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posted: 8/4/2012 8:27 AM

Olympic swimmer Coughlin shares beauty tips

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  • Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin at the 2012 Team USA Media Summit in Dallas.

      Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin at the 2012 Team USA Media Summit in Dallas.
    Associated Press File Photo, May 2012

  • Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin swims in the women's 100-meter backstroke preliminaries June 26 at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials in Omaha, Neb. Coughlin has been in the pool as long as she can remember, building the muscles and learning the discipline that would eventually lead her to 12 Olympic medals. All that time in the water, whether in chlorinated pools or salty oceans, could potentially wreak havoc on other things, such as skin, hair and nails. "Eating well and taking care of your body is the No. 1 most important thing for good hair, good skin and good nails," Coughlin, 29, says.

      Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin swims in the women's 100-meter backstroke preliminaries June 26 at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials in Omaha, Neb. Coughlin has been in the pool as long as she can remember, building the muscles and learning the discipline that would eventually lead her to 12 Olympic medals. All that time in the water, whether in chlorinated pools or salty oceans, could potentially wreak havoc on other things, such as skin, hair and nails. "Eating well and taking care of your body is the No. 1 most important thing for good hair, good skin and good nails," Coughlin, 29, says.
    Associated Press File Photo

 
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Natalie Coughlin has been in the pool as long as she can remember, building the muscles and learning the discipline that would lead her to 12 Olympic medals.

The 29-year-old says she feels more aware of her appearance than when she started competitive swimming (OK, she was 5 years old) but has learned that cameras go with the territory.

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"I don't wear makeup when I compete," she says. "You'll just finish the final of a race and you're on TV two minutes later without makeup on and red in the face. It's an unusual situation, but it forces me to focus on skin and well-groomed brows. ... I'm not the type to stare in the mirror all day, but I want to look as good as I can."

Many of the same things that help in her training also help her beauty routine.

"Eating well and taking care of your body is the No. 1 most important thing for good hair, good skin and good nails," she says. "Your nutritional needs show up on your hair, skin and nails."

Dryness is what she's usually battling, but she has success with leave-in conditioner as a weapon, says Coughlin, who signed earlier this year as a spokeswoman for hair-care brand Pantene. She skips the chlorine-removal shampoos, though, because she finds they not only take out the chemicals but also moisture.

Given the opportunity, she loves pampering. "I love having my hair done. When I did the Pantene commercial, it was mesmerizing with all that flipping hair. I wish I had a team of hairstylists all the time, but I don't."

When she does her own hair and makeup, she'll wear her naturally wavy hair down with "just a touch of help from the curling iron." She'll wear brown eyeliner and mascara -- both "don'ts" on days she is swimming because they'll run.

She'll use a dry brush on her skin before a shower or bath, which not only exfoliates dead skin cells but also feels good. "I take a natural bristle brush and brush my entire body. It's holistic, I'll brush it toward my heart."

Her diet is a lot of fruits and vegetables, and she calls green smoothies, filled with kale, spinach, parsley, bananas and coconut water, her "secret weapon."

"It's a way to eat a gigantic salad in a condensed way," she explains.

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