This week, beauty magazine Allure announced it was to ban the term anti-ageing. Almost a decade after the ASA started banning adverts containing the word, is this lip service – or have we really stopped worrying about looking older?
This week, Allure – the US’s best-known beauty magazine – announced it was to stop using the expression anti-ageing. “Whether we know it or not, we’re subtly reinforcing the message that ageing is a condition we need to battle” explained Michelle Lee in her editor’s letter. “Changing the way we think about ageing starts with changing the way we talk about ageing”.
Anti-ageing has been a beauty byword since the 1980s, when it was dreamed up by an advertising exec to sell products to older women. It makes sense that this category would have its own term – the global skincare market has become a lucrative one expected to exceed $131bn by 2019 and the 50-plus consumer has a huge influence and spending power. While its use on actual products from RoC and Nivea was banned by the ASA around 10 years ago – because nothing can claim to stop the passage of time – it is still used on websites, in magazines, and in everyday parlance. And now there’s a backlash: an anti-anti-ageing movement of consumers and bloggers who are refusing to accept this insidious – and sexist – terminology. A movement that brands – and now publishers – are finding impossible to ignore.