Dear Brands: Please Stop Getting 24 Year Olds To Endorse Your Anti-Ageing Products

Looking in the mirror I can see those inevitable signs of ageing starting to creep up on me. The texture of my skin has changed, there’s a little less structure to my jawline and it take a touch more concealer to cover those dark circles in the morning. Although the way my body is changing isn’t exactly welcomed, it’s also not necessarily feared – we all age, so it’s not something to be embarrassed or ashamed about. I’m a firm believer in embracing whatever we individually deem necessary to ensure we feel good about ourselves (whether that’s anything from a great face cream or regular facials to more invasive aesthetic procedures,) and wholeheartedly embrace products that will help to delay those signs of ageing or give me the confidence to step out the door with my usual sass. (*Finger clicks!*) I have an expansive anti-ageing regime and as the years continue to creep up on me I’ve no doubt I’ll start to embrace even more hardworking (and potentially invasive) procedures, because the number of candles on my cake and wrinkles on my face won’t necessarily correspond with how I feel inside.

I’m proud of the age I am (34 FYI) and I’m proud to be part of a growing movement of men and women representing a vast spectrum of ages within the bloggersphere. I wrote in my post here why diversity is so important: “there are so many incredible women out there doing incredible things,
but if they don’t fit the traditional mould they’re practically
invisible; I’m making an effort to show there is more than one type of
blogger out there…”
With this growing group, there’s an increasing opportunity for brands to partner with relevant, engaged and high spending demographics – but I’ve been noticing that increasingly many are turning their nose up at those in their 30’s and beyond in favour of beautiful 20-somethings who need little else than a slick of mascara and a dab of lipgloss in the morning. And I’m kind of at the end of my tether.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve recently seen girls in their early twenties professing to love an anti-ageing cream aimed at the 40+ market, or endorsing the use of expensive laser treatments developed to target deep wrinkles. I’m all for taking care of your skin at any age (prevention is better than cure after all,) but when it comes to products that can potentially do more damage than good on young skin it’s just a big fat STOP IT from me. Exfoliating toners, replenishing night creams and hydrating serums are one thing, but super rich and powerful formulas just aren’t necessary when it comes to prevention – just slap on some sunscreen daily and you’ve fought half the battle. Dr. Elizabeth Hale, vice president of the Skin Cancer Foundation and a Clinical Associate Professor of Dermatology at the NYU Langone Medical Center, interestingly told IntoTheGloss: “There’s a statistic that 90% of women have very sensitive skin or think that they do, but a huge chunk of those women don’t have conditions such as eczema or rosacea; they’re actually doing it to themselves, often through over-exfoliating, using glycolic acid or Retin-A in inappropriate amounts.” Told ya.

In my opinion it’s ethically unsound, promoting anti-ageing products to those inevitably ten years off actually needing them, via digital influencers that they know and trust; way to build people’s insecurities even more folks. Telling impressionable young women they need to be spending an absolute fortune on expensive products (and worse, invasive treatments) can be incredibly damaging to their self esteem: in a society where our self worth is measured by how many likes a selfie got, it’s just another way they’re potentially being told they’re not good enough. There’s such a difference between helping a woman in her 30s/40s/50s to replenish her skin and enable her to rekindle lost radiance, and encouraging someone young enough to be her daughter to do the same. (On a side note, of course they love the products and see such amazing results – they’ve got 23 year old skin FFS! You could probably give most a pot of baby lotion and they’d rave about it.) 

From a business perspective working with these youngsters doesn’t provide any return on investment for the brand, as the blogger isn’t even relevant to the product in question – let alone their readers, who are often up to ten years younger than them. Unless they’re being measured by how much stock they’re shifting over the next decade, in my opinion eyeballs on a page is really not a sufficient measure of success. The fundamental issue here is that brands are often in denial about who they are and who their customers are in turn; they may think their customers are the hipster kids looking for something cool, but the reality could be very different. Case in point is MAC, whose average customer is actually 35 years old. (Bet that surprised you!) Brands: just because you use a pretty 20-something to promote your £30.00 foundation, it doesn’t mean that 20-somethings will be falling over themselves to swap up their Rimmel for a bottle of Estee Lauder.

Just for reference, I have nothing against 20-somethings – in fact I used to be one. I still read a shedload of blogs written by those ten or fifteen years younger than me and I’m continually astounded by their skill-set and ability to create something so powerful; but this is about anti-ageing specifically, not their ability to showcase a new lipstick or help us create the perfect cat-flick. (My generation just can’t compete when it comes to cat flicks; we’re still recovering from the K-Middleton khol eye of the early 2000’s.) With so many bloggers, digital influencers, models and celebrities out there representing a diverse age range there’s simply no need to turn to a completely inappropriate list that wouldn’t know a fine line if it slapped them round the face. They’ll have their turn, so in the meantime let us have ours – and be proud of our age, not embarrassed that we don’t look like that 23 year old that apparently has seen amazing results from the newest face cream.

Are you fed up of seeing so many 20-somethings endorse anti-ageing products? Are you a 20-something that’s been made to feel insecure or worried about your skincare regime because of these endorsements? Or are you not bothered at all and happy to slap on the Protect & Perfect?

*FYI, this isn’t a dig at The White Company – I just liked the photo!

 Features PR samples unless otherwise stated. To read my full disclaimer, click here.  

25 Comments

  1. Anca
    March 21, 2017 / 5:16 pm

    I agree with you. As a reader, I wouldn't trust a woman in her 20s to tell which is the best anti-ageing cream for me (I'm 34, like you). As a blogger, I wouldn't use or recommend products for women over 40 or 50. It's not the right cream for me, so why should I try it and promote it? In 6-7 years I will try one of those products and it might be great or not, but I can't say anything about it right now.

    • Hayley Carr
      March 22, 2017 / 11:07 am

      Exactly. Bloggers in particular have built up trust because they're honest and trying products that are right for them and their readers – for me it makes them seem untrustworthy if they're willing to sell out and recommend stuff they can't possibly be suited to.

  2. Flippinada
    March 21, 2017 / 5:35 pm

    Amen to that! I'm in one of the target groups for anti-aging stuff (40 plus) and roll my eyes when I see twenty-something bloggers recommending expensive anti-aging skin products which they clearly don't need. More often than not it also goes hand in hand with an unnecessarily complex multi-step routine. It's ridiculous and off-putting.

    • Hayley Carr
      March 22, 2017 / 11:12 am

      Yep absolutely. You don't need 13 steps every morning when you're barely off being a teenager.

  3. Dagmara K
    March 21, 2017 / 9:24 pm

    Yes! I couldn't agree more! I don't know what's the point really. I doubt young readers will be really tempted to buy those anti-aging products and older people won't take recommendations from 20-something really seriously because their skin needs are completely different. I'm 37 and, honestly, I'm rarely interested in reading skincare reviews from much younger bloggers. Mummy's Beauty Corner

    • Hayley Carr
      March 22, 2017 / 11:30 am

      I don't know – if you're being told by someone you trust that you should be doing XYZ eventually it rubs off. I held consultations a couple of years ago and the biggest issue was young people overdoing it with the skincare, because they were absorbing the wrong advice. So many I had to suggest stripping it back to basics!

  4. RobynLouise
    March 21, 2017 / 10:18 pm

    As a 25 year old I don't understand how someone of a younger age can vouch for anti-aging properties in skin care. I do use products with anti-aging ingredients, as you said prevention is better than cure, but I would never endorse their worth based on these features as I have no idea if they are really working right now.RobynLouise x

    • Hayley Carr
      March 22, 2017 / 11:38 am

      It's hard enough for me, as a 34 year old, to notice if they're working!

  5. Vivian Yuen
    March 22, 2017 / 3:53 am

    Very strange to have people in their early twenties review anti-aging products… but I guess some brands only want a guaranteed result at the end of the day…Vivian | LIVE . IN . LOVE~

    • Hayley Carr
      March 22, 2017 / 11:39 am

      Yep and a lot of the time aspirational imagery. Or to work with bloggers they want to be their mates, which is an increasing case with younger PRs.

  6. Beautylymin
    March 22, 2017 / 7:44 am

    I totally agree with you and I don't even both reading reviews of anti-aging products from people in their early 20s! I much prefer to read the thoughts of people who are noticing lack of firmness or lines starting to creep in because their opinion will mean more to me! xxBeautylymin

  7. Joanne Mallon
    March 22, 2017 / 10:40 am

    When I see a review of an anti ageing product written by a 20something it tends to put me off both the brand and the blogger. It tells me that the brand don't have enough confidence in their product to get it tried and tested by the age group it's aimed at, and the blogger is too hungry for freebies to say no to a product that is patently not right for her.On the flip side, as a 40-something beauty blogger myself, I go through stages where I'm only being offered anti-ageing skincare to review. Make up brands often don't want to know, as if your interest in pretty lipsticks evaporates on the eve of your 40th birthday. But all in all, I agree with you and would appeal to brands not to treat their potential customers as idiots. We know an ill-informed review when we read one and it's not going to make us any more likely to buy your product. Give us reviewers we can relate to and we will respond positively.

    • Hayley Carr
      March 28, 2017 / 11:18 am

      I felt myself nodding profusely at everything you said Joanne! Your comment about lipsticks hit the nail on the head for me – this is exactly why I set up Thirty Plus, to illustrate that out interests don't evaporate as we age. Although predominately the brands that seem to want to work with us right now are skincare, increasingly others are more open to the power (and interests) of the 30+ consumer.

  8. Christina Daniels
    March 22, 2017 / 8:16 pm

    Your blog always it inspires me!

    • Hayley Carr
      March 28, 2017 / 11:27 am

      Thank you!

  9. Natalie Redman
    March 22, 2017 / 10:12 pm

    I agree with a lot of this but it's great to read blog posts regarding anti-aging for someone who's 24. I've definitely noticed a bit of a difference in my skin so I've been using natural oils. I think they're great instead of using products that are specifically for older women.www.upyourvlog.com

    • Hayley Carr
      March 28, 2017 / 11:29 am

      Oil products are just great skincare – not specifically for anti ageing. At 24 you don't need to use anti-ageing products, just ensure you're hydrating and cleansing your skin while wearing daily SPF.

  10. Mrs Tubbs
    March 23, 2017 / 9:19 pm

    I'm amazed that marketers / PRs haven't realised yet that it's not just numbers that count, but demographics and audience. A 20+ may have amazing statistics, but their main audience is unlikely to be one that's going to buy an anti-aging product aimed at the 40+ market. If you want to reach that audience, then look for bloggers who are 40+ as people tend to buy stuff recommended by their peers. Which is why Helen Mirren is a totally brilliant choice.

  11. Elena Doynova
    March 25, 2017 / 3:00 pm

    On point, as always. It's something I've been mad about since I was 19 – why would 25 year-old models advertise anti-ageing creams?! Same with influencers. It's like promoting a new mascara with an ad featuring a model with false lashes (Maybelline, I'm looking at you!). Awful…

  12. beautyqueenuk
    March 27, 2017 / 9:40 am

    And yet still it happens. Why would I want or need a cream on my face if someone who is barely out of school is using it anyway? That is how I choose to see it x

  13. Sarah Ridgard
    March 27, 2017 / 3:48 pm

    I'm 46 yrs old and a blogger. There is no way I would buy any anti-ageing products being showcased by bloggers in their 20's. It's absolutely bloody ridiculous that brands even approach bloggers in that age range to test any kind of anti-ageing product. I just can't take it seriously. They're not going to be able to show before and after photos on the results because they're going to look the same. Plus, there is no way I would believe what they had to say anyway and it would make me very wary of buying products from the brand. If you have a good product, that really works, you are not going to be afraid to send it to bloggers aged 40+ to review it. If the brand doesn't even have faith enough in their products to send to the appropriate age group for testing, then why should I have faith in their product either?

  14. Areilia Skyes
    March 27, 2017 / 8:20 pm

    I couldn't agree more. Brands should only be asking people of a relevant age to endorse their products, otherwise it's meaningless. As a 31 year old I wouldn't dream of reviewing a product aimed at someone in their 40's as my opinion just isn't relevant or helpful. In fact, as I've not really started to notice any signs of aging yet I'd even struggle with the idea of endorsing 'anti-aging' products aimed at my own age group. Great article. xx

  15. Amanda
    March 28, 2017 / 10:26 am

    I'd like to play devils advocate. As a brand owner I help create our adverts, firstly no I would never use a 20 something year old to advertise anti-ageing, not only is it a bit pointless but in my 20's I had enough hang ups without someone telling me I was getting old! The collagen and elastin does start to break down in our skin in our mid 20's but providing we take care of our skin, in particular using a good SPF, this is the only way you really need to protect your skin from premature ageing, a thick cream is definitely not going to help.We currently have an add on facebook which features a beautiful woman in her early 40's, yet we get comments from 50+ women asking why we're using such a young model to advertise anti-ageing. When we used a model that was 60+ the advert got no response, not from any age group, while it's silly to use young models, people also don't respond well to advertising when an older woman is used. From a personal point of view it baffled me, I genuinely thought people would connect more with this beautiful woman but they didn't. While people don't expect a product to make them look 20 years old, they still don't want to look at a women of the same age as them, who still has amazing skin but is showing the "flaws" of ageing. I try to be honest with people, skincare can only do so much, it's not botox, it won't erase your wrinkles but people do expect miracles, sadly this again is from airbrushed "older" women in advertising.This is where bigger companies I guess have more knowledge, they know what adverts people respond to and target certain demographics. I know for some companies, advertising online it's not even about the person advertising it, it's about the number of followers they have on social media.To be honest I think the problem with advertising these days isn't about the age of the models, it's the lack of honesty, products claiming to do things that simply isn't possible, the celebrities advertising being airbrushed and filmed under lighting where their true skin isn't visible. I think if more companies stopped making women feel so ashamed of their wrinkles, women would see that their "flaws" aren't flaws at all, just a natural part of life. We all want to look our best, but I think too many companies are pushing the idea of unachievable perfection, perfection you can't get without an invasive procedure at least.

    • Hayley Carr
      March 28, 2017 / 11:36 am

      Thank you for such an insightful comment Amanda. I agree with you completely – that there's an industry wide problem about the perception and attitude towards ageing. That everything is a flaw that needs fixing, rather than focusing on what can be achieved – i.e. helping women to feel fabulous. I'm not surprised that the older women responded to your advert in that way to be honest; I think we all want to see people close to our own age and looks when being marketed to, and I can imagine it's just as infuriating to see a 30 yr old when you're in your 50s or 60s. However, it's about targeting and who that product is aimed at: if it's 30s and 40s they should be working with 30 and 40 yr olds; if it's 50s and 60s the same applies. I think we're universally in agreement that working with 20-somethings is bad practice and negatively impacts on all involved. Here's hoping for change in 2017.

  16. Nital Shah
    April 5, 2017 / 12:45 pm

    I agree with you on everything you have said. Anti-aging is exactly that and it's not for 20 somethings, they are too young and simply do not need it. I for one do not want to see a 20 year old talking about anti-aging, I would actually wouldn't believe or trust what was being said.

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