#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]