Get Stuff We Love
If you're anything like us, watching the Summer Olympics in Rio involves a lot of staring at the TV with your jaw dropped in awe.
But it's not just the daring backflips and the lightning-fast swim times that have us so impressed. We're also amazed by the sprinter whose makeup doesn't sweat off and the synchronized swimmers whose hairstyles stay perfectly in place, as if they're not high-kicking and pirouetting through a pool.
Here, we answer some of your burning beauty and style questions from the Olympics.
Q: How do synchronized swimmers keep their hair in place?
A: Gelatin! Team USA synchronized swimmer Mariya Koroleva recently told Vogue that she and her teammates use Knox gelatin as a sort of super-duper hairspray.
"It's like unflavored Jell-O — we mix it with water, and it turns into a gooey mixture," she said. "You comb or brush that into your hair, put it up in a bun, and put a headpiece over that, so when it dries, it gets really hard and your hair doesn't fall out when you swim."
As for their equally perfect makeup, waterproof products do the trick.
Q: How many crystals are on the Team USA gymnastics leotards and are they real?
A: Oh, they're real and they're aplenty. This year's Team USA leotards have close to 5,000 Swarovski crystals each, according to The New York Times.
The crystal-studded leotards are all custom-fit and cost around $1,200. (That's more than the gold medal itself is worth!)
Q: Speaking of leotards, how do athletes avoid wedgies?
A: Believe it or not, there's a spray for that. Gymnast Nastia Liukin, the all-around gold medalist at the 2008 Olympics, told People.com that some gymnasts use an adhesive spray such as Tuf-Skin to hold the leotard in place, since picking a wedgie during a performance is grounds for a deduction.
Plus, the aforementioned custom fittings help ensure that the leotard is just the right size.
Q: What's up with all the makeup and jewelry?
A: It's all about expression and sometimes superstition. The rules for jewelry in the Olympics vary depending on the sport — gymnasts can only wear earrings, for example, Liukin told People.com, adding that she always wore a pair of diamond studs her parents gave her for good luck.
Other athletes have said they consider the track or the tennis court or the pool their place of work, so why wouldn't they wear makeup on the job? And when we see someone like runner Shannon Rowbury rock a bold lip during a race, we love her all the more for it.
Q: Do swimmers really shave their entire bodies?
A: We can't speak for everyone, but ... yes. In a sport where every fraction of a second counts, it's important to be as smooth as possible. And most Team USA swimmers aren't too proud to ask for help — pals and teammates Nathan Adrian and Matt Grevers have said they shave each other's backs.
Given how well our swimmers performed this year, it's clear all their attention to detail has paid off.