Archive for Saturday, March 7, 2009

Athletes support mission for sports-friendly skin care

March 7, 2009

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— Steve Nash, a star of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, may not seem like a natural adviser on beauty products. But he needs a hand moisturizer that’s not slick when he grips the ball.

Pro snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler can’t bear the thought of battling chapped lips with something sticky, and soccer star Mia Hamm needs effective sunscreen when she’s burning up the field.

The athletes have all signed on as advisers to Mission Skincare, along with Serena Williams, Carmelo Anthony and golfer Sergio Garcia. They’re involved in development, testing and marketing products that suit their needs, and the brand has committed to make charitable donations to the athletes’ pet causes.

Kristin Perrotta, editorial projects director at Allure magazine, says Mission isn’t the only brand to produce skin-care products targeting sports enthusiasts, but it probably is the first to “package it all up neatly.”

“It’s easy for these people to find products they know are going to work with their workout regimen,” she says. “The products in the line won’t run into your eyes when you’re out running a marathon, for example. And they don’t contain fragrances that can irritate skin when you sweat.”

The idea started with endurance athlete Charlie Engle, who ran 111 days across the Sahara Desert and found skin care — in terms of performance, not vanity — to be an issue, explains company co-founder Josh Shaw, who brought his industry experience with Go Smile to Mission.

The products are gender-neutral and sold at sporting-goods stores.

“I loved the idea of working with people who really wanted my feedback, from me traveling around the world, being outdoors — usually in zero-degree weather,” says Bleiler. She says she influenced the size, texture and taste of the Sweet Vanilla Lip Balmer, as well as the anti-sting element of the sunscreen.

“I get sweaty and it’s nice to not have to worry about the sunscreen dripping into my eyes,” she says.

For Nash, how his skin feels, especially on hands, affects performance.

“As a male, skin care wasn’t on the tip of my tongue every day, but going all over the country, I see that it’s a circumstance many men ignore,” Nash says.

“I don’t know what came first — it’s a ‘chicken-or-the-egg’ question — I don’t know if it’s that we don’t think about it, or if we weren’t offered something to do about it, but my hands get dry and I don’t want my skin screaming, but I can’t use most lotions because I need to be able to hang on to the ball.”

Perrotta thinks sports stars can connect as spokespeople, even if it is skin care they’re pitching, not sneakers.

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