Miami-Based Sonsoles Gonzalez Has ALL The Answers For Aging Hair
If you’re past the age of 40, have you ever wondered: “WHAT, in the name of all that is holy, is going on with my hair? It used to be so thick, so lush, so shiny, so well-behaved. And now it’s like that straw witch’s broomstick I use to decorate my front porch for Halloween.”
The crack team behind Better Not Younger, the sharp as a tack hair brand targeted to women in their late 40s and beyond, have been pondering all this - and so many other “aging hair” issues we’re not even aware of - to the max. And in so doing, they’ve come up with an innovative, cool-looking line that addresses each and every one of the 40+ crowd’s needs.
To find out more, we conducted a virtual sit-down with Sonsoles Gonzalez, the co-founder and CEO of Better Not Younger (BNY, for short). A 30-year veteran of the beauty business, Gonzalez, 55, has held multiple high-ranking positions at Procter & Gamble and L’Oréal, cranking out product after product for women in the 18 to 44 y.o. age bracket. Now, with BNY, she’s safeguarding the beauty future for us older broads.
Love that! Thank you, Sonsoles!!!!
Okay, off we go…
FBP: Do some women - either through their genetic heritage or avoidance of excessive chemical processing - escape the fate of aging hair?
GONZALEZ: Changes in aging hair like thinning and brittleness are driven by hormonal variations as well as nutritional deficiencies and wear and tear. The natural hormone variations we experience as we age are unavoidable, but we can minimize the impact on our hair by providing essential nutrients hair loses with the passing of time, and stimulating and detoxifying our follicles, which are affected by hormonal changes.
FBP: What do you consider to be the biggest “hair crimes” older women commit?
GONZALEZ: Ignoring that their hair is changing and continuing to take care of it as if they were still in their 20s. Like skin, the needs of our scalp and hair change as we grow older. Our bodies produce less oil, so our hair grows drier and loses resilience. Shrinking follicles will make it grow thinner. Our hair is more vulnerable than ever - yet it’s when we “attack” it the most with chemical colorants and over-use of styling products. As we age, we must adjust our hair regimen and nutrition to give back what it’s naturally missing and protect from external aggressors.
FBP: What do you feel is the most innovative product in the BNY line, and how can it help older women get better hair?
GONZALEZ: Each and every one of our products has a key role in creating a holistic regimen that works for aging hair, but if I have to pick one that’s most innovative, that would be the New Dawn Activated Charcoal Scalp Cleanser. We use lactic acid, an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) and birch extract for their clarifying and non-drying astringent properties. It’s the only scalp cleanser in the market to combine the effects of gentle, natural exfoliating ingredients and activated charcoal with the massaging effect of silicone bristles to effectively cleanse your scalp and stimulate your follicles.
FBP: You’re based in Miami. How big a role do you feel the excessive Florida sun plays in exacerbating hair damage?
GONZALEZ: Sun exposure definitely plays a big role in exacerbating not only hair but scalp damage. Overexposure of UVA and UVB from the sun can damage the hair cuticle, making hair strands more brittle and discolored. Hair can also start looking more frizzy, have more damage and be dry. UVA and UVB rays can also have an impact on areas of the scalp with less hair coverage. The exposure of sun to the scalp can promote inflammation and damage just like any other area of the skin. Make sure to protect your hair from sun by applying a heat protector or a leave-in conditioner. And wear a hat!
FBP: The BNY website mentions “essential oils and nutrients” that become more scarce as we grow older. What are those essential oils and nutrients, specifically, and why do we start to lose them?
GONZALEZ: The sebaceous glands on the scalp produce natural oil, called sebum, which is composed of a mixture of squalene, fatty acids, wax esters and other lipids. This mixture helps to coat and protect the scalp and hair strands as it grows from the hair follicles. As we get older, the production of sebum can be impacted by hormonal changes, nutrition, our health condition and medication. These changes can actually lead to a decrease or increase in sebum production and it is important to seek methods to balance these changes. In addition to sebum, the hair’s growth cycle and thickness are being impacted by the body’s ability to renew and grow hair follicles and hair strands with loss of keratin protein which makes hair weaker and more fragile.
FBP: Piling on to that last question, I see that BNY also offers vitamins and collagen gummies. Were those designed to attempt to fill-in those essential oils and nutrients gaps?
GONZALEZ: We look at hair in a holistic manner to help address hair and scalp changes externally and internally. The gummies are loaded with vitamins, minerals and collagen, which are key building blocks to supporting the healthy growth and renewal of scalp and hair that the body may be having less access to with age.
FBP: Do you see incorporating ingestible supplements as pretty much a “must-do” for women with aging hair?
GONZALEZ: I believe in supplementing our bodies’ needs with nutrients that we may lack such as vitamins and minerals. It is no different with our hair. It is also known that collagen production decreases with the passing of time, and that collagen is essential for our skin, nails and hair.
FBP: You’re launching BNY at Sephora, as part of its new push to be “age-inclusive.” You’ve been in the beauty industry a long time. Do you think age-inclusivity will really stick, or is it just another bandwagon the biz is hopping on because it’s cool and all over Instagram right now?
GONZALEZ: We’re seeing a big shift in how people approach life and longevity. People are starting families later, working longer, starting second-round careers and dating later. In addition, the perception of being “old” is not the same, where age is has started to mean more about freedom, wisdom, being comfortable with who you are as opposed to the beginning of the end. Based on these societal changes, coupled with real physiological changes, I totally expect age inclusivity to be a fundamental strategy for businesses that want to capitalize on this target.
FBP: Finally, because we ask this of all our brave Florida-based Q+A participants, what are your specific Florida Beauty Problems, and how do you solve them?
GONZALEZ: I don’t know anyone who lives in Miami who doesn’t struggle with humidity and frizz!!!! While most women use anti-frizz products to deal with this, I focus more on keeping my hair healthy. Frizz occurs most on damaged hair, because opened cuticles allow for humidity to enter and swell the hair strand. To achieve healthy hair, you need to moisturize it, cleanse with a gentle shampoo and keep your scalp clear and well-nourished.
FBP: Thank you! I’m off to deep-condition!