Gym bag essentials

As a regular gym rat, my gym bag always has a set of essentials. I don’t like leaving the gym all sweaty, so I usually shower and dress up in street clothes before I leave. I often wash my hair as well. If I am going out afterwards, I also fix up my make-up. This is a short review of my favourite gym bag products: Aussie Miracle Moisture shampoo, a few shower gels and the Trevor Sorbie heat protection and straightening spray.

I’m not a big fan of gym bags, so I actually use this one most often:

It’s a huge Cropp faux leather bag that goes well with practically every outfit. I bought it for about €10,-/20,- leva on sale and I stash all sorts of stuff in there. It’s literally bottomless. I often fit in a few groceries when I hit Lidl after the gym.

Being at the gym 3-4 times per week, this means at least half of my showers are at the gym. Hence travel-sized products hold a prominent place in my daily life and I often buy smaller packages just to reduce the weight I lug around with my gym stuff. This is a small overview of my current favourites.

Aussie Miracle Moisture Shampoo

I first bought one of these when I couldn’t bring a big Aussie bottle in my hand luggage. I am glad! When I tried it after a long day sunbathing on a beach in Cyprus, it was an instant relief. It smells divine, leaves my hair well-moistured and works miracles in a very short time.

The quick washing is key here. I can wash it off straight away after lathering, so I save both water and time. I find it very handy in at least two situations. Firstly, it’s a life-saver when I don’t know how much water is left in the water reservoir and don’t want to use it all up – think of places without central water supply system like Cyprus. Secondly, my gym has a 5-minute limit for free shower use, so I need to do my hair super fast if I don’t want to go visit the reception in a towel.

The smell of Aussi Miracle Moisture is one of my favourite shampoo smells. It’s very fresh and doesn’t wash out entirely. I’ve had people complement me for smelling nice after washing my hair with this shampoo and I tend to agree. The smell itself can be characterised as tropical.

The only downside I can give are parabens and/or silicons in the shampoo. If you Google ‘Aussie’, you will find a million articles explaining how horrible it is in terms of ingredients. I haven’t experienced any (noticeable) negative effects, but I try to mix up my shampoos and use less dangerous ones at home when I can shower leisurely.

 75ml for about €1,8

For reference: 250ml is €6,- to €10,- depending on country

Pro: travel-sized, smells divine, ready to wash out straight away, good price/value ratio

Con: not available in the drug stores (Bulgaria), the travel bottle is harder to find, ingredients are suspicious

Score: 4,5/5

My current show gel is a refill and not the one on the label. I usually use either the Lidl green shower gel with lime, or the Lidl orange shower gel with (surprise!) orange. Both are super cheap (up to €1,-/ 2,- leva per 250ml), smell amazing and can double up as shampoo without any breakouts or allergic reactions for me. However, I recently bought a bunch of Yves Rocher shower gels from the Christmas 2016 edition, so I’m currently filling up with:

Yves Rocher Pear & Cocoa shower gel

I bought this one mostly because it was half price and the cranberry was out of stock already. Still, I was pleasantly surprised by the strong smell and good lather this shower gel makes. I wouldn’t characterise its fragrance as cocoa, but it’s pleasant, if not very durable. It definitely feels refreshing to me and not Christmas-like at all. This is an advantage since spring is coming. The fact that it takes just a drop or two to lather my whole body is a boon.

I bought the 400ml bottle for €2,-/4,- leva and a smaller bottle for €1,25/2,5 leva. I am not sure if I would pay for the full-priced version, but these were pretty nice and make for a good alternative to my lime/orange shower gels. I haven’t tried washing my hair with Yves Rocher gel, so I can’t say if it works well as a shampoo.

400ml for €2,-/ 4,- leva (50% off due to sale)

Pro: good brand, quality, nice smell, lathers well, good price/quality ratio, very economical to use

Con: limited edition (no longer available), smell doesn’t last long

Score: 4/5

Trevor Sorbie Straight, Protect & Shine Spray

I bought a travel-sized version of this spray when I was exploring the UK Boots for products I haven’t tried before. I didn’t have internet, so I couldn’t check any reviews on the spot. Instead I just bought the stuff I haven’t seen or used before. The only limit was my 1-litre  liquids bag for carry-on luggage. 100ml products are a pain to find, but fairly nice for testing new products.

I use this spray primary for heat protection when I have to use the hair-dryers at the gym. Some hair-dryers may be amazing, but some are crap. I believe it’s better to be safe than sorry you burned your hair.

The first time I used this spray, people at work started asking me if I straightened my hair or have a new haircut. Turns out this spray does a better job of straightening my hair than my Remington hair straightener! Note this is with my very curly and unruly hair.

I’m currently trying to save up my spray for the days when I need straightening. However, it is still a favourite in my gym bag and I occasionally use it just to pamper my hair. I would love to buy a bigger bottle for home use, but I never seem to get the opportunity to get one.

£3-4 per 50ml travel-sized spray

Pro: compact size, no frills package, effective straightening, heat protection, professional hair care line
Con: non-essential, pricy, not available in drug stores (Bulgaria), bottle could easily be 75ml or 100ml

Score: 4/5

Hair brush / mirror combo

While I usually carry powder with a built-in mirror, I mostly use the mirror on my hair brush. It’s much less messy and I don’t have to clean fdt or powder off my clothes. Plus my hair is short, so the small brush is perfect for combing it on the go.

€1,8 from Rossmann

previous was €2,- from Primark

Pro: Hair brush and mirror in one, no fdt stains, easy to clean, safe to fly outside liquids bag

Con: easy to lose, plastic brush may be less gentle to the scalp

Score: 4,5/5

I am thinking of trying one of the smaller Tangle Teezer sometime soon, but I haven’t set on a model yet. Any suggestions?

Edit: I just realised I forgot one of the most important products I use daily: my deo spray! In my defense, it usually stays in my handbag, so I wouldn’t classify it as a gym item 🙂

My current spray is an Isana Sensitive compressed 75ml spray from Rossmann. I really love compressed sprays since they last like a normal 150ml spray, but fit in a much neater package.

This is a staple in both my handbags and my travel kit. I always try to buy a few when I’m in the Netherlands/Germany/the UK. It’s unfortunate that these are not available in Bulgaria (yet). Tip: compressed deo sprays are much cheaper in Germany. I can buy two or three Rexona or Dove compressed sprays in Germany for the price of one in the Netherlands. UK was midway between the two last time I checked (June ’16).

75ml compressed spray (=150ml regular spray) for less than €1,-

Pros: convenient size, lasts as long as its non-compressed alternatives, no aluminium salts, neutral smell, doesn’t sting at all, the twist cap is harder to lose or loosen, amazing price/quality ratio, great value

Cons: lasts way too long, a 25ml or 50ml compressed spray may save some space in my carry-on liquids bag

Score: 5/5


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a bit lonely, a dreamer, law deserter, admin extraordinare

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