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Beyond Skin deep: Garance Doré On The (Many) Contradictions Of Getting Older

two images of Dore founder, Garance Dore. She has her hair pulled back in a bun in both images. One the left hand side she is pumping some product on her finger, on the right hand side image she is smiling at the camera

Our Beyond Skin Deep series amplifies individual skin stories, encouraging exploration and sharing of all experiences and journeys. Here, Garance Doré (ex-fashion blogger, writer and founder of gentle, simple and effective French skin care brand Doré) shares her story on the acceptance (or not) of ageing, and the multiple contradictions that come with it… 

I never thought that this is what I was going to look and feel like at almost fifty. When I was growing up, women over fifty were still talking about appropriate lengths of skirts. Now we have Madonna. That, past a certain age, you needed to shorten your hair. Now we have Demi Moore. That you couldn’t go out without make up. Now we have Pamela Anderson.  

It feels like a million things happened all at once, in an explosion of crossovers and contradictions. Social media, brow lamination, female empowerment, Morpheus8, ‘girl bosses’, Botox, women keeping their greys, deep plane facelifts, body positivity… retinol and feminism made their big comeback at exactly the same time. 


It’s a good era for me. Not only have I never had a problem with people who have their surgeon on speed dial if that makes them happy (and if, on top of that, they’re funny, I’ll let absolutely anything pass. Yes, I am looking at you, Joan Rivers, Dolly Parton and Cher), but more than this, I’ve always cherished contradictions. Contradictions make life interesting, unexpected, scandalous and fun. 

Just because I like my beauty closet to be ‘clean’ doesn’t mean I always stay firmly on the straight and narrow. I can appreciate the natural look of an actress while knowing the exact plastic surgery procedures she’s had. I don’t think anyone owes full disclosure about what they do to look the way they do. I love openness, yet I can fully appreciate mystery. And that sums up my problem. Because, with all these possibilities in front of me, what am I to do? How do I want to age? 

I am forty eight – almost forty nine – which means that in my head I am already fifty (which is basic ‘girl math’). I do Botox, but not quite often enough because my guy is in the South of France, and I have been too lazy to look for someone in London. 

I colour my hair because I don’t know how I feel about the white streak that’s growing right where I part it. I have days where I want to just let it go grey — but my indecision makes me think I need to ponder this for another few years. By then I will have missed the chance of a slow and progressive shift and will have to endure the dramatic bicolour growth that women went through during the pandemic. 

I am careful about overdosing my skin with actives and I stay away from lasers because it’s my version of the fear of flying — I can’t explain it any other way. I did start a little sneaky regimen of retinol “just to see what it does” recently. I have decided to let my freckles live on forever, but I know I need to do something for the bag under my eye (under one eye, which drives me insane).  

I am witnessing my jawline slowly soften and I know that at some point, I’ll have to ‘decide’ what to do about it. It will be nothing, or a facelift, because I believe that when it comes to these kinds of matters, you don’t play around. You go big or you go home. Nothing or a facelift – it sums me up exactly. 


I wish I’d have chosen my camp. The full natural definitely feels worthier. You can shout it over social media roofs and become a sort of goddess of virtue which, you know, I wouldn’t mind being. I could slather myself in essential oils, strike a pose in my garden. I’d have bunnies running around. It would be great! I’d be an amazing role model… But that would be forgetting that I am vain. 

Because if I chose the other camp, oh, I know exactly what I’d do. Hair colour on point, nails always freshly polished, and Botox expertly timed so my whole face would not fall down every five months like mine does when I don’t go the the South of France (it’s imperceptible, only I see it, but I see it). I’d have a plan for perfectly timed and invisible interventions that would make me as fresh and glowy as David Beckham outing Victoria’s dad’s Rolls Royce. I’d be sleek and shiny, unapologetic and having the most fun.  

But none of these paths are me. So, instead, I take my freedom one step at a time, exploring what my version of ageing means. Finding my ageing personality, if you will. 

two images side by side. On the left hand side are 4 dore products stacked on top of eachother, on the left hand side is the founder of the brand Garance Dore holding a green packaged product looking off to the side


I started with entirely uprooting my beauty routine — and even creating a brand, Doré, out of that concept. It is a loving caress to our exhausted skin (thank you Cult Beauty for carrying it!) — and slowly and carefully trying active skin care ingredients to see what works for me. 

I take it slow. I stay informed, I keep curious, I know all the new things that come on the market. But I am also a lover of simplicity and ease — I couldn’t keep up with the beauty regimens of the super upkeepers, but I am too vain to go full natural. I welcome those two parts of me and try to unite them in my very own special way. 

And, meanwhile, I am letting the image of the future me gently take shape inside of my head — I want to accompany her, give her airtime. Because whatever I do and however I play with all the possibilities that are out there, I know that one day I’ll want to welcome her — or more like, she’ll welcome me — all grey and soft, and gorgeous. 


And there will be wisdom, and joy, and the peacefulness of embracing exactly who you are. One day, I want to enjoy  the blissful surrender that is being old. Or I’ll be Joan Rivers. Pretty fabulous either way! 






Cult Beauty

Cult Beauty

Writer and expert