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Karina Smirnoff: How She Stays So Fit Plus Her Best Beauty Secrets

Written on June 4, 2014 at 12:10 pm , by

Photos Courtesy of Karina Smirnoff

As a pro dancer on ABC’s hit show, Dancing with the Stars, Karina Smirnoff is an expert on two of our favorite things: fitness and beauty. As she prances around the dance floor making a fast-paced foxtrot look easy, she’s glammed out in full hair, makeup and of course, bronzer from head-to-toe. We recently grabbed a few minutes with the Ukrainian stunner to chat about how she stays camera-ready through tough routines and how she likes to stay fit off the dance floor.

You have to keep your skin camera-ready through sweaty performances. What’s your skincare routine like?

“Yes, the sweat is not only mine, it’s usually your partner’s too! It’s definitely not the most glamorous part of the show but in the very first season of DWTS, my skin actually started breaking out pretty badly because you have heavy makeup on for hours, especially on the day of the show. We get our makeup done at six, seven or eight in the morning and we don’t go live until five p.m. and then comes touch-ups, where they put more and more on you. So my skin was breaking out really badly. But you find a way to keep it healthy and clean and right now, I’m obsessed with the Apothederm Acne Clarifying Treatment ($33, apothederm.com). I use it two to three times a week during the season and it keeps the blemishes away. I always wash my skin when I’m off the air and try to take off all the makeup. I use an exfoliant or the Clarisonic brush (prices vary, clarisonic.com), which is amazing because all you do is hold it to your skin and it does the job. There are different types of cleansers that have some parabens in them but Apothederm doesn’t and it’s incredible. It lifts all of the makeup off of your skin. And if you use it with the Clarisonic, which you don’t have do it every day but maybe once or twice a week, it gets out everything from inside the pores as well. I love when you have time off and you can use a mask and sometimes, I even make my own mask when I go to a sauna. I mix salt with honey and use it as an exfoliant on my skin but its also very moisturizing because of the honey.”

You wear some pretty intricate hairstyles on the show. Do you have any tips for keeping them in place during such active performances?
“Yes, besides hairpins and bobby pins, they have these little metal clips with teeth (similar here: L. Erickson Mini Mini Metal Jaw 8-Pack, $18, franceluxe.com) and they are the size of your pinky nail and they hold onto your hair so well to keep it in place. And not to mention, the excessive amount of hairspray! I can’t go out to places that have live fire just for the sake of catching my hair on fire!”

Everyone on the show is so bronzed! What is the self-tanning routine like?
“We get spray tanned on Sundays for the show during the season with a great company called South Seas Tanning, which gets you darker but it doesn’t get you nearly as dark as what we actually look like on the show. So there are different bronzers that I mix to create my own concoction for the body and you put it on and it dries so it doesn’t get on your clothes. It gives you that shimmery, glowing skin. I mix Rimmel Sunshimmer Instant Tan (available in the UK, boots.com) with South Seas Beach Bling Shimmer Lotion ($18, southseas.com), that’s the one that keeps it dry and then I add LORAC TANtalizer Body Bronzing Luminizer ($32, loraccosmetics.com). I mix it all in my hands. I wear gloves because it’s easier and you don’t have to wash your hands after and then you just put it all over! I love to look tan. But the funny part is I never spray tan my face, I only spray tan my body so you kind of have the floating head when the face is pale against the rest of the body, but I don’t want to clog my pores.”

The show is so glamorous but on a day when you’re not feeling your best, what’s one beauty move you do to boost your confidence?
“Oh, well, I always believe that a great pair of heels and mascara is all a girl needs to feel sexy!”

What’s your favorite mascara?
“I really like the new Blinc Mascara ($26, sephora.com). It’s not like a normal mascara. This one has an ingredient [tube-technology] so when you wash it off, you don’t get raccoon eyes. It gets soft and just comes right off like gel. I also like Marc Jacobs Gel Definition Mascara ($26, sephora.com) and Stila mascaras ($22 each, stilacosmetics.com). L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Power Volume 24H Mascara ($8, lorealparisusa.com) is great, too. It makes your eyelashes look twice as long!”

So when you’re not dancing, how do you like to stay in shape? What are your favorite workouts?
“I do everything, from martial arts to Krav Maga, to yoga to jogging, running, hiking. I like to spice it up and keep it different every time because I get bored really fast. And the ADD doesn’t help that either! So I try to do different stuff every time but to me, the best workout is dancing. That’s why I have the DanceFIT-KS. It’s a dance-inspired workout because it’s moves that dancers use to keep in shape and no matter how often you do it, your body never gets used to it because you never use the same muscles twice. We do dance camps, too and we take it to different hotels in the summer. It’s a win-win situation, with the travel, the amazing vacations, you get to work out, stay in shape, meet new people.”

Do you have any favorite snacks that you like to fuel up with before a workout or performance?
“I do but when you perform and dance you don’t want to feel full. Me, personally, when I eat, all I want to do is sit on the couch with the remote control. I get into the couch potato mode. And when I dance I don’t want to feel hungry but I want to feel light and alert. So I try to snack on things like pineapple or watermelon because they’re diuretic and go right through your system. I eat nuts a lot, like walnuts because they are a brain food and we could all use a little brain food! Sometimes I even do dried cranberries because they are a great source of energy. And you can never go wrong with dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is a divine food.”

Score Pro Volleyball Player Christal Engle’s Beachy Beauty

Written on June 27, 2012 at 11:53 am , by

As much as we love a fun, outdoor workout, we hate how it turns us into hot, sweaty messes. One thing we’re always in awe of: how top-notch athletes manage to look so good! To find out their secrets, we chatted up Christal Engle, the 26-year-old pro-volleyball playerwho has her eyes set on the Olympics in 2016. Engle dished about the beauty products she digs, and how you can score an effortless look pre- and post-workout. You won’t want to pass on this advice before your next friendly competition on the beach!

Photo credit: Jose Cuervo

FITNESS: In your sport, you’re exposed to a lot of sun! How do you protect your skin?
CE: “Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen! I carry it wherever I go and apply everywhere, especially on the face, chest and shoulders. That’s what gets the most sun when you’re playing beach volleyball. I use SPF 75 on my face and reapply four or five times per day. I’m only 26 and I already see sun effects. And I wear sunscreen all the time!”

FITNESS: Do you have a favorite brand?
CE: “I use COOLA organic sunscreen. It’s a new company, but they have things for your face and body; they have mist sprays, everything. People don’t realize when they’re in the sun how much it affects them. Even with 75 SPF or whatever, the rays still come through. I’m fairly tan but I wear sunscreen all the time.”

FITNESS: What about makeup? Do you wear it while playing?
CE: “Yes, but not a lot — I’ll just put on waterproof mascara. I’m not one of those super girly-girls who has to cake it on, but you want to perform beautifully. That’s Oakley’s motto [editor’s note: Engle is sponsored by Oakley], and I like to stay pretty and work hard.”

FITNESS: Do you do anything to protect your hair?
CE: “Not really, because I like the natural highlights that I get from the sun. I just had my hair done and I asked them if I should be doing anything specific, and they said just to use sunscreen and get trims every couple of months. But I have to be careful of salt water! If you go into the ocean after a game, you definitely want to get a good shampoo that cleans it really well. I know Neutrogena Clean Replenishing is a good one.”

FITNESS: And I’m sure being out in the sun and sand all day must make you feel dry…
CE: “It does! And I find sand everywhere. It’s ridiculous. I have to moisturize a lot and I make sure that has SPF in it, too.”

How do you make working out look so good? I’m a hot mess when I sweat!
CE: “I recommend using wipes afterward. When we’re working out and playing in the sand, our hands get dirty and we wipe our foreheads, making our faces grimy. Wipes clean that all up – Bioré Daily Cleansing Cloths are great, I also use Evian Facial Mist Spray—it’s amazing! I use it after matches on my face and reapply sunscreen.”

FITNESS: What about when you’re not on the courts? How do you go from game to glam?
CE: “I use two items: mascara and bronzer. Bronzer just brings life to your face – you could be super tired, but if you put that on, it brightens you up. I love L’Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze. For mascara, I use CoverGirl LashBlast Fusion because it doesn’t run when I sweat and it’s super easy to take off, making it perfect for beach volleyball. As for my hair, I love doing a high twisty bun after a game because it works whether it’s wet or dry, and it’s somewhat fashionable.”

Tell us: How do you bounce back after a sweaty workout?

—By Laura Cofsky, editorial intern

Hot Rocks

Written on October 17, 2011 at 4:22 pm , by

Makeup shaped into pretty pebbles and pearls has been popping up everywhere recently—and it’s easy to see why. Not only do these faintly shimmery bronzer, blush, and highlighting powders give cheeks a gorgeous glow when applied with a brush swirled over the multi-tonal pigments, but they can also multitask. We’ve experimented with using individual beads as eye shadow, lip color (topped with gloss or balm), and luminizer on the inner corners of eyes, under the brows, and on the cupid’s bow. They’re just plain fun to use, like makeup should be! Here, a selection of showstopping spheres:

Pür Minerals Pür Rocks

Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Talc-Free Correcting Pebbles


The Body Shop Brush-On Beads

Guerlain Meteorites Pearls

 Tell us: Have you played with pebble-shaped makeup? If so, how did you use them and what did you think?

Favorite Find Friday: Physicians Formula Healthy Wear Bronzer SPF 50 in Light

Written on January 28, 2011 at 10:52 am , by

It’s difficult to find a bronzer that’s believable in winter, but Physicians Formula Healthy Wear Pressed Bronzer SPF 50 in Light fits the bill. This powder lends just enough skin-warming bronze with absolutely no trace of orange or shimmer. It’s so good, we just hit the bottom of the pan—quite a feat for us! And the high SPF is just the skin-protecting icing in the cake. Do you wear bronzer in winter?

HWPresdBronzerLight7075