Everywhere you turn middle-aged women are looking decidedly less like, well, middle-aged women. Sharon Hunt examines why timeless beauty is on for young and old.
timeless looks and the ageless generation
Aradiant and barely-there complexion topped off with luscious, lightly-tousled locks – celebrities such as Julieanne Moore, Michelle Pfeiffer, Diane Lane, Sharon Stone, Susan Sarandon, Sally Field and Salma Hayek have this effortless, modern beauty look down pat. Oh, and did we mention that all these ladies are 50-plus? Meet generation ageless.
There was a time when we women hit a certain age and suddenly found ourselves relegated to a style wasteland populated by sensible haircuts, caked-on face powder and non-event vermillion lipsticks.
Not helping matters was the down-and- out message from many beauty brands. Wrinkles. Grey hair. Quick, cover them, hide them, or make them disappear!
(And it seems that connection with beauty advertising is still a struggle. A recent survey noted that 91 per cent of women aged 50-70 wished marketers would treat them as people, and not stereotypes.) Despite the noise, the so-called new generation ageless are bucking the trend and have overhauled their beauty approach. It’s not uncommon nowadays to observe a glamorous woman and struggle to predict her age simply by observing her style.
A poll by marketing company SuperHuman found that 96 per cent of 40-plus women don’t feel middle-aged. So no wonder we no longer want to style ourselves according to a number we have no connection with.
Vibrant, luminous complexions have replaced the mature skin markers of yesteryear such as dryness or pigmentation. Hair is textured and styled according to current trends, brows are softly shaded and make-up is subtly applied to restore definition to the features. A particular beauty look is becoming less ubiquitous with the year on your passport. More and more, age is really becoming just a number.
So where has the shift in attitude come from? I believe there are a few factors at play: the holistic health movement and its trickle down into beauty, alongside a less-is-more
approach to styling. The so-called ageless generation has grown up receiving a loud and clear health message: you’ve only got one body so you better look after it. Prioritising diet, fitness and wellness in the constant pursuit of bettering one’s own health position has become standard practice – and this is evidenced in the bodies and faces of mature women everywhere.
The beauty industry has also evolved to embrace a wellness centred approach. No amount of make-up or hair styling can mask poor skin or hair, so both the professional and home-care focus is about prevention, nourishment and repair.
Beyond products, the importance of beauty from within is squarely in the spotlight. Ensuring adequate water intake, getting enough sleep and eating a rainbow of fresh foods holds as much importance as the latest super skincare ingredient.
Finally, an understated and frills-free approach to hair and make-up has fallen into generation ageless’ favour. While many women in years gone by saw beauty as a mask, the current trend is about natural enhancement. It’s no longer about the makeover, but the make-under.
A flick of the wrist while wielding a heated hair-styling iron and a mist of texturising spray puts women of all ages on the fast track to undone style. This is teamed with a barely there complexion (bless you, tinted moisturisers and BB creams) enhanced by illuminator and capped off with softened mascara and nude lips.
For everyday wear, these face-flattering touches are all that’s necessary. Ageing gracefully has never looked so good.