Time waits for no woman (2)

This is a re-posted post. It was written in the earliest days of my blog when I had very few readers (barely a dozen).  It’s something I feel very strongly about so I thought that now more of you are reading it would be nice to get a bit of feedback and hear what you think. 


I looked in the mirror this morning, thought ‘oh dear’, took out my make-up bag and once again began the process necessary to face the day.  But why do I feel this necessity? There are cultures which celebrate ageing, that place value on the experience that an older face presents, but not this one. Faces  age –it’s a fact of life over which we have no control; it happens to us all and no matter how much we try to hold back the ravages, time will eventually win.  Nevertheless, in their advertising, skincare manufacturers persistently reinforce the western ideology that the process of skin ageing is socially unacceptable. They insidiously try to manipulate us, by using deceptive language and subliminal persuasion, into believing that the physical signs of getting older are shameful – somehow our own fault, and can be reversed by using their overpriced offerings.

Research has shown that despite being aware that media images of women are invariably air-brushed, we still considered those images as something to which we should aspire.  Celebrity endorsement is routinely applied to beauty product advertising and unrealistic images of older celebrities further embed the cultural notion that ageing is a deficiency rather than a natural occurrence.   Yesterday I picked up a selection of  women’s magazines at the gym. A quick look through them demonstrates all too clearly  just what big business this is. Skincare advertisements are designed to appeal to women’s emotions with the underlying message that allowing the signs of ageing to go unchecked equates to a lack of self-worth.

Take  Origins Plantscription; the advert goes so far as to state that skin ageing is ‘nasty’, and bestows upon those who recognise this, a specific term, anti-agers, implying that users are part of an elite camaraderie against the ‘enemy’. The name also suggests a powerful combination of science and nature in the misleadingly named product which has health improving connotations sounding similar to ‘prescription’ . The chosen image of a medicine dropper is presumably intended to lend weight to this.

Clinique attaches blame for ageing skin to women themselves by referring to her late nights and assorted indiscretions. Vichy takes a similar line citing the woman’s Busy lifestyle as the cause of her deteriorating appearance but promises that by using their product, ‘Your skin will forgive you.’   Several advertisers describe the benefits of their products as ‘clinically proven’ which is intended to promote confidence. However, none offer enlightenment as to by what process anything has been proven. ‘Scientists’ at No. 7 are mentioned, but only in a comment by an unidentified ‘Stylist’ and the company disassociates itself from the comment by including it in a testimony, rather than making it their own assertion, thus apparently absolving it of responsibility for the claim.

Organic ingredients and nature feature in the form of plants and plant oils – no less than twenty in Clarins Double Serum, though the company fails to mention which plants. Other products cite specific plants: harungana extract  and Montpellier rock-rose. Implicit in the mention of uncommon ingredients is the suggestion that their unusualness makes them somehow ‘special’.  Few people surely know to what LR2412 (Vichy Liftactive) refers, or the origin of the ‘hydric and lipidic system’ (Clarins).  In fact, a Google search provides little enlightenment of either, other than in relation to those products.

One might imagine from my rant that I refuse to buy into this dogma, but I’m up there fighting nature along with most other women. Whether this is because I have been brainwashed into believing that it is my responsibility to look the best I can by allowing myself to be seduced by false promise, I have no idea. The question is this: Is it women’s fear of ageing which demands the products or does advertising spawn the fear in the first place?





  1. The very expression ‘anti ageing’ is one that drives me mad. From the minute we are born we are all ageing. It’s a fact of life and I, sadly, had friends who didn’t have the opportunity to age… Another brilliant blogger, I think it’s Catherine from Atypical60, writes about ‘pro ageing’. Absolutely, Nevertheless, I like to wear make up and I wear it for myself. When I was much, much younger, I didn’t have the confidence to step out of the house unless I was wearing makeup. Nowadays, I please myself. It seems that younger and younger people are having Botox, fillers and surgery. I’m too much of a coward to try any of these. I don’t judge people who do choose to have these treatments. It’s their money after all but I do worry about the pressure to look younger.


  2. Very interesting post! I guess I don’t mind looking my age. I don’t color my hair and the only make up I routinely wear is lipstick. My aunts and cousins used to urge me to color my hair, but they’ve given up!


  3. I am of the generation that wore a lot of eye-makeup and at 71 I still do. I don’t do subtle. And I’m vain, why ever not!? But the ads in nearly every magazine are ridiculous in using young women to advertise so-called miracle moisturisers for the ‘ageing’ skin. Nothing will bring back your youth. Occasionally, now we do see an older woman in these ads, usually Helen Mirren, who is actually not typical of us at all.

    I’d like to direct you to a friend of mine, Tricia Cusden. I met her on Twitter (!) four years ago now. She saw all this and began her own make-up company for older women. She’s a bit younger than me (just 70 while I’l be 72 this year) and sells only online. She’s very successful now, and is this because she uses only older women as her models, often uses her 70 year-old face as the template for an idea of how to put your makeup (look at her Youtube videos) hates the word anti-ageing and supports all older women in the idea of being fabulous with a bit of lippy? I think so. I don’t buy everything from her but some of her products are ace, especially her face prime which you put on under your foundation. Btw, she’s developing a face cream. And absolutely not being paid for this (!) although if you bought a product from the icon on my blog I do get a percentage – very few do!

    Link here https://www.lookfabulousforever.com


    • I’ll definitely take a look, penny. Thanks for that. The emphasis needs to be on looking ones best, not looking younger as if ageing is somehow wrong. I also admit to being vain. I want to look nice…or at least the best I can, because I like to FEEL good.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. A very interesting post Eloise. I want to think I don’t believe the hype of these products but they are very cleverly marketed in order to lure us in.
    None of them work the miracles promised, but if they make our skin feel nice, have a pretty scent or make us feel a bit better about ourselves then I suppose there’s no harm and it’s down to us whether we want to believe the claims. I guess they sell us the ‘dream’. X


  5. While I don’t embrace my wrinkles I can live with them. About the only thing I use is a concealer because eye drops I have to take for Glaucoma have caused dark circles under my eyes.


    • I don’t like wrinkles but my dislike is not strong enough to ever consider surgery. I just think –
      I do the best I can to look the best I can, and I do that for ME….not because I’m ashamed of my ageing skin . I’d no idea that those drops can cause darkening. What a shame.


  6. I actually look ill or,if not actually ill, then unkempt (why don’t we have “kempt” for someone looking neat and tidy, always “unkempt” which is just the opposite?) if I don’t wear at least some makeup. I actually use the full works – moisturizer, foundation, a little light powder, blusher, eye shadow, mascara, brow pencil and lipstick, but only very lightly. I know that my skin has aged – and no product under the sun – indeed, the sun isn’t kind to skin – will make any difference and I wish the producers of makeup and skin care products would stop all this silly nonsense, the psycho-babble of pseudo-science trying to encourage us to use certain products. They simply want to us to buy their products in order to make
    But as Eloise says, I’m far too vain not to bother with makeup. And, as we women age, and a lot of our female hormones stop functioning, we begin to look like men if we don’t use some makeup. Of course, this is fine if you don’t mind looking slightly masculine, but I want to remain looking female for as long as I can, and if blusher and lipstick and highlighted hair does this, then I shall continue to buy into the dream and help fill the coffers of the manufacturers. And, actually, as long as the products don’t harm me and actually do make me look slightly better than I do without them, I don’t really mind if they make a few bob out of me along the way.
    Margaret P


    • I use pretty much the same as you, Margaret. I have very pale skin and look ‘drawn’ when not wearing make up. I definitely need moisturiser because my skin is very dry, and I never venture outside without some kind of factor 30 product -a tinted moisturiser at least. My big gripe is the implication that ageing is something to be ashamed of.


  7. The advertising is depressing. Using young models to promote anti ageing creams. What the ???? Now I know 30 year olds who get botox… more what the ???? The advertising sets up unrealistic ideas for people, and infortunately, these ideas have become normalised.


    • I am far too vain not to bother with make up Sue but it is much less about that than the cultural pressure to despise the natural process of ageing.


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