Health & Beauty Wisdom From the Olympic Elite


When it comes to the Olympics, even skin tone, creaseless eye shadow and shiny hair hardly matter as much as making the goal, landing the dismount or crossing the finish line. Interestingly, however, and sometimes amazingly so, Olympians often manage to look fresher and more put-together than I do after a 30 minute treadmill session. And of course, in some sports, such as synchronized swimming, vibrant makeup and a costumed appearance is an important theatrical element of each routine.

So while appearance is secondary to the amazing physical talents of these athletes, taking a look at the techniques used by Olympians is nonetheless an interesting lesson in how it’s possible to look great in even the most extreme conditions. In honor of the last few days of the Olympics, let’s take a look at some of the methods used by these elite athletes:

  • Synchronized Swimming: To keep hair in place during their intensive routines, swimmers comb unflavored jello into their hair and twist it into a tight bun. When jello mixes with the water of the pool, it creates a paste and keeps hair in place (but is also very tough to remove and may take several showers to completely wash out). To keep eyeshadow from smudging off underwater, swimmers often use chapstick as a primer.
  • Field & Track: While most runners subscribe to a minimal makeup routine while performing, a tinted moisturizer is often used to ward off harmful rays, and a waterproof mascara can be a hassle-free way to leave a face looking its best.
  • Swimming: Despite wearing a swim cap (or often two), swimmers often suffer from dry, brittle hair. Therefore, many of these athletes apply a deep conditioner to their locks under their swim caps during races to avoid substantial damage.
  • Gymnastics: A large dose of strong-hold hairspray is key for keeping fly-aways out of gymnasts’ eyes. More than other athletes, women gymnasts often go all out with a full face of waterproof makeup, ensuring a performance-focused face ready for bright lights and cameras.
  • Rhythmic Gymnastics: With hair pulled back tight for practices and performances, these athletes know the importance of hair masks and a balm for split ends to keep hair looking smooth and healthy. Russian Evgeniya Kanaeva describes applying lemon juice ice cubes to her face to wake up and rejuvenate her complexion after long days in the gym.

What Olympic sport do you love watching? As the games draw to a close, let’s all agree that our athletes have looked, and more importantly, performed amazingly this year!


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