Beauty makers are leaving big money on the table, suggests new AARP data

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images \ (Image Source)
© Getty Images \ (Image Source)

Related tags Age group Ageing Menopause data diversity

This year’s AARP Survey of Women’s Reflections on Beauty, Age, and Media finds that women of every age are more likely to purchase cosmetics and personal care products from brands that cater to a true diversity of women, that there’s a sizable space in the market for products that meet the needs and expectations of women over 40, and much more.

The new AARP report, co-authored by Colette Thayer and Angela Houghton (both senior research advisors at AARP), is a compilation of data gathered in partnership with market research company Hotspex, Inc. via an online survey of nearly 2,000 women conducted this past summer.

The executive summary of the 2019 AARP Survey of Women’s Reflections on Beauty, Age, and Media highlights a number of findings, including that “women make a significant investment of time and money in beauty;”​ that “as women age, they have unmet beauty needs;” ​and that “women reward brands that promote real inclusion — including age.”

There’s a big opportunity to create beauty products that meet the expectations of women over 40

“Women ages 50 and older have difficulty finding products tailored to their age,” ​write Thayer and Houghton; and, “70% of women ages 40+ want to see more perimenopausal and menopausal beauty and personal grooming products,” ​according to the AARP data.

Here, beauty startups are leading the way, demonstrating market readiness and actively proving product concepts with consumers 40+. Startups like the hair care brand Better Not Younger, founded by Sonsoles Gonzalez​, and the skin care brand Pause Well-Aging, founded by Rochelle Weitzner​, have developed products expressly for the needs of women who are going through and / or are beyond menopause.

According to AARP, Gen X women (age 39 – 54) use an average of 6 products each day, spend $42 each month on beauty, and spend 41 minutes each day on beauty. Boomer women (age 55 – 73) use 5 products, spend $30 and 38 minutes.

When asked about their unmet beauty needs, 44% of women over 40 want to see more perimenopausal and menopausal skin care products. 33% are looking for more such hair care products; 30% are looking for body care; while 28% are looking for beauty products that address hot flashes and 25% for products that address night sweats.

Women support brands that support a diversity of women

AARP and Hotspex, Inc. found that women of every age think that older adults are not well represented in advertising and would like to see more realistic images of people in beauty advertising.

65% of women over 18 “feel [that] representation of older adults in advertising is inadequate.” ​When broken out by generation, 58% of millennials feel that way, 64% of Gen Xers do, and 74% of boomers.

“Brands can deepen emotional connections with consumers and potentially increase revenue as well,” ​write Thayer and Houghton, as a preface to data showing that well over 80% of all women “feel better about brands that feature a mix of ages in their ads;” ​and that well over 70% of all women (and 79% of boomers) are “more likely to buy from brands that feature a mix of ages in their ads.”

Similarly, 77% of all women surveyed are “more likely to buy from brands that feature people with different body shapes in their ads.”

Find the full 2019 AARP Survey of Women’s Reflections on Beauty, Age, and Media online here.



Deanna Utroske, Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.

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