H E A LT H & B E AU T Y
GREAT HAIR NEVER GETS OLD By Jacob Puck
omen shouldn’t have an expiration date. That philosophy, says Sonsoles Gonzalez, was the impetus for the wildly popular Better Not Younger hair, scalp, and inner-health line geared to the 45+ set. “My passion is to empower women who know and feel like there is still a lot to get done! It’s important for everyone to understand that life doesn’t end at what has been defined as middle age,” says Gonzalez. “Despite what society thinks, women are powerful at this age, and they have an enormous amount of confidence.” Gonzalez, a veteran of Procter and Gamble and L’Oréal, and one of the masterminds behind big name commercial brands like Pantene and Herbal Essences, knows something about hair and scalp . . . and the ways that age impacts their health. “When I retired, I started to realize that there simply weren’t any great hair products for people my age,” says Gonzalez, who is 54. She explains that many are not aware of changes in the body chemistry that impact hair density. More troubling, she says, there are surprisingly few national brands that are formulated to respond to these changes. “I kind of always joked when I reviewed product briefs targeting women 18 to 44: What’s happening with women over 45? The reality is that hair changes a lot, but the brands never addressed it,” she says. As women age, hair follicles shrink and the body produces less sebum, which makes hair drier and thinner. On top of that, women are getting the greys, coloring, and doing other processing that impacts the quality of hair and scalp. “It’s a perfect storm for the hair,” she says.
So, she got to thinking about formulations and branding. “One of the things that was important to me was to ensure that the brand wasn’t about turning back time, but rather celebrating women my age. Most brands only speak to millennials,” she says. “Brands that do speak to older women focus on gardening, or cruise ships, or spending time with their grandchildren.” With that, Better Not Younger was born, and Gonzalez began to change the narrative in the industry, the one that suggested that youth was the only standard of beauty. Better Not Younger, which launched in March as a premium brand, is a collection of treatments designed to respond to a specific age-related hair or scalp concern. They are formulated to handle strands that are fine, fragile, frizzy and chemically-treated, and a dehydrated scalp with diminished follicles. Better Not Younger’s haircare products are packed with essential oils and ceramides, and its Significant Other Hair Fortifying supplements are loaded with biotin, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6, B12, C, and D3 to promote healthy hair growth. “The line is doing exceptionally well,” says Gonzalez, who gives kudos to Matt Kandela and Blake Enting from the New York agency Dear Future for helping articulate the brand’s positioning. “It’s proof that we are still out there, we are having fun, and we want something other than what’s traditionally been offered.”
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