This is what 70 looks like.
‘This is what 70 looks like’: the new generation of beauty influencers.
Fed up with ageism in the industry, the most exciting new voices in beauty Blogging are over 60.
Tricia Cusden: ‘The beauty industry, like the fashion industry, designs for the perfect form – young skin.’ Photograph: Phil Fisk for the Observer
For years, the beauty blogging scene has been dominated by 20-something women in their bedrooms sharing their favourite products and techniques. Now, a new crop of beauty bloggers in their 60s and 70s are getting behind their laptop cameras to share the beauty hacks that work for them. Fighting the stereotypes of being seen as “old ladies”, they’re demanding the attention that the beauty industry has denied them.
Tricia Cusden, 70, London.
I decided to take on the beauty industry as a political act. It might sound grandiose but I’ve always loved make-up and in my 60s I felt angry with the industry and wanted to disrupt it. Casual ageism is rife. I was gobsmacked when Dior announced that Cara Delevingne was going to be the face of their new anti-ageing products. She’s 25. The outrage should have been loud but hardly anyone batted an eyelid. The industry language of “anti-ageing” is profoundly insulting. Adding that phrase to any product tells me, as a woman who is 70, that I must do everything in my power to stop this natural process.
I’ve written a beauty blog every week since 2013 and I must have made 50 videos. For me, beauty vlogging [video-blogging] is an extension of what I used to do in my career as a management trainer, standing in front of groups of people talking to them. My viewers feel like I’m a friend, and leave lots of feedback. I love the ease and immediacy that you get with social media.
I started getting involved in beauty in my 60s when I noticed a lot of changes happening to my face. Take my eyes. Because bones shrink as you age, my eye sockets got deeper; the skin on my eyelids became crêpe-y; and my eyebrows became less prominent. I kept trying different products to adapt to the changes and spent money on good stuff because I thought it would be better, but so much turned out to be a waste. At no point was anyone from the beauty industry telling me what would work better on my older skin. They don’t want to show their products on a face that’s less than perfect.
I realised that other women must be facing the same problems, so I decided to find a cosmetics manufacturer to produce a range for me. My idea was to put it all under one umbrella and say, “If you’re over 55, post-menopausal, this will work better on your older face.” With my two daughters, we launched Look Fabulous Forever at the end of 2013.
My most popular video is about eye and lip make-up for older women, and it has had more than 2m views. The products and techniques younger bloggers use just don’t work the same for older women. The beauty industry, like the fashion industry, designs for the perfect form – young skin. With older skin, you’ve got a loss of melanin that makes features fade, skin becomes dryer and make-up bleeds and doesn’t last as long. There’s a fashion at the moment for a feline flick with a dark, heavy line. If you tried a strong, straight line using a gel eyeliner on my eyelids, it would look ragged and messy.
But as older women, we don’t have to follow what the young ones are doing. In my videos and with my products I suggest not trying to get a perfect black line. Instead, use a dark powder eye-shadow and push it into the base of the eyelashes with a tiny wedge brush, making it slightly smudgy. It looks lovely and is a real solution to the problem.
Wearing make-up, for me, is about feeling able to face the day, not about looking younger. I like to wear nice clothes, do my hair, put my face on and feel the very best version of me that I can create. I love the transformation that make-up creates and I’m not ashamed to say it.
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