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Beauty Over 50 – The Niche Opportunity: Fiona Klonarides Interview, Founder of the Beauty Shortlist

Fiona Klonarides is one of the UK’s most influential beauty bloggers and founder of the Beauty Shortlist, an honest edit of the best beauty products on the market today.

Fiona’s job is to evaluate the huge number of products launched each year, so is ideally placed to provide a view on the beauty industry’s approach to targeting women aged 50 and older.

I’m delighted to share her views with you in this week’s blog.

Women over 50 represent a large and growing percentage of the population. Do you think that beauty brands are doing enough to target their needs?

In a word – no!

If products are targeted at more mature skin, they’re usually lost in a sea called, rather vaguely, ‘anti-ageing’.

By 50 you have your favourite brands, but at 50 you’re also probably thinking, “OK, this used to work but I need to step things up now”.

Chances are you’re looking around for more high performance, age-targeted (even hormone-targeted) skincare.

Which brands do we associate specifically with the 50+ demographic? Jane Fonda for L’Oreal, Stratum C and Ark Skincare’s Age Aware ranges all spring to mind and there are more but not that many in the big picture.

Clarins and Perricone are good at addressing specific needs – firming, lifting, hormonal changes, puffiness, etc. I also like Studio 10’s new contouring makeup range.

You always see ‘search by category’ and ‘by concern’ or ‘by skin type’ on websites but rarely do you see ‘search by age!’

Do you have a category in your Awards for beauty products aimed at the older consumer?

We may well for 2015 as that topic keeps coming up in discussions here in the office.

What do you think frustrates older consumers most about beauty products?

Not knowing where to start and finding the right product for their individual skin concern.

I’ve recommended specific products for women aged about 45-55, often by a brand they’ve never heard of and the feedback is, “I’m so glad you suggested this night cream/whatever, it’s made such a difference”.

If you’re judging beauty awards every year, as we do, you get to see the market from an eagle-eye perspective which is priceless.

But if you’re an older consumer, you could burn through a lot of money before you find the right products for your skin age and type.

I think brands could spell it out more clearly. Less of the “anti-aging” moniker, more specific “ideal for skin 30+, 40+, etc.” labelling, but I can also understand them not wanting to “ghetto-ise” a skin product age-wise.

Why do you think big brands aren’t responding to the needs of older women?

Good question. Beauty is not age-specific yet we seem to think beauty = youth. But age taboos are being blown away as we speak.

Charlotte Rampling is the new face of NARS at 68; you have Catherine Deneuve (70) for Louis Vuitton and Jacky O’Shaughnessy (62) for American Apparel.

We’re seeing the rise and rise of the older woman and it’s a very healthy trend. The media is paving the way and age-specific products and brands will follow.

In your experience as a beauty blogger and journalist, are there any beauty brands that have got it right in terms of addressing the needs of older women?

The most obvious one is probably Ark Skincare’s “Age Repair for skin 50s and beyond”.

Tell it like it is.

Do you think there should be more older women advertising beauty brands?

100% yes!

The more older women we see advertising beauty brands, the more older consumers will identify with them and hopefully the less youth-clinging society will become.

I like Elle Macpherson’s approach to beauty. She just turned 50 in March and, for her, wellbeing and beauty are inseparable. When you have energy, confidence, you accept who you are and where you’re at with a happy heart, 50 becomes the new 35.

What do niche brands bring to beauty that makes them well equipped to serve the over 50s market?

I think the dept store counters – Lancome, YSL, Clinique, Clarins, etc. will probably move closer to age-specific marketing over time but it might be the niche brands that get there first.

There’s money to made here for the brands that move the fastest.

The 2nd edition of IMA’s Older Women Report will be out this Autumn and will provide exclusive research on the demographic’s attitudes to beauty, the trends that are driving their product choices and case studies of brands that are successfully winning over this valuable market.

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(4) Comments

  1. Although there are a few new brands catering specifically for the more mature woman, Studio 10, Phytomone and Cult 51 come to mind, it amazes me that the over 50s have been pretty much side-lined by the major cosmetic companies. Considering that we make up such a large proportion of customers with disposable income, doesn’t this make poor commercial sense?
    We need products, ranging from skin and hair care to makeup that target our specific needs.

    How many beautiful eye palettes have you bought that end up in the drawer, forgotten, because the majority of the pans are filled with shimmery, frosted or glittery powders? These are just not suitable for us !

    What about foundations that seem to “slide” off your face as the day goes by? Our skin changes quite dramatically during and after menopause and its so hard to find foundation that lasts and doesn’t make your face look like a mask !

    We want products that work and we need proof of that.
    I for one , am tired of marketing hype….I want to know that what I’m buying is going to work for my over 50s skin !
    Thats why I started my blog at to provide information about what is actually in the products we use and if they work as claimed by the manufacturers.

    OK rant over 🙂

  2. Thanks for your comments on this emotive subject! You raise a very interesting point about make-up and skincare formulations. One size definitely does not fit all, despite the trend for multi-functional products such as BB and CC creams which simply cannot suit all skins as most are marketed to do so.

    So why are the big beauty brands ignoring older women’s needs? It can’t be because there’s no money in it -this is the fastest growing demographic but also the most under-represented and under-served by the beauty industry. If you are a big brand and are reading this, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

    Best regards


  3. What Alka says is spot on. Our skin changes, so products vaguely labelled “anti-ageing” are for which age, exactly?? Like us, our skin behaves differently according to its age and how well we look after it – and ourselves 😉

    I totally agree with you Imogen, this is a “niche” age group with money to spend – amazing that there’s just a sprinkling of brands targeting the 50+ age group (or even the 40-45+ demographic, when you take into account how massive this global industry is)…?

    I’ve been watching the launch of a few new brands for teenage and 20+ skin, so perhaps brands will start to balance out the opposite end of the market. The ones who get there first by clearly targeting an older age demographic stand to do very nicely out of it so it’s an interesting space to keep an eye on…

    And thank you for having me on Premium Beauty for this Q&A. Great questions!

  4. As a menopausal woman of 53, I knew my skin was now going to need a upgrade after being robbed of oestrogen, which is a vital hormone for skin health and collagen production.
    After working with menopausal women for many years advising on skin health, diet and lifestyle, I was only too well aware there was a huge gap in the market for products which would correct the effect lack of oestrogen has on the skin. It was this sheer frustration that led me to develop my own collection based around a rich source of plant hormones. We launched Phytomone last year and is now available in Fortnum & Mason and John Bell & Croyden as well as online.
    Happy to offer any advice on skin care concerns during menopause 🙂

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