How to create a more inclusive beauty industry?

How to create a more inclusive beauty industry?

19/99 is a brand whose inclusive approach to female aging reflects a bigger shift within the industry

“There’s no age limit for having fun, creating or expressing yourself, and for us, makeup is all of those things,” says Stephanie Spence, co-founder of Canadian beauty brand 19/99 (one of our selection of vegan makeup brands).

For Spence and fellow founder Camille Katona, the often drawn correlation between “age limits” or “age appropriateness” and cosmetics is outdated, nonsensical and, at worst, destructive. The pair launched 19/99 two years ago in a bid to rewrite the beauty industry’s dominant narrative of female beauty, which dictates that youth is the ultimate prize and that aging shouldn’t just be hidden, but feared.

19/99 and an inclusive approach to beauty

It is a fiction perpetuated by advertising campaigns and product launches aimed only at younger audiences, or claiming to “fix” any signs of aging in older women. So the real question is how to solve this problem? While the answer is far more complex than a single beauty brand, 19/99 offers a compelling case study of how industry players can create positive change.

“Over the past decade, people have started talking more about aging,” Spence explains, “and older women have started to be featured more in advertising. However, much of this is quite “symbolic” and not an accurate representation of the older women we interact with in our lives or seek inspiration from. To this day, many advertisements stick to a standard script of depicting women as young and sexy, mothers or grandmothers.

“Obviously those aren’t the only roles that women play, and we’re starting to get a fuller picture of women, but generally speaking, no, we don’t think that’s changed much since we started. , but hopefully people are starting to question things and speak out a lot more about the changes they want to see.

“Rather than seeing aging as something that can be stopped,” she continues, “the industry needs to start presenting women with inspiring and creative ways to age.” For 19/99, that means more inclusive advertising that depicts women at different stages of their lives wearing makeup that’s more playful and dynamic than the “natural” or “subtle” looks often reserved for women over 40. It also means products that are designed to work on different skin textures and tones.

The 19/99 Multi-Purpose Pencils are an example of this, with a variety of colors and a very creamy texture which means they can be used on the lips and eyes for smoother, smoother skin or more crinkly and textured skin. . The brand also regularly posts engaging and thoughtful conversations with women like movement artist Eryn Danielle or model Mella, answering questions like “Do you feel a deep attraction and desire to stay young?” and ‘Does the age-appropriate term ring a bell?’

The change illustrated by 19/99 is happening beyond cosmetics. Strategic foresight consultancy The Future Laboratory recently noted in its New Aging Market research study that the global anti-aging market was valued at £49 billion in 2021 and is expected to nearly double by 2030. However, the general conception of what “anti-aging” means is changing. “Over the past decade, the conversation about aging in the beauty and wellness industries has shifted dramatically,” the study notes.

“The story evolved from anti- and pro-aging to pre-aging – a term that developed as a result of [people] adopting more holistic health and beauty routines, and aiming to prevent rather than cure,” the study states. The change could be partly a consequence of the pandemic which, according to Future Laboratory, stressed that aging “is a privilege” and underlined the link between youth and longevity rather than youth and beauty.

Olivia Houghton, Senior Creative Foresight Analyst, says, “The conversation about aging has long been about reversal and repair. Today’s consumers focus on protection, prevention and regeneration.

The long-term effects of this change have yet to become apparent, but in the meantime brands like 19/99 will continue to offer an alternative approach to feminine beauty. According to Spence, “We hope that through brands like 19/99, through our images and our conversations, we prove that there are many women who are ready to hear [about] and being part of a different approach to aging, and seeing ourselves as part of what we do and the change we’re trying to bring about. §

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