Hair After 50? That Is The Question, For Both Women And Men
Advertising usually reflects the genuine needs and concerns of the consumers it was designed to reach. If you looked at advertising for hair products targeting men and women over 50, you would think that the two genders had very different needs and concerns.
For men, it would be clear that they are concerned about hair loss. Every publication that reaches men 50+ features ads for hair treatments and transplants. And not just print ads; there are infomercials, digital advertising and pharmaceutical sales reps all focused on solving the crisis of thinning hair for men over 50.
For women, you would imagine that their hair concerns remain constant as they age; most advertising promotes an age-neutral message about beauty and color, and almost none mention this taboo topic.
Google search results tell a different story, however, and we have known for a long time that Baby Boomer women are as concerned about thinning hair as men are as they age. A leading source of visits to our site (where women 45+ connect on issues unique to their stage of life) are searches from women who struggle with fine and thinning hair but don’t know where to turn for information or advice.
In a recent survey we conducted, nearly 1,000 women over 50 confirmed these results: thinning hair is the #1 hair concern for Boomer women as they cross the line into midlife.
That doesn’t mean they don’t worry about graying hair, too. In fact, most women who color their hair say they do so to cover up the gray. But many of them have been covering up gray for many years. Hair usually starts to go gray before age 50 and for many people is a long-term adult condition, not new to middle age.
For most women, thinning hair is an issue unique to their post-menopausal lives. And for those with increasingly fine or thin hair, everything they do for their hair takes this into consideration. Thirty-six percent of those who color their hair say they do so to give their hair extra body and thickness. They also seek haircuts and styles that minimize the look of thin hair.
This means that all business that serve the hair needs of vibrant women 50+ should be addressing this issue.
It is true that brands that directly address hair loss have started talking to women about this condition. Rogaine has introduced a line of products for women only. And if you’re looking for “Sy Sperling’s Hair Club for Men,” which you may remember from its original commercials, you’ll find it only under the gender-neutral name “Hair Club.” These brands understand that women make up an important part of their customer base and an even more important source of growth.
But few haircare brands, and few stylists, are directly addressing the same concerns. Maybe that’s why 62% of our survey respondents said that brands are not addressing their hair needs in midlife.
It’s not always easy to talk about thinning hair. But companies that talk about it to men over 50 while failing to do the same with women – especially in digital communication, naturally suited to sensitive topics like this – are missing the fact that the most important topic about hair after 50, for both men and for women, is losing it.