Gold medal-winning gymnast Gabby Douglas earned another accolade even before she hit the mats—and bars and beam and vault—at the London Olympics earlier this month. The pint-sized gymnast was anointed a P&G beauty ambassador, which means the teenager’s cosmetics bag and medicine cabinet were well-stocked in preparation for all that international face time.

Good timing, too, since the 16 year-old just started playing with makeup in earnest two years ago.

We had a chance to sit down with Douglas (who was sporting yet another London souvenir, clothes from her new obsession, Topshop) and discuss the merits of waterproof mascara, competition-appropriate maquillage and, of course, Hairgate (Douglas’s locks during the interview were styled by Ted Gibson).

What are some of the beauty essentials in your gym bag?
I always have to have my Covergirl mascara. And I use waterproof now because at trials I didn’t use waterproof so when I was crying my eyes were burning. So I’ve grown to get the waterproof kind.

Do you wear makeup when you’re training or just for competition?
I wear makeup pretty much every day. For training, I usually do a lighter base, a lighter blush and I used the mascara and a little bit of the lip gloss.

Are there guidelines for what you can wear, makeup-wise, when you’re competing?
I think they don’t want us to go too much, having a red leotard mixing it with green eyeshadow or a silver leotard and going with orange eyeshadow. And we definitely have to have our hair back so tight and so classy, the neat look we’re going for, because we don’t want to get deducted on the flyaways or messy hair.

Speaking of which, you got so much flack for your hair after you won the gold medal in the all-arounds. How did you handle that? It’s like, come on guys, you’re doing ridiculous athletic feats.
I just have to put it in the back of my mind because you know when people talk about the silly stuff, you know you’ve made it. So I just don’t focus on the negative stuff. But I definitely use great products for my hair: I use the Pantene balm, it really gets the flyaways. And I thought my hair looked good! I pulled it back.

I love a half-loop!
I know! I can’t do that bun thing or else it will come out and whip me in the face. And I can’t do a ponytail because otherwise it will swing around and whip me in the face. So I had to do that style to have it stay and I finished it off with Pantene hairspray and it was so smooth and I don’t know…

When you first started doing gymnastics, did you get tips from the older girls on what products to use?
I would just look over to the side and be like, “Why is she wearing makeup every day? Why does she want to look good?” I would just sort of peek and I kind of got into that and was just like, “Wow she looks really nice so I’m going to start getting into the makeup stuff.” So I think I was about 14 when my I did my first makeup. I was like, “Wow, I really like this what do you call it? Makeup thing?”

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