Should We Stop Saying Anti-Aging?

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Anti-aging has been used in the beauty industry since the 1980s, but is it time to stop saying it? Thousands of times over you’ve probably seen these words in ads, skincare products, and publications that talk about beauty. The aim of most skincare products is built around helping you stop aging and so on.

How it began

In the 1980s, advertising executives thought of using the word ‘anti-aging’ on skincare products sold to older women. The idea was to reach the audience of 50+ women who had by that age established, “huge influence and spending power”. Until now, this term works perfectly well with millions of older women always on the lookout for the latest anti-aging product.

The argument to kick out ‘anti-aging’

In 2017, U.S’s most popular beauty magazine announced its decision to stop using the term ‘anti-aging’.

“This issue is the long-awaited, utterly necessary celebration of growing into your own skin — wrinkles and all. No one is suggesting giving up retinol. But changing the way we think about aging starts with changing the way we talk about aging.

Whether we know it or not, we’re subtly reinforcing the message that aging is a condition we need to battle…” Michelle Lee wrote in her Editor’s letter.

While Allure’s decision wasn’t the first we heard of banning anti-aging from the beauty industry; it was one that put other brands and publications on the spot.

So now everyone wonders if anti-aging is really a bad word and should we stop saying it.

As Allure’s editor’s letter explained, using the term anti-aging has come down to implying that beauty has an age limit.

If there’s any doubt, you can recall beauty ads or representations and see how they all show only young, 18-20-year-old models.

It’s like being taught that aging is the end of beauty for you and as such you will need several anti-aging products to cure you of this problem and restore youth. A narrative we all know is a lie.

Aging is not a disease, neither is it something that can be repaired or should be repaired. The stance from Allure and others like Jane Cunningham, the founder of reminds us that aging is to be celebrated.

Rather than focus on reversing time, older persons should focus on staying healthy, looking good, and living their best life.

In Jane Cunningham’s words, “treating age as something that needs ‘curing’ is pointlessly demoralizing for anyone over 30. I’d like to see brands celebrating beauty at all ages. Beauty is not one thing, it’s many things.”

More than lip service 

Deciding that we should stop saying anti-aging is not where the problem ends, though. After all, due to all the backlash, a brand like Neutrogena made their stand too. Their new tagline reads,

“We’re not anti-aging. We’re anti-wrinkles.” Followed by the images of Kerry Washington, Jennifer Garner, and Nicole Kidman who are all between 43-53 years old.

Does this make things better? No, it doesn’t. Wrinkles are part of aging.

Let’s not qualify to age. Let’s appreciate it for what it is and leave it at that.


Read more from I On The Scene: HERE.

About Marie Villeza

Marie Villeza was inspired to start after she watched her son teach her father how to play Angry Birds™ on his smartphone. In that moment, she realized the importance of bringing the generations together so they can usher each other into the future, breaking down walls of fear and time. In her free time, Marie enjoys gardening, hiking, and taking part in her monthly book club.