Putting the ‘Hot’ back in ‘Hot Mess’ | How to go from Sweaty to Sexy

Putting the ‘Hot’ back in ‘Hot Mess’ | How to Go From Sweaty to Sexy | Tips From a Time-crunched Ballroom Socialite

This post is for Sophie.

Social season is upon us. Which means our calendars are stacked to the proverbial gills with ‘this’ and ‘that’ and the ‘other thing’. But, it’s also swim suit season and short skirt season, and you’ve committed to getting in your gym time. Uh oh! If you happen to squeeze in your self-promised sweat sess, you can’t find time to go home and spruce up before your happy hour social scene begins. What’s a girl to do?!

Never fear! Many years of ballroom dancing, ballet performances, and tight schedules has prepared me to help you with just this sort of thing. Where else does one need to look like a pristine princess before, during, and after a sweat fest of cha cha, salsa, Viennese waltz, and quickstep, jumping right into the post-competition dinner, then back out for social dancing.

I bequeath to you my bag-o-sweaty-to-sexy tricks:


1. Use your sweat! I always pack a travel hairdryer. I have one that folds up to save space. It works nearly as well as my full sized one. Blow dry your hair upside down and marvel at the volume. Also, if you have a cowlick in your bangs and they’ve decide they now have a mind of their own, just re-wet them thoroughly and blow-out straight and fluffy.

2. Flat Iron your pony tail crease. Yeah, you probably also have a permanently indented pony tail crease in you hair, not to mention frizzies and weird sweat-induced waves. Tonight’s the night to wear your hair straight. Take care of that line and create an easy wear style.

3. Dry Shampoo is the best invention EVA! If you’ve never heard of dry shampoo… well, now you have. You’re welcome. If like me, you have bangs and even after drying they’re still looking a little lifeless or stringy. Blast them with a little dry shampoo to freshen them up and give them new life. Works like a charm. Tip: Use a bristle brush to bush it out. You’ll never get the powder out with a plastic blow drying brush.

4. If you have curly hair, I have been told to use a fat curling iron to bring back some body bounce to limpified locks.

5. I have also been told that plumping powder is amazing, but I’ve never tried it. Reading the description, it looks like you’ll want to make sure you’ve thoroughly dried your hair before use, though.

6. If all else fails, try an up-do. If you just can’t get your hair to do anything. Tease the front into a pinned pouf and try a sleek straightened pony tail. Wrap and pin a chuck of hair around your pony tail holder to hide it and class it up a bit. Add that sparkly headband you’ve been wearing. Cute!


1. Don’t sweat in your foundation! Please! If you were already wearing makeup when you came to the gym, take off your foundation before you sweat. It’s better for your skin and makes round two go on a lot smoother.

2. Wash your face. Mostly because you’ll feel better and it’s good to get all that grossness off your skin. There are many face wipes available. I just discovered Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit face wipes. Follow up with a splash of cold water to tighten your pores — plus is feels really refreshing. I sometimes add a very light oil free moisturizer.

3. Use a mineral make up. I’m currently using a brand called Gabriel. Again, just because it’s much better for your skin and looks way more natural. I like to apply a pressed powder foundation with a makeup wedge. It gives a better finish than the circle applicator that comes in the package, which honestly is probably pretty nasty looking right now. It also allows you to be more accurate in your application. Follow up with a mineral blush. Nothing makes you look alive more than a little pretty blush.


I’m making this separate because this is my special trick!

1. Have mascaras with two different types of applicators. Use the soft bristly kind for whatever you’re wearing before the gym. (Skip this step if you worked out sans eye makeup) Afterwards, to freshen it up, use one with that new spikey plasticy applicator. It will help to break through the old mascara without just clumping on top of the old layer. Otherwise it looks like you’ve been piling on the spider lashes. I don’t recommend waterproof mascara unless you will be sweating with it on. Then, it’s a must! But it can get flaky and clumpy, and dries out your lashes, so use appropriately.

General tip: wiggle your mascara wand from the base to the tips to avoid clumps and help separate your lashes.

2. Apply an eyeshadow primer. It will keep your color from creasing since your skin might still be a little dewy.

General tip: apply your eye shadow before your mascara. To keep the powder from settling on your lashes and dulling the sharp black finish. 


If you have time, hop in the gym shower and just rinse off. Second option, wipe off with a damp towel, or better yet a body towel wipe made to remove the sweat and bacteria. (PS, sweat doesn’t stink. Bacteria stinks.) Don’t forget to reapply deodorant.


1. Pack your clothes separately from your gym bag! Here’s a secret: You gym bag smells like socks!

2. Choose something that packs well. You probably don’t have room to leave something hanging up in your locker.

3. Choose something you can put on with out help, and with tired arms that can’t reach over your head or deal with built in bra shelves, and back zippers… etc.

Prep Tips:

1. Don’t wear tall socks if you plan to wear a short dress. Hello socks lines!

2. Don’t put your going-out clothes in your gym bag. They will smell like old socks!

3. Do remember your deodorant! You don’t need perfume. Freshly applied lightly scented deodorant will be enough.

4. This may seem like a lot of stuff, but if you always leave it in your gym bag, you’ll always be ready for anything! At the gym and a friend calls for drinks afterwards? No problem! You might consider also always having a spare outfit tucked away in your car. I mean, if you’re the super ultra last minute social occasion type. I’ve been known to run to Ross on my way somewhere to pick up a new outfit on the cheap, or at least a clean top to pair with the jeans I was wearing earlier in the day.

So there you go! What do you think? Was that helpful? Do you need any more tips? Do you have tips of your own? (I’ll add the good ones above, if you share!) Let me know in the comments, below!

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