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4 Athletes Share the Beauty Products That Work as Hard as They Do

Fun in the sun, burns not included.

athletes sun products
Beauty and athletics are seldom considered concepts that go hand in hand. But, contrary to popular belief, beauty actually plays a more significant role in your outdoor activities than you’d think (sunscreen, anyone?). That’s why, when it comes to a day when you know you’ll be working up a sweat, you’re going to want something that works just as intensely as you do.

That’s why we tapped the best of the best outdoor athletes to upgrade our summer beauty routine. These champs know how to keep everything from skin to hair on point, no matter how many hours they’re spending in the scorching heat, so take note. Below, a look at some of the best tips and tricks for keeping any burns, tangled tresses, and more at bay—because the sun may work hard, but these beauty products definitely work harder.


Sika Henry, Triathlete and IRONMAN Competitor

“I’m extremely acne prone, and it’s especially worse in the summer when my training picks up. I’m often out running 10-plus miles or riding anywhere from 50 to 100 miles, and wearing sunscreen is vital, but I’ve found that my pores get clogged easily. EltaMD’s UV Clear Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 Tinted Face Sunscreen has been the only facial sunscreen I’ve been able to wear regularly and not break out. Plus, as an African American woman, I love that they have a tinted option.

“La Roche-Posay’s entire line is great, but I especially love their Toleriane Purifying Foaming Cleanser. Since I swim, bike, and run at least once daily, I have to wash my face often. This face wash is gentle on my skin and doesn’t strip it of its natural oils. Plus, for a higher-end product line, it’s affordable!

“When swimming, the chlorine absolutely wreaks havoc on my hair. But skipping swim sessions isn’t an option, so I’ve experimented with tons of deep conditioners, hair repair products, keratin treatments, et cetera. Aphogee Hair Strengthening Kit has been a lifesaver. I use it twice a week and notice a reduction in hair breakage, and my hair also seems to have more shine.”

Monica Medellin, Surfer and Co-founder of The Gnar Gnar Honeys

“My hair has been curly, wavy, and straight—all at the same time—since I was a little girl. Surfing has helped me embrace my natural texture and feel beautiful, but constantly being in the salt water and sun has also been extremely damaging. Since I drive a Jeep Wrangler, I often strap boards to the top of my car and pick up my friends to go surf. I dedicate my passenger-seat glove compartment to all of my hair, skin, and feminine care—and we jokingly call it my ‘mobile vanity.’

“Before surfing, I wake up, wash my face, apply tinted sunscreen to my face and neck. If I’m doing a surf shoot, I use Glossier Boy Brow, Milk Makeup Kush Waterproof Mascara, and Becca Sunlit Bronzer, plus highlighter for a natural golden look. I’ll also run coconut oil through the ends of my hair before a session in the sun.”

“After surfing, the moment I get out of the water, I go to my ‘mobile vanity’ and apply leave-in conditioner for the drive home. I love Mixed Chicks Leave-In Conditioner or Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3 for color-treated hair. I’ll try and drink a 64 oz canteen of water on my way home, too. I don’t shampoo my hair daily, but condition heavily to leave my natural oils in. In the shower, I comb through with a wide-toothed comb to prevent breakage. I dry my hair with a t-shirt turban.”

“Once I’m out of the shower, I pat on eye cream, toner, and all-over moisturizer. I love Kiehl’s Creamy Avocado Eye Treatment and Ultra Facial Moisturizer. I massage coconut oil on my shoulders and butt since I’m most exposed to the sun in those areas.”

Boy Brow


Leave-in Conditioner

Mixed Chicks

Brittany Leavitt, Climber and Founder of Brown Girls Climb

“My hair is 4c curls, so depending on where I am going, it’s how I will style my hair for low maintenance. I love wearing my hair in braids. It gives me the option to pack less items. Just bring a small bottle of almond oil or castor oil to keep your scalp moisturized. Oyin Burnt Butter Pomade also helps seal in moisture when I do single braids or twist. I love having this product on my hair.

“Some of my favorite products that I use are from Oyin Handmade, which is a Baltimore-based hair-product brand. All of the products are made with natural ingredients like honey, avocados, and coconut. I use Oyin Boing! when I want to wear my fro out and make my curls defined. Oyin Oh My Glide! Prestyling Detangler is great after you get out of the shower, and I’ll also use it when I have box braids.”

Burnt Sugar Pomade

Oyin Handmade

Boing! All-in-One Coil Styler

Oyin Handmade
$15 - $24

Latoya Shauntay Snell, Runner, Chef, and Founder of Running Fat Chef

“Keeping my skin intact is super important to me because it’s a large organ that is easily neglected. As an athlete that frequently ventures in the outdoor space, I think it’s imperative that you prioritize skin care. I love using things that are simple, quick, and great for my body. I love supporting small businesses, especially those that use natural products.

“I love using items from the Fré Skin Care line. I learned about them almost two years ago and love their products. I am obsessed with The 123Fré Set, which includes a facial cleanser, moisturizer, and serum. Their products are loaded with Argania Active Complex (argan oil), which is super helpful for athletes that spend long hours in the sun and experience dry or combination skin.

“Additionally, I maintained my locs for over a decade, and as a Black woman, I want to encourage more people of color to not feel discouraged about entering sports due to hair concerns. I love applying Afrikinky 100% Baobab Oil to my scalp and down my locs for added protection. This oil has multiple uses as a hair-care product and done wonders for my skin after cleansing my face.

“And if you’re going to be in the sun, sunscreen is necessary regardless of your background. One of my favorites is from Black Girl Sunscreen. I love this product because I don’t feel loaded with products and it doesn’t leave a murky residue on my skin.”

SPF 30

Black Girl Sunscreen
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