It’s usually hidden underneath a swimcap, but Natalie Coughlin’s hair is incredibly thick, luscious, and Bardot-esque—and it’s about to be as famous as the 11-time Olympic medalist’s athletic prowess. Coughlin is Pantene’s newest spokesmodel, and her ads hit the air in July, just as she competes in her third Olympic games (100 days from today!)—where she may very well become the record holder for most Olympic medals among American women. As it happens, her beauty routine is about as dazzingly-speedy as her 100m backstroke:
Q: How do you keep your hair healthy despite the chlorine and super-tight swimcaps?
A: I have to be really proactive. Any time I get out of the water, I wash my hair. Since my hair is really thick, wavy, and long, I use Pantene Beautiful Lengths shampoo and conditioner, which is really moisturizing but gentle. Then I put in a leave-in treatment to keep my ends in shape. Also, I usually let my hair dry naturally, so that cuts out a lot of would-be heat damage.
Q: What about your skin? Since you train outdoors a lot, do you do anything special to protect it?
Q: For a night-out—which I guess is rare—what’s your go-to look?
A: I really like to play up my hair and my eyes. I’ll take the time to blow dry my hair and curl a few pieces with an iron. To bring out my blue eyes, I dab on Nars eyeshadow in Mykonos, which is a really creamy, brownish-purple. Then I line my eyes with black Chanel waterproof eyeliner and put on Bare Minerals Buxom Lash mascara. I really like the brush on it—it separates the lashes so you don’t get a tarantula effect.
Q: Given the whole slicked-back, straight-from-the pool style you wear most days, do you feel at all responsible for the wet-hair runway trend?
A: Ha! I forget that it’s actually weird to walk around with wet hair all the time. It’s so natural and normal for me. I’m glad high fashion is finally catching on!
Q: When you get into serious training mode, what workout makes the biggest difference in terms of getting you in shape quickly?
A: Weight circuits like TRX, which is strength training using your own body weight as resistance. It’s more dynamic than something like a standing bicep curl. It builds long, lean muscle, which is really important as a swimmer, because I’m fighting against gravity in the water. When I’m doing that kind of training, it’s insane how much it speeds up my metabolism, and how much I have to eat just to keep weight on!
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