Lately, I’ve been spending too much time searching for the best foundation for “mature,” dry skin. Apparently, according to The 2019 AARP Survey of Women’s Reflections on Beauty, Age, and Media, I’m not the only boomer in search of beauty solutions. But as the BeautyMatter blog points out, while beauty’s importance to women “doesn’t diminish with age” there’s been a “proliferation of brands created by millennials for millennials” with many “trying to capture their share of the coveted millennial mindshare.”

But BeautyMatter warns “marketers who dismiss older consumers do so at their own risk.” Why? The AARP Survey shows:

  • Nearly 90 % of women say beauty and personal grooming are either very important (43%) or somewhat important (47%) to them.
  • As women age, the increased importance of “inner beauty” reflects the decreased importance of external motivations—92% of Gen Z, 88% of millennials, 92% of Gen X and 95% of boomers agree that inner confidence is more important than outer beauty.
  • Being healthy is a stronger motivator for women 50+ than for younger demographics.
  • On average, women use six beauty and personal grooming products every day, spending more than 30 minutes on their daily beauty and personal grooming regimens.
  • Women spend $40 a month on beauty and personal grooming products.
  • Older women are more likely than younger women to feel ignored by the beauty and personal grooming industry—53% of boomers feel the industry doesn’t create products with people their age in mind, compared to 39% of Gen Z women, 24% of millennials, and 40% of Gen X.
  • Women 50+ have difficulty finding products tailored to their age (hence my personal experience), leading to boomers feeling more underrepresented than other generations. Boomer women also think the beauty and personal grooming industries treat them as an afterthought.
  • Women under age 50 are more likely to use home remedies.
  • Women under 50 are more likely to turn to social media to “find new methods” for their beauty routines.
  • Women 40+ have unmet needs, with 70% of women ages 40+ wanting to see more perimenopausal and menopausal beauty and personal grooming products. The top product “want” for all women over 40 is skincare for the face. Gen X women rank “products for hot flashes” second, while boomer woman put haircare products in second place.
  • Most women of all generations believe older adults are not adequately represented in advertising. They feel media images, in general, are ageist (69% total women, 64% millennials, 70% Gen Xers, 74% boomers).

All women, regardless of age, feel better about and will more likely buy more from companies that show women of different ages in their marketing and advertising. But, each generation shows loyalty to the specific brands that represent people their age.

There’s obviously a lot good reasons for entrepreneurial beauty companies to target older women. It’s not all that often that such a sizeable market segment practically begs businesses to create more products. But that’s not the only demographic small businesses in the industry should target.

Beauty breaks gender barriers

Masculinity is getting a makeover,” according to The Guardian newspaper. A chain of British department stores (John Lewis) recently announced it was opening a permanent makeup counter for men, following a successful pilot program in its London store. The test program showed “demand for War Paint for Men, a [line] of male-focused cosmetics, was 50% higher than expected.”

Daniel Gray, War Paint’s founder told The Guardian, “We are finally starting to see men’s makeup become the norm and break the stigma that has been around for years.”

The paper reports the personal care market for men “has grown exponentially over the past decade, and is expected to hit $166bn by 2022, according to Allied Market Research.” This focus on men—for makeup and skincare, goes back more than a decade. Jack Black, which has been selling men’s skincare products for 19 years, say they started their company  because “There were plenty of skincare companies that made luxury, efficacious products for women, but no one was addressing the needs of the modern man.”

According to a report from CBS News global research firm Mintel reports more than two-thirds of Gen Z males in the U.S. are interested in gender-free beauty products, and not just products in traditional masculine packaging (dominated by deep red, green and black colors). Alison Gaither, beauty analyst at Mintel, told CBS News, “9% of Generation Z males (ages 18 to 24) said they use some form of lighter, ‘no-makeup’ makeup, whether it’s tinted moisturizer, BB cream or CC (color correcting) cream.”

Social media plays a big role in driving both these beauty trends. The Guardian notes how “high-profile male beauty influencers like Jeffree Star and James Charles, who became the first male face of Covergirl in 2016, have helped redefine the category, demonstrating that makeup isn’t just for women.” And according to AARP’s report on women, social media not only helps women find new methods for their beauty and personal grooming routines, but also has changed their perception of beauty and personal grooming for the better. The women in the boomer study say another positive aspect of social media for them is it’s “moving consumers away from the norm of air-brushed advertisements.”

While The Guardian says the big beauty brands like Tom Ford and Chanel have launched male beauty products in the last few years, there’s still a lot of opportunity for small players in the market. The beauty business is particularly open to entrepreneurial ventures. I’ve written about that phenomenon for Bank of America’s Small Business Community. The article will be published in a few weeks—keep checking the  above link until it posts.

Beauty stock photo by TheVisualsYouNeed/Shutterstock