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Is it time to ban the term ’anti-aging’ from the beauty industry?

Should the term “anti-aging” be banished from beauty vernacular? According to a new report by Great Britain’s Royal Society for Public Health, negative attitudes about age can have negative outcome in real-life. However, although the vocabulary has some difficulty to evolve, the cosmetics industry is gradually leaving the era of anti-aging behind.

Should the beauty industry dump the term ’anti-aging’? - Photo: © gpointstudio / Istock.com

Should the beauty industry dump the term ’anti-aging’? - Photo: © gpointstudio / Istock.com

Dubbed “That Age Old Question,” the report, which was carried out by Great Britain’s Royal Society for Public Health in partnership with the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation [1], states that “anti-ageing narratives” encourage unrealistic body norms and poor body image that can have a negative effect on women.

We have seen just how valuable a positive and optimistic outlook on ageing can be to personal health and wellbeing, and yet many everyday conversations, informed by the media, are rife with examples of language that either trivialise, vilify, or catastrophise the ageing process,” it reads. “Chief among these is the persistent use of the term ‘anti-ageing’ within the cosmetics and beauty industry.

As highlighted by The Independent, the report calls on major beauty retailers and the media to eschew the term “anti-aging,” emphasizing that: “the explicit presumption that ageing is something undesirable and to be battled at every turn is as nonsensical as it is dangerous.

New attitudes

While the term remains highly prevalent within the beauty industry, there are signs that attitudes towards ageism are changing. Last December, actress Thandie Newton teamed up with RoC Skincare to shine the spotlight on the problem of ageism. The “Westworld” star fronted a social media campaign for the brand, called ‘For Your Age,’ that drew attention to the potentially negative language and phrasing commonly used in reference to age. Makeup brand CoverGirl also caused a stir when it flouted convention and unveiled 69-year-old model Maye Musk as an ambassador back in September, while L’Oréal Paris’s October 2017 fashion week saw brand ambassador Dame Helen Mirren, 72, and Jane Fonda, 79, take to the catwalk in the French capital.

Trends experts claim that today, a majority of women over 60 are more in the mood for a well ageing, slow aging or pro aging approach... In short, it is all about supporting the aging process rather than fighting the signs of aging, with skincare products supporting a ’pro-longevity’, life enhancers. “The first positive consequence of this acceptance can be seen in the rehabilitation of some signs of ageing such as bright wrinkles or silver / white hair,” explains Pascale Brousse, founder of prospective agency Trend Sourcing. “Women are aware that they have wrinkles and that these won’t go away, and like Millennials, they do not want any more over-promises,” she adds.

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