The Athleisure Movement Is Making Moves on Your Beauty Bag

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Julianne Hough - January 11, 2017 - Lead
Photo: AKM-GSI

Instagram might take care of viral trends, but just throwing it out there, the fitness industry has claimed prime influencer status. Kate Hudson, Carrie Underwood, and Heidi Klum are just three of the many celebrities with activewear labels, while athleisure is worn pretty much around the clock—and on major runways. But it's not just taking over with clothing or with the green juices your favorite café added to the menu. Fitness and beauty are fusing, and the proof is in the product.

Over the past two years, we've seen plenty of product marketed for the "woman on the go." Clarisonic launched a facial brush tiny enough to fit in your gym bag, while tons of brands, like the yoga-beloved Yuni, have launched cleansing products that pretty much replace a shower when there's no time to scrub. Dry shampoo? That category has exploded with popularity. But that's not nearly it. Makeup brands, producing effective product made specifically for an active lifestyle, have bloomed out of this fitness revolution.

You might be familiar with Arrow, the Birchbox-exclusive brand that dropped a little over a year ago. It was designed with the idea that it would allow its users to embrace their natural beauty while being active with easy-to-use, light, and long-lasting products that won't get blotchy or clog your pores. And when you're wearing product while running to workouts or doing errands, that's kind of important. "We recognized the significance of the athleisure movement and knew our customers were among the women embracing the trend," explained Birchbox's PR director, Jenna Hilzenrath. "No one had approached this space from a beauty perspective, so we saw an opportunity to translate the concept of all-day activewear for the beauty category and create high-performance products that achieve an effortless, natural look. We're seeing that women want to look their best without looking like they're trying too hard—they're gravitating towards breathable, easy-to-use products that achieve a barely-there effect."

Some of the products in the line include a long-lasting brow gel, a water-based skin tint made with caffeine and green tea extract, and a gel cooling cheek tint. Interestingly enough, the best-selling product from the collection happens to be the best-selling product on the entire site, if that tells you anything. It's the Color-Enhancing Lip Balm ($14;, which supplies a subtle and rosy customized tint based on the pH of your lips, with almost 25,000 reviews.

ARROW BOOST Color Enhancing Lip Balm

But Arrow isn't the only color-cosmetics launch from the movement. Sweat Cosmetics is another brand made with the intention of supplying active women products that perform, make them feel good, and don't inhibit their lifestyles. It was even founded by professional athletes who felt a void in this category.

"We were out on the field and in front of the camera and couldn't find a product that we could wear that held up and was good for our skin. We also recognized the trend of downplaying your femininity as a female athlete finally moving to celebrating your femininity," says Sweat Cosmetics CEO, Courtney Jones.

"And, since we are all former professional athletes, we tested everything on ourselves, fellow athletes, and former teammates. We required that the product looked good but also performed while feeling good on. This is something we will continue to do with each of our new products—they will always be tested at the highest level."

Sweat went as far as to formulate their hypoallergenic and cruelty-free products with ingredients that product from environmental aggressors like pollution and the sun, using natural SPF zinc oxide and rhodiola rosea. "Even the packaging for our powder products was designed for the active woman! They come in a kit with our unique twist brush that people love for its portability! It's easy to throw into your purse or gym back, great to travel with, accommodates refills and has a high grip, matte rubber-touch," she explains.

SWEAT COSMETICS Twist-Brush + Mineral Foundation SPF 30

Tarte has also entered the space, with a collection consisting of items like a sweatproof mascara and a highlighting moisturizer.

While the market speaks for itself, we were curious if fitness instructors saw a difference in this genre. We can admit to filling in our brows before a 10K, but do they notice their clients showing up wearing more makeup than usual? Or even talking about product that helps them move seamlessly between activities?

"I don't think people are specifically glamming it up for their workouts, but people are definitely including more workouts in their day-to-day lives. With so much amazing boutique fitness out there, popping into a class, showering off, and getting back to work or onto your day is easier than it's ever been," notes Eve Kessner, a SoulCycle instructor and holistic nutritionist in New York City. Kessner says she applies lip gloss and mascara in the morning and wears it through all her classes and and everything else she has planned that day.

"I think being ready to workout whenever you can fit it in is more of what's going on. And that speaks to needing beauty and skincare that can hold up to the sweating and washing and reapplying—read: gym bag-ready product packaging," she explains.

That, to Kessner, means portable packaging that doesn't weigh down your gym bag and clean makeup and skincare.

Whether you're that person that needs a mascara that lasts through boxing or are sick of dealing with the shoulder pain associated with carting all your full-size products in your gym bag, it seems like beauty brands are listening. And while the trend is still kicking, we'd love to see a cooling concealer and maybe another fast-acting, redness-reducing moisturizer.

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