How Pro Skier Mikaela Shiffrin Tackles Harsh Winters

Beauty

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The world knows that Olympic skier Mikaela Shiffrin is fast: She has two gold medals, one silver, and 90 World Cup wins, resetting the record previously held by a man. But when it comes to wellness, she’s also thoughtful and measured. “To me, beauty has two different categories,” she says. “The beauty of the human—personality, kindness, generosity, and the way you carry yourself with grace. And then there’s aesthetic beauty, which for me boils down to the health of my skin and hair.” Here’s how she finds beauty even in extreme conditions.

On Winterizing Her Skin

“It’s sun, wind, or temperature damage—really, the coldness that I’m protecting my skin from. Romi Apothecary Queen of the Winter Oil has made the biggest difference for me. I don’t need much—one drop goes all over my face and neck. Moisturizers or creams tend to wear away quicker than face oil, so when I use them, I’ll let them sink in and then go in for a second layer of my Romi oil. If I get a bit more into it, I’ll use a vitamin C serum, like SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic, then maybe hyaluronic acid. As soon as I get off the hill, I’ve made it a habit to wash my face immediately and then go through my hydration again.”

On Sun Protection

“If I miss sunscreen for one or two days, I will literally see sunspots come up within the next two weeks. Then I have to wear it diligently for months in order for that to even out again. Supergoop! Glowscreen SPF 40 Sunscreen is so good, but I mix that with an even higher level of SPF or a zinc-based one, which is better for your skin.”

On the “Mikaela Shiffrin Wink”

“I used to not look people in the eye. When people would get close to my face, even if it was a boyfriend, I’d be like, ‘Back away—I don’t want you to see me that close. I don’t want you to see my pores and acne and all of the things that I see wrong with my face.’ I had to get over that pretty quickly with ski racing. I’ve had a camera literally whack me in the helmet at a competition because the camera person was that close. I’m thinking, ‘Don’t you have a zoom on that thing?’ The Sochi Olympics was the first time that I thought, ‘Okay, I’ve got to get over this fear.’ A camera was on me for two whole minutes, right in my face. I thought it would be kind of funny if I acknowledged the camera guy’s presence, so I turned and winked at him. Then it became this whole thing, the Mikaela Shiffrin wink—showing that I’m not nervous at the start.”

On Her Travel Beauty Rituals

“I probably exfoliate more than you’re supposed to—like, two to three times a week. My boyfriend’s mom gave me ZO Skin Health Exfoliating Polish. It smells good, and it’s not super heavy. Then I immediately put on some kind of a hydrating, brightening, or arnica mask for calming. I’ve also traveled with my own pillow and one of those silk pillowcases, and it’s made such an incredible difference. In the big nights leading up to a race, I get my candles out. I do my face mask. I’ll tell my boyfriend, ‘You should do this with me.’ And he’ll be like, ‘Wow. It feels good to rest your brain for a moment, doesn’t it?’”

On Resetting After a Tough Day

“I cry, like a real ugly cry. I do feel like sometimes there are emotions that need to get out. I also find one of the most underrated resets or methods of recovery is sleeping. If I’m stressed, or upset, or discouraged, or frustrated, the first thing I feel is a wave of fatigue. Taking a nap is one of the best ways for me to reset. Recovery is such an integral part [of life], and I don’t feel bad saying, ‘No, I need to shut off for 20 or 30 minutes.’ I like to think that sleeping is my form of meditation. During the summer when I’m home, I try to nap every single day.”

Mikaela Shiffrin’s Winter Beauty Essentials

Queen of The Winter Oil

Romi Apothecary Queen of The Winter Oil

C E Ferulic

SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic

Glowscreen SPF 40

Supergoop! Glowscreen SPF 40

Exfoliating Polish

Zo Skin Health Exfoliating Polish

A version of this story appears in the February 2024 issue of ELLE.

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Headshot of Kathleen Hou

Kathleen Hou is ELLE”s Beauty Director. Previously, she held the same title at New York Magazine’s The Cut. She’s appeared in publications such as New York, The New York Times Magazine, Vogue India, Forbes, and Allure. She was also a co-founder of Donate Beauty, a grassroots beauty donation project started during the COVID-19 crisis, which donated over 500,000 products to over 30,000 healthcare workers across 500+ hospitals. 

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