#QuarterLifeCrisis, by @JumpMag

How To Make A Woman Buy Your Cosmetic Product:

  1. Invent a flaw that she didn’t know existed
  2. Make her aware of that flaw
  3. Present a miracle product, that obliterates the flaw!

If this sounds familiar, it is because it happens all the time. Last week, the Daily Mail asked ‘should women shave their faces’… because obviously on a Barbie-like hairless woman is attractive. Every time we come close to achieving peak womanly beauty, they move the goalposts and say, ‘Oh, but wait! You’ve still got X to sort out’.

Today, I came across this article, on an advertising blog, discussing a new advertising campaign for the Estee Lauder brand Origins. It begins with surprising honesty.

Acne is the scourge of teen years. It doesn’t get any better later on: In midlife, skin is beset with lines and wrinkles. The beauty industry has long known exactly how to play into those specific epidural insecurities. But what about the quarter-life crisis and its attendant skinsecurity? You know, when your skin does something … weird … in between?

Estée Lauder’s Origins skincare line has heeded the call that no one has really issued with its new Skin Renewal Serum for millennials, accompanied by an all-out digital campaign.

“Millennials” is used to refer to those born around late 1980s to mid-2000s. The target age of this campaign is revealed by the hashtag used #QuarterLifeCrisis – women in their mid-twenties. They are actually praising Origins for coming up with a new target range to make insecure. Way to go!

 “We’ve never really had a product targeting millennials before, so we’re playing in all the places we need to be — entering conversations that are already authentic,” Mark Ferdman, Origins’ vp of global consumer engagement, told Digiday. “There’s a moment for a woman in her twenties where she looks in the mirror and realizes that something’s just not right. That’s where we want to be.”

So this dude is telling women in their mid-twenties that they should be spotting flaws? When I think back to my mid-twenties, I looked and felt fabulous. I certainly wasn’t worried about wrinkles, which going by these Origins tweets, I should have been.

What is this obsession with looking haggard? And really – other than mothers of twin babies, how many 25 year olds look haggard? Even when I had young children, I wouldn’t have used that word to describe myself.

I am now 42 years old and of course my skin isn’t as smooth and unlined as it was, but I still wouldn’t describe myself as haggard or bloated, or any of the other negative descriptions on the Origins twitter feed. 25 year olds don’t need plastic surgery, and to insinuate this, via a humour tweet about a fictional intern, is simply ridiculous.

Women are encouraged to download an app that informs women of the changes in their skin at this age… erm, you mean the completely normal process of the skin losing a little bit of its elasticity? Which by the way, any 20somethings reading this, won’t even be noticeable for at least another 10 years!

We cannot hold back time, but we can learn to be comfortable in our skin, and to accept the way we look. That won’t happen when unscrupulous marketing campaigns undermine our attempts, in an effort to sell their products. Origins is encouraging women to look at their bodies and find fault. While there was some criticism of the Dove advertising campaign, at least they were being body positive!

When I look back at photos from the past 20 years, I can see how my body and my face has changed. That is just a normal part of life, and nothing to declare war against. The lines I have are laughter lines, and the few that I’ve gained through frowning are also part of me. They show that I’ve gone through good times, and bad, and come out the other side. Like many of my peers, I am finding my 40s to be a wonderful time of my life.

If I could give advice to my 25 year old self, it would be, “Enjoy your twenties because they will be fabulous, but the best is yet to come!”.


Salt and Caramel : is a blog about the sweet and the bitter side of life. Freelance writer Lynn Schreiber shares tips on Social Media, blogging and parenting, reviews products and events, and highlights issues surrounding the rights of women and girls. [@LynnCSchreiber]

2 thoughts on “#QuarterLifeCrisis, by @JumpMag”

  1. Wise words.

    WHEN will there be a cosmetic company that simply makes products that smell good, feel good and address real problems such as spots etc without directing us to look for flaws or attempting to imbue their products with quasi seer/psychiatrist/life coach qualities?

    I am pretty comfotable about ageing, mainly because having lost friends young, I think growing older is a privilege denied to so many. That friend of mine who died of cancer aged 32? She’d put me over her knee if she caught me whining about a perfectly normal wrinkle or line in the context of being upset about getting old. She’d tell me to slap on some lipstick and perfume and get over myself.

    That doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t enjoy playing with cosmetics and there’s nothing wrong with using them to look different but nobody ever found fulfilment and contentment inside a pot of cream or hiding in a syringe of botox. I want to look like lots of versions of me, that’s all, not scare my kids in the street with a visage like a tortured mask.

    The great thing about age related changes is that their sum total is congruous. Alter one and it throws everything else off balance, requires you to ‘fix’ them too. That is why a lot of cosmetic surgery ends up making people appear even odder because you cannot change the underlying structures- the difference in blood flow to the skin, the layers of fat and collagen matrix. No matter what these quacks say. Fat from your ass injected into your face does not behave or sit in the same way as fat that distributed itself naturally over time and the idea that young women are being made to think they need to address non existent flaws invasively is appalling.

    Ageing need not be a rubbing out or blurring of you as a person- that is societies fault for not valuing a woman as she ages and this can be changed through the way we conduct ourselves and react to other women as they age.

    Christ, that turned out to be a bit of a rant- sorry!

  2. Trouble is, these adverts and the attitudes within them of hating women because they are getting too old to breed from are getting into womens heads. I cant tell you the number of women that have attacked me viciously over the past five years or so since entering my late 40s and treated me as an object without feelings they need to think about or any humanity in situations where you would have thought they would have supported me, such as my six year old daughter being sexually assaulted. Younger women seem psychopathic towards older women, and to call us invisible is the same as saying worthless or dehumanised.

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