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A LOVE LETTER TO GROWING OLD: HOW TO EMBRACE AGEING

Close up photograph of a red-haired woman with brown eyes wiping her forehead with a cotton pad in front of a pale grey backdrop.

Consider this a PSA in support of growing old with a little more relish. In a beautyverse where we’re constantly told that our complexions should be tighter, smoother and even *more* elastic (is this all sounding a bit Barbie to you too...?), there’s a small rebellion in embracing crepiness, creases and laughter lines in all their lived-in glory. It’s a rebellion we’re getting behind, and we’re looking to grow our numbers. When I’m 90, I want to wear my worldly wisdom on my face like a badge of honour. In short: real skin is in, wrinkles and all... and for good.

TAKING A PRO-AGEING APPROACH

Maybe this is the time for a quick disclaimer: we’re not *anti* anti-ageing skin care (in fact, slathering on a peptide-packed moisturiser brings me more joy than I like to admit). Rather, we’re anti the idea that fine lines, wrinkles, crow’s feet and creases are something that should be reversed, concealed or corrected. It’s the way we speak about our skin that needs altering, not the lines on its surface. Take this as a friendly reminder to treat yourself (that’s the mind *and* body) with kindness — a mentality championed by our Can’t (Re)Touch This, Beyond Skin Deep and Summer State of Mind campaigns.

It’s about time we upped the ante on our attitude to ageing. The search for an eternally youthful glow is a never-ending and, frankly, misguided one (newsflash: ageing is a wonderful side effect of being alive). After all, skin is there to be lived in, so what better ode is there to a time well had than a complexion that looks a little, well, worn?

I’ll be taking a pro-ageing approach to my skin from now on, and why don’t you think about doing the same? This doesn’t have to mean anything groundbreaking; there will be no shouting from the rooftops or slogan T-shirts (for me, anyway) — really, all it boils down to is a change of mindset. Rather than a way to rewind time, lines and lost elasticity, consider your routine a way to focus on supporting your skin by providing it with the essentials it needs to look and feel its best at every decade and life stage.

HOW TO EMBRACE AGEING

Given the age of information we live in (thanks for that, social media), there’s been a real buzz around age-appropriate skin care of late. This is largely in response to pre-teens jumping on the retinol bandwagon *at least* a decade too soon, but there’s also a lesson to be learned here about the products we use at all stages of life. Whether due to puberty, pregnancy or menopause, our skin’s texture, thickness and oiliness fluctuates through time, and our routines should be switched up to reflect this.

So, don’t worry — there’s no need to banish your eye creams and collagen-rich cleaners to the back of the bathroom cabinet. Embracing ageing doesn’t mean you have to remove products formulated for wrinkles and fine lines from your regimen. It simply means choosing the right products and ingredients for the right reasons; we’re well practiced at listening to our bodies, but it’s good to be reminded that we also need to listen to our skin. This can mean forgoing exfoliating actives in favour of heavier moisturisers during a cold snap, or introducing a vitamin C serum if you notice your complexion looking less luminous than usual. If we pay attention, our skin usually does a pretty good job of telling us what it needs...

A ROUTINE REFRESH

So, into the nitty gritty: how to embrace ageing while maintaining a routine that shows your skin in its best light. First and foremost, construct your skin care steps to support actual complexion concerns. As we’ve established, wrinkles are a fact of life, not something to be treated or minimised. Rather than using a product *just* because it claims to reduce the look of lines, make sure that cream or cleanser is also going to give any dry, sensitive or textured areas the attention they deserve. There’s no one-size-fits-all routine for skin, and part of the fun of it is giving things a go to see what works for you. That being said, here are a few go-tos currently lining our bathroom shelves...

Post-menopause skin can benefit from a cleansing oil to counteract dryness caused by dropping oestrogen levels. Votary’s Rose Geranium & Apricot Cleansing Oil is a particular favourite, as it whisks away sunscreen, make up and daily grime while leaving the complexion feeling moisturised, calm and comfortable —the ideal daily luxury, IMO.

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Making sure that skin is properly hydrated keeps it healthy and looking its naturally bouncy best. Incorporating hyaluronic acid into your routine will help you get more from your moisturiser as it bonds to water molecules in the skin to leave the complexion feeling fully quenched for longer. Plus, all skin types can benefit from its moisture-boosting powers. Glow Recipe’s Plum Plump Hyaluronic Cream packs five molecular weights of this hero humectant, sidestepping the need for an additional serum.

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If preventing premature signs of ageing is the aim of your game (...did someone say sun damage?), there’s one thing you can do that will make the world of difference; let’s talk SPF. Not to sound like a broken record, but daily sunscreen application — and we mean every day — should be a non-negotiable step of your morning routine.

Trial and error is the best way to find your favourite formula. However, if you’re looking for recommendations, the ELEMIS Pro-Collagen Skin Protection Fluid SPF50 is an excellent place to start. It protects against both UVA (a leading cause of skin damage) and UVB rays *and* is infused with the brand’s patented Padina Pavonica, a marine algae rich in water-attracting molecules for plumper-looking skin.

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Finally, it’s easily done, but don’t let your face have all the fun! As hair naturally thins with age, looking after your scalp is the simplest way to support healthy-looking lengths. Grow Gorgeous’ Intense Thickening Hair and Scalp Mask brings shine in the short term while encouraging fuller-looking growth with regular use.

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And there you have it! If there’s one tip on how to embrace ageing that you take away from this, it’s that you should treat your skin with the gentleness and respect it deserves. After all, it looks after us pretty well, so the least we can do is return the favour.

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Olivia Plumtree
Olivia Plumtree Writer and expert

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