A keen sportswoman herself, Grace de Alvaro created Sports HAI last year when she realised there were no beauty products on the market suitable for sportswomen (and men). ‘I’m around athletes all the time and I know that while they tend not to be obsessed with their appearance, they still want to look good,’ says Grace. ‘There’s a great story about Ester Ledecká, the first woman to achieve double gold in skiing and snowboarding in the 2018 Winter Olympics. Ester refused to take her goggles off during the press conference because she wasn’t wearing any make up. Athletes like Ester need products that are easy to apply, but which stay on and are resistant to things like water, chlorine, sea salt and sweat.’
After talking exhaustively to both fellow athletes and friends in the beauty industry, Grace set about launching her own line. ‘Finding a manufacturer wasn’t easy. I decided the best fit would be a company in Milan that works with many of the world’s luxury beauty brands. They turned me down three or four times, so in the end I got on a plane and flew to Italy. I managed to convince them that this really was something both unique and viable. Our success really is all about team work and we’ve been joined by some star players along the way, such as Madrid businessman Antonio Moya.’
The Sports HAI range currently comprises a mascara, 2-in-1 lip transformer, duo eye shadow and liner, moisturiser/balm and bronzer. The products are multi-purpose to create a more comprehensive, complete look and each is waterproof, weather resistant, paraben free and sweat proof, and made from cruelty-free, natural ingredients suitable for vegetarians and vegans. The eye liner, eye shadow and lipstick shades are named after long-distance race horses, a touch that no doubt appealed to the Dianas of the Chase – those fearless female equestrians who race side-saddle – who tested some of the Sports HAI products last year.
‘Before you launch something like this you have to ask yourself, does the world need it?’ says Grace.
‘It’s also vital to me that my products have integrity. What makes us different is that we test the products on professional athletes. We also test in the toughest conditions: the boxing ring, the Ironman triathlon, the Tough Mudder, the cross country track… I’ve run, swam and sweated in them myself and I’ve taken them into gyms in Britain, New York and Madrid to get feedback.’
Just as Sports HAI is no typical beauty company, so you won’t see its products shot on typical beauty models. ‘We use boxers, flamenco dancers, skate boarders. We want to show the world – especially young girls who often avoid sports because they’re concerned about their body image – that not only can you enjoy swimming, running, cycling and riding, but you can look great while you’re doing it.’
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