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Alison Sweeney’s Look-Great Secrets

Whether she’s posing on our cover in a bikini or helping to find the next mini bathing beauty as a guest judge for the Little Miss Coppertone contest (where one young girl will be chosen to star in an upcoming sunscreen campaign), Alison Sweeney does it all in style. We tapped her for some stay-fit (and look fabulous!) secrets.

Flip Your Motivation to the Positive
Put the itty-bitty bikini aside and focus on a larger goal. For Ali, it was the Honda L.A. Marathon.

“Working towards something you’re excited about—as opposed to something that makes you feel badly about yourself—is what will keep you going back to the gym,” she says.

Go Ahead—Check Yourself Out
Don’t shy away from studying your reflection. “It’s not weird to look at yourself in the mirror at the gym—that’s why they’re there! You have to make sure that you’re doing things right.”
Make It a Family Affair
Ali’s partner in crime for the L.A. Marathon? Her brother. While having a training buddy makes the whole thing more fun, she says, it also “gives you someone who is looking for you at 8:00 a.m. when you said you’d be there to run.”

Plus, a little sibling rivalry never hurts.

Shift Your Fitness Focus
Focus on the clock during your workout—not just on racking up a high number of reps. “If you want to do 15 planks, the potential exists to get sloppy and race through to get them all done. But if you set a time limit (I will do planks for 50 seconds), you’re more likely to do them right.”
Let Yourself Get (a Little) Dirty
Ali’s secret to keeping her blonde locks bright? Not shampooing every day.

“I had a hairstylist tell me that if you perspire a lot, it’s actually really clean sweat,” she says, “I rinse my hair in the shower and I’m good to go.”

Make a Special Occasion Feel Special
“If I get dressed up for a date, it means something,” Ali says. Her husband’s favorite look: smoky eyes and a nude lip. “He’s not as tempted to kiss me when I’m wearing red lipstick!” she adds.
Get a Healthy Glow
Ali never skimps on sun protection. Her beauty essential for outdoor workouts: Coppertone Sport Pro Series Sunscreen. As for her sun-kissed glow, she says it’s thanks to a combination of Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation (“I apply it very thin so my freckles shine through”), Scott Barnes Body Bling, and Chantecaille Compact Soleil in St. Barth’snot real rays.
Always Pack a Pair of Sneaks
All Ali needs away from home is a pair of sneakers. “One thing I learned about running a marathon is that it’s a really cool way to see a city,” she says.
Budget Your Beauty Buys
Ali’s beauty favorites: “I like Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm because I don’t need a mirror to reapply. But I definitely treat myself with face lotion—I use La Mer,” she says.
Let Fitness Change Your Life
Ali says that running a marathon made her believe in herself like never before: “I totally hit the runner’s wall at mile 21 and it was easily the hardest thing I’ve ever done to keep going. Fitness helps you get in touch with who you are.”
What's Next for Ali?
Her fitness philosophy: “Whatever your challenge is, just do it!” For Ali, that’s the Nautica Malibu Triathlon taking place in September.

“I’ve never tried to swim in the ocean timed, but I don’t have to be the best one—I like that I’m not good at it,” she says.

Aside from figuring out a solution to swim cap and helmet hair during the triathlon, hosting a hit show, and starring in a daytime soap, Ali is working on a novel. She gave SHAPE an exclusive sneak peak:

“It’s about Hollywood and a lot of it comes from my real-life experiences,” she says. “I’ve played Sami Brady [on Days of Our Lives] for almost 20 years, and it’s always the writers and producers that get to decide what happens to her. Now, I’m finally telling a story my way.”

We can’t wait!