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Cosmetics makers pitch new image of beauty

The beauty business — from cosmetics to skin care to fashion — is banking on aging boomers big spending. Older icons, like Christie Brinkley to Bob Dylan, are being enlisted to make the industry's new pitch.
/ Source: CNBC

Why would a woman of a certain age take makeup advice from a youngster in a micro-miniskirt at the mall? 

Revlon asked that question, and in response the cosmetics giant has launched a whole new brand aimed at boomer women called Vital Radiance. The company is hoping to add $200 million in new sales to its $2.5 billion business.

So why separate Vital Radiance from the well-known Revlon brand?

"It's a different consumer group with specialized needs, that we wanted her to know this is for her," said Executive Vice President Stephanie Klein-Peponis. "It's not about turning back the clock. It is about getting her the formula, the system, the shades and the tools to optimize what she has today".

Can the 50-plus woman be beautiful? Absolutely, says Peponis. And the beauty business is banking on it — from cosmetics to skin care to fashion. Older icons — from Christie Brinkley to Bob Dylan — are being enlisted to pitch a new standard in beauty.

“I think one of the great myths that we have is that women don't age as well as men, said Sallie Foley, author of Sex & Love For Grownups. “If you look around, women are aging fantastically.”

In fact, market research finds boomers on average see themselves as 12 years younger than they are and plan on living longer than their actual life expectancy.

“If you have a product or service or company that can help boomers fulfill that quest for vitality in any aspect, you'll be successful over the next 30 to 40 years,” said Matt Thornhill, president of The Boomer Project, a market research and consulting firm.

So retailer Gap Inc. launched Forth and Towne for the boomer set. Market data also finds well over half of the spending on women’s apparel in the U.S. is by women over 45.

And 50-something models like Cheryl Tiegs and Christie Brinkley are back in vogue, if not on the cover of Vogue.

“It's a mind-set where we don't think we're old,” said Tiegs.