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Smile! You’re on camera

I’ve put up a posting before on synchronised swimming and palm oil. This time, it is featuring Team Malaysia synchronised swimmers. Aged 15 to 25, these group of girls diligently undergo gruelling training of six hours a day, six days in a week at the Bukit Jalil Aquatic Centre, Selangor.


Synchronised swimming — an aquatic sport that fuses flexibility, balance, endurance, strength and … palm oil? Yes, one of the critical elements of synchronised swimming that captures the judges’ attention is the make-up.

Unknown to many, water-proof cosmetics such as lipstick, moisturiser, hair gel and sun bloc are oleochemical derivatives, which in turn are processed from palm oil.


To last for a whole performance — equal to at least four laps up and down the Olympic size pool — synchonised swimmers’ water-proof make-up have to be “strong” enough to withstand a tough beating underwater. To get the right look …

1. Apply a layer of primer on their eyes to help the eye shadow stay on.
2. Then apply layer after layer of shadow, caking it on so that it is bright and doesn’t get washed after one dunk in the pool.
3. Then come the layers of eyeliner and mascara — the more the better — to make their features stand out.

Synchronised swimmers also slick back their hair using super-sticky gel, made from oleochemicals. This gooey stuff helps keep their silky mane at bay throughout the competition. It only melts away after 30 minutes of hot shower.


Beneath these bright layers of make-up and pretty smiles are hours of insane athleticism exerted day-in-day-out to make synchronised swimming look delightfully easy on the eyes.

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