When Allure declared a ban on the term “anti-aging,” it shook the entire beauty industry and consumers around the world. But, just as philosophies vary in different countries on everything from politics to the ideal frequency of hair washing, so too, do countries also have their own unique thoughts on what aging means to them.
Since the announcement, beauty influencers across the globe have definitely been reevaluating using a term that denotes stopping biological factors in their tracks. I chatted with skin-care pros who hail from such countries as South Korea, Colombia, India, France, and more (most of whom live in the United States now) for their insights on what it means to age.
Keep reading to hear how different beauty pros from around the world view aging.
Christine Chang and Sarah Lee of Glow Recipe, South Korea
“We feel that a more multi-dimensional approach toward the term ‘anti-aging’ is a step in a positive direction. The strength of K-Beauty is that it gives us new words and definitive actions to take toward beautifying and optimizing skin care and self care outside of straightforward ‘look younger’ philosophy—it’s very much about a holistic approach to beauty, no matter the age, and finding joy throughout the sensorial, fun process of maintaining and boosting skin health.”
Tata Harper, Colombia
“For me, it’s all about semantics. Aging has developed a negative tone within the past few years. It’s been associated with the idea of ‘fighting’ and ‘combatting’ maturing skin rather than nourishing or feeding it. We need to change our mindset in a positive direction, and, luckily, it looks like we’re headed that way. In the end, it’s all about listening to and taking care of our bodies.”
Shrankhla Holecek, India
“Having grown up in India, and in an Ayurvedic family, my thoughts on aging focus more around overall vitality of mind, body, and skin rather than it being a skin-deep phenomenon. Ayurveda often recommends lifestyle solutions that promote and prolong this vitality so you can thrive overall, rather than just look a certain way.
Of course, this typically means that your beauty will also naturally be boosted through the observation of some of these principles. So, to me, getting older has been more about trying to support my body’s natural regenerative processes rather than trying to reverse something. I trust that my body has all it needs within itself to heal, to repair, to flourish naturally if I focus on staying balanced and nourished.”
Dr. Timm Golueke, Germany
“The term ‘anti-aging’ is not as polarizing in Europe as it in the U.S., although that could change over the next few years. But healthy, clear skin with a strong moisture barrier and great elasticity is really what we’re all striving for. As a replacement term I think we’ll see more use of words like restorative, regenerative, and maybe even an increase in references to youth and age-defying.”
Valerie Grandury, France
“For me anti-aging is all about longevity—longevity of your skin, as well as longevity of your energy, body, and ultimately your life. We very rarely use the term, yet it’s still hard to 100 percent stray away from anti-aging because consumers still look for it. A better way is to go positive and remove the ‘anti’ and instead say pro-beauty.”
Nancy Twine, United States
“I’ve personally never thought of aging as a beauty-related topic. I’ve always related aging to experience, lessons learned, and wisdom gained. When I look in the mirror as a soon-to-be 33 year old, I never think, ‘Wow, I look older and my skin doesn’t look like what it did in my twenties.’ I just see me at the current stage of who I am today. When I turn 33 in January, I’ll likely reflect on what I’ve been able to accomplish over the years and what I hope to accomplish over the next year. To me, aging is a beautiful part of life’s progression towards learning and becoming a better version of ourselves. Like someone once told me, we are all bottles of fine wine—we get better with age.”
Susanne Kaufmann, Austria
“For me, ‘anti-aging’ transcends a mere term. It’s a holistic way of being, or a lifestyle—it’s about being in good health, caring about your happiness, and staying fit. Beauty products will help, but they are a small aspect in keeping the whole body and mind in shape. I believe that fresh unprocessed food, a lot of movement, de-stressing rituals, spa treatments, a good night’s sleep, and natural cosmetics are the right combination….It would be great to see if this discussion [on anti-aging] could lead to something larger that extends beyond the terminology on packaging, for instance, a shift in the way we think about aging, or discussing and facing age with grace and acceptance.”
Georgia Louise, Great Britain
“I’m all for Allure‘s ban of ‘anti-aging’ as a term—I haven’t used it since the ’90s. I think it just reminds us all that we’re getting old, and who wants a constant slap in your face with that on every label and in bold print? We’re not getting any younger and we should have a happy lifestyle. With my clients, we simply turn back the clock with advanced machines, remedies, and cult skin care—the healthier the skin, the younger it gets.”
Sara Panton, Canada
“I’ve never really understood the term ‘anti-aging.’ My beauty routine has always been about taking care of my most natural self. When it comes to products, I look for non-toxic options that nourish my skin, hair, and body, and that leave me feeling and looking my best—whatever my age.”
Ildi Pekar, Hungary
“Aging is beauty, and not respected so much in the beauty industry. Ironic isn’t it? Not many people get the opportunity to grow old, and we are brought up as a society to fear it and cheat it. Instead, we should embrace it. My journey as a skin healer grew from my Hungarian traditions of self-love and care to gravitating towards my roots for internal wellness of the mind and body. The treatments I provide focus on keeping your skin and body in good health to prevent future issues. Beauty is not reflected by age—it’s reflected by the health of your energy starting from within. So when I focus on your glow, I focus on revealing your inner light.”
Michelle Ranavat, India
“In India, age means respect. In our culture, when you greet an elderly person, you bow down and touch their feet. When I think of the beauty industry, there is so much emphasis on ‘anti’ and creating a fear around aging, and it’s incredibly misleading. I believe in a softer approach, and instead of using fear, I like to emphasize what we can do to care for ourselves and slow down the process.”
This post was originally posted on November 17, 2017; updated on July 31, 2020.
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