You are here

Play On! Beauty Tricks from Top Olympic Athletes

  • Donald Miralle/Getty Images Sport

    Triathlete Sarah Groff

    Sarah Groff, 30, Olympic triathlete, Hanover, New Hampshire

    Build a barrier

    Before swimming, Groff slathers her face with a moisturizer, like Dermalogica Skin Smoothing Cream ($58, "When I don't apply it, the pool water dries out my skin," she says.

    Get a grip

    "I don't wash my hair for a few days before a race," Groff says. "If it's too clean, my swim cap will slip off." Her dirty little secret gives her hair the right texture to create her favorite race-day do, a braid.

    Be proactive

    Groff knows that all the time she spends in the sun and water — up to six hours a day — can damage her skin. Her prevention plan, which was recommended by her derm: microdermabrasion treatments a few times a year and Tazorac, a prescription retinoid treatment that's "good for breakouts and fine lines," Groff says.

  • Antoine Verglas

    Hurdler Lolo Jones

    Lolo Jones, 30, world-champion hurdler, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

    Practice good skin care on the go

    "Because I travel a ton, I'm constantly battling dry skin," Jones says. She packs her carry-on with single-dose facial masks from Freeman's Feeling Beautiful line ($2, drugstores). "They're good quality and affordable."

    Give your hair TLC

    Jones doesn't dye her brunette strands, but she does stock up on products for color-treated hair, which are moisture rich, to help combat dehydration from the sun's rays. Her go-to line is Pureology Serious Colour Care ($7 to $50, for salons).

    Start clean

    "Most people wash their face after a workout, but you should wash it before, too: Exercising with clogged pores can lead to skin problems," says Jones, who keeps Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes ($7, drugstores) on hand for quickie wipe downs.

  • Antoine Verglas

    Volleyball Player Kerri Walsh

    Kerri Walsh, 34, two-time Olympic gold medalist and beach volleyball player, Manhattan Beach, California

    Serve and protect

    Walsh never hits the beach without sunscreen and a lip balm with SPF. "My mom had skin cancer on her chin, so I know that sun protection is important," she says. In her bag now: Coola LipLux SPF 30 ($12,

    Get plenty of zzz's

    "For me, sleep is the ultimate pampering," the busy mother of two says. "Whenever I can work in a short nap, I feel amazing."

    Invest in good grooming

    Walsh stays stubble-free with laser hair removal. "I live in my bikini, so it's really nice not to have to worry about shaving or waxing," she says.

  • Nick Laham/Getty Images Sport

    Track-and-Field Sprinter Allyson Felix

    Allyson Felix, 26, Olympic gold and two-time silver medalist and track-and-field sprinter, Los Angeles

    Soak it in

    After a training session, Felix revives her tired feet in an electric footbath, like HoMedics PedicureSpa Salon Footbath ($50, "It's similar to the ones at nail salons, only it has massaging attachments," she says.

    Freshen up fast

    Post-workout, Felix slicks her lips with C.O. Bigelow Mentha Lip Tints ($8, "The minty flavor is so refreshing, and it heals my chapped lips," she says.

    Find the smell of success

    Wearing the right perfume "makes me feel confident," Felix says. Her signature scent: Halle Reveal by Halle Berry Eau de Parfum Spray ($28, drugstores).

  • Gabriel Bouys/AFP

    Track-and-Field Sprinter Natasha Hastings

    Natasha Hastings, 26, Olympic gold medalist and track-and-field sprinter, Queens, New York

    Brighten up

    "Anything pink makes me happy," says Hastings, who always sports a rosy pout on race days. "I'll walk by a Nars or MAC counter, see a pink gloss, and say, 'I want that!' without even trying it on."

    Perk up your pony

    The self-proclaimed girlie-girl likes to give a little flair to her functional race-day hairstyle. "I'll add some loose curls so my ponytail isn't bone straight," she says.

    Power wash

    Regular cleanser is no match for sunscreen, makeup, and sweat, Hastings says. She scrubs her skin with the Clarisonic Mia Sonic Skin Cleansing System ($119,, an oscillating facial skin brush. "I've noticed a huge difference since I've started using it."

  • Harry How/Getty Images Sport

    Gymnast Alicia Sacramone

    Alicia Sacramone, 24, Olympic silver medalist and gymnast, Boston

    Be slick

    A sleek hairstyle is practically a requirement for gymnasts. Sacramone, who has naturally curly hair, says she has mastered an easy technique to get one: brushing her strands back and misting them with hair spray while still wet.

    Make a lasting impression

    For a camera-ready smile, Sacramone relies on long-lasting lip shades. Her favorite is CoverGirl Outlast Lipstain in Teasing Blush ($8, drugstores) topped with clear gloss.

    Stay hydrated

    "I think moisturizing is the secret to the best skin," says Sacramone, who slathers hers with Olay Complete All-Day UV Moisturizer — Normal ($11, drugstores). Proof positive: The 24-year-old says people often mistake her for a teen.

  • Getty Images Sport

    Swimmer Natalie Coughlin

    Natalie Coughlin, 29, 11-time Olympic medalist and swimmer, Vallejo, California

    Double your efforts

    Coughlin's hair gets a lot of exposure to the elements: "I'm in chlorinated water and the sun, and I train in the ocean," she says. To keep it healthy post-swim, she applies Pantene Pro-V Normal-Thick Split End Repair Crème ($6, drugstores) and Pantene Pro-V Silky Moisture Whip Moisturizer + Styler ($7, drugstores) after shampooing.

    Stock up

    In her travels to Australia, Coughlin discovered Lucas Pawpaw Ointment ($25,, a rich balm that she uses on her lips and cuticles to keep them from drying out. "I always buy 10 tubes at a time when I'm there," she admits.

    Cover your bases

    Water-resistant sunscreen is a must for swimmers. Coughlin's top block is Vertra The Shelter Sun Resistant Foundation Face Stick SPF 38 ($22, "It's ultra-waterproof but looks like makeup when it goes on your skin," she says.

  • Courtesy of the US Olympic Committee

    Runner Shalane Flanagan

    Shalane Flanagan, 31, Olympic bronze medalist and 10,000-meter and marathon runner, Portland, Oregon

    Fake it

    "We don't get a lot of sun around here," Flanagan says, so she supplies her own glow with a cheery, peach-colored blush. "It gives my skin a little color and makes me feel more awake."

    Snip your tips

    "When I run, my ponytail whips around, so my ends get pretty gnarly," she says. To keep them smooth, Flanagan gets a trim every two to three months. Between salon visits, she nourishes her strands with Moroccanoil Treatment ($41, for salons), which heals parched areas with argan oil.

    Switch up your scent

    "I like to smell good when I train," says Flanagan, who gravitates toward clean, fresh scents. She stashes a variety of Bath & Body Works Mini Fragrance Mists ($6, in her gym bag so she can mix it up on a whim.

  • Sports Illustrated

    Boxer Marlen Esparza

    Marlen Esparza, 23, six-time national champion flyweight division boxer, Houston

    Handle with care

    Esparza's hands take — and give — a beating. To help them recover from her grueling three-times-a-day workouts, the boxer gets weekly manicures. And "I always carry hand lotion in my bag," she says.

    Play up your eyes

    "If you look good, you feel good, and if you feel good, you fight good," says Esparza, who wears a couple of coats of black mascara when staring down opponents. Her fave is CoverGirl LashBlast Volume Mascara ($9, drugstores).

    Fight flyaways

    To keep her hair out of her eyes, Esparza opts for pulled-back styles, such as tight braids, paired with one essential accessory: "I wear my USA bandanna every time I fight," she says.

  • Antoine Verglas

    Soccer Player Hope Solo

    Hope Solo, 31, Olympic gold medalist and soccer player, Seattle

    Add highlights

    During her stint last year on Dancing with the Stars, Solo picked up a few get-glam tricks she still uses, like applying a pale highlighting pencil under her eyes. "Your eyes will look awake, and your skin much brighter."

    Tone it down

    The goalie doesn't always like to shine, especially on her T-zone. "I struggle with breakouts and oily skin," says Solo, who carries Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets ($5, drugstores) with her.

    Wash and go

    Multiple workouts a day means multiple showers, but she tries to spare her strands. "You don't want to wash hair too often, because it can get really dry," she says. At the end of the day, Solo refreshes her style with dry shampoo.

    Originally published in FITNESS magazine, July/August 2012.