#StoriesOfStyle: Turning The Beauty Industry On Its Head: Why I Decided To Start A Haircare Brand That Embraces Age

On my mission to champion style at every age and change the narrative around ageing, I've come across and met lots of women who share my values. But it's easy to end up in a bubble, forgetting that the vast majority of society still hasn't caught up. Case in point: this week, 29 year-old pop star Bebe Rexha was told she's now 'too old' to be sexy by a male music exec. 

One thing that often snaps me back to reality is when talking to brands who claim to be targeting 40+ women. 30 seconds in and it's abundantly clear they are stuck in the past, resting on outdated stereotypes, patronising messages and offensive imagery. So, when I come across a brand for women over 40 that actually sees and celebrates them for the strong, modern, sexy women they are today, that's a pretty big deal. Enter: Better Not Younger

Better Not Younger is a luxury haircare brand dedicated to the hair needs of women over 40 - whether that's greying & silver hair, repair, or thinning. Whilst US based, they do ship internationally and my mum (a very tough critic) already loves their products: "their shampoo and conditioner leaves my hair in good condition, and when my hair feels a little dry I use the serum which I like a lot as livens it up".

However, believing that beauty is not defined by age, founder Sonsoles's mission goes beyond wanting all women to have great hair; it's about reinforcing that age can't stop us, and that women become more powerful as they age...

Author: Sonsoles Gonzalez

I sometimes wake up and think I am crazy for starting Better Not Younger. 

Before this, I had worked in huge beauty corporations around the world for decades. Pantene, Herbal Essences, L’Oreal Paris, Maybelline. Growing up in the beauty industry you do start becoming more aware of your age.  Every product innovation and marketing campaign is targeted to women 18-44. Brands put millions of dollars behind a myopic narrative around aging and beauty that’s driven by its obsession with youth. Images of adolescent models with long, thick, shiny hair –one of the ultimate societal symbols of beauty, fertility and health.

Starting my company was important to me for so many reasons. As I reached and then passed the 45-year old marketing tipping point, I struggled to find products that could work with my changing hair. That’s where the idea for BNY started.

But it was more important than just having great looking hair. The bigger mission is about reinforcing that age can’t stop us. Women become more powerful as we age. We become more comfortable with ourselves. We get BETTER as we grow older.  We settle into ourselves and stop worrying about trying to fit in. 

For whatever reason, society is still catching up to this fact, even though there will be 51 million women over 50 in the US alone in 2020 (with $15 trillion in spending power no less). 

When we were younger, we were all about fitting in. Us women are generally insecure beings and our own worst critics especially in our 20s and 30s, and so we look to society AKA the media for trends and cues we can adopt to fit in, to be seen as “cool” or “in fashion”. 

I remember being in my 20s in the 80s when perms and Sun-in were the rage a la Tawny Kitaen in that famous Whitesnake video, or conversely super short haircuts that complemented power suits with shoulder pads as more women entered the boardroom, feeling they needed to adopt more “masculine” cues to fit in.  In the 90s, when I was in my 30s, the “Rachel” was all the rage … and so on. 

Fast forward to today in my 50s, and society is still telling me what the “best haircuts are over 50” if I want to age gracefully and not look outdated. Usually a pixie, or bob, or above shoulder length layered style to offset thinning hair, dyed a blondish or caramel hue to cover those grey hairs. 

However, I’m seeing change. As the narrative changes around what it means to be a women 45+, hair is following suit. Women are starting to take more chances, express themselves through their hair, not worry so much about how they will be perceived, but instead focusing on how they want to feel. I am seeing Salma Hayek and Cate Blanchett rock cotton candy pink hair, mature women on the streets of New York with green hair, or 50+ models on Instagram with waist length natural grey hair. Women are slowly being released from the clutches of ageism inch by inch, in every area of their lives whether it’s their style, career, or yes…even their hair.  And it’s something I’m enormously grateful to be a part of.

 

As a special offer to all the-Bias-Cut.com followers, Better Not Younger are offering 20% OFF any of their products with code WAYBETTERHAIR20 - head over to Better-NotYounger.com to enjoy! 

About The Author

Sonsoles Gonzalez is the founder of Better Not Younger, the first holistic hair care brand specifically designed for women 45+. After 25 years working on haircare brands for Procter & Gamble and L'Oreal (Gonzalez was the former global brand franchise leader for Pantene), she started noticing changes in her own hair when she hit her late 40s. Recognizing there were no hair care brands talking to women 45+, Gonzalez used her knowledge, network and passion to create a solution for women like herself and champion her mission to change the way the beauty industry thinks of women as they age.
Find out more at Better-NotYounger.com

Leave a comment