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serenaWhat’s Serena Williams wearing at the U.S. Open this week? Her requisite hot-mama fitness ensemble—and a new brand of “athlete engineered” beauty products called Mission Skincare. Williams is one of several professional athletes including Mia Hamm and Amanda Beard who have lent their names to the sports-lifestyle skin-care line.

We couldn’t help noticing that the cosmetic chemistry doesn’t quite match the prowess of these pros, however, so we also mention a few formulation foibles:

A powerhouse cleanser: The Active Daily Facial Cleanser ($39.95) turns from a citrus-scented gel to foam, “oxygenating” skin to the point of clean. (Formulation foible: It’s paraben-free but has sodium laureth sulfate, an out-dated foaming agent that strips away skin’s moisture along with dirt.)

A protective sunscreen: The no-more-tears Sting-Free Sunscreen SPF 30 Facestick ($8.99) is a boon for anyone not willing to wear a John McEnroe-style sweatband. (Formulation foible: This touch-up product is the size of a lip balm and meant for just the eye area. The other sunscreens in the line are for all-over coverage, but they’re formulated very differently. Does this mean they sting?)product_offense1

A nourishing lip balm: Amanda Beard has her name on the Organic Strawberry Lipbalmer SPF 15 ($3.99), which uses mostly natural ingredients like beeswax in lieu of petroleum—a hydrating home run.

It’s great to see athletes endorsing skin-care products, and strange that so few beauty brands prominently sponsor the athletes in turn. (Neutrogena, anyone home?) But considering how important great products really are to those whose health is their living and their workplace the great outdoors, it’s probably a good thing that Mission isn’t the only game in town.

Products are available at www.missionskincare.com

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