Photo Credit: Pantene/Procter & Gamble
When I walked into the P&G Salon at the family home for American athletes and their moms my first day in London, i was struck by the gorgeous giant-size photographs of Natalie Coughlin (one is shown above), the swimmer who is now tied for the title of being the most decorated American female Olympic swimmer of all time.
The photographs are part of a new P&G Olympic campaign for its Pantene hair care line. Coughlin was no doubt chosen for her beauty, but also because swimming in chlorine-treated pools daily is really hard on any swimmer's hair. “Everyday women put their hair through all sorts of tests, flat ironing, blow drying, coloring … in the search of looking wonderful, and Pantene is there to help return the hair and maintain its healthy look and gloss. So that was the link for us,” Paul Sweeney, global Pantene marketing director, said during an interview.
After a worldwide search of summer Olympic athletes who put their hair through some pretty tough tests, 11 ambassadors for the brand were chosen including Coughlin from the U.S., British favorite in cycling, Victoria Pendleton and Evgenia Kanaeva, a rhythmic gymnast from Russia. The ads and products are featured across five P&G Olympic salons, where athletes and their families can get free treatments including hair styling and coloring. The estimate is that after the 2012 Summer Games, including the Paralympic Games, 25,000 spa treatments will have been provided to athletes and their moms for free.
“All of our athletes, they have said that this experience really helps ... how they feel as a woman and how they feel as an athlete and just giving that back to them, reminding (them) that we at Pantene kind of celebrate that they are not just athletes [who] are winning medals for their countries, they’re also women who deserve to feel great and look great,” said Marie Mount, global Pantene brand manager.
Want to give yourself a sporty Olympic look? Check out celebrity stylist Sam McKnight, a Pantene global ambassador, demonstrating two simple and sporty looks, which you can do at home:
“Sporty and Sleek”
Sam started with Pantene’s Medium-Thick Smooth Shampoo and Conditioner. Then he parted the hair forward from above the ear to just above the other ear, and left that hair out. He pulled the rest back in a sleek ponytail, and then, using Pantene Classic Gel, slicked back the remaining hair to join the ponytail. He pulled a little strand of hair from underneath the ponytail holder, added some gel and twisted it around the ponytail to complete the “sporty and sleek” look.
Sam started with Aqualight Shampoo and Conditioner. He braided the hair in three different random sections across the model’s head, with the key being the front section. “I always think that [one braid] across the front gives an architectural shape to it," he said. He took the braids and pulled them apart a little. "If they are too clean, it’s got a little bit of a teen thing going and I think this is a bit more grown up,” he said. “What we did here because her hair is quite fine … we put a little bit of [Pantene Triple Action Volume Mousse] in before we dried it, that way the braid gets a little hold and so it doesn’t slide out.” Then you have your “sporting folk” look.
The cost of Kelly's travel to London was paid by Procter & Gamble.