Rugby Olympian Ilona Maher Just Launched a New Skin Care Line for Athletes

Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images
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Even if you aren't a huge rugby fan, you've probably at least seen Ilona Maher on your Tiktok FYP (I certainly have), and one thing a quick scroll through her feed will show (besides her super cool personality and insane athletic chops) is that she loves beauty. So much so that she even wears her signature red lipstick during matches.

Maher is currently gearing up to head to Paris to represent the United States in the 2024 Olympics, so she has a lot going on. But beyond packing her bags and other Olympic-athlete logistics, Maher's having a huge month with the launch of her very own skin care line, Medalist Skin. The Olympian's first foray into beauty as a brand founder is a three-piece face and body collection geared to make you feel empowered and comfortable while you're active.

So, whether you're mid-workout or constantly running around a big city in 90-degree heat (like I often am), Medalist has the essentials to keep you covered: Clean Sweep Cooling & Cleansing Wipes ($24), which work to soothe and cool the skin after a tough workout and can be used on the face, neck, or décolletege and even the underarms to refresh the skin; The Game Face Clear Skin + Cooling Hydrating Spray ($20) made to hydrate the skin pre or post-workout with hypochlorous acid plus niacinamide to disinfect and reduce redness; and—perhaps my favorite part of the lineup—an anti-chafe stick aptly named the No Fric Stick Anti-Chafe Balm ($20), which literally saved my thighs in the sweltering NYC heat.

"The inspiration behind No Fric Stick comes directly from my training and competition experiences as a rugby player and Olympian," says Maher. Because rugby is a high-intensity sport, chafing constantly affects performance and comfort. "I wanted to help develop a product that not only effectively prevents chafing, but also uses ingredients that are safe for the skin and the athlete," she says.

But the beauty of No Fric Stick is that it's designed to benefit anyone who experiences chafing, whether you're a gym-goer or dancer or experience skin irritations during workouts or daily activities like I do. And, if you're a triathlete, runner, or cyclist, No Fric Stick is a product you can keep in your gym bag regularly. "This product is tailored to prevent chafing and discomfort caused by friction, so you can continue to focus on training and competition," she says. No friction = no distraction, whether you're prepping for a big game or just trying to catch a train.

The best part is: No Fric Stick does more than your typical anti-chafe stick by working to hydrate the skin barrier inside and out. It has shea butter and aloe vera to help soothe and protect the skin on the outside, plus hyaluronic acid to help it retain moisture. It's also suitable for all skin types and can be reapplied for continuous protection. "It's designed to be long-lasting and sweat-resistant, and the derm-tested, waterproof balm creates a protective barrier that helps prevent chafing throughout your activity," says Maher.

No friction = no distraction, whether you’re prepping for a big game or just trying to catch a train.

I have a frustrating relationship with chafing myself (particularly during the summer months), so I gave the No Fric Stick a whirl during an active, 90-degree day running around to various appointments in the city. The formula is extremely balmy and fresh and has a cooling scent and when you put it on. I first applied this in the morning before I left my apartment for meetings downtown and threw it in my bag in case I needed some reapplication. The balm actually held up to the humidity on the streets (and in the subway) quite well—in fact, I didn't need to reapply it at all until later in the evening before my last event.

"I love that the stick format allows for precise application without getting your hands messy so that it can be used on the go," says Maher. And she's right—it was discreet to carry in my purse and quick to reapply in a public bathroom.

As far as irritation goes, there was none and my skin felt calm and comfortable throughout the day. There was no feeling of heat or burn, and it wasn't oily or sticky. I've used it just about every day since that test, and it's held up well since.

Maher shares that No Fric Stick is just one small piece of what Medalist Skin stands for: performance, reliability, and care for the female athlete's (or, in my case, a frantic city-trotter's) skin. "We believe in merging the worlds of athleticism and skin care, offering solutions that not only enhance performance by preventing discomfort but also promote overall skin wellness and confidence," Maher shares.

And if you were curious if Maher is bringing No Fric Stick to the Paris 2024 Olympics this year, the answer is a resounding yes, along with her lipstick, of course, which is unique to the typical makeup-free sport. "It's feminine and fun in a space people often just associate with the toughness of rugby," she says. In her free time at the games (when she's not recovering and keeping tabs on her new beauty venture), she'll be focused on eating and sleeping well.

"Food and fueling my body properly is a huge part of my journey," she says. And it's no surprise that this aligns exactly with the ethos of her new brand: to redefine beauty within the context of strength, resilience, and, most importantly, self-care. "We're here to support female athletes every step of the way, ensuring they can perform at their best while feeling great about the products they use on their skin," she says. Personally, my thighs (and face and pits) are forever thankful.

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