Pro-Ageing Cosmetics: Embracing Mature Skin

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Pro-Ageing Cosmetics: Embracing Mature Skin

As the industry moves towards greater inclusivity and improved representation for all types of beauty, more and more brands are shifting the focus of their products away from traditional anti-ageing concepts towards the idea of ageing naturally and embracing the way our beauty changes throughout our lives.

This change in attitudes has led to the term ‘pro-ageing’ growing in popularity amongst consumers, bloggers, cosmetic brands, and beauty magazines.

Exploring the Concept of Pro-Ageing Cosmetics

For many, the term anti-ageing invokes negative connotations, not only is it impossible, (you cannot speed up, slow or halt time), it is also condescending in that the phrase promotes ideas that as women age, their beauty gradually slips away.

The so-called anti- anti-ageing movement seeks to combat these beliefs that are arguably ingrained in the industry’s practices and instead offer consumers an alternative.

How is Pro-Ageing Different to Anti-Ageing?

Although the difference in wording is subtle, pro-ageing cosmetics are designed to support and care for our naturally ageing skin, whilst anti-ageing products seek to reverse the effects maturity naturally has on our skin.

Pro-ageing cosmetics tend to fixate less on wrinkle reduction and plumping ingredients, and rather focus on giving users radiant complexions – a characteristic of healthy, supple skin regardless of age. This appeals to consumers of all ages who are less concerned with looking younger than they are, and instead place higher value on their natural beauty with skin that simply looks and feels naturally healthy.

Pro-ageing cosmetics typically contain ingredients with moisturising properties to promote supple, glowing skin. Some newer products in this area are even using ingredients that constantly enhance blood flow to the skin’s surface which improve moisture and elasticity – two core components of visibly healthy skin.

Is the Term ‘Anti-Ageing’ Divisive?

Anti-ageing is a term that has long been in circulation in the beauty industry since the 1980s and was originally used to market products to older women, based on the premise that ageing and its associated symptoms, such as wrinkles, loss of elasticity, uneven skin tone and changes in skin texture, are conditions that need to be eliminated, rather than a natural part of life that should be embraced.

Over time, however, the consumer base of anti-ageing products and treatments has become younger and younger as the fear of looking older becomes more prevalent and invasive.

In a report published by CNN, more than 50% of 18–24-year-old women surveyed in the US said they wanted to add wrinkle-defying products to their skincare routine. Not only this, but the same report mentions one skincare enthusiast as young as 16 considering Botox to target their forehead wrinkles.

Those who are against ‘anti-ageing’ style products argue that images promoted by the media and advertising lack representation in the beauty industry for people of all ages. They have convinced young people that signs of ageing are automatically a cause for concern as well as the idea that age and beauty cannot exist together, which is why many find the concept to be divisive.

Driven by consumers, bloggers, and influencers, an anti- anti-ageing movement is challenging brands to re-evaluate how psychologically damaging it is to promote ideas that beauty is something that fades away with age and therefore consumers (women in particular) must do all that they can to fight the signs of natural age and ‘cure’ the effects of time.

Instead, those who reject anti-ageing messaging prefer terms such as ‘age inclusive’, ‘for older skin’ and of course, ‘pro-ageing’.

Notably, US beauty magazine Allure vowed in August 2017 to stop using the term ‘anti-ageing’, with Michelle Lee stating in her editor’s letter, “Whether we know it or not, we’re subtly reinforcing the message that ageing is a condition we need to battle”.

She goes on to say, “I’m not going to lie and say that everything about ageing is great. We’re not the same at 18 as we are at 80. But we need to stop looking at our life as a hill that we start rolling uncontrollably down past 35… I hope we can all get to a point where we recognise that beauty is not something just for the young.”.

As one of the US’s most popular beauty publications, this sentiment is indicative of changing attitudes within the beauty industry as well as its consumer base.

More recently, the Royal Society for Public Health has called for Boots, Superdrug and beauty industry magazines to remove the term ‘anti-ageing’ in the language they use to combat negative attitudes towards ageing. Instead, RSPH would like them to ‘re-focus their ageing narrative on opportunities to be embraced rather than processes to be resisted’.

This call to action is based on the findings of a survey carried out by the independent campaigning and educational charity which found that around half of women and a quarter of men say they feel pressured to stay looking young.

The report also describes fears about ageing as being gendered, with women specifically feeling added pressure to retain their ‘youthful’ appearances for longer than men.

Will the Industry Move Permanently Away from Anti-Ageing Terminology?

Here at Jarvis Cosmetic Developments, we don’t think so; we don’t predict that anti-ageing products will cease to be popular, instead we just think the pro-ageing movement will open up opportunities for greater choice for consumers. Cosmetic brands could even use this as an opportunity to create multiple skincare lines targeted at similar age groups but addressing different needs.

What we do expect is that those who take an age positive approach to skincare and want products that enhance their natural looks will have just as many options available to them as those who would prefer to maintain their youthful appearance for as long as possible with age-reversing products.

With inclusivity and equal representation influencing change in many areas of the industry, the only difference we predict is that negative attitudes towards ageing will dissipate, and instead be replaced by positivity and greater respect for each other’s individual choices.

Pro-Ageing Cosmetic Product Development

Since 1974, Jarvis Cosmetic Developments has been consulting on, developing and creating premium skincare products for boutique, spa and independent brands. Our dedicated team works with clients on a one-to-one basis to provide highly innovative ideas and audience and marketing positioning advice.

With more than four decades at the forefront of cosmetic development, we have a unique heritage and commitment to excellence which allow us to provide a level of service, quality and care that goes beyond our customer’s expectations.

If you’re interested in exploring pro-ageing skincare and other growing trends within the cosmetic market with our industry experts, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We’re also more than happy to speak with prospective clients about how we can help you develop your newest cosmetic line.


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