Ellie Goulding is so hardcore.
The British singer is currently putting in some intense work in London recording her next album, and PEOPLE caught up with the 30-year-old for our World’s Most Beautiful Issue to get the full scoop on exactly how she does it.
Turns out, each day starts with a brawl.
“I start my day training at the gym,” she tells us. “Somehow I’m a natural at boxing. Who knew? I feel like constantly sweating is good for getting toxins out. I like to drink and do things that a lot of women do, and that helps counteract that.”
And she’s good at it: “I hit hard,” she says.
“The idea of being physically strong and capable of defending myself gives me a real sense of empowerment, which is so different from the profound vulnerability I have when I’m by myself writing music.” (She also recently admitted that exercise has helped her overcome panic attacks and anxiety.)
One thing that’s always part of her ritual? A bottle of Core Water because “I sweat like crazy.” The star is actually an investor in the brand and the face of its new #TrueToTheCore campaign, which is meant to inspire people to chase their passions while living a balanced life.
After training, she gets ready to go to the studio, and her routine is minimal to say the least.
“Sometimes I don’t shower at all before going to the studio, even after I train,” she says. “I feel like I never smell. I know some people wouldn’t want to do that, but I do, and I do fine. I think you can overshower, you can overwash your hair, and you can overwash your face. No one ever said you have to shower that much!”
Minimal washes also help maintain the health of her hair. “I don’t wash it every day,” she says. But when she does, “I try to do as little as possible to it—just use a hair oil so it’s not too dry and texturizing spray to give it volume.”
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As for caring for her skin, “I’ll use a Kiehl’s face wash in the shower,” she says. “Then I’ll do a toner. I swear by a few moisturizers, and I always use eye cream. I feel like I’m one of those people who always have tired eyes! I also won’t leave the house without putting on concealer and mascara and using an eyebrow pencil. I have nonexistent eyebrows, so I have to draw them on.”
She scales back on her outfits for the studio, too. “I don’t like to wear anything restrictive,” she says.
“So I wear a black tracksuit because I’m superstitious about wearing any color. I just don’t want anything to distract me. A lot of the time I leave my hair wet because I feel like I spend so much time getting it blow dried that any opportunity I can have to leave it wet and put some products in it and that’s kind of it.”
And this will all be worth it soon enough—she’s planning to release new music by the end of the year.
“I’m taking time to sit down and reflect,” she says. “I’m reading more books and seeing more films. Like, last night I watched a Chuck Berry documentary, and it was so lovely to just take it in. Those things will shape what I do next, because I’m discovering a lot about myself and the kind of music I want to make. There’s going to be new stuff out at the end of the year. I feel it bubbling up—I’m getting to a point of being so inspired.”