Some Olympic athletes look unrecognizable without makeup. While makeup and sports aren’t two words that commonly go together, Olympians are often televised to millions of people worldwide while competing and they, like others would, enjoy looking picture perfect.
When snowboarder Chloe Kim won a gold medal in the 2018 Winter Olympics, she told the Today show she had to hold back tears for good reason. “I was like, ‘I can’t cry right now. I can’t do this. I worked so hard on my eyeliner!'” She’s not the only one concerned about looking her best. In Olympic Plaza that year, the Beauty Shop, according to Racked, was a place where athletes could receive free blowouts, manicures, and more before the opening and closing ceremonies — or even just because! And why shouldn’t these hard-working women who train for a countless number of hours each day pamper themselves?
Whether these ladies are competing or contouring, they always look stunning. Here are Olympic athletes who look unrecognizable without makeup.
Olympic athlete Queen Harrison is rarely seen without makeup
With the same fierceness that Queen Beyoncé exudes to the world on stage, Queen Harrison wants to portray that energy on the track. She says that running with her makeup done is what makes her feel the most powerful. “You won’t ever catch me at a meet without makeup,” the Olympic athlete told Refinery29. “It’s part of my uniform now, and it’s a performance. You’d never see Beyoncé at a performance with no makeup on.”
Unfortunately, because of this, spectators didn’t take Harrison seriously at first. “When I went to pro, I was like, ‘I’m wearing lipstick and winged liner when I race,'” she said. “And I got quite a bit of flack about it.”
Though Harrison’s response is, “You look good, you feel good, you perform good,” she also wants her glamorous look to bring attention to the seemingly double standards that female athletes feel they have to live by. “Infiltrating the beauty world as an athlete is really important to me,” Harrison said. She added, “There are no limits. If you want to be a track athlete, you can also be beauty obsessed.”
Aly Raisman is one Olympic athlete who looks great with or without makeup
Olympic gymnasts are known for their sparkly leotards and slicked back ponytails, but they’re also known for their poised and powerful bodies. This balance of both strength and beauty is what gives six-time Olympic medalist Aly Raisman her confidence. “You’re doing your sport and you’re really strong and powerful, but at the same time, you can feel really feminine and beautiful,” she told USA Today. “I think for me, having that combination is what makes me feel confident.”
Raisman and the rest of the women who were on the world-renowned “Fierce Five” gymnastics team — or “Final Five” team — would even get ready together before their Olympic competitions. “We had one bathroom for five us to share,” she said, adding, “We borrowed each other’s makeup.”
Born out of her love for beauty products, Raisman, who looks unrecognizable without makeup, announced she had launched her own makeup line, Fierce by Aly Raisman, in September 2019. “Fierce makeup may be different for each of us,” the Olympic athlete posted to Instagram, noting, “Whatever makes you feel good is #fierce.”
Olympic athlete Gracie Gold doesn't rock red lipstick off the rink
Figure skater Gracie Gold was born to be an Olympic athlete, and not only because of her name. Rather, she is both a powerful and elegant force in the rink. “I started skating when I was eight years old, and my mom did my makeup for me back then,” she told Allure.
Gold began experimenting with makeup as a teenager and has since been known for her red lip. She told Hollywood Life during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, “It started last season as I started to get more internationally known. I had a red and blue dress — very iconic USA colors — so a red lip fit really well, so it became my thing.” So, when she doesn’t wear any makeup, Gold looks nearly unrecognizable.
Her bold look is fitting for the figure skating world. “The makeup is a lot like stage makeup — nice and thick to last a whole day of training and competition,” Gold told Allure. “Everyone can tell who the figure skaters are because we come from practice with full makeup and hair done,” she added.
Lindsey Vonn wears mascara on the slopes, so she's unrecognizable without makeup
Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn is usually seen covered by goggles and a helmet as she slides down the slopes, but that doesn’t mean she saves any more time than the rest of us on her beauty routine. “I wear makeup when I’m skiing,” Vonn admitted to the Los Angeles Times, and it’s for a specific reason too.
“I have to use waterproof mascara, especially in the Olympics when I was crying so much!” Vonn said. Her tears certainly turned to waterworks when she found out she’d won a gold medal during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. “I was crying for a long time with a lot of people watching and I wanted to try and look somewhat decent for the medal ceremony pictures.” Thinking back on all the cameras surrounding her as she was announced the winner, Vonn added, “For us we have to look good right from the beginning because there’s no opportunity for us to not look as if we’ve just been doing sports.”
For most Olympic athletes, there’s no glam squad available either. The stunning Lindsey Vonn is usually the one who is doing her own hair and makeup.
Olympic athlete Simone Biles looks totally different without makeup
“My personal style is very basic just because I’m in the gym a lot,” gymnastics legend Simone Biles told Fashionista. “I haven’t established my style yet, or what I like,” she added.
For this four-time Olympic gold medalist, a simple look that she puts together herself at meets is what makes her feel the most beautiful. “I don’t experiment [with my style] yet because I don’t want to look crazy,” she said. “You have to be bold. You have to be confident in what you wear, so I feel like I go for more simple things, just because I feel confident in that.”
Even with that being the case, Biles does wish she could be a bit riskier with her style choices, just like one of her close friends. “She’ll go all out and she doesn’t care what anybody thinks,” the Olympic athlete, who looks unrecognizable without makeup, said. “I want an attitude like her, so that I can feel more comfortable.” With the major confidence Biles exudes on the mat, we have trouble believing she couldn’t rock any bold look!
It's not often Olympic athlete Michelle Kwan is seen without makeup
For ice skaters, the glitz, the glam, and the sparkle draw many people to the pastime. “Skating is fashion,” iconic figure skater Michelle Kwan told Racked.
Though it requires power and agility like any other sport, figure skating demands its athletes to participate in more of a theatrical act. “The years that I was skating to Salome [the opera music], I would do the wing look and it was so fun, because I was portraying a character and I had to get into it,” Kwan told Allure. “My costumes, my hair, my makeup had to be that part.” And like many Olympic figure skaters, Kwan had to create all the looks on her own. “I didn’t have the help of a hair and makeup artist,” she told InStyle. “It was part of getting into the zone and the performance.”
Though Kwan likes to keep her makeup look light because the cold weather can be harsh on a person’s skin, her figure skating background gave her a love for all things beauty. “What don’t I have in my bag?” the Olympic athlete, who looks unrecognizable without makeup, told Allure. “You’re talking to a figure skater!”
Maria Sharapova is an Olympic athlete that doesn't usually wear makeup to matches
Because competition can be fierce, silver medalist Maria Sharapova takes a different approach to her makeup look when she plays tennis. In fact, her face is the last thing she thinks about. “I wear zero makeup on the court,” she told Harper’s Baazar. “I can’t risk it running into my eyes.”
Sharapova still manages to keep her skin looking beautiful for an athlete who competes without concealer, and she says her secret to that is sunscreen. “My choice of career keeps me in the sun continuously,” the Olympic athlete, who looks like two different people with and without makeup, told Glamour. “So adhering to a routine strictly is incredibly important.”
Even though a tennis career doesn’t allow her to experiment as much with makeup at “work,” Sharapova still has a lot of fun with her look. “When I’m not playing tennis, I like a fresh-faced glow,” she told Harper’s Baazar of her off-the-court look. “At night I’ll wear a fun pink lip…” And we think she looks stunning either way!
Olympic athlete Alicia Sacramone chooses her makeup carefully
Preparation for gymnast Alicia Sacramone’s look on the mat begins weeks ahead of time. “You pick out your leotard and your warm-up suit a couple months in advance,” she told PopSugar. “Then I base my makeup off that.”
Sacramone has learned all her makeup tricks over time, and she owes a lot of these lessons to someone special. “My mom taught me pretty much everything I know about makeup,” she told Glamour. And even though Olympic gymnasts are known for their pretty outfits and matching eye makeup, bold is not necessarily the look that Sacramone goes for. “The most important thing she taught me is that less is more, so I never overdo it because I never want it to look too heavy or too caked on.”
Though less may be more for this mighty athlete, Sacramone still has a love for all things fashion and beauty. She was actually one of the first athletes to ever be signed by CoverGirl (via The Washington Post).
So, what’s the Olympic athlete’s go-to makeup look? “I like keeping it light and looking natural, so just a little bit of foundation, eyeliner, and mascara,” she told Glamour.
You won't catch Olympic athlete Aja Evans without makeup when competing
“One of the first things I do every day to keep my confidence high is I kind of just make sure I look and feel my best,” Olympian Aja Evans told Yahoo! Lifestyle. “You don’t always feel good, but for some reason when I start doing my grooming and daily routine, it helps me to feel better when I wake and attack these days.”
Whether chilling on the ice or chilling on the couch, this bobsledding beauty’s makeup routine is something she starts off every day with. “I always take my look to the sled!” she told Madame Noire. The Olympic athlete added, “You’ll see me many times with lashes and a winged eyeliner through the peephole of the helmet.”
And with the winter weather being so harsh on her skin, taking care of it before putting on product is the key to making her skin glow even on the snowiest days. “It’s all about cleaning and moisturizing,” Evans said. “I endure really cold temperatures with a lot of stressors on my skin between the sweat and taking my helmet on and off my face. Staying hydrated and removing all of those impurities is a must.”
Shannon Rowbury is one Olympic athlete who is unrecognizable without makeup, specifically lipstick
For track and field runner Shannon Rowbury, her signature pink lip means more to her than just adding a pop of color to the uniform that’s provided by her sponsor. It’s a way to honor her grandmother, who used to always wear hot pink lipstick. “For me, she represents unconditional love and was someone who was extremely tough but also had a very feminine side,” Rowbury told USA Today. “And I love the fact that women today are allowed to be more than just one thing or another.”
Though Rowbury admits to not wearing much makeup off the track, her grandmother taught her that it’s important to dress up for special events in her life. “And in my life there’s not much that’s more important than getting to go out and represent my family and my country in these races,” she said. “It’s a nice way for me to kind of keep her memory alive.”
Rowbury hopes that her bold lip also inspires other women to not be afraid to express themselves. “You can be a strong, courageous woman and you can still wear lipstick,” the Olympic athlete, who looks unrecognizable without makeup, said.
Olympic athlete Alexa Scimeca Knierim usually goes bold with her makeup
Fans will almost always see Olympic pair skater Alexa Scimeca Knierim rock a bold lip and lash line when she skates onto the rink to compete. However, in the world of figure skating, there’s more to the sport than just competition. This 2018 winter Olympian puts on a true theatrical performance every time she hits the ice with her partner, so her makeup look has to reflect exactly that. “It’s somewhat like stage actors — you want the people in the back row of the theater to be able to see that you have rouge on your cheeks and your lipstick is hot pink,” Scimeca Knierim told InStyle. “As such, we wear it heavier for performances, than you might otherwise for a date on a Friday night.”
And whether it be date night or a day at work on the ice, the Olympic athlete’s skating partner, Chris Knierim, always gets a chance to see her bold look. He also happens to be her husband!
Gabby Douglas is all about having fun with makeup as an Olympic athlete
Gymnast Gabby Douglas admits that she doesn’t wear much makeup when she’s training for her next big competition in order to avoid a breakout. “When I compete though, I like to spice things up,” she told Cosmopolitan. “We all use makeup as part of our whole look when we go out to compete and really have a lot of fun with it.” And the bold and sparkly outfits give Douglas a fun accessory to base her makeup colors off of. She added, “Getting ready I enjoy experimenting with eye shadow and fun lipsticks … that complement my leotard.” Of course!
However, don’t get this powerful gymnast and Olympic athlete wrong, as there’s a lot you don’t know about Gabby Douglas. Even though Douglas uses makeup to make a statement, whether it be on the bars or the balance beam, she believes it’s not the most important thing when it comes to gymnastics. “I believe we are all beautiful without it,” she said. “We just use it to enhance the beauty that is already there!”
Olympic athlete Ashley Wagner looks like a new person without makeup
“I am hooked on mascara — I just layer, layer, layer,” Olympian Ashley Wagner told the Today show. Though a love for theatrical makeup seems to be a common theme with figure skaters, everyone is different, so it took Wagner some time to get used to going bold. “I’m really, really pale,” she said. “So it took me a long time to figure out how to put on bronzer without looking orange. You have to find the perfect color for you — the same bronzer doesn’t work for everybody.”
This 2014 Olympian grew up living all over the world, which she attributes to inspiring her own look. “Natural beauty [is recognized] internationally,” the Olympic athlete told the Los Angeles Times, adding, “So that’s what I center my beauty routine around.” Off the ice, a natural look just makes more sense for easy travel!
However, when asked what her favorite look is, Wagner told the Today show that it’s not her simple everyday one. “I love a coral red lipstick — something bold that can pair with a light smoky eye.”
Olympic athlete Serena Williams looks stunning but unrecognizable without makeup
Four-time Olympic gold medalist Serena Williams knows how to work her look both on and off the tennis court. And she does her own makeup for all her matches. “I’m such a beauty junkie — it’s pathetic, actually,” the Olympic athlete told Into the Gloss. “Honestly, I love going to Sephora — I could spend hours in there.”
Though this powerful tennis star has found her way onto the red carpet and multiple photoshoots, she admits that her go-to makeup look is usually pretty low-key. “I have this whole natural vibe,” Williams said. “Just a little concealer, just a little brow, just a little contour, just a little lip. Natural. That’s it.” It makes sense for a busy career-driven mom who also has to chase around a little one. “It’s hard with a baby and everything, so I really have to force myself to take time [for myself],” she noted.
However, it appears Williams is not going to be slowing down anytime soon. According to TMZ, she filed a trademark in 2018 for a beauty product company called Aneres, which is her name spelled backwards. If this speculation is the real deal, we can’t wait to get our hands on it!
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