In August, Allure’s editor in chief, Michelle Lee, announced that the term “anti-aging” would be banned from the publication. Lee believes that the term reinforces the message that aging is something women need to battle and, by changing the way we talk about aging, we’ll change the perceptions around it.
Lee is not alone—when it comes to caring for their skin, Millennial women aren’t jumping on to the anti-aging bandwagon either. Last year, sales of anti-aging skin care fell by 1%. This doesn’t mean that Millennials don’t care about the effects of aging on their skin—in fact, 28% of women under 25 and 42% of those 25-34 admit that they regularly worry about signs of aging. But their approach is different than previous generations: Millennial women are proactive skincare consumers who focus on prevention rather than treatment.
An Ounce of Prevention (Comes in a Jar…or a Syringe)
Today’s average skincare consumer started using products at 26, as opposed to the average Baby Boomer who started around 47. Today, women 18-34 are the heaviest buyers and users of skincare and by the time they are 35, one-in-three regularly use moisturizers, serums, and other skincare products. Analysts found that while sales of anti-aging products declined, sales of facial moisturizers grew by 4.4%. Still, they are skeptical of product claims; 66% of Millennial women say most skincare products fall short on delivering the results they promise.
Millennial women are also experimenting earlier with cosmetic treatments, such as Botox, Xeomin, and fillers—among women 30-34, nearly 47% have already tried injectables as compared to only 28% of women 35 to 39 and 11% of women 40-49. And they’re willing to go even further: one-fifth of Millennials say they would consider getting plastic surgery to reverse the effects of aging.
A Natural Approach to Beauty
Natural brands are hoping to pick up where anti-aging products fall short. Beauty products with simple, recognizable ingredients such as vitamin C, seaweed, and collagen appeal to the 57% of Millennials who say they’re confused by the different ingredients used in skincare products and the 81% who want to keep their routine as simple as possible. Similarly, Millennials are eager to try beauty from the inside out through wellness-oriented nutritional supplements designed to improve hair, nails, or skin. The goal is healthful, glowing skin and Millennials are looking for clean ingredients that will improve the overall health and appearance of their skin in the long term.
Changing the Conversation
If anyone can change the anti-aging conversation, it will be Millennials. They’ve been instrumental in evolving the way both brands and media approach beauty, embracing non-traditional and diverse models and influencers. Perhaps, as Millennials approach middle-age, their health-focused approach to skincare will pay off with fewer wrinkles, but more important, a healthier attitude toward aging in general.
Sources: Mintel Skincare Ingredient and Format Trends December 2016, Fashionista What’s Really Going on With Millennials and Skin Care June 2017, Dermstore Anti-Aging Survey 2017