How Athlete Makeup at the Olympics Redefines Beauty Standards Worldwide?

April 26, 2024

Gone are the days when it was expected that Olympic athletes should only focus on their play and not wear makeup. The modern and long-lasting formulations and the use of natural and eco-friendly ingredients have where transformed the entire beauty industry, there they have also attracted the attention of Olympic athletes. Wearing makeup with their unique style and playing with different products creatively has not only enabled the athletes to personally brand them but also set the trends for the mainstream makeup industry.

Besides these realities, many people like me want to dig deeper into Olympic makeup and explore why Olympic athletes wear makeup, how the makeup trends among athlete women have evolved, and how the modern makeup formulation is capable enough to help athletes navigate contemporary challenges. Let’s unfold the world of Olympics makeup and get answers to these questions.

Why Olympics Athletes Wear Makeup?

This is one of the common questions that may hover among the minds of many Olympics enthusiasts or those who follow the makeup trends seen in the Olympics. Let’s see for what reasons athletes wear makeup.

1. Follow the Tradition:

In some sports, wearing makeup is a traditional ritual and is an integral part of sports. For instance, in the case of figure skating, gymnastics, and synchronized swimming, elaborative costume, and makeup are essential and often considered a part of the performance and aesthetics of athletes.

These women while doing synchronized swimming athletes are expected to smile and have pretty, adorable, and joyous faces even if they are underwater.

2. Enhance Performance:

Some athletes wear makeup to feel more empowered and confident, thus enabling them to increase their mental focus and enhance their performance during the competition.

For instance, Christina Clemons in one of her interviews highlighted that the majority of people are of the view that women while playing should only focus on the play instead of their looks, however, for her, wearing makeup is her strength and enhances her confidence and performance. Therefore, she indicated that she always loves to have bold looks.

3. Personal Branding:

In other cases, some athletes wear makeup to express their individuality and style. Whether it is bold lip color, long nails, eye-catching eyeliner, or intriguing face painting highlighting the team’s colors or national flag, makeup has always played a significant role in portraying the individuality of athletes and branding them.

For instance, take the example of Gail Devers, she was quite famous for her long nails, makeup, and jewelry. Therefore, her identity developed through her makeup and style was as important to her legacy as her speed and performance.

4. Camera-Ready Look:

Most athletes wear makeup to ensure an aesthetically presentable look during the ceremonies and interviews.

The makeup enables them to even their skin tone, enhance features, and add style to their look, allowing them to look perfect when they are in the spotlight.

5. Sponsorship Obligations:

Some women athletes wear makeup due to having endorsement deals or sponsorship obligations with the makeup or beauty products and wear these products to promote these brands.

For example, the famous gymnastic Simone Biles partnered with SK-II a luxury skincare brand in 2021. Through this partnership, Biles highlighted her athletic prowess and emphasized the significance of skincare both during and after the gymnastics.  
So, for Olympic athletes, it’s not only about improving their appearance rather it is also a matter of enhancing their confidence and ensuring a camera-ready look. Makeup thus acts as a strategic tool for women athletes to indicate their individuality and enhance their performance during the competition.  

How Have Makeup Trends Among Olympic Athletes Changed?

The use of makeup among Olympic Athletes dates back to the early 20th century. During this time, wearing makeup among athletes was not considered good and women if wear any makeup adopted a minimalist approach. Moving forward to the mid-20th century, a shift was seen in the attitude toward women’s makeup and women started experimenting with light makeup like wearing mascara or lipstick. However, the use of makeup during that time was still subdued and it only gained momentum in the late 20th and 21st centuries. Since then a lot of changes in styles and trends have occurred. Let’s see how the makeup trends in the Olympics have evolved with time.


1. Aesthetics and Trends

The first aspect that has evolved with time is the aesthetics while using makeup products. Previously, athletes usually preferred minimalistic looks or focused on enhancing their natural beauty. In most cases, wearing heavy makeup or portraying a dramatic look was not in fashion. The subtle enhancements and neutral tones were common. Also, classic looks with red lipstick, light eyeshade, and mascara were loved among women athletes. Contrarily, nowadays athletes experiment with bold colors while applying lipstick, eyeliner, and eyeshadows. The makeup trends are more leaned toward bright, glittery, and dramatic looks that enable Olympians to stand alone in the crowd. Let’s compare this difference in the makeup trends by considering the example of Flojo, An American field athlete, and Yaroslava Mahuchikh, a Ukrainian high jumper. 

By comparing the makeup looks of both athletes, it is evident that Flojo followed a classic and minimalistic approach that deal with naturally enhancing the feature while making her more presentable. Nevertheless, Mahuchikh has given her a vibrant look by using unconventional bright yellow-colored eyeliner, bright lipstick, and naturally hued cheeks. This look gives her a trendy, fashionable, and iconic look.

2. Individuality Expression

Individuality is equally valued among Olympic athletes of all ages. For instance, Gail Dever was equally conscious of preserving her individuality as Mahuchikh wanted to look different and attractive. However, there is no doubt that the celebration of self-expression and individuality is more dominant among athletes of 2024 in comparison to previous centuries.

Athletes are more interested in experimenting with innovative styles, bold colors, and application methodologies to show their innovative capabilities to apply makeup. Brands like
UNIPURE, Covanol, and ARIABEL pigments have become especially popular among athletes. Another reliable name that can offer a wide variety of options to ensure individual prowess is Banffee MakeupMakeup has thus become a strong mode to empower and express yourself, thus enabling them to reflect their cultural traditions and identity both on and off the game.

3. Innovative Formulations

The makeup and skincare products available today are much more advanced in contrast to the products available in the past due to technological advancements. For example, athletes of 2024 have more novel options in makeup and skincare products like long-lasting sweat-proof, and high-performing products. These products provide enhanced wearability and durability, thus guaranteeing that makeup will stay for the whole day whether athletes have to remain underwater for hours or face the worst lightning conditions for a long time.

How Athletes Use Makeup for Personal Branding?

As highlighted above, a large number of Olympic athletes wear makeup as a tool to brand themselves and enable people to remember them for years not only because of their play but also due to their unique looks.

1. Gabrielle Douglas

Douglas was a marvelous Olympic gymnast and she won both individual and team gold medals. Besides her spectacular play and acting as a role model for her young sisters and athletes, her glamorous looks and bold makeup also attracted the eyes of her.

According to her, makeup is a part of being in a character just like a bow in a hair. She was also of the view that when you wear makeup you look good and you complete well. So for her makeup is a strategic tool for personal branding and boosting confidence.

         2. Adam Rippon

Rippon was a renowned figure skater and made headlines in 2018 for outstanding performances and charismatic personality. The player is known for unique makeup looks that include prominent eyes with bold eyeliner.  

He used makeup not only to brand himself as a player but also to break the traditional norms of associating makeup only with women.

       3. Sanya Richards-Ross

Sanya Richards-ross, an Olypmics Sprinter is another athlete who is known for her stylish looks. She is not only the fastest woman in the world but she is also one of the most fashionable women as well.

She is often praised because of her makeup and style sense both on and off the track. She believed that every woman has the right to look good whatever goals or motives she has in her life.

She has highlighted across different forums that she lives her life according to her beliefs and for her wearing makeup is something that makes her feel good and boosts her confidence to perform better on the track.

     4. Lindsey Vonn

Vonn, a retired alpine skier is another star who is especially popular for her off-duty unique style. She has been observed sharing intriguing beauty tips and makeup tutorials across all social media channels. 

By wearing makeup with her unique sense of style and application, she has made it an integral part of personal branding and connected with her fans beyond the sports world.

How Does Makeup Affect Olympic Athletes Psychologically?

Besides personal branding, Makeup affects Olympic athletes by imposing the following psychological effects

● Enhance confidence

● Improves mental focus

● Develops a sense of identity

● Address anxiety during performance

● Promotes optimistic body image

● Help to navigate stereotypical norms prevalent in the industry

Additionally, some athlete may experience different psychological impacts of wearing makeup like feeling strong enough to face the world or having a blissful feeling by using makeup as these impacts are highly personal and may vary from person to person.

How Contemporary Makeup Products Address Athlete’s Challenges?

We all agree that athletes of today have to face different and more intense challenges when compared with the athletes of older times. Some of these challenges owed to the increasing intensity of the competitive landscape while others are attributed to harsh environmental conditions as a result of climate change. Let’s see how contemporary makeup products offer solutions to these challenges.

• Long-Lasting Formulations

Modern makeup products are tailored with long-lasting formulations so that athletes and working women can carry them all day long without worrying about fading, smudging, or transferring, ensuring they can enjoy a confident and enthralling look.

• Water-Proof

Athletes like swimmers, divers, and sprinters have to bear the harsh environmental conditions in the form of scorching sun and have to stay in water for a long time which can affect their skin if they do not wear makeup. Therefore, athletes look for makeup products that are water and sweat-proof and can withstand harsh conditions without influencing their skin and appearance.

• Breathable Textures

The texture of the makeup is one of the most important things to consider when choosing between brands. Athletes usually prefer makeup products with light and breathable textures so that they can wear these products effortlessly without affecting their performance.

• Eco-friendly Ingredients

The use of natural, organic, and eco-friendly ingredients in makeup products has also gone viral these days. The athletes being aware of environmental challenges usually prefer such products as using these products not only enables them to enhance their beauty naturally but also fulfills their social responsibility to conserve the environment.

Banffee Makeup, the leading OEM and ODM manufacturer offers a variety of breathable, long-lasting, natural, and innovative formulations that are equally suitable for athletes of all types.

How Does Olympic Makeup Influence Main-stream Makeup Trends?

Makeup and beauty products worn by Olympic athletes play a determining role in shaping mainstream makeup trends as well. This fact may be surprising for those who are not fond of the Olympics, however, this is true due to some valid reasons.

▪ Firstly, whatever makeup product athletes apply and which technique they use while applying becomes an icon and a large number of people start following these athletes, thus making it a trend in the makeup world.

▪ Secondly, athletes usually push the envelope by applying makeup products like eyeliners, lipsticks, and mascaras differently and unconventionally, thereby attracting huge masses and bringing new vibes to the makeup world.

▪ Lastly, the social, electronic, and press media giving robust coverage to Olympic athletes enhance the influence of Olympic makeup by many folds, influencing fans to emulate them and follow a similar trend.

Final Word

In conclusion, makeup worn by Olympic athletes possesses a miraculous power of not only boosting their confidence, enhancing their mental focus, and improving their performance but also compels fashion enthusiasts to emulate the trends. This is the reason that Olympic makeup is not only widely discussed on all social media platforms but also influences makeup trends and styles across the entire makeup and beauty industry. 

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