Where Is Boomer Makeup When We Need It?
Boomer Makeup

Written by:

Share

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest
Email
Print

Okay, so she’s Gen X instead of boomer. But that doesn’t mean 56-year-old Pamela Anderson didn’t receive a break-the-internet level of kudos from women a decade her senior when she stepped out makeup-free at Paris Fashion Week last October. That said, where is boomer makeup when we need it?

Laura Geller could not be any more openly pro-age. Featuring a homepage rallying cry of, “Let’s get old together, and look great doing it,” Geller sets forth a refreshing manifesto: “Our mission is to normalize aging and encourage everyone to embrace it. That’s why we decided to exclusively feature women over 40. And we’re not just talking about celebrities. Here, we’re showcasing the beauty of our Geller Gals from around the globe.”

As one of the estimated 38.4M American women born between 1946 and 1964, I found images of Anderson flitting around the French capital bare-faced incredibly empowering. And now, in true renegade fashion, Anderson has upended all that by signing on with Smashbox Cosmetics to front its new ad campaign. Not specifically a boomer makeup play, it nonetheless capitalizes on the renewed interest in all things Anderson. 

Appearing in a new ad for the Estée Lauder-owned brand’s bestselling Photo Finish Primer, Anderson nods to her signature 90s makeup look: pouty, pink-meets-red lips and smoky eyes topped by razor-thin brows. 

One thing seemed different in the Smashbox ad, though – all the freckles. I definitely didn’t remember those from Anderson’s Baywatch-era heyday.  A bit of social media sleuthing tells me I’m right on the money; visible freckles are a new flex for the multi-hyphenate star. “I’d rather show my freckles,” Anderson shared in a February 2023 Instagram post. “It’s fun getting old. It’s a relief. And at a certain age, we just look younger and fresher without makeup.”

When Bare-Faced Doesn’t Feel All That Beautiful  

Although she’s every bit the champion of owning your age, I’m not sure 66-year-old Bobbi Brown would agree with Anderson on that last point.

During a recent Zoom call to share her upcoming Jones Road product launches, Brown railed against the phrase “woman of a certain age” and repeatedly circled back to the idea that older females like herself often crave the confidence boost they can get with just a few simple makeup steps: evening out their complexions with foundation where they need it, adding a dab of color to washed-out cheeks and defining less-than-perky peepers with brow tint, liner and mascara.

Walking the talk, Brown even had a stunning silver-haired model in tow to demo new products like The Neutralizer Pencil. In case you’re wondering, the just-launched beautifier is for covering dark circles, yet another beauty bugaboo that worsens with age.

But while Jones Road has done an outstanding job in its three short years of attracting customers of all ages, there’s no question that the brand’s marketing skews younger. Case in point: of the nine women featured on its home page right this second, only one looks older than her 20s.

One Brand That’s Openly Wooing the Mature Market

In contrast to Jones Road, the website for Laura Geller could not be any more openly pro-age. Featuring a homepage rallying cry of, “Let’s get old together, and look great doing it,” Geller sets forth a refreshing manifesto: “Our mission is to normalize aging and encourage everyone to embrace it. That’s why we decided to exclusively feature women over 40. And we’re not just talking about celebrities. Here, we’re showcasing the beauty of our Geller Gals from around the globe. Because we’re ALL worthy of the spotlight at every phase of life.”

A quick peek at the vast gallery of Geller Gals, who range in age from 40s to 70s, and it’s clear that these women relish feeling not just seen, but actively marketed to.

All that customer love and appreciation appears to be working; now in its 27th year, the Laura Geller brand does 73 percent of its DTC business with women 40 and up. In 2021, the year she herself turned 63, Geller made that pledge to showcase only women over 40 in the brand’s marketing and advertising. That same year, she even went so far as to create National Mature Women’s Day, now celebrated every April 9.

Although her brand was acquired in 2019 by AS Beauty, Geller has stayed onboard and continues to formulate products for her chosen target market. “Mature skin typically is drier, with less collagen, and has some lines and wrinkles,” says Geller, who is also a QVC superstar and currently reigns as its longest-running beauty ambassador. “Among other issues, those are the ones we keep in mind when we develop our products. I always say that if it works on my skin, it’ll work on our customers.”

And Before That, There Was Boom! by Cindy Joseph

For anyone who’s unfamiliar with the tiny but mighty brand Boom!, widely considered the first-ever pro-age cosmetics line, allow me to dispense some sad news right up front:  Founder and pro-aging pioneer Cindy Joseph, a makeup artist who later segued to a highly successful stint as a silver-haired model, lost her battle with cancer in 2018.

But guess what? The now 13-year-old brand, which was jointly acquired by Farragut Capital Partners and Juggernaut Capital Partners in 2021, appears to be doing just fine. With estimated revenues of $5M and more than 200K Instagram followers, its strong POV has engendered a loyal – and vocal – fan base.

Still aimed squarely at the mature market, the brand’s tightly edited collection of multi-use products, including its flagship Boomstick for cheeks, lips and eyes, was crafted to streamline a busy woman’s makeup routine.

While I haven’t tried the brand’s organic skincare, I can vouch for the quality of Boom! makeup. Not only do I regularly use multiple shades of Boomstick, Boom Bright mascara and Boom Brow tinted mousse are VIPs in my cosmetics bag. Along with the great quality, the fact that Boom! actively courts women my age is icing on the cake.

So, Why Isn’t the Boomer Makeup Sector Bigger?

In an era of billion-dollar makeup brands, $5M in annual revenue can sound paltry in comparison. And it would be easy to assume that marketing makeup directly to older women simply isn’t worth it. 

But I’m not buying that idea. I just think it hasn’t been done yet in a big, splashy, “let’s throw some real money behind this” way. According to a Q3 2023 report by the Federal Reserve, Americans 55+ own 72 percent of the nation’s wealth. Moreover, this amount has climbed in the past few years, while younger generations are steadily losing financial ground.

At Orveon Global, which owns three very different and highly successful makeup brands – Laura Mercier, bareMinerals and Buxom – Chief Revenue Officer Brinn Garner says the goal is to serve all women, not just one particular age cohort.

Still, one of the biggest trends in beauty – the so-called “skinification” of makeup, in which potent skincare ingredients sit right alongside pigment – dovetails perfectly with what the mature consumer is looking for. Often dubbed “hybrids,” these makeup-meets-skincare products deliver a lot of bang for the buck.

“We’ve seen an increase in skincare-related ingredients and upgrades that help target certain skin conditions and common issues, which helps customers seeking more all-in-one products,” says Garner. “Catering to different ages, skin types and textures is one of our R&D goals, and something we know is particularly important to the older demographic of shoppers.”

Despite the fact that Garner says Orveon doesn’t target a specific age group, she certainly sounds besotted with the boomers’ younger sisters. “In the U.S., Gen X women hold a beauty spending power of $15T and outspend all other generations, including Gen Z and millennials,” she says. “Gen X shoppers are pivotal to Orveon’s growth, and investing in mature, skin-approved formulas that reflect hybrid formats remains an ongoing priority.”

Just think how ground-breaking it would be if Orveon’s superstar brand, the estimated $380M Laura Mercier, stepped up and said, “Welcome, boomers.” After all, Laura Mercier herself is 63.

Related

Articles

Scroll to Top
the Daily Report

Insights + Interviews right to your inbox.