In the last few years we are seeing more and more beauty brands choosing models over 50 to represent their products; a trend that could not have existed a decade ago, when society was dominated by the desire of being young at all costs and twenty-something models were hired to sponsor anti-aging creams intended for older women.
Nowadays leafing through the pages of magazines, we can see women who are definitely more real, natural, reassuring and more representative of their age, confident in showing themselves with all their flaws.
The clearest example of this trend is symbolized by the business relationship between Italian actress Isabella Rossellini and Lancôme. Back in the 1980’s, Isabella was the highest-paid model in the world and the face of Lancôme’s advertisings for 14 years, until at 40 she was fired because considered too old to embody the women’s dream of youth. In 2016 the beauty brand announced it was hiring Isabella again, to the great astonishment of the media, taking up a more inclusive philosophy and making her its new global ambassador.
Just like Lancôme, L’Oréal has been a pioneer in proposing mature models in its campaigns (like Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Helen Mirren, Andie MacDowell, Julianne Moore and Ines de la Fressange). Some make up brands are also going in this direction, such as NARS with Charlotte Rampling and Tilda Swinton, MAC with Iris Apfel, Marc Jacobs Beauty with Jessica Lange, CoverGirl and Maye Musk. The list could go on.
Women know they will not be young forever and they just want to feel good in their skin rather than hiding themselves. Brands have captured this awareness and have translated it into a more realistic vision of older women. If we imagine that in the next two years women over 60 will represent the 15% of the global population, this new approach to aging is a very clever way for brands to sell their products.
Seeing the picture of a 60 year old woman in advertising campaigns is comforting also for younger girls, who can identify with a future version of themselves, and don’t think of aging as something scary and to fight. It seems like we are going through a process of acceptance that is very encouraging, making room for improving what a woman already has instead of erasing what she has gained through the experiences of a lifetime.
We are also witnessing a change of vocabulary when speaking of cosmetic labels. Sure enough, the words used to describe the effects of beauty products are fresh, positive, encouraging and less judgmental, negative and tough: now more and more creams and serums are plumping, bouncing, nourishing, brightening and glowing instead of anti–wrinkles and anti–imperfections.
All of this seems to whisper to women of all ages to embrace, accept and don’t fight who they are, living life in a more serene way.
by Anna D’Agostino