Is it time to ditch the term "anti-ageing"?
Despite the beauty industry’s progress on diversity, older people are still one of the groups being neglected according to research by creative agency Cult.
‘The Age of Beauty’ research project, in collaboration with The Diversity Standards Collective, revealed that 74% of respondents said the beauty industry still doesn’t offer positive or empowering representations of their age.
According to the report, when older people do feature, respondents felt “in between”, as well as feeling unable to relate to the “glamour models” or those who are “colourfully quirky... to compensate for our wrinkles”.
The research also discussed gender bias within the industry, where the respondents perceived a distinct gender divide in beauty representation.
According to the research, older men are portrayed as “handsome” and “positive” by the industry and aren’t subjected to the same pressures to “defy” ageing as women.
This gender imbalance may not be surprising, considering more than 70% of the top-level executive roles in the sector are held by white, middle-aged men.
Key statistics from the research:
- Only 13% of respondents considered the term “anti-ageing” to be a positive product descriptor
- Only 22% responded with any positive sentiment when asked about how the beauty industry’s representation of their age group made them feel
- 65% said the beauty industry doesn’t represent their age accurately
- 52% said that skincare was the single beauty category they couldn’t live without, followed by 30% who nominated make-up
- Friends and family (39%) are the primary source of beauty inspiration for the age group, with social media and influencers (26%) the second-most influential
Alex Manning, the associate strategy director at Cult, said, “Our relationship with the beauty category has always been profoundly emotional, but in recent years its connection to our mental health and wellbeing is becoming much more openly discussed and understood.”
Manning added, “We hope this research, revealing how older people want beauty and its practitioners to help them feel, can contribute to closing the gap that currently exists.”
Brooke Fenton, a strategist at Cult, commented on how “the research reveals a clear and very urgent need for beauty brands to improve how they represent and cater for older people”.
Fenton continued, “While the industry as a whole is of course not responsible for societal perceptions, it can decide whether negativity is amplified – or reinvented.”
How do you feel about the beauty industry’s obsession with youth? Let us know in the comments below.