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Face it, beauty's more than just skin deep

By Rosie Millard

Published 18/04/2015

Cosmetics companies have had the clever idea of using older ladies like Helen Mirren
Cosmetics companies have had the clever idea of using older ladies like Helen Mirren

It's my birthday tomorrow. Quite a monumental one, too. Still, on the day at least I will know I am conforming to type as I trowel on the make-up. Because the news is that women in my age group have become the biggest buyers of beauty products in Britain.

According to a beauty website, customers aged 45-54 spend £2,238 a year on slap, whereas teenagers, whom one would have thought were the target audience, spend a mere £1,759.

Someone called Emma Leslie, beauty director of Escentual.com (the website responsible for this groundbreaking research), says the jaw-dropping difference of £10 a month is because cosmetics companies have had the clever idea of using older babes like Helen Mirren and Tilda Swinton, (69 and 54 respectively) as beauty ambassadors, cannily suggesting that it is possible to look gorgeous, post-menopause.

And we gussies are rushing to Boots for a new lipstick because we are inspired by them. Furthermore, we get out a bit more these days.

"Women over 50 now tend to have more active social and work lives and are so more inclined to make sure they keep their looks," opines Leslie.

"They are much more likely nowadays to pay for premium products to help maintain a more youthful appearance."

What this boils down to is that anyone nearing or over 50 is so terrified of looking old that we will spend anything to halt the process.

I honestly don't think that women aged 45-55 look at a picture of Helen Mirren, Tilda Swinton or Charlotte Rampling (69, also a beauty ambassador) and think: "Ooh, she's looking good for her age, I must put on some foundation."

What we are thinking is this: here is a picture of a woman who is beautiful (and not feisty, sassy, or any of the misogynistic adjectives Mirren was so on the button about the other day) and who looks like herself. She has not frozen every last wrinkle away, or remodelled her face beyond recognition. She is not bothered about endless selfies. She does not have stupidly coiffed hair.

She has not dieted herself to death. She is not vain (one then might conclude), but remarkable, interesting and fun to have lunch with.

By the way, I went to Superdrug today. I bought some eyeliner of the type I always wear, and some mascara, ditto. I also bought some hair dye. I have been colouring my hair since I was 25. Just saying.

Belfast Telegraph

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