Justin Timberlake's lesson on ageing female beauty

Boomer and older women now make up more than 40% of the beauty consumer market.In an excellent post on Engage Boomers Mark Bradbury, director of integrated marketing and insights for AARP Media Sales, explains that beauty companies may ignore the underlying reality of this slice of life, that a woman’s beauty matters at every age and that they they increasingly do so at their own peril. He uses the video of Justin Timberlake’s song ‘Mirror’ featuring Justin’s grandparents, to illustrate the reality and beauty of self image in age.

Some stats; Before Boomer women began turning 50, just 31% of beauty product use came from women 50 and older. That number is now 44%, and it includes 51% of lipstick/lip gloss, 50% of at-home hair colour, 50% of facial moisturiser, 49% of blusher, 45% of nail care, and 44% of foundation use. (Source: Gfk MRI)

While those market shares are impressive, even more so is the fact that age has virtually no impact on the frequency of use. Eighty-one percent of women age 18-49 use cosmetics and skincare weekly, compared to 79% of women 50-59, 80% of 60-69, and 75% of women 70+.

Vibrant Nation reported that just one in ten women over 50 buy the same skincare and cosmetics products they used in their 30s and 40s, and just half use the same brands. While brand loyalty is vulnerable at this life stage, consumers don’t get the sense that beauty companies care. A majority of women 50+ tell us they have been forgotten by the beauty industry and are left to research beauty products on their own —a result of finding today’s advertising unrealistic.

So what do women 50+ want from the beauty industry? The same thing Justin Timberlake’s grandparents share – a committed relationship that evolves with them at every stage of life. For beauty execs willing to move their companies in that direction, here are some things to keep in mind about women 50+:

  • Her thoughts about beauty may change over time, but it will always be a daily priority.
  • She embraces her beauty for what it is—unique, individual, and far from perfect. You should, too.
  • She wants to be attractive on her terms, not someone else’s, so she’s more interested in products that help her express her uniqueness than she is in following the latest trends.
  • She’s dealing with dramatic age-related changes to her hair and skin, and she needs customized solutions and products that work for her now.
  • She’s willing to make a meaningful investment in beauty, but she doesn’t want to waste her time and money on products that don’t work, so deliver products that provide a high level of performance.
  • She wants to hear from experts, and she wants proof that products work. This gives her confidence that she is buying the best products for her specific needs.
  • Getting beauty advice from others is an important part of her decision-making process, so find ways to drive word of mouth among her peers.
  • She wouldn’t mind if you made beauty fun again. She only hears from you about anti-aging products, but she’s still interested in experimentation and creativity. (As long as she doesn’t have to sacrifice performance in the process.)
  • She wants to hear from you on a regular basis, not only every now and then. That’s no way to maintain a strong relationship or to win her loyalty.