If you bought a washing machine and it didn’t wash your clothes would you just sigh, turn it off and consign it to join all your other washing machines that don’t work? Likewise, if you bought a handbag that didn’t open, a lamp that didn’t light or a phone that didn’t make calls would you just keep them for a few months before throwing them away? Of course not, that would be silly and wasteful and anyway you’d probably be quite annoyed and want your money back. Why then do so many of us women part with our hard earned cash for beauty products that don’t do what they are supposed to? Women in the 55 to 64 year age group, in the UK, spend on average £2190 a year a year on beauty products. Most of these products will promise to banish wrinkles, reduce pores, defy age, increase collagen and reduce the five signs of ageing (in my case that would be wrinkles, sagging, loss of elasticity, not giving a rat’s arse about housework and falling asleep ten minutes into a film I really wanted to see).
We all know deep down in our little menopausal hearts that one cream is pretty much like another and that the reason why the model in the advert hasn’t got any wrinkles is because she’s sixteen. When older women advertise ‘age defying’ moisturisers they have usually had a facelift. Jane Fonda is quite open about having had a facelift and lots of other procedures yet she brazenly advertises a very expensive face cream (which I’m not going to name because I don’t think women should buy it). Does she think women will look at her flawless complexion at 82 and think ‘well she’s had a facelift but maybe it’s the moisturiser that makes her look 25 so I’ll buy it’? Helen Mirren looks amazing but that’s because she’s Helen Mirren and not me. Despite being a brand ambassador for L’Oréal, she said that moisturiser probably does eff all. Yet still we buy these potions by the bucket loads and they don’t work. The manufacturers try to blind us with science and jargon but aqua and humectants are just water and moisturiser. We are also told we need more and more products. Eye creams primers, serums, contouring cream, undercoats, topcoats, wallpaper paste…
I have been seduced by many an advert and have spent too much money that I didn’t really have on nicely packaged empty promises and jars full of hope but I have never used a face cream that has made me gasp at the youthful radiance my skin has just acquired or made my wrinkles disappear or ‘restored and renewed’ my skin to its former glory. It’s also true that I have never taken a moisturiser/ wrinkle filler/ primer/ back to the shop because it didn’t work. Isn’t this what we should be doing though? Shouldn’t we be taking these impostors back to the beauty counters and demanding our money back?
‘I bought this age-defying cream six months ago when I was 55, here’s a photo of me before I used it and look at my face now. it’s exactly the same’ (sorry Madam you can’t have a refund it says on it ‘night cream’ and I strongly suspect you’ve been using during the day’).
Ultimately all moisturisers plump out the skin temporarily and the only cream that can stop us ageing prematurely is sunscreen. Maybe, however, we should do something radical and not buy them in the first place. We could just accept the wrinkles, sags and bags as the price we pay for not dying young.