Seven women discuss the challenges of finding work and feeling valued in an industry that values youth above all else.
It’s not news to anyone that women have to prove their worth at almost every stage in their lives. While it’s already challenging enough for women to claim their rightful place in professional fields that are saturated with men, the struggle is also there within their own community, especially in the world of beauty influencers.
The value of beauty bloggers and influencers has historically been dictated by a woman’s age, with younger women attracting most of the lucrative work in the field. So what’s it like once those young women grow up and want to continue their life’s work at a more advanced age?
We talked with fabulous beauty bloggers and influencers over the age of 45 who are #proaging, slaying their professional game and influentially educating everyone on what it’s like to age gracefully and naturally. Here’s what they have to say about their journey in the beauty industry.
Founder of Is This Mutton?, a U.K.-based fashion and beauty blog for women over 50
I definitely attract different brands, and in the main they are brands that are specifically tailored toward older women. The first challenge is getting brands to see the value in using older women in their marketing and advertising. There’s nothing more infuriating than seeing face creams for “mature skins” being advertised by girls in their 20s.
Secondly, most of the brands have a blind spot when it comes to older women and social media. They occasionally “like” a picture we may have posted showing ourselves wearing a new lipstick, but they rarely share it. This makes me think their social media teams are probably young people in their 20s who don’t want to taint the brand with pictures of older women. Yet the women behind brands like Charlotte Tilbury, Pat McGrath Labs and Lisa Eldridge are women in their 40s or older.
Thirdly, the brands’ social media teams seem to want only Instagram or TikTok. The number of women over 45 on those channels is nowhere near as big as it is for younger people. Many influencers with huge followings bought their followers when this was possible. If you analyze their numbers, half of their followers are either bots or men. Fashion brands have started to see the light: We see more diversity now on the catwalks. But beauty brands seriously lag behind.
The final challenge is the wording they use when they target products at women over 45. Anti-aging? Why are so we so against aging? We all get older, nothing stops that. We need to embrace aging and stop bullying older women into thinking they have to turn the clock back and look younger in order to be acceptable.
Blogger behind Beauty Blog Over 40
I was under 40 when I started my beauty blog, but as soon as I hit the big 40 I noticed that big brands (that actually specialize in anti-aging) like Olay, It Cosmetics or L’Oreal would rather work with younger influencers and completely stopped working with me. And most makeup brands have no interest working with women over 40 ― it’s almost like they think only young women use makeup. But I do love makeup and so do many of my followers! The same is true for PR agencies ― they cater to the 20-to-30-year-old influencers.
I don’t know if younger bloggers make more money than I do ― this is a big secret and nobody is actually talking openly about that.
Blogger behind Amanda Ramsay, a popular Australian beauty blog especially for women over 40
I didn’t intend to be an influencer. I’m an experienced professional makeup artist who simply saw a gap in the market ― no one here in Australia was talking to this huge collection of women. They were greatly forgotten, ignored or left to feel inadequate. I’ve got the skills and experience as a pro artist to share my knowledge, and the passion to make sure women get the right info, without the marketing BS, so they can remain seen, feel fabulous and rock on at every age.
So I guess it’s different over 45. Beauty PR is more focused on the younger generation of influencers, but I see that as a reflection of the whole industry. The beauty industry’s narrative has been youth as the only definition of beauty, and scaremongering the more “mature skinned” beauty into being fearful, like there is something wrong with aging.
I suspect as brands catch up to the notion, beauty PR and brands will seek out us older birds. The wave of change is coming, albeit a little slow, but the pro-age movement is gaining traction!
Blogger behind Fab Over 40
Things have changed greatly since I started blogging in 2008. When I started, I researched who was blogging for beauty and skin care for the over-40 market and there was absolutely no one I could find. I don’t think PR and marketing firms knew how to handle it. For the most part, I was ignored, and a few years later I started getting noticed, but I would get countless pitches daily on things like “get the look of Kim Kardashian” or celebrities in their 20s. I would oftentimes respond either asking if they had anything that would be of interest to my age market, but most wouldn’t acknowledge my requests.
I was mostly offered free product to test ― all without compensation. Once in awhile I would be compensated, but nothing like younger bloggers get now. It would be a big deal if I got $100 for testing and promoting a product. I think the challenges are just having your voice heard in a manner you are comfortable with. I don’t want to hype a product that someone is pushing me to get the word out there if it’s absolutely nothing I would use or anyone in my age group would use. Sure, the latest seasonal makeup release is fun and pretty, but is it something women over 40 would even wear? If it is, I’m all for sharing about it.
Makeup artist, stylist and journalist
When I first moved into this space of work I felt out of place, as the younger bloggers all looked the same — very “Kardashian” — almost plastic-looking. I felt intimidated and dreaded anyone asking me my age! But slowly I decided that I didn’t have to fit that mold. I embraced being bolder, not older, and found my own tribe of bloggers/influencers and I looked forward to going to my launches. I was so flattered when the younger bloggers started to approach me and ask me for my beauty and hair tips! It was then I realized that we all have a space to work in.
For PR brands, youth sells. Yet, it’s interesting that PR agencies are slow to acknowledge that it’s the older demographic that have the money to spend and they relate to someone like myself touting a product or showing them how to apply the latest light reflecting or blurring product. Being an over-45 blogger/influencer has so many wonderful advantages. For one, I have a much larger audience to cater to, so I have far more opportunities.
Chemist, blogger and the founder of Lajoie Skin
Skin care advice from a woman over 45 who has aged well, in my experience, is something that a younger age group does respect ― especially when that person has obviously not resorted to filters or injectables. When I was a young chemist working for one of the largest cosmetic companies in the world at the time, I remember how disappointed I was when the face of Lancôme, Isabella Rossellini, was dropped not long after she had just turned 40.
My diverse experience and qualifications are a huge advantage, but this can only be earned with time. But PR agencies and advertisers traditionally do use younger people, even when it comes to trying to target to an older audience. If we look at the sheer number of younger versus older bloggers, they do not represent our society, but then the same can be said for other marginalized groups.
Former ’80s supermodel and micro-influencer
Being a beauty blogger/influencer over the age of 45 is different! It’s different in the sense that many brands are finally starting to recognize that this age group has the disposable cash and can afford to spend it on items and products they like. I am attracting all kinds of brands that are finally recognizing that beauty comes in all ages and that beauty is truly how you feel inside, and we can always enhance our natural beauty with makeup, skin care and hair care.
My brand is growing and my work has increased dramatically as a vlogger/blogger. When it comes to money, I’m not really sure how much younger bloggers make, but I am paid very well for my services. However, I still struggle to convince brands that it is a great investment to recognize this demographic and the potential it can produce for them with ROI (return on investment). The advantages I have are that I am one of the very few beauty blogger/vloggers in the space and my Youtube channel has received over 4 million views and counting. It helps that I have been a beauty and wellness expert for decades.
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