Fifty, Female and Forgotten?


Kim Cattrall recently became the celebrity face for Olay Total Effects 7-in-1 Advanced Anti-Aging Body Wash.”I’m 54, and Olay isn’t scared to put a woman of my age up on a poster for their campaign,” she commented. “I think that communicates an incredible message for women everywhere.” Cattrall and Olay are the exceptions.

Sharon Stone, Raquel Welch, Christie Brinkley, Valerie Bertinelli, Sela Ward, Jaclyn Smith and Kim Basinger are all over 50, and rank at #1-7 on StyleBistro’s list of most beautiful women who are 50 or older.

And yet they are all being passed over and excluded by the beauty industry, according to a recent AARP Media Sales report which found that nearly two-thirds of women in that age group feel forgotten, while 70% don’t identify with beauty products geared towards a younger demo.[more]

There are currently 13 million more women age 50+ than in 1996, over three times the growth of women age 18-49, and US census data projections include an upwards spiral from 54 million in 2011 to over 64 million by 2021.

AARP Media Sales reports that women 50+ account for 40% of all hand/body moisturizers, lipstick and lip gloss, foundation, nail care products, perfume and cologne usage in the U.S., and that facial moisturizer usage in that demo has increased by 10 points in the last 15 years. Simultaneously, usage by women 18-34 and 35-49 has dropped four points and six points, respectively.  

 “Turning 50 in no way means that women lose interest in their appearance,” explains AARP Media Sales research director Mark Bradbury in an AARP release.  “A majority of our members tell us that looking young is a priority and that they research beauty products on their own because they find beauty product advertising to be unrealistic.”

Certain lifestyle changes including 23% of women 50+ working in out-of-home jobs, and 60% more likely to be single, divorced or separated.

And then there’s Ellen and her Cover Girl campaign that defies all convention. “I really, honestly think it’s confidence, not cockiness — and kindness and compassion. That’s the go-to to be beautiful,” she says.

Perhaps the beauty industry will get kinder, and smarter, as more beauties hit 50+.