On being an “older” beauty blogger

 

 

My name is Get Lippie. I’m 45, and I’m tired.  I’m tired of “older” being beauty industry shorthand for “ugly”.  I’m tired of being nagged about my age by the products I use.  I’m tired of constantly reading the same old (ha!) messages all the time which imply that the only quality women have worth venerating is “youth”.  I’m tired of toothpastes and deodorants, and foot creams and handcreams, and shampoos and lipbalms, and practically everything else on the planet using the message: “don’t get old, you’ll be worthless (bitch)” to create panic and stimulate demand for products.

As I get older, it (the messaging) enrages me more.  Because it’s a lie.  I repeat: It. Is. A. Lie.  When I was younger, I was terrified of old age – turning 30 was horrific for me, I was “officially old” according to the adverts, and the media I was consuming, and I spent the last couple of years of my twenties alternately panicking at the thought of being over the hill, and raging about how “unfair” it was that we have to get “old”.  I was a fucking idiot.  Two years of my life wasted panicking about an arbitrary deadline imposed entirely about someone else’s idea of how women “should” look.  Young.  And worrying that being over thirty (and worse, being over thirty and single) is to be a waste of flesh.  We use old in the beauty industry and media to scare people, to create panic,  to force people not into making peace with their age, but to worry about it.  And as the end result of that fear, that worry and that panic created by the beauty industry itself is (besides, of course, them offering the “cure”) is to make women hate themselves.  To remove the comfort of liking the skin that one is in.  Worse, to make being comfortable in your own skin seem … incongruous.  Eccentric.  Insane. Freaky.

Women start to panic about being old in their late teens.  I see it on Twitter/Instagram and Facebook all the time, young, beautiful,  intelligent, humorous women worrying about turning 20/25/30/35 whatever, “this time tomorrow, I’ll be old …” because all the messaging we have in the media is that to be old is to barely be a woman at all. It’s depressing.  And heartbreaking. And infuriating that these women are both beating themselves up over an arbitrary number, and writing off the hundreds of women they know who are older than them as “worthless”, however inadvertently.  Anti ageing products fuel this panic in younger women, and infuriates some of us elderly bitches to boot.

Older women are not ugly, or worthless or useless.  We are, however, invisible.  Oh yes, there’s Jane Fonda, and Helen Mirren. Well, yippee! Bully for them.  But for every Jane Fonda or Helen Mirren or Judi Dench, there are tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, oh sod it, MILLIONS of … ordinary … women in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and even beyond who will never be Jane Fonda, or Helen Mirren.  Don’t even want to be those people.  Don’t care about them.   There are millions of us, but where are we properly represented in the beauty industry?  If you’re not under 25, or haven’t had the genetic blessings (and good cosmetic surgery) to still be considered a (freak!) sex-symbol in your sixties, then you don’t exist.  We use teenagers without a line on their faces to sell wrinkle-cream to older women, then photoshop the hell out of the pictures because even being young, increasingly, isn’t good enough, you also have to be pore-free, line-free, and smooth, smooth, smooth.  Like an egg, only without the personality.  The more we make the images behind the products unreal, the less people will believe the claims for your product.  I am never going to look like the woman in the advert because I used a £35 facecream, and I don’t care how much science went into the pot. I never, ever will.  And don’t use a sixty-something “sex-bomb” in a patronising attempt to appeal to “older” ladies because I won’t look like them, either.  My mum might though.

I don’t want to be younger, I want to not be scared of getting old. I want my products to stop feeding that fear.  I want adverts to stop telling me that “old” women need to be less like themselves to be acceptable.   No face cream (or deodorant, or toothpaste, or even bloody foot cream for that matter) is going to stop me being the age I am.   I want to be the best me I can be.  I’m happy looking like me, for all I resemble an over-stuffed sofa with a smacked arse in place of a face.  Frankly, the younger, thinner, and inarguably much better-looking me was an even bigger pain in the behind than I am now – I don’t think I’d like her that much these days, and I really didn’t like her all that much at the time, now I come to think about it.

Ageing is a process.  We’re all of us getting older, right from the day we’re born. It’s inexorable.  You’re going to be “ Let’s make the inevitable products required to make ageing less of a chore (because it’s tiring enough just being old without added worry about looking old), and make the message behind them positive, not negative.

Beauty doesn’t need a time limit.

… and breathe

This post: On being an “older” beauty blogger originated at: Get Lippie All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post at Get Lippie, then this content has been stolen by a scraper

43 Comments

  1. September 22, 2015 / 2:38 pm

    OMG!!! I LOVED THIS AND EVERYTHING IS SO TRUE!!! I AM 60 AND DECIDED I EARNED EVERY WRINKE ON MY FACE AND EVERY GRAY HAIR ON MY HEAD!!! I TOO PANICKED WHEN I TURNED 30!!! WHAT A WASTE OF MY VALUABLE TIME!!! I AM PROUD OF MY AGE AND THINK I LOOK PRETTY DARN GOOD FOR 60!!! WE WOMEN NEED TO STOP BUYING THIS BS THAT IS HANDED OUT BY THE BEAUTY INDUSTRY!!! WE NEED TO CELEBRATE.WHO WE ARE!!!

    • September 27, 2015 / 11:37 am

      We certainly flipping do! Wrinkles are badges of a life well-lived, it's not a failure to show experience!

  2. September 22, 2015 / 2:44 pm

    Amen to that! I am invisible most of the time (!) especially in shop queues and in restaurants where people, men mainly, think it's ok to just nip in front, because frankly, I'm not seen. And if I had a pound for every time I'm told I could look like Helen Mirren then I'd be able to afford her lifestyle. Aging is a fact and I prefer it to the alternative ….. being dead. So I shall crone my way through the beauty depts., tolerate being addressed as 'dear' by shop assistants and wear PURPLE!!

    • September 27, 2015 / 11:39 am

      Frankly, we could ALL look like Angelina Jolie, if we had the time, the money and the desire … I lack all three, so I'll stick with how *I* look, and I shall keep wearing the purple!

  3. September 22, 2015 / 3:45 pm

    First comment ever, but I'm a regular reader: This is a wonderful rant that I (almost) absolutely agree with. I would never want to be 25 again (*shudders*), not even 35.
    There's just one tiny exception: "I want to be the best me I can be". It's not at all what you wanted to say, I think, but it reminded me of those endless "seven/nine/fifteen steps to lead the perfect life by uncluttering/detoxifying/becoming more thoughtful/insightful/creative/a better cook/mom/partner/homemaker/a better person/whatever…" I'm absolutely fed up with those messages and I think they do just as much damage to women, who, in general, have a tendency towards insecurity, as the fear of becoming older that you described.
    Anyway, that was my mini rant to add to your big, very freeing one. Thank you 🙂
    I would never want to be 25 again (*shudders*), not even 35. I want to be me. The way I am now. Even though I am far from perfect. Even though I may be invisible (I'm not to the people who matter to me).

    • September 27, 2015 / 11:43 am

      I'm so glad you decided to delurk, thank you! I wouldn't want to be back in my 20s or thirties, either!

      You are completely right that about that sentence (I possibly wasn't thinking that coherently mid-rant), I hate those "Everything you need to achieve … (unattainable goal) …" pieces too, which is why I don't write them 😉 I am far from perfect, just like my readers, and it's okay. All of it, it's okay. Be fat, be skinny, be old, be young, have bad skin and unruly eyebrows, just be at peace with it.

      No one cares about your pores as much as you do.

  4. September 22, 2015 / 3:57 pm

    50 next year and high five-ing your fantastic post. Will your words change the way the beauty industry work? I doubt it and I HATE saying that but they get away with it all the time.

    Constantly trying to be a better me and not doing a very good job of it most of the time but gaining Brownie points for effort.

    • September 27, 2015 / 11:47 am

      No, my words won't change the beauty world, but if I say it, and YOU say it, and others start saying it too, then who knows what will happen? It infuriates me too – the beauty industry is, these days, largely headed up by faceless men, and we not only LET them set the messages, we absorb them, regurgitate them, and eventually consume so many of them, we begin to think that they're actually our own. It's a damn shame.

      You look like a pretty fantastic you from here. Go you!

  5. September 22, 2015 / 4:27 pm

    I love this I'm 32 and a new beauty blogger and I completely get what your saying. Turning 30 was my worst night mare but I decided it just meant I should take more time pampering my self ;0). I love who I am and how I look because my children made me the way I am.
    http://www.bessieclub.co.uk

    • September 27, 2015 / 11:48 am

      I decided that turning 30 meant that I could give less of a shit what other people think of me. Best thing I ever did 😉 Good luck with the blog, Adele!

  6. September 22, 2015 / 4:27 pm

    What a great post!!! Thank you for sharing 🙂 Also, you look AMAZING.

  7. September 22, 2015 / 4:58 pm

    Well said! I am an even older beauty blogger than you, and I've found it to be a challenge to find an audience among older women. I hope that not only should women not be afraid of growing older but stay in the game and be the best they can be at any age. Thank you for the inspiring post!

    • September 27, 2015 / 11:54 am

      It's a massive challenge – the industry promotes so many of the younger, prettier, and more malleable youngsters, as they're more aspirational, I guess. But we ARE out here, and we ARE the ones with the most money to spend, it's very shortsighted! 😉 I shall look out for your blog.

  8. September 22, 2015 / 5:37 pm

    Another well said! I'm 48 and am happy with my age (better than the alternative) and the way I look but I do despair at society, beauty marketing and those younger bloggers who think they'll be over the hill at 30! I keep thinking that as (western) society gets proportionally older and the older generation have more disposable income things will start to change, but it doesn't seem to be happening fast enough. Although I'm definitely finding and following more 'older' bloggers, beauty and fashion.

    • September 27, 2015 / 11:57 am

      Thanks, I entirely agree with you that the industry isn't changing fast enough – and with their concentrating on either the under 25, or the over 65, they're really missing a trick. Making people scared of those middle years is so disheartening.

  9. September 22, 2015 / 8:30 pm

    Well said that woman!!!! I'm 46 and trying to be a beauty blogger especially for all of us wonderful ladies. I totally agree with everything you said I struggled badly with turning 30 but turning 40 was amazing, its been the best years of my life, I don't want to go back either I love being me and you are amazing being just you as you are now xx

    • September 27, 2015 / 11:58 am

      Thank you very much. You're pretty damn amazing too xx

  10. September 23, 2015 / 6:41 am

    I love you. That Is all
    oh and I'm.44 and fed up.of it too… Well said.

    Tracey

    • September 27, 2015 / 11:59 am

      I love you too. You know this 😉

  11. September 23, 2015 / 9:47 am

    I'm only 22 so don't know how it feels but it happens to us all, nothing we can do about it! I think diversity is good. Bloggers of different age groups can try a variety of products. There's lots of woman (and men) probably looking for reviews on products aimed at more mature adults and a 22 year old blogger like myself wouldn't be able to give an accurate review on something like anti ageing cream or hair dye for grey hairs. I think it's fab

    • September 27, 2015 / 12:01 pm

      There's room for everyone, that's the joy of blogging. Old people, young people, fat people, thin people, we can all have a space to have our say. I read blogs written by people in all age brackets, it's great because we all have our different perspectives and interests. It's great!

      I just wish the industry itself was as inclusive 😉

  12. September 23, 2015 / 9:52 am

    Great post! Women are constantly under societal pressure to look and act a certain way. As much as I love beauty products and the industry, I hope their is a cultural shift towards celebrating beauty of all kinds – enhancing beauty, rather than being told to cover up or hold back!

    Erin Islandbell xxx

    • September 27, 2015 / 12:04 pm

      Sometimes I think the industry would just like to hand out brown paper bags to the 40+ year olds who use their products, so they can hide their faces! 😉

  13. September 23, 2015 / 9:54 am

    I loved this post and for the first time I'm brave enough to comment on your blog. I'm 49 and an older blogger too – let us mature, experienced women be proud of who we are!!! Thank you xoxo

    • September 27, 2015 / 12:04 pm

      Any time. Thanks for de-lurking, Vita!

  14. September 23, 2015 / 3:25 pm

    love you! 🙂

  15. September 23, 2015 / 5:44 pm

    I've read your blog since 2010 and you're hands down my favourite beauty blogger. Anyone who doesn't know your worth or has anything negative to say about your age can go and f**k off.

    • September 27, 2015 / 12:07 pm

      Heh! Daw, you made me blush 😉

      It was product that set this particular rant off, not a person, tbh. A STUPID product that shall remain nameless for the sake of my sanity …

  16. September 24, 2015 / 12:27 am

    Seriously??!??!!!? Well said! Jane, (BBB) has also written about this issue again recently. We, as women, should not be shamed or made to feel bad because something that occurs naturally is happening. Men mature and they don't get shamed for how they look. Why is it done to women? And can we come up with another word then "anti-ageing"?
    And stop creating products to help with a problem that didn't exist. I'm looking at you Dove with our "dark" or "discolored" underarms. OK – mini rant over

    • September 27, 2015 / 12:12 pm

      I have some Dove "Pro-Age" handcream on my desk at work – I bought it, I have only myself to blame – and it exasperates me every time I look at the tube. Because if there's one thing worse than being "blamed" for being old (and therefore decrepit), then it's being patronised for it. Yo! You're Old! You're Invisible! You're Ace! Buy our shit, before you fall apart, woman!

      Pro-Age. Dove, I know what you were trying to do there. I really, really do. But how about just being a handcream, not an age badge, please?

  17. September 25, 2015 / 1:20 am

    Love your rant! I'm 62, and confess that when I saw a photo of Christie Brinkley recently, I was a bit sad (I think she was born the year after I was…). But then I slapped myself and realized that I didn't look like Christie Brinkley even when I was a young and slim twenty something, so why would I suddenly morph into her twin in my sixties?!? I am a makeup junkie, though. I think it's something to do with a love of color, because I am also a yarn junkie and love to knit beautiful shawls in luscious colors and yarns. 😉

    In any event, it is really nice to hear someone talk about 'ordinary' women, because that's where most of us fall.

    • September 27, 2015 / 12:16 pm

      I get like that when I look at pictures of celebrities my age too. Only I'm short and fat and a bit ranty (apparently) so my dreams of morphing into Ava Gardner (she liked a booze and a bit of a row as well, allegedly) remain, so far, unfulfilled.

      We're all of us ordinary, and in our own ways, extraordinary for our interests and passions and hobbies. We can be "ordinary", and still be interesting, and fascinating, and diverse, and passionate, and yes, beautiful. It's not just about having the smoothest skin.

  18. September 26, 2015 / 8:20 am

    Fantastic, very well said! Am I ever happy I found you. A few months away from 40 and I'm thinking…..my life is practically over, I'm not young anymore, why bother at anything. lol Ask and It Is Given. As I was browsing youtube beauty blogger channels tonight, being reminded that I am far from young and I'd love to find a beauty blogger that will offer relevant (to me)
    content. Thanks for doing this!

    • September 27, 2015 / 12:17 pm

      No problem! I'm glad you found me too. Good to have you here!

  19. September 27, 2015 / 2:41 pm

    Here, here lovely! Although we can be more in control, more confident and more content..with that comes our own 'beauty'. I'm 48 and the media frustrate me on how they portray some 'age' stuff but we know more than the young so, hopefully we can 'encourage' via our blogs, to help them 'take care' of their skin/themselves and not worry about looking like a popstar/fashion model x

  20. October 8, 2015 / 11:04 pm

    great post!

    I was fine with ageing until I faced the prospect of turning 50 last year – I couldn't 'spin' 50 so that it wasn't being old. And it is undeniably right on the other side of that line with youth receding far into the distance. But I didn't grow a beard overnight or suddenly wizen 🙂 It's actually ok, better than ok. I made a commitment to age the French way and have regular facials and I want to be and look strong and healthy and like I look after myself. I do not want to be skinny, tight and line-free. My hair is long and grey/silver and I am happier than I have ever been.

  21. November 6, 2015 / 9:55 pm

    One of your best blog posts, dearie, and that says a lot.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *