British Beauty Council Benefactor Willowberry have today launched ‘Age Without Apology’, a campaign which includes a Founder Member Collective comprising of: Jenni Retourne, Millie Kendall MBE, Jane Cunningham, Inge Ladd, Fatima Truscott, Anna Cascarina, Nicola Bonn, Emma Bardwell, and Sandra Sallin.
Willowberry are a new Benefactor of the British Beauty Council, on why they joined us, Founder Jenni Retourne said: “I hugely admire the work of British Beauty Council and the way it supports our fantastic industry. I became a Benefactor of British Beauty Council because it brings our industry together and I believe industry collaboration is imperative to a lot of things I am working to achieve for Willowberry, including our Age Without Apology campaigning and our work in sustainability. I also want to be a voice as an independent brand; the challenges we face and how big and small brands can work together for the greater good.”
“I have never been one to be quiet about my age, I am elated to be 54. I think of people in terms of psychographics, so how you think, what your attitude to life is. I don’t target them by age. I would like to see more representation of like-minded 50 year olds in advertising and most importantly in-store. I feel we are represented either as the exception to the general rule, or not at all. We aren’t unique but we are under-represented.”
– British Beauty Council CEO Millie Kendall MBE
What was your thinking behind ‘Age without Apology’ when you launched the brand?
Back in 2017, just 3 months after I launched Willowberry, I wrote a Facebook post that said: “We seek to celebrate beauty regardless of age, to champion individual beauty in all its forms, plus we will never use the term ‘anti-ageing’ on our products. We’re a small brand but we hope to make some kind of impact with our voice, to help women feel more confident in their own skin and to help steer the beauty industry to a more diverse representation of women and a more positive use of language. Bold dreams and baby steps…”
Age Without Apology evolved as a concept over time and nearly 4 years on, I feel like my bold ambitions are achievable.
What is it about the current anti-ageing messaging within the beauty industry you feel needs to change?
The word ‘anti’ immediately tells us that we should be against ageing, while terms like age reversal tell us that there is something wrong with looking our age. Wrinkle removal isn’t possible with a pot of cream, and why are women being told to remove their wrinkles, anyway? Skincare helps you get your best skin and should make you feel good about yourself. As an industry, we shouldn’t be selling products based on fear or hope-in-a-jar. Equally, this isn’t an ‘anti-botox’ movement; it is a personal choice if women want to have non-invasive treatments. But it’s about not making women feel like they have to get rid of their wrinkles to look beautiful.
Why is it important to you to see older women celebrated and portrayed in beauty imagery?
The saying goes “you can’t be what you can’t see”. It is so important to make age visible and normal within beauty, so that women don’t feel like they’re invisible and irrelevant as soon as they pass their 30s.
What is Willowberry doing to lead the way in changing the way ageing is portrayed in beauty?
The biggest step we have taken to date is the launch of our new Age Without Apology Pledge, which encourages our industry to come together to change the age narrative in beauty by talking about age in a positive and realistic way, and to make women of all ages visible in beauty imagery. We recently undertook a survey with 1,000 women aged 30-80 to get a real understanding of how women feel about age in beauty, and we’re acting on our findings. Our new beauty campaign features real women aged 37-76 so that women of all ages can see themselves in beauty imagery.
From the messaging and the images we put out there to make age visible and celebrated, to the language we use when promoting our products, Willowberry has always banged the drum for accepting and celebrating age and looking at your reflection with kindness instead of self-loathing. ‘Anti-ageing’ is sadly the fastest way to sell a product, but I refuse to trade on insecurity to sell a pot of cream. I’d rather take the long road to help turn the tide.
How would you like to see change with the way ageing and anti-ageing is addressed across the industry – from big brands through to media and advertising?
I’m not naïve – huge changes need to be made to rewrite an age narrative that has long-existed in society.
Big brands can’t wipe the word ‘anti-ageing’ off their products overnight – and they probably won’t want to, because that’s what sells. But change always needs to start somewhere and I hope it will open up discussion and debate and I welcome it to move the age narrative forward. And for every beauty brand, journalist, make-up artist and other industry peer who commits to our pledge of helping to change the age narrative in beauty, is a step towards making real change. Because together we are stronger.
What is your advice to women who don’t like what they see in the mirror and are fearful of ageing? What can be done to boost their confidence?
Be kinder to your reflection. Look at yourself with new eyes and see the person that you are, the story of your life on your face. The reality is that wrinkles are inevitable and very normal with age, so don’t waste 50-odd years disliking how you look and trying to fight it. Confidence and energy light up a room far more than traditional beauty ideals, so smile and hold yourself high.
Find out how you can get involved in Willowberry’s Age without Apology campaign here.