The Ultimate Swim-Proof Beauty Routine, According to Cate Campbell

"Swimming is such an unglamorous sport."
Image: Supplied

Widely regarded as one of Australia’s most decorated swimmers, Cate Campbell’s impressive resume includes swimming at four Olympics and holding multiple world records. You may be wondering what’s next for someone who already boasts such impressive accolades? Well, naturally, Cate is back in training to qualify for the upcoming 2024 Olympics in Paris!

While training for a fifth Olympics (a feat no other Australian swimmer has achieved before), Cate is undergoing a rigorous (and impressive) training regime, which includes eight swim sessions each week. The uptick? It’s a lot of time spent outdoors, under Australia’s harsh UV rays, and in a chlorinated pool. Both are beauty no-no’s.

marie claire Australia speaks exclusively to the Olympic gold medallist to discuss success, sun-safety and building her ultimate pool-proof beauty routine.

What would you attribute your success to?

I would say my success is down to the perfect combination of talent, hard work and luck. As much as I would like to take all the credit for my success due to my hard work – and I do work incredibly hard – to succeed on the international stage, you also need ‘talent’ and luck, both of which are out of your control.

Swimming is known to be quite demanding on skin and hair. Are there any pre or post-swim rituals you’ve adopted?

Chlorine is SO bad for your hair and skin. It dries out your hair, makes your skin all scaly and bleaches your eyebrows until they are nearly invisible. I always make sure I rinse off the chlorine as soon as I get out of the pool. Since discovering Avène’s Cicalfate+ Restorative Protective Cream – a very rich moisturiser – I apply this as soon as I get out of the pool and find that it helps to re-hydrate my skin. Lastly, for anyone who is a regular swimmer, I highly recommend investing in some at-home eyebrow dye, it will save you a lot of money, and keep your brows nice and defined.

Cate campbell

You’ve spoken quite openly about being diagnosed with a stage one melanoma in 2018. How did you find out?

Like many people, I let my regular yearly skin check slip down the priority list, so far down the priority list that years went by and I hadn’t been for a check-up. When I finally went for a check-up, my dermatologist didn’t like the look of a mole on my upper right arm. I had had the mole my whole life, and I hadn’t noticed any changes, but she wanted to take a biopsy just to be safe. She called me two days later with the results. I can still remember the conversation vividly. “Cate,” she said, “I’ve got good news and bad news, the bad news is that the biopsy has come back as a stage one melanoma…” I felt panic begin to rise, my heart started pounding. But before I could catastrophise too much, my doctor continued “The good news,” she said, “is we have caught it early, at stage one, we just need you to come back in so we can take out a wider margin of tissue around the mole to make sure we have all the cancer cells.”

Spending time outdoors, is a huge part of an Australian lifestyle. What tips can you share for enjoying the sun safely? 

Skin cancer is the most prevalent cancer in young Australians, and we have the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. This can feel like a scary statistic, but there are really simple measures we can all take to enhance our sun-safety. One of those is making sunscreen part of your daily routine. Sunscreen is now a staple of my health and beauty routine.I recommend using Avène’s Sunscreen Aqua-fluid SPF50+ every morning, including under makeup and before going out to an event. Finding a sunscreen that works for your skin is a great way to protect yourself from the harmful rays of the sun – because take it from me, the sun can cause more damage than a few wrinkles.

cate campbell
(Credit: Instagram: @catecampbell)

What does beauty mean to you? And when do you feel most beautiful?

Swimming is such an unglamorous sport. We spend most of our time with wet hair, wrinkly skin and racoon-like goggle marks. I would say I feel at my most beautiful when I am comfortable. This could be at the beach or in my favourite colourful outfit – even if I am getting all dressed up for a fancy dinner, if I am uncomfortable in my outfit – if it is too tight or my shoes don’t fit right, I will feel awkward and out of place.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

People will forget your achievements, but they will never forget how you made them feel.

Shop Cate Campbell’s beauty must-haves:

Avène Sunscreen Aqua-fluid SPF50+, $33 at Adore Beauty

Avène Cicalfate+ Restorative Protective Cream,, $29.99 at Adore Beauty 

Avène Thermal Spring Water, 30ml, $28.99 at Adore Beauty

ALWAYS READ THE LABEL AND FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS FOR USE. Wear protective clothing, hats, and eyewear when exposed to the sun. Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun. Reapply frequently to maintain protection

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