May 2013

Jacqueline Munoz

Strictly for Students| by Maggie Cruz


The Senior Beauty Scene

They were the LOVE generation and never thought they would be described as seniors. But, there they are -- the Baby Boomers! They have come of age and passed it!

They are now retiring; have more disposable income than seniors before them; want to look young longer and are willing to pay for it.

Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964, and they make up a huge percentage of the population and a huge part of your beauty business. As these baby boomers age, their hair ages as well, and it's just not acceptable to have old hair.

They don't mind aging gracefully; they just don't want to look old. The Baby Boomer generation is mostly made up of fit, smart, consumer savvy customers, and if you market to them, you will increase your business.

First and foremost, most of this generation does not want to be gray before they have to, and some have figured out that by being educated consumers and salon patrons their hair can look as natural as it did when they were young.

Of course, we all know that seven out of 10 people still do their color at home, and you can tell those that opt for grocery store box color from the professional haircolor done properly by the look of the color itself. Professional haircolor looks natural, shiny and like the haircolor they had when they were young, even if it's not the color they were born with.

Box color and home color jobs look unnatural, because it has a strange brittle look and can make a beautiful red look more like Ronald Mac Donald. Making sure that our Baby Boomers understand their hair can look great with our professional touch is just a matter of good marketing and education. Baby Boomers generally don't cut their own hair, so when they come in for the haircut or blow dry; we have the perfect opportunity to explain how and why we can improve on that kitchen hair color.

As we age, our hair thins and becomes more brittle, not to mention the loss of pigment that creates gray hair. Those who had thin hair to begin with are even more cursed -- they didn't have those luscious locks to begin with and now every morning, it's a struggle to recreate a look that resembles how you looked 20 years ago.

Companies have moved into the anti-aging market with wonderful products aimed at women over 40. These products, as well as many others, have been created with vitamins, essential oils and scalp cleansers to cleanse, enrich and nourish mature hair.

There are a multitude of products designed for thin hair which can make thin hair fuller without weighing it down. The problem with a lot of the products is that they coat our thin hair and make it flatter than it was which is exactly what we don't want to happen.

As with our bodies, though, it's not just what we put on our hair that matters; we have to eat healthy and perhaps take vitamins and supplements for good hair. Biotin, B Complex vitamins and others help to grow healthier hair and there are also topical products like minoxidal that increases the diameter of each hair strand and creates the illusion of thicker, stronger hair.

Baby Boomers also have aging parents, which presents another opportunity for senior services. Just as Baby Boomers want to look good as long as they can, they want their parents to look good, too. Some of these parents are still active and can visit a salon, but unfortunately, some are confined to a convalescent home or just not able to go to a salon and get services.

There are mobile salons that will come to seniors' homes and provide hair care and nail services, as well as salons in convalescent homes. Some of these convalescent homes have hairdressers on staff and some depend on volunteers. If you want to really give back and feel good about doing something for someone who cannot help themselves, think about donating one day a week at one of these places.

Beauty schools also have days when they go to senior centers and homes to do nails and hair cuts for the residents, which are fun for the students, as well as very rewarding. There are also outreach programs such as Caremore that will bring the residents to the school to get services, which allows them to get out for a bit and also get a little makeover. It is great to see the young beauty school student take an elderly senior by the hand and lead them back to the station for some much needed grooming -- they both get so much from this experience.

The senior beauty scene is very much alive and can be an extremely profitable focus for you as you build your clientele. Marketing to seniors who have disposable income means more hair color services, more retail as you suggest products to thicken and protect, and an extremely loyal client base, as these clients have to have their hair done in order to keep the re-growth at bay and they don't mind paying for it. Additionally, taking care of those who can no longer care for their own hair will feed your soul... is there a better twosome?

Maggie Cruz, is director of the Marinello Schools of Beauty, one of the premier beauty schools on the West Coast offering a variety of cosmetology and esthetics programs with 62 campuses located in California, Connecticut, Kansas, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Utah and also offers affordable spa and salon services performed by student stylists under the supervision of instructors. For more information, go to