hair the next morning. Or perhaps you've worked hard all day and smell like a beast, but have to run to an evening event with no shower in sight. Either way, you feel like you just crawled out a sewer and everyone will notice. Whatever the situation, you can improve your appearance with a little creativity and resourcefulness. Consider the following solutions for your hygiene emergencies.

Greasy hair - If you're like me and your head is a Crisco factory, you know how gross you feel when your hair is super oily and you have no time for a shower. A quick fix that I use is taking a makeup remover cloth (or two) and rubbing it vigorously through my hair. If you have long hair, you might "hold" your hair taught so you can rub the cloth against the grain of the hair and pick up more oil that way. Or, get a wet washcloth and put a few drops of Castille soap on it and rub this through your hair, layer by layer, then rinse out the washcloth and wipe through again to get rid of the soap residue; in this way, it's sort of like using a "dry" shampoo. Another option or even in addition to the makeup cloth is baking soda; put a small amount of baking soda in your hand and rub into your scalp and comb through your hair. The baking soda will help soak up oil and remove the sheen from your hair (just be sure to tousle or comb it through really well or your hair will have white streaks). And for some reason, the baking soda method seems to add some volume to your hair also. This works even better if you can rub the baking soda in the night before as you flop down to catch some quick zzzs.

Another option are commercially produced dry shampoos, especially those that can be sprayed as an aerosol. These are perhaps not as cost effective or natural as baking soda, but are easy to use. They contain ingredients that absorb oil and can be sprayed like hair spray directly onto your scalp. Go through your hair section by section and spray on the roots, then comb through once dry. It will remove a lot of the oily sheen as well as pump up the volume on your limp, grease-laden locks.

None of these methods will make your hair look perfectly clean like shampooing, but at least it will not look like you are long overdue for a shower.

Another solution is hair accessories. Get a wide headband, preferably a wide cloth band and wear this--it will cover up most of the unsightly parts of your greasy hair. Even better is a bandanna tied over your head, but if you work in an office or you're running to an evening event, this might not work for you!

Swamp mouth - So maybe you crashed last night without brushing and now you're running late with teeth that feel like sandpaper. No time to brush? Bad breath? You may have to get a little creative here. Grab a paper towel and use your finger to squeegee around your teeth a little if you can, just be sure to rinse your mouth in the water fountain or something afterwards. Gargle with some unsweetened tea, especially green, but black works (with lemon is even better!). If you just had some fruit, use the peel of an orange or banana to rub plaque off your teeth. Or use the tried and true breath saver of chewing some gum (sugar free will work best). If you happen to have floss with you, just flossing without being able to brush will still go a long way towards cleaning smelly bits out of your mouth and probably make your teeth feel a little cleaner too. A lot of flosses have mint or some other flavoring on them that will help freshen your breath in a pinch.

You stink! - Did you hit the gym after work, the showers were busy and you REALLY have to run to your kid's play? No time for a bath last night and this morning you realize certain areas are not so fresh? Relax, you can handle this! In the case of stinky armpits, try to find something that smells good...a shot of perfume under the arms can work. Or if your clothes stink and you have nothing else to wear, spray some Febreeze or something containing alcohol on the offending sections. A very good solution is hand sanitizer! Rub a squirt of hand sanitizer on your armpits to get rid of smell and temporarily prevent more odor. The alcohol will kill the bacteria that cause the odor and many sanitizers have a perfume added that will help you out as well. At the very least, a wet paper towel rubbed under the arms will get rid of some of the odor and clean it up a bit.

What about stinky "lady parts"? Please, DO NOT use the hand sanitizer method here, you'll be sorry!! The best solution for this is a baby wipe. If you're at home and gotta run, quickly clean yourself on the toilet with a wet wipe if possible. If you're on the run, grab some toilet paper or paper towel in the ladies room and dampen it at the faucet, then go in the stall and do your business. Be sure to take a lot of attention wiping the "fuzzy" areas (there is no nice way of putting this, I'm afraid!) as hair traps most of the odor. Again, this isn't a perfect clean, but it will help a lot.

These are a few methods I've tried to carry me through an unclean moment and you can too! If you've tried some other ways of cheating on hygiene in a pinch, please comment. We all need shortcuts once in a while!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


FlourishAnyway from USA on February 24, 2015:

At work, I used to sit in a cube near a lady who refused to shower after working out at the gym during lunchtime. She could've used your recommendations.

paizley from Albuquerque, New Mexico on November 10, 2014:

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Mouthwash, witch hazel, diluted vinegar, wintergreen rubbing alcohol all are good for under the arms and around your neck and upper shoulder area. A body spray without glycerin can refresh your hair and body without weighing your hair down. Private parts: diluted wintergreen alcohol on a paper towel, witch hazel, diluted vinegar. I agree with the baby wipes. If you are wearing open-toed shoes, don't forget to spritz your feet! I disagree about spraying body spray, colognes, or perfume under dirty armpits. It doesn't work well and can leave you smelling worse if you sweat even a tiny bit.

La La on September 15, 2014:

Baby powder for your "lady parts" works pretty well as a last minute freshen up

Valene (author) from Missouri on June 30, 2014:

Those are great tips, moonlake! I also use lipstick for blush; why not, right? Just a little smudge on the finger can be blended perfectly on your cheek like old-fashioned cream-rouge. Thanks for the additional "hygiene-hacks"!

moonlake from America on June 30, 2014:

I like to run around in my sweats in the morning not planning on jumping in the shower until later in the day or evening. Never fails when I do this my husband will want to run into town for this and that. I'm a mess, I wash off fast with a washcloth, pull my hair back in a ponytail or bun, put lipstick or lip gloss on, use it for a little blush. . This is because I have only minutes to get ready. I always change underwear no matter how few minutes I have. I keep small toothbrush in my purse that has toothpaste on it and can be thrown away, rinse your mouth with bottle of water that everyone seems to always have with them. I rinse mine with diet coke.

If you’re running around and suddenly feel your breath is bad, gum and those little plastic toothpicks work great.

When I was a teen we used baby powder in our hair to remove grease, not only does it remove grease, but it smells good.

I’m never without wipes and hand sanitizer.

I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one that ends up with this problem. Enjoyed your hub voted up.

Valene (author) from Missouri on April 15, 2014:

With the exception of the advice on cleaning lady parts, men could use these methods as well.

Ram Ad from Kathmandu, Nepal on April 15, 2014:

Very good to Know that, is same for mane and female or just useful for women??

Valene (author) from Missouri on April 27, 2013:

Ohhhh, I see what you're saying! :)

LongTimeMother from Australia on April 27, 2013:

Oh, Valene. It would be wrong of me to suggest we go swimming in our clothes. Swimming is a completely different exercise to just jumping in to freshen up. It's the ultimate shortcut ... freshens your body and your clothes at the same time.

We do things differently down here. :)

Valene (author) from Missouri on April 27, 2013:

Lol, cool! I didn't know it was a common thing in Australia to swim with your clothes on. Not so much here, I don't think, but I'm sure plenty of people do! I've swum with my underwear and a t-shirt when I didn't have a suit a few times. Actually, our money isn't really made out of paper, even though we call it "paper money"'s actually made from cotton fibers, so if you accidentally wash it, it's still intact...although probably stays wetter longer than your plastic money!

LongTimeMother from Australia on April 27, 2013:

lol. Here's how we do it in Australia. Jump in a river, jump in a swimming pool, turn on the garden hose and give yourself a good soaking. Five minutes of our summer sun and you're dry enough to get in the car and continue with the day.

Of course it's not a good look if you're wearing a suit, but there's a lot of summer clothes that are made to cope with a quick wash and dry. It helps to take your phone out of your pocket, but Australian money is made of plastic, not paper. We can even go surfing with cash in our pockets!

I don't know how many Americans jump in water fully clothed, but it happens more than you'd think down here. lol.

Nice hub. Voted up+.

Valene (author) from Missouri on April 19, 2013:

I will have to try your trick with tying your hair up in the back and washing the front as my hair is very long--do you mean like a loose ponytail high up, or down low?

The baby wipes for after the gym also sounds like a great idea!

sam on April 19, 2013:

Hair- you can quickly wash your hair in the sink at home in a minute or so if it's short. With long hair tie it up in the back and only wash the top where your hair looks greasy (My hair takes forever to wash in a sink and will take longer to brush the resulting tangles. Dry shampoo works well too. My hair gets greasy in less than a day after I wash it so I have been through everything trying to make it look clean.

Using baby wipes tends to help with the rest of the body not just lady parts and are great to have on you in general they are helpful if you spill something or are sweating after a good work out. I tend to put a few in a ziploc bag and keep them in my bag for emergencies and mouth wash will help with the swap mouth thing.

Also I find the term swap mouth hilarious and will use it as an insult to make who ever I am arguing with laugh. Instant fight ender.

Valene (author) from Missouri on April 03, 2013:

Thanks, billybuc!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 03, 2013:

Good suggestions and great sense of humor. Swamp mouth?? LOL

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