Older US women feel under-represented in the beauty industry

Many women want to see a wider range of ages in beauty advertising

Much has been made of the way millennials have changed the beauty industry -- but large numbers of older American women reportedly feel ignored by the business.

According to the results of a national survey of almost 2,000 women, 40% of Gen-X women (aged 39-54) and 53% of Boomer women (aged 55-73) disagreed with the statement "the beauty and personal grooming product industry creates products with people my age in mind."

The report, titled "Mirror/Mirror: Survey of Women's Reflections of Beauty, Image and Media," also found that 64% of Gen X women and 74% of Boomer women feel that older adults are underrepresented when it comes to beauty advertising. Across both age groups, more than 70% of participants said they would be more likely to shop from brands that showcase people of a variety of ages in their ads -- and 76% of Millennial respondents (aged 22-38) agreed. Altogether, 85% of participants, regardless of age, stated they wished ads portrayed more realistic images of people.

Age diversity is clearly important for beauty consumers across the board -- and, as the report highlights, women age 50 and older spend an average of $29 per month on beauty and personal grooming products. This figure amounts to almost $22 billion annually.

Some brands have made public attempts to champion age-inclusivity over recent years: model and actress Lauren Hutton, 75, was made an ambassador of skincare company StriVectin earlier this year, while Dame Helen Mirren and Andie MacDowell both took to the catwalk in September for the L'Oréal Paris show during Paris Fashion Week. RoC Skincare addressed the issue of ageism in 2017, signing up actress Thandie Newton to front a social media campaign called ‘For Your Age' that drew attention to the potentially negative language and phrasing commonly used in reference to age. In the same year, makeup brand CoverGirl snapped up the then-69-year-old model Maye Musk as an ambassador.

"Mirror/Mirror: Survey of Women's Reflections of Beauty, Image and Media" was conducted in July 2019 by the non-profit organization AARP. For the full results, see www.aarp.org/womenonbeauty