Sha'Carri Richardson Chooses Her Press-On Nails Based On The Vibe — EXCLUSIVE

“If you look good, you feel good, you do good.”

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This summer, all eyes are on Sha’Carri Richardson. As one of the fastest women in the world, Richardson is poised for a well-earned spot on the Olympic podium — which she credits to the hours of training and mental stamina she’s built up over the years but also a tinge of destiny. “[From a young age], I just knew track was going to be a huge part of my life,” she tells NYLON exclusively. “I liked to run and put my best self into it — and honestly, I’ve kept running since.” Her dedication has more than paid off: She broke the record for fastest meter run at the NCAA Division I Championships at just 19 years old and, most recently, won gold in the 2023 World Championships.

Beyond her record-breaking wins, Richardson is also known for her vibrant game-day beauty looks — whether that means her previous bright-orange hair or intricate, stiletto-shaped nails. “If you look good, you feel good, you do good — I feel that way on and off the track,” she says. It’s no surprise, then, that skin care brand Olay has partnered with her to launch its groundbreaking new water-activated cleanser, the Cleansing Melts. Richardson credits them as an essential part of her post-meet decompressing ritual (and their TSA-friendly solid format makes them easy to toss in her carry-on as she travels to compete).

Ahead, Richardson shares the makeup look she always wears on the track, her post-meet skin care routine, and the nail artists she says “just understand me as a person.”

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What was your first beauty memory?

I grew up in a household full of women, so my first beauty memory would just be seeing my family members always dolled up. They always presented themselves well and kept up with their personal styles, beauty routines, and hair rituals.

What beauty secrets did you learn from your family members?

It would definitely be from my sisters — understanding the silk press. I loved it. I just grew up seeing that on the women in my family. I would also say my nails. That was something else I saw on a lot of them growing up; they were long or short nails but always had creative designs.

Can you talk me through a specific competition that was pivotal in your career?

Recently, I won the World Championships. That’s a massive championship meet where all the different countries that run track come together and compete. It’s like if the Olympics were only for track and held every two years instead of four. Winning this previous 2023 World Championship moment was such a pivotal moment in my career and just for myself.

What was your beauty routine like that day?

I started off the day by getting out of bed and just being thankful and praying. Then, I washed my face and brushed my teeth; after that, I picked out my uniform and what sweatsuit I wanted to wear that day. Then I did my liner and put on mascara — I really like to wear mascara, because my natural lashes are kind of long. I had braids that day. I had crosses on both sides. Shout out to Key — that’s my hair braider.

And then also, of course I love to mix it up with my fingernails. [My manicure] is based on what mood I’m in. What am I bringing to the track that day? I let my nails express that as well. Recently, in this past year, my nails have actually been press-ons, so I actually can mix different sets. So that day, I actually had a mixture of press-on nails. Then I got on the bus, went to the meet, and handled the business.

It seems like your beauty routine really empowers you to perform your best.

I’ve always been taught that anytime you leave your house, you should look your best. I feel that way when I compete, even though it’s on a larger scale. In life, you walk out your house and you want to manifest great things for yourself or attract just positive energy. In order to do that, you start with what makes your energy good.

When you have a competition coming up, do you think about what your nails will be beforehand?

My nail techs are incredible, creative women, so most of the time, I just give them a color and then from the color, they just create and do their own thing. So honestly, it’s really not me; it’s them — they just understand me just as a person. For the different events, they’ll go based off either my uniform, my hair, or literally just the energy they want to express. And then for some reason, what they create just matches my energy and my vibe. So we’re locked in some energetic way. We’re all just locked in.

I actually have a couple of nail techs that do different things for me, and I’d shout them all out. One would be Tokyo — she’s located in Orlando, and she’s phenomenal. Another one of my girls’ names is — I call her Bunny — but her name’s Mariah. There’s Ms. Kelly, and then also there’s Angie, who I love and who does my nails a lot when I travel.

After an adrenaline-packed day, what are your wind-down rituals after a competition — especially if you win and you’re all hyped up?

Whether I win or lose, it is always a good feeling to be able to just decompress. To decompress, I definitely want to go to clean my face, and I use the Olay Cleansing Melts. Those are very hydrating and refreshing, and they get my mascara and liner off.

Then it’s just whatever I’m in the mood to do — it’s really a mixture. I really respond to my body in that moment. Sometimes I don’t want to hear music because it might make my head hurt. Sometimes I feel like sitting in water to soak; sometimes I don’t. It just depends on what mood I’m in. I feel like I make it a priority to make sure to listen to my body so I know how to respond to decompress in that moment. Then I can just lay it down and not have to worry about much of anything else. I can put the race and the day behind me.