Yesterday I attended the #30plusblogs ‘Isn’t Beauty Ageless?’ event organised by Hayley from @LondonBeautyQueen in collaboration with French Pharmacy brand Avene. Jane from @BritBeautyBlogger along with Dr Sam Bunting, Cosmetic Dermatologist and Dr Linda Papadopoulos, Pyschologist had a lively debate with the audience of amazing 30 plus bloggers about the way that the beauty industry talk to older women. Each panellist gave fascinating insights on their professional and personal take on
- the impact social media,
- the lack of female decision makers
- the change in women’s role in a patriarchal society, and
- the development of aesthetic technology
is impacting on how women of all generations feel about themselves and the choices that they make. It provided lots of food for thought.
I started my blog out of frustration. I was tired of reading and seeing women in their late teens and early twenties talking about products that were not designed for their skin just because they had access to brands who only think about numbers when it comes to influence. I did not feel that my beauty outsider, overweight, short, forty plus, black voice was being represented in the bloggersphere so Patent Purple Life was born.
In the Caribbean – where my family are from, beauty is important. The women in my family take as much pride in their achievements as much as they do their hair and their skin. Ageing is not something that is fought against but you want to look good. Not for your age, for you. Taking a sea bath ( sea salts anyone) – normal. Using sugar, banana, avocado etc for homemade beauty fixes – normal. Slathering your skin and hair in oils – normal. Taking time with your hair and skin – normal. In my family, beauty regimes are not a wild attempt to stop the clock, but equally taking time with your appearance is not vain, obsessive dysfunctional, or boastful – it’s normal.
My skin is in good condition because looking after my skin every day is my normality. My skin is ageing which again is normal. I am forty three, I have thick black hairs growing out of my chin. I was a little disconcerted when they first popped up but I know it’s normal. I have two grey eyebrow hairs in my right brow. I don’t pluck them – I just got bigger glasses so you can’t see them! My pores are increasingly visible, my dark circles are getting darker, my eyes are getting evermore hooded, my eyelids are more crepey, my decollatage is loosing firmness. I have hypo-pigmentation on my cheeks and post spot hyper-pigmentation stays on my skin much longer then it used to. All of which is N O R M A L. To be honest I am not trying to get my twenty year old face back. That face was good, really good twenty odd years ago by my face now is bloody amazing – which is why this blog post is filled with pictures of me!
I plan to be an older woman for a long time. Beauty brands – if you want to keep me as a customer for decades rather than months, consider the following:-
- Ageing is not a bad /negative thing – it’s really not. Instead of attacking it – celebrate it.
- Ageing is a privilege, treat me and my skin with the respect that it deserves.
- You will get more of my hard earned coins if you are pro skin and advocate skin health rather than bombarding me with anti ageing messaging. I would not be 20 again if you paid me!
- The ageing process is not linear. Ageing women are not a homogeneous group. Categorising me by age (eg 40 plus) or skin issue (wrinkle) does not work. My skin needs are multi faceted and ever changing.
- Stop saying ‘woman over a certain age’ Please. Just stop. Exactly how old are you when you become ‘a woman over a certain age? If you mean menopausal, for the love of all that is good and holy say M E N O P A U S A L. It is not a dirty word. Oh and by the way – menopause does happen at only one age!
- If you want to maximise sales to older women, ensure that your development and marketing teams contain older women!
The horticultural industry would never say that roses are beautiful and all other flowers are ugly and should never be planted. They would never try to turn a lily into a rose or state rose gardens were the only garden worth having. The textile industry would never say that jersey cotton is the only fabric that should be worked with and that silk, leather and wool should be discarded. Why is the beauty industry trying to distil all women into one woman? The lack of diversity that the beauty industry prescribes is both ridiculous and dangerous. Why the singularity? Beauty is not a number, an ethnicity, a single hair colour or eye shape. There is beauty in all things including ageing – the sooner the beauty industry accepts that, the better!