11 Self-Care Essentials Olympian Allyson Felix Swears By

Welcome to Take the Edge Off, a series that breaks down the beauty and self-care routines of influencers, CEOs, experts, and celebrities. Find out how they unwind and decompress, while taking a closer look at the beloved essentials they’re currently raving about.


Track star and activist Allyson Felix is not merely a renowned Olympian—she is, in fact, the most decorated American track-and-field athlete in the history of the games. As the proud owner of 11 medals—seven gold, three silver, and one bronze—Felix says the path to prioritizing self-care and her own well-being wasn’t easy.

“I think about mental and physical health much differently now. When I started out in my career, it was a much different time in the world, and [there was] this idea that you just got through things,” she tells Bazaar. “Whatever you had to do, you just put your head down and fought through it. And I think toward the very end of my career, we started to have more conversations around mental health. I don’t think I used to prioritize it at all, whereas now, it’s a very important part of my life and routine. And I hope with the generation that’s competing now, and just even in the workplace, we continue to do that.”

Felix made the difficult decision to retire from track and field in 2022, to focus on her growing family and passion projects, including maternal health advocacy and development of her sneaker brand, Saysh. The idea for the footwear company arose organically after Felix parted ways with her former sponsor, Nike, due to disagreements over the sportswear giant’s maternity policy at the time. “I was looking for a new footwear sponsor. I was still competing, training for my fifth Olympics, and I couldn’t find one,” she explains. “After a conversation where I was really just kind of venting to my brother, he was like, ‘I think we should do do this ourselves.’ And it felt very big, but we took that on.” Unlike other sneaker brands on the market, Saysh was created to service the specific footwear needs of women, whose athletic shoes have historically been designed based on male anatomy.

The brand’s founding principle of “seeing women” echoes Felix’s longtime advocacy work—Saysh even has a free maternal exchange policy that allows expectant mothers to swap their sneakers through the duration of their pregnancies if a size no longer fits them. “We want to do things differently and stand for causes that are important,” Felix says. “We’ve gotten to contribute some of our sales toward child care initiatives with female athletes and provide child care services for them. We just want to be thoughtful about how we’re growing.”

Bazaar caught up with the Olympian, entrepreneur, and mother to learn about the core practices she uses to find her center, like lighting candles and taking regular Epsom salt baths. Keep reading for more of Felix’s favorite ways to decompress.


What are you reading these days?

I actually just finished The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave, and it was such a fun read. I think it’s classified as a thriller, but it’s like a mystery, and just a nice escape from everyday life.

The Last Thing He Told Me, by Laura Dave

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The Last Thing He Told Me, by Laura Dave

Now 50% Off

Credit: Amazon

What are some of your go-to bath or shower products?

When I have time, I love an ice bath. And I’ve been obsessed with the OG Dr Teal’s Epsom salt, so I’ll definitely throw that in—it always makes me feel good. I’m also loving African net sponges; they’re like this netted material that’s great for exfoliating, and they leave my skin feeling super soft.

Dr Teal’s Pure Epsom Salt Soaking Solution

Pure Epsom Salt Soaking Solution

Dr Teal’s Pure Epsom Salt Soaking Solution

Credit: Amazon

Luv Scrub Mesh Body Exfoliator

Mesh Body Exfoliator

Luv Scrub Mesh Body Exfoliator

Credit: Bloomingdale’s

What beauty or self-care products do you use on a regular basis to help combat Zoom fatigue?

I always try to have some nice lighting, or whenever I can switch up my location, that’s always great. I’m all about routines—no surprise, being an Olympic athlete—but I think my using AG1 kind of fits in there. I’m all about simplicity, so I love that I can just make it part of my daily routine—I’m traveling so much now that it’s super easy. I love having it on the go and throwing it in a smoothie or something like that. I feel that also helps me with Zoom fatigue, recovery, and all of that.

AG1 by Athletic Greens The Pouch (30-Day Supply)

The Pouch (30-Day Supply)

AG1 by Athletic Greens The Pouch (30-Day Supply)

Credit: AG1 by Athletic Greens

How has your routine changed since you became a mother?

I feel like I used to have more structure and more time. I used to really love my hair journey, and was really into my natural curls and doing twist-outs and braid-outs and trying new products. And I just don’t have time for all of that now. There might be a special wash day where I focus on something, but I don’t have as much time. So, I have to be more intentional about my routine, and maybe if I want to try a new product, where I put that in. Before I felt like I could have a whole day to try something new out. Miss that, but it’s just different now.

Do you have a favorite hand sanitizer, soap, or cream right now?

I really love Touchland’s hand sanitizers—they’re super cute and compact, and I also love the scents. They’re super easy to throw in my bag, so I’m all about those. I also like the Malin + Goetz Vitamin B5 Hand Treatment, along with Beauty Pie’s Super Retinol Anti-Aging Hand Cream, which I use as part of my nighttime routine.

Power Mist Hydrating Hand Sanitizer Spray (3-Pack)
Touchland Power Mist Hydrating Hand Sanitizer Spray (3-Pack)
Credit: Amazon
Vitamin B5 Hand Treatment
Malin + Goetz Vitamin B5 Hand Treatment
Credit: Malin + Goetz
Super Retinol Anti-Aging Hand Cream
Beauty Pie Super Retinol Anti-Aging Hand Cream
Credit: Beauty Pie

Is there a candle or stick of incense you like to light when decompressing? If so, what are some of your favorites?

I love candles, and I kind of just rotate through scents. Right now, I’m burning Salt & Stone’s Black Rose & Vetiver candle, which was gifted to me. Diptyque is also one of my favorites—I love their small versions. Candles make me feel like home, so I love bringing them with me, and Diptyque candles last a long time.

Salt & Stone Black Rose & Vetiver Scented Candle

Black Rose & Vetiver Scented Candle

Salt & Stone Black Rose & Vetiver Scented Candle

Credit: Amazon

Diptyque Small Baies Scented Candle

Small Baies Scented Candle

Diptyque Small Baies Scented Candle

Credit: Diptyque

What was the last beauty product you put on today?

I put on a few pumps of EltaMD sunscreen.

EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46

UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46

EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46

Credit: Bluemercury

Are you into bold makeup, no makeup, or no-makeup makeup right now, and why?

I love a bold look, but I’m definitely not a makeup artist, so I usually leave that to the professionals. But I would say for day-to-day, it’s very simple. I’ll do a tinted moisturizer, a brow gel, and a gloss. It’s super simple, but I also feel put-together enough. So that’s kind of the world that I live in.

What’s the last fitness class you streamed or attended in person?

I had a tennis lesson earlier this week, and that’s been very fun—and very humbling. The last class that I streamed was probably with my husband—we did a walk on the Peloton. We like to do that after our daughter goes to sleep.

Peloton Tread

Tread

Peloton Tread

Credit: Peloton

One piece of self-care advice you have for our readers?

I would say get enough rest—I feel like it’s always the first thing to go. And I learned early on in my career that rest is just as important as the really hard workouts that I do. I think for working people, it’s just as important as the work you do on a day-to-day basis, but we never prioritize it that way. So, I would just encourage people to get rest and prioritize it. Like, scheduling it on your calendar sometimes, the goal of I want to sleep at this time,” and really feeling a difference. And also, taking a break. I would always take a month away from training, and even now in working, I try to take a vacation and not feel guilty about it. I think you just need to prioritize taking care of yourself, and coming back to whatever the thing is refreshed and feeling good.

Lettermark

Tiffany Dodson is currently the associate beauty commerce editor at Harper’s Bazaar, where she specializes in trend forecasting, building relationships with major and emerging brands, and crafting shopping stories—from holiday gift guides to product road tests. Tiffany’s work has previously been featured in outlets like SELF, Bustle, and Teen Vogue, and she’s been quoted as a commerce and beauty expert in publications and platforms like The Business of Fashion and NPR’s Life Kit podcast.