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The Fighter: Canadian Olympic Boxer Mary Spencer on Breakouts, Vaseline and the Most Painful Thing about Training

Ranked Number One in Canada and the world, winner of won three Women's World Championships, eight National Championships, and five Gold medals at the Pan American Games, Canadian Olympic boxer Mary Spencer has some unexpected beauty practices.
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Staff is pretending not to be cowed by the achievements of Canadian Olympic boxer Mary Spencer. In just 10 years, while Staff has perfected the art of three-hour coffee breaks, 27-year-old Spencer, from Wiarton, ON, has established herself as Number One in Canada and the rest of the world. She's been Canada's Female Boxer of the Year four times, and won three Women's World Championships, eight National Championships, and five Gold medals at the Pan American Games. And today, the 27-year-old middleweight begins her fight for Olympic Gold at the London 2012 games.

As part of the Canadian Olympic contingent, Spencer's also added CoverGirl amabassador to her résumé. Here's what she told me about breakouts, why she puts Vaseline on her face, and the worst part about training 35 hours a week, three times a day, six times a week.

JF: What's your skin like? How does it react to so much training, such intense activity?
MS: I have fairly sensitive skin. When I first started boxing I was using head gears and training equipment that belonged to everybody in the gym, and I would get a lot of breakouts because of that. Then I realized I couldn't keep doing that; I had to get my own stuff. Now I don't have those problems.

Are you dealing with oily skin at all? Dry? A normal-oily combo?
I'd like to say normal. It's hard to say, because you know what? I'm in the gym sweating, so I'm always like "Ugh, I look all greasy right now.... But I did just put Vaseline on so I don't cut, and I did just sweat for three hours."

Wait -- you put Vaseline on your face when you box?
It's definitely a boxing thing. We're getting hit with leather all the time, so we have to make sure our skin is moist. Vaseline is really great to make sure the skin isn't marking up, that it's not cutting. You want to take every precaution that you can.

What's your cleansing routine when you're finished at the gym?
I use a Neutrogena face wash... you know what, it's nothing I have pay too much attention to. When I'm done at the gym, I have to have my cold shower afterwards, and the cold water really cuts through. I don't really feel I have to pay too much attention. Those face wipes come in handy. Olay cleansing wipes are new to me, but they're great -- I can throw them in my bag.

Why cold showers -- is it because you're overheated or because you like them?
I do NOT like cold showers. At all. In fact, they're the most painful part of my training. It's definitely for recovery, for getting the core body temperature back down after heating it up for so long -- that really speeds up the recovery process. That's the worst part of training. I only put myself through that once a day, after my final workout. I couldn't even imagine having to do it every time I took a shower.

Is it weird for you to be talking about makeup and skincare instead of your sport?
Because I spend so much time in sport, it's always easier to do that. I spend 35 hours a week in a gym, I can talk all day long about boxing.


For more from Mary Spencer on being a CoverGirl, wearing orange lipstick and why she's grateful for her sisters, read the rest of our chat at


Photo courtesy of CoverGirl; makeup by CoverGirl Makeup Pro Greg Wencel/ Mary Spencer is on Twitter as @CanadianBoxer; send her good wishes!