Grace de Alvaro, founder of Sports HAI, has many reasons to be excited about the coming year, not least the Tokyo Games, which open at the end of July. If ever a brand were made for Olympic success, it’s Sports HAI. ‘I built Sports HAI with athletes, for athletes,’ says Grace, who tests all of her products on sportswomen and men. Naturally she has also run, swum and sweated in them herself.
The best products always begin with a lightbulb moment. Grace’s came as she took part in her first ever triathlon. As she peeled off her wetsuit in the bike transition station, she realised that her make-up, carefully applied that morning, was now smudged and irritating her skin. She felt strong and empowered – but she looked like a drowned rat.
Grace set about producing a range of hard-working, multi-tasking products that would be fit for purpose as well as offering the highest quality. Her capsule sports collection now includes an eye shadow and liner, a mascara that is resistant to water, chlorine and sea salt, a combined moisturiser and balm stick, a 2-in-1 lip transformer, a ‘Glow & Go’ bronzer and a nourishing hair cleanser. Everything is designed to be applied quickly and withstand rigorous activity.
Says Grace: ‘I grew up in Ireland and spent my childhood on ponies. I’ve been an outdoorsy, sporty sort all my life. These days, I regularly run marathons and short races and compete in triathlons. I have always been interested in make-up – the way in which you can use it, the way it makes you feel, the empowered feeling it gives you. I created Sports HAI inspired by years of practical experience.’
She knew instinctively that there was a market for this type of product. ‘Instagram and social media are obsessed with both fitness and make-up, but while there are always hundreds of posts of women and men working out in trendy athleisure and hundreds more dedicated to make-up, you almost never see the two together. When I started a cosmetics brand dedicated to sports and fitness, there wasn’t anything else like it on the market.’
All of the products have been designed to help athletes look effortlessly glamorous, whether they’re competing at an international level or working out at the gym. However, as Grace points out, Sports HAI is not just about looking good on Instagram. ‘We’re definitely not telling people that they have to wear make-up to do sports or fitness activities; nor are we making them feel insecure if they are not wearing any products at all. The point of our products is the experiences you get while wearing them – the run, the ride, swim, cycle. I want people to feel great doing what they love. Of course wearing water-resistant mascara won’t change your life, but taking part in a triathlon might. I want my customers to be able to fully immerse themselves in their sporting activities or fitness programmes knowing that Sports HAI has them fully covered.’
The point of our products is the experiences you get while wearing them – the run, the ride, swim, cycle. I want people to feel great doing what they love