Older Women: Why the Anti-Ageing Message Doesn’t Work


Looking younger is an obsession in today’s society.

So naturally, beauty brands focus on anti-ageing, which is the number one claim amongst skincare brands.

But there comes a time in a woman’s life when she knows it’s pointless trying to wipe years off her face and she starts to accept that wrinkles are a natural part of getting older.

That’s the message that came through loud and clear from our latest consumer survey* into what older women really think about beauty.

Overwhelmingly, once women reach mid-life they stop fretting about whether they have a few wrinkles. They are a lot more comfortable in their skin.

This new research reinforces the findings in our 2012 report Older Women: The Forgotten Demographic, which showed that women over 50 deemed the term “anti-ageing” to be both negative and unachievable.

We recommended that brands should drop the term when targeting women over 50 and find more relevant descriptors, such as “pro-ageing” or “healthy ageing”.

Two years on and with fresh insights, I would go even further and say that “ageing” needs to be dropped from pack copy altogether.

Judging from the anti-ageing claims made by the majority of skincare brands, it seems that the beauty industry hasn't yet woken up to what older women really want.

Our exclusive research showed that women have very specific ideas on the innovations they'd like to see from the cosmetics industry.

Many of these product ideas are currently absent from the market and offer a real opportunity to brands who can get there first.

So which brands are doing it right?

The research demonstrated that it's niche brands that have made it their business to understand older women and produce relevant products for their needs.

White Hot Hair is a specialist haircare line for grey/white hair that is glamorous, playful and loud and proud about grey hair.

Studio 10 is a dedicated range of make-up specifically formulated for ageing skin that provides the right texture, pigment, finish and colour.

Stratum C™ is the first skincare range scientifically developed for menopausal skin which contains large quantities of active ingredients proven to deliver long-term collagen growth and wrinkle-reducing properties.

We have yet to see any major initiatives by the bigger companies aimed at maximising the potential of older women, the growth demographic.

If the beauty industry fails to face up to the mismatch between consumer expectations and product promises it stands to miss out on one of the biggest opportunities in decades.

*COMING SOON: an important new study into what older women really think about shopping for beauty, the products they use and how brands and retailers can successfully target this group.