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Why I started Better Not Younger

A lot of women have asked why I decided to start Better Not Younger in my 50s, so thought I’d share my story with you.

 

For over 28 years, I worked in the beauty industry as a senior executive at P&G and L'Oreal, running global brands that included Pantene while balancing all the other roles in my life: wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend. I remember sitting in meetings with our Marketing and R&D (Research & Development) teams talking about products we’d launch, and almost always the conversation focused on women 18-44. I used to joke, “What happens when women turn 45, they disappear?” One day that joke wasn’t so funny, it was me.

 

Once you peel back the layers, you start to see clearly the ageism that permeates the industry.

 

The myopic narrative about aging and beauty.

 

The obsession with youth and the damage that this does to us women.

 

You also notice the effort that goes into creating products for younger women vs older women.

 

Trust me, to the R&D departments at the big brands, older women are an afterthought.

 

Fast forward a few years. I was 51, recently retired, and noticing big changes in my hair which I knew were related to both aging and menopause. My hair just felt dry and looked really dull, there was a lot more hair in the shower drain, and to top it all off, my once full, lush ponytail had shrunk to half its size! My hair had changed, but my haircare routine hadn’t (I’d been using the same shampoo and conditioner since my 30s). So I started looking around for products that addressed ‘aging hair’ needs and lo and behold, there were none to be found. 

 

Around that same time, I was realizing I wasn’t at all ready for retirement. I looked at ads on TV that featured women my age playing with grandkids, or going on cruises, getting into walk-in bathtubs or gardening and I thought “that’s just not how my friends and I look, or live!”. Women our age are different than the 50-year old women of generations past. We are sexy, and confident, stylish and successful and 50 million strong in the US alone. So, why are we still so often misrepresented - or underrepresented - in the media. 

 

When I started struggling to find products that could work with my changing hair, the idea for Better Not Younger really came to fruition. I wanted to create a brand for women who believe that beauty is not defined by age. A brand that would address the changes that your hair faces as you age.

 

I reconnected with old beauty colleagues, and partnered with an MIT chemist who knew how hormonal and physiological changes related to aging affected hair health. 

 

Together, we developed a line of high quality, clean, sulfate-free, paraben-free and cruelty-free products that included scalp care and supplements, because we knew that a healthy scalp environment and getting your body the nutrients it needs to feed growing follicles were essential to having your best hair after 40 . You can see them all HERE.

 

We also decided our products would be “free” of B.S. claims, because let’s face it – at our age we’ve had to endure years of false promises from the beauty industry and all my experience in the beauty industry taught me that to succeed, my products needed to be the best.

 

Today, as a first time fiftypreneur and founder, I’m doing things that I’ve never done before. I’m taking financial risks. I’m putting pressure on my home life and my relationships. I’m working day and night. From the outside, I might sound like I am having a mid-life crisis - but I prefer to call it a mid-life renaissance! And I know it is the right thing to do because I haven’t been this excited about something for a long time.

 

So, welcome to our community of over 150,000 empowered women (and counting) who believe they can look better without looking younger.

 

Sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of our homepage here or get in touch with me directly at sonsoles@better-notyounger.com if you are excited by this mission. 

 

xo, Sonsoles