With Allure – one of the biggest beauty magazines in the world – just this week deciding to ban the term anti-aging, are we finally embracing a beauty revolution? Clinging to our youth burdens us with unnecessary stress. Aging isn’t a disorder after all; it’s an inevitable process, and it’s about time we embrace all that getting older gifts us with.
Time scares us all; how quickly it flies by, how little of it we have, and how temporary it is. It’s put into perspective especially when we lose a loved one or live through a near-death experience. But why the crippling clutches on youth? Is it because it symbolizes health, strength, and beauty? I suspect that’s probably the case. But what about the benefits that come with age: wisdom, insight, and perspective? As well as learning to be comfortable in your own skin?
Each year that I cruise my way around the sun, I realize that I’m grateful for all the things that I now know. I wish I knew them when I was younger, of course, but it’s an impossible occurrence and a useless wish. We can’t go back, after all. We can only go forward. The stress of trying to hold onto our youth is incredibly exhausting, and to be frank, a wasted effort. Why focus on something so negative and such a hindrance when we’ve got so much energy to pour into more productive pursuits?
There’s one woman leading said beauty revolution with heaps of grace and charm. That woman is, of course, Helen Mirren. The classic British beauty is a timeless bombshell who wows us year after year.
In a recent interview, the 72-year-old said, “If people treat me like the age I am, I get absolutely insulted, really cross. I hate it when people give up their seat for me. No, no, no. I don’t want your seat.” She then went on to talk about how she wants to change what it means to be a woman in her 70s. She sees no point in a woman trying to act younger. Rather, we should have the confidence to redefine what’s expected of those living in the later decades of life.
When it comes to taking control of our own appearance, she believes, “Anyone should be able to do what they want. If they look in the mirror and go, ‘I look good’ and go out in a positive way – I don’t want anyone to feel miserable.” For a recent beauty campaign, she refused to be airbrushed, saying, “All my life I’ve been looking at 16-year-old girls selling beauty, so I think it’s fabulous that they’re using a 70-year-old woman to sell products to other 60- to 80-year-old women.”
Mirren has always stood out for being different. Curvaceous at a time when “stick-thin” was in, she was bold enough to defend herself. Despite not initially fitting in looks-wise, she’ll forever sit on the pedestal for “timeless sexy.” When asked about this a few years back, she said, “I don’t think about it. I don’t consider it. It’s always been with me one way or the other. It’s like the wind blowing past. It was a pain in the butt when I was younger, but I don’t mind so much anymore.”
There is much confidence to be had later in life – confidence that takes time and growing comfortable in your own skin to embrace – and I believe this should be emphasized to women through beauty marketing. We all want to look and feel our best every day of our lives. Whether this is through fitness, diet, or our beauty regime. It’s about giving the skin what is right for it at the time, so it can be healthy, not so that we can treat it like it’s unwanted.
It’s also important that we realize that getting older is the trade-off for filling our lives with experiences and thus, memories. We can’t do one without the other. Getting older may seem like the most terrifying process, but without that time, you don’t have the lessons learned or places traveled under your belt to use in your life and share with others.
Getting older doesn’t mean looking or feeling worse than you do at 21. Maintaining a strong exercise routine, eating a leafy-green plant-based diet, and using gentle, natural beauty products will support you through the ages. The most important thing through it all is to listen to your body. Hear what it wants to keep it nourished and joyful. Only then can you thrive.
Do you think beauty is finally turning a page? Are we finally trading in our youth obsession for a healthier outlook?
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Photo: Helen Mirren for L’Oreal