Exactly how synchronised swimmers keep their makeup on in the pool.

It’s one of life’s greatest mysteries that’s up there with “What happens when we die?” and “Where have all of my bobby pins gone?”

Yes, we’re talking about the seemingly magic ability of synchronised swimmers  to keep their makeup looking so perfect despite splashing about in the water.

While the rest of us struggle to avoid racoon eyes after our (allegedly) waterproof mascaras fail, they’re performing full-on choreographed dances without so much as a smeared wing.


Turns out it all comes down to one very special ingredient – volatile silicone oil.

What is it? The oil enables products to become waterproof and offers serious staying power. And while the word ‘volatile’ may cause you to step away, don’t – it simply means the product evaporates to leave it permanently on your skin until you choose to remove it.

Watch: Zoe Foster-Blake shares her best ever beauty tricks. Post continues after video.

We’ll be buying 10 for our next beachside holiday.

In fact, we have the sport to thank for a number of brands bringing out waterproof options in the first place.

Make Up For Ever actually created their Aqua range after they were approached 25 years ago by the French synchronised swimming team looking for waterproof makeup.

It’s not just to avoid panda eyes – in competition, makeup and overall presentation are criteria that contribute to overall score. Which feels a touch archaic when you think about it.

Looks are designed by makeup artists who then teach it to the swimmers so they can recreate it on their own no matter where they are competing.

They’ve got their Qantas boarding passes! Congratulations to our Synchronised Swimming Team for Rio ???????? #OneTeam

A photo posted by Australian Olympic Team (@ausolympicteam) on Jul 9, 2016 at 10:41pm PDT



And given the makeup is waterproof (and smudge, sweat and tears-proof), it’s not surprising to learn that many swimmers choose to wear it outside the pool too. Nightclub sweat? No problem.

There’s also another beauty trick synchronised swimmers have mastered – and it’s the secret to performing energetic routines without getting a single baby hair out of place.


They apply unflavoured gelatin to their hair, which when mixed with hot water and brushed through hair becomes hard like cement.

No drowned rat hairstyles to see here.

If you want more Olympics, listen to our podcast with Leisel Jones:

“You could leave it on for a week. It nourishes the hair, too. Every country does the same thing, even if they add some secret ingredient that we don’t know about,” French swimmer May Jouvenez said.

Image: iStock.