“Hi, this is Krystal!” boomed a deep voice over the phone. I double-checked to make sure the number was correct: Yep, it was Krystal Nielson, the California-based fitness coach whose famously breathy monologues shot the 30-year-old to villain status on Arie Luyendyk Jr.’s season of The Bachelor. For someone who Jimmy Kimmel once said owned “the single most annoying voice in television history,” I felt duped. Nielson, for all 15 minutes of our phone call, sounded casual, low-key, maybe even… likeable?
A lot of things have changed for Nielson since she was sent home by the race car driver. Not only is her tone about five octaves more relaxed, but so is her approach to beauty heading into Bachelor In Paradise, the franchise’s more dramatic, sweatier spin-off.
“Having already gone through the ringer on The Bachelor, I didn’t give a shit so much for Paradise,” says Nielson, who has also taken up journaling, essential oils, and meditation as a gateway to deeper self-improvement. “When you put so much attention on your image, it can take away from the experience. In Paradise, I took a much more relaxed approach. I didn’t even pack until two days before I left.”
And she’s not the only one who found Paradise to be a breezier change from the initial Bachelor experience. Both Nielson and fellow contestant Bibiana Julian told us that with what felt like a near-constant heat wave in Sayulita, Mexico — and no central air conditioning in a house of 20 people — all the traditional beauty rules of the show flew out the window. They spill their dirty secrets, ahead.
Second Time’s A Charm
And because the contestants have a better idea of what they’re getting into, the pressure is off in many ways. “The biggest hiccup of The Bachelor is the formality of the dress code because you’re wearing evening gowns and you don’t know how many you need,” explains Nielson. “You’re going to see that I didn’t go crazy this time. There just wasn’t the pressure of needing to have makeup on, but just to go out and have fun.”
Julian even had leftover beauty products from The Bachelor that she re-packed for Paradise less than a year later. But just because she was confident in her Sephora haul didn’t mean she was fully prepared. “Being out there was a lot harder than expected. You wake up and you’re sweating — it’s brutal,” Julian says. “I heard from other contestants who told me how humid and hot it would be, but nothing could prepare you for this. And I’m from Miami!”
With no air conditioning in the house, the women woke up sweating — with some embracing the “glow,” and others fighting it for the cameras. “Some girls tried more than others, but you just couldn’t care every single day,” Julian says.
After The Bachelor and Winter Games, Bibiana Julian returns for her third attempt at love in Paradise.Photo: Courtesy of ABC/Paul Hebert.
Sharing Beauty Products Is A Must
Like summer camp, everyone in Paradise shares everything — from tweezers to hairbrushes. Julian says that made things easier than being on The Bachelor, where she had to do her hair and nails herself for the more formal cocktail parties. “You’re around enough people who have everything that no matter what, you’re fine,” she says. “You end up using everybody’s stuff. It’s like one big dressing room.” And just in case the entire cast runs out of the necessities, like shampoo or sunscreen, the show’s handlers provide it for them.
Nielson agrees with Julian that sharing your products and clothes was part of the Paradise culture, noting that she was the only woman to bring a blowdryer, steamer, and curling iron — not that she got much use out of them. “Hot tools were incredibly hard to use there because your hair wouldn’t hold anything at all,” Nielson says. “It took a few days to figure that out.”
The Price Of Low-Maintenance Maintenance
But for all the laid-back beauty talk, there is a lot of pre-season prep that goes into waking up like that. Past contestants have splurged for lash extensions, waxing, and even personal trainers. For Nielson, she opted for fresh foil blonde highlights that would easily grow out in the sun — and her first ever bikini wax. “I decided I had to get waxed for Paradise just to not have to deal with shaving,” she says. “It was awesome. I just wanted to dance around and flaunt it. I felt so empowered.”
The Heat Is On
You won’t find shiny waves or formal updos in Paradise — and not by choice. “I think I tried to blow out my hair a few times, but it didn’t even stick,” Julian recalls. “I have curly hair, so I either ended up leaving it wet or pinned-up. I would try a little bit so it would look like my hair was kind of done, but I just looked like a wet dog.” Nielson brought her favorite Oribe volumizing mousse (“When you first put it in, you look like Cindy Crawford,” she explains), but found that it still fell flat in the heat.
And that was just the hair; Nielson says her gel manicure began to peel after just three days because the air was so sticky and wet. A similar mishap would go down every time she’d try to self tan, too. “It wouldn’t dry,” she recalls. “I had to blowdry my ass.” While she’s a huge fan of Jergen’s Instant Sun Mousse, she admits that even it wasn’t Paradise -proof.
I never even put on mascara because it wasn’t worth it. You just end up looking like a raccoon.
Julian says that makeup, even her favorite, couldn’t withstand the heat either. “Cocktail parties and dates require heavier makeup, but I only wore tinted moisturizer and Benefit’s Cheek Stain during the day” she explains. “I never even put on mascara because it wasn’t worth it. You just end up looking like a raccoon.”
Still, for contestants like Nielson, the change in scenery was good. Did competing beachside change her attitude toward the process this time around? “Abso-fucking-lutely,” she says. “I’m a beach bunny. Paradise, that’s my element.”
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