Meet the women spreading the message that skin confidence doesn't have an age limit
Historically, a lack of visibility and representation has prevented some people from feeling seen by the beauty industry – no more so than when it comes to ageing. The narrative around the subject of getting older has always felt frustratingly narrow. However, thanks to the platform provided by digital and social media, and a wave of incredible influencers in their fifties, sixties, seventies and beyond, the tide is slowly starting to turn.
‘As a beauty journalist for print media, starting my own website redefined my relationship with skin ageing,’ says Jane Cunningham, aka the British Beauty Blogger. ‘The things I’d casually written in print about sagging skin and wrinkles suddenly seemed so insulting and irrelevant – words that should never be used to describe a woman’s skin, such as “turkey neck” and “crow’s feet”, were banned from my beauty vocabulary, and still are.’
Leading the way when it comes to changing attitudes about ageing, this community of older influencers offers followers a safe space to seek out advice for all manner of skincare needs and for challenging outdated stereotypes. ‘I’m on Instagram every day and it’s harder as an older woman to have a voice in that environment, so I hope by just showing up I can encourage women my own age to enjoy it and find relatable people just like them,’ says Jane. ‘Age isn’t a barrier to beauty – it’s not something you lose, like your shopping list or glasses! It’s always there, changing as you do, but it’s never lost.’
Combining experience and knowledge with linguistic flair, influencers like Jane are helping broaden society’s definition of beauty, one upload and share at a time. We caught up with three of our favourite influencers who happen to be in their fifties, sixties and seventies to talk about their skincare journeys, skin confidence and the products they can’t live without.
Suzi Grant, 72, broadcaster, author and content creator
I try to look after my skin from the inside and out, whether that’s sticking to a healthy diet as much as possible, which includes loads of veg and plenty of water, or slapping on a daily dose of SPF50 on my face. Yes, I have wrinkles, they’re my badge of honour and show the world that I’ve got this far and am still here and healthy.
When it comes to my skincare, I know what works for me and helps my skin to look radiant and glowing. Proper cleansing is a must, so I have a three-step process: I start with Garnier Micellar Rose Water Cleanse & Glow (£2.50), then Clarins Total Cleansing Oil (£24), and finish up with an exfoliating toner, such as BYBI Day Glow AHA Brightening Tonic (£16). I love a serum and No7 Lift & Luminate Triple Action Serum (£34.95) is a good one for the day, with a SPF50 sunscreen, such as La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Invisible Fluid (£18), on top.
At night, my skin loves No7 Youthful Replenishing Facial Oil (£23.95) – it’s great for a DIY facial massage at home – as well as the No7 Advanced Retinol 1.5% Complex Night Concentrate (£34.95) to help things along!
Lifestyle also plays a big part in getting healthy, glowing skin. I bounce on a trampoline daily to get my lymphatic system working, meditate to combat stress, have a professional facial every six weeks and try to get enough sleep. I also love my daily outdoor walks, breathing in free vitamin O (oxygen!) as much as possible. All of these things help my circulation, so that plenty of nutrient-filled blood is getting to my face. I just wish I’d given up smoking earlier than I did, or never started!
Follow Suzi @alternativeageing
Ruby Hammer MBE, 60, make-up artist
Through my 35 years as a make-up artist, I’ve learned not to compare myself to anybody else and to find what works for me. Consistency and routine are key, together with proper cleansing, hydration, gentle exfoliation and sun protection.
I look for products that deliver results and fit in with my busy lifestyle. In the morning, I swear by CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser (£9.50). I tried it in America and was so pleased when it launched here. For days when I’m time-poor, I like Bioderma Sensibio Cleansing Micellar Water (£11). Sometimes I double cleanse if I have a lot of make-up to take off, and follow up the micellar water with Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm (£28). I usually steer clear of wipes – I only ever use them when I’m travelling, for emergencies, or when I’m testing palettes on my hand for work.
I’ve learned to listen to my skin and adapt my routine to suit its needs. I went through the menopause in my fifties, so I had to make some changes to help with the loss of elasticity and collagen that I experienced. I also had problems with pigmentation, which I know I’m more prone to as I have dark skin (especially around my chin where I often get breakouts).
Adding a hyaluronic acid serum, such as Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum (£40) or Boots Ingredients Hyaluronic Acid Serum (£5), into my routine has helped and I always have a pot of Vaseline Lip Therapy (£1.95) with me for my dry lips. Using a vitamin C serum, such as Kiehl’s Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate (£90), during the day and a retinoid during the night have made a big difference to my dark spots and pigmentation. I also love Clarins Double Serum (£80). It was one of the first serums I ever used and it’s great for prepping skin before make-up. I also always wear something light under my eyes. Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Concentrate Matrix (£54) is brilliant, because it comes with a depuffing wand that gently massages and cools the under-eye area.
I’ve found with my job that there’s a good amount of trial and error to see what works for you. I’ve also learned when it’s best to seek out the help of a professional. If you have a particular issue, try visiting the Boots beauty counter teams and ask them questions – they know their stuff! If they can’t solve your problem, maybe see a dermatologist or facialist. I swear by facials as they give me some valuable “me time” and, as good as I think I am at facial massage, my skills don’t match an expert’s!
Follow Ruby @rubyhammer
Jane Cunningham, aka British Beauty Blogger, 57, beauty journalist
My skin goals are to have hydrated and glowy skin, something that’s beautiful at every age. I’m not bothered by smile lines and never use an eye cream, but I think you have to do what makes you happiest with your own face. My own skincare routine changes regularly – it has to when I’m constantly reviewing different products – but I love a balm cleanser, such as Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm (£47), for winter and something lighter, such as Bioderma Sensibio Cleansing Micellar Water (£11), for summer. I always have a good serum, such as Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Hyaluronic Acid Capsules Hydra-Plumping Serum (£47), on hand for days when my complexion looks dull.
In terms of lifestyle, I love yoga and walking and try to get a solid seven hours of sleep by drifting off to a podcast. If I’m having a wakeful night, I try not to worry about it and pick up where I drifted off on the podcast, so at least I’m learning something while I’m awake and take comfort from the fact that I’m resting if not actually snoozing.
If you’re pampering with a face mask, do it in the morning – it makes no sense to sleep on your freshly plumped face! I like Liz Earle Hydrating Cream Mask (£20) if my skin needs moisture and an exfoliating mask, such as Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial (£67), to pep up my skin if it looks lacklustre.
I have no time for matte products when it comes to my make-up – light to the skin is what creates radiance so take the glow wherever you can. BareMinerals Complexion Rescue SPF30 (£30) is my go-to for a hydrating, sheer base and I also love Chanel CC Cream (£48). Cream-textured blush, such as Stila Convertible Colour (£18), can also really help with this, as can a dot of cream highlighter – you can get both in one product with Clarins Glow 2 Go Blush & Highlighter Duo (£26). Just combine the two in the palm of your hand and apply with a brush.
Follow Jane @britbeautyblog