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

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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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