What's Behind the Big Beauty Opportunity in Sports?

Healthy minds, fit bodies, rad style

As summer approaches, a new wave is making headlines in the beauty industry, and it's not what you might expect. The intersection of beauty and sports is creating significant opportunities for brands to innovate and engage new audiences. It's setting the stage for a dynamic season where beauty and fitness converge.

Historically, beauty and sports have been as compatible as oil and water. Beauty was seen as an arena for the meticulously groomed, while sports catered to the sweaty and rugged. But in recent years, these worlds have collided with the force of a sprinter crossing the finish line. Brands like Charlotte Tilbury and Sally Hansen are leading the charge, proving that you can look glamorous while breaking a sweat. The trend has trickled down to everyday routines, with enthusiasts sporting sweat-proof makeup and long-lasting nail polish that can withstand the rigors of high-intensity workouts.

This movement isn't just about looking good while you exercise. It's about integrating beauty into the fabric of fitness. The shift is driven by a cultural phenomenon where Gen Z no longer sees a need to separate their identities. To them, it's perfectly normal to rock a full face of makeup when attending a trendy run club.

Social media has played a huge role, transforming online trends into real-life communities where beauty and fitness go hand in hand. Influencers and everyday users showcase their sporty looks and beauty routines, creating a viral blend of fitness and fashion. From run clubs to pilates classes, these online communities are turning virtual inspiration into real-world movements. The clean-girl makeup aesthetic, characterized by minimal, dewy looks, is often paired with pilates sessions and green smoothies, illustrating how seamlessly beauty and fitness can merge.

This blend has opened a new creative space where brands can shine. 

Charlotte Tilbury's historic partnership with the F1 Academy is a prime example of how beauty brands are speeding into the sports arena. As the first female-founded beauty brand to sponsor a motorsport event, Tilbury is not only showcasing its products but also championing female athletes.

Sally Hansen's partnership with Duke University basketball player Jared McCain is another slam dunk. McCain's love for painting his nails has broken traditional gender norms, showing that beauty and sports are not mutually exclusive. His TikTok videos, where he rocks Sally Hansen's Insta-Dri nail polish, highlight the growing acceptance of self-care among male athletes.

Another example is Tennis legend Serena Williams, who launched a make-up brand, Wyn Beauty. Creating products that you can "move in," the inaugural range is formulated with clean, high-performing skin-nourishing ingredients, with the team stating they want consumers to not only look good but feel good about themselves.

The beauty and sports fusion is not just about looking pretty, it's also about practicality. Consumers are seeking products that can withstand their active lifestyles. Brands like E.L.F. are tapping into this demand with campaigns that highlight sweat-proof makeup and durable nail polish. This functional approach is not just a trend. iI's becoming a necessity for those who balance a busy, active lifestyle with a passion for looking their best.

What Brands and Marketers Should Take Away

Embrace the Action: Integrating elements of extreme sports and high-energy activities into beauty campaigns can create compelling and engaging content. Brands should consider collaborations with athletes and influencers who embody this dynamic spirit.

Champion Diversity and Inclusivity: The partnerships with Charlotte Tilbury and Sally Hansen highlight the importance of promoting diverse narratives within the beauty industry. Supporting female athletes and breaking gender norms can resonate with a broad audience and foster brand loyalty.

Prioritize Functionality: As consumers lead more active lives, there is a growing demand for beauty products that offer durability and performance. Brands should innovate to create products that meet these needs, such as long-lasting makeup and protective skincare.

Leverage Social Media: Platforms like TikTok are crucial for reaching younger audiences who are drawn to high-energy, visually engaging content. Beauty brands should invest in creating dynamic social media campaigns that showcase their products in action-packed settings.

Stay Ahead of Trends: While beauty and sports aesthetics are currently in vogue, trends can shift rapidly. Brands should remain agile and ready to pivot towards emerging preferences.

By embracing the beauty takeover, sports and beauty brands can innovate, engage new audiences and redefine standards. The key is to blend functionality with flair, champion inclusivity and keep pace with cultural shifts driven by social media.

So, lace up those sneakers, apply that sweat-proof mascara and get ready to sprint ahead in the beauty race.

Chelsea Mtada
Chelsea Mtada is a writer, content creator and creative strategist at Amplify.

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