If you have ever been up at night Googling how to improve your skin’s elasticity, brighten dark circles, or how to get a youthful glow, chances are you have come across the term “anti-aging.” While some think nothing of the term, there are others who may stop and think, “Why are we describing aging like it’s some sort of disease?”
Newsflash: It’s not. It’s perfectly normal. It’s a part of life.
For that reason, Allure magazine has declared that it will stop using the term altogether. “Starting today at Allure, we’re also announcing we’re banning the term ‘anti-aging.’ Language matters,” wrote the magazine’s editor in chief, Michelle Lee, on Instagram.
Allure’s declaration has sparked a conversation around the term “anti-aging,” including inspiring some to ultimately ban the verbiage from their vocabulary as well. One person left a comment under Lee’s post noting, “Love it! I just felt a huge wave of respect for you and your team and Allure. So exciting!” Another shared similar sentiments with the comment, “Amazing and so needed in the industry right now. This is the kind of thing that makes me want to be a beauty editor.”
Yahoo Beauty caught up with Lee to find out how the idea of banning the term was born. “We’ve done a lot of work this year challenging society’s too-narrow view of beauty,” she shares. “Simultaneously, we found ourselves naturally turning away from the term anti-aging when writing about skin care and other products, instead choosing other ways to describe what those products actually do, such as boosting radiance.”
Lee continued, “One day, our digital director, Phill Picardi, said: ‘Isn’t it time we stop saying anti-aging?’ It was a conversation our beauty director, Jenny Bailly, had already been having with people, so all of the pieces started coming together. On that day, we said: Let’s do it.”
For a publication to propose banning certain language isn’t far-fetched, but it can sometimes backfire. In 2014, Time magazine came under fire for including the word “feminist” in a list of words it would potentially ban in 2015. People were outraged, and the publication promptly issued a public apology. While Time’s call to possibly ban that specific word flopped, Allure’s proposition is doing the total opposite, exciting not only readers but other fellow editors, as well as the industry as a whole, to shift the narrative and the way we view aging overall.
“Every editor and every publication has a style guide so there are terms and clichés that we won’t use, like saying that a color makes someone’s ‘eyes pop’ because, hi, that’s just a lazy phrase,” explains Lee. “But this is the first real big statement that we’re making as a brand to discontinue a term that’s widely used.”
One issue with the idea of doing away with the term anti-aging is that there is a billion dollar industry attached to it. Sephora has an entire section on its website dedicated to anti-aging skin care, and there are a countless stories centered on finding the best anti-aging products. Will Allure stop collaborating with these types of brands? Lee explained, “We’re certainly not shaming any brands that use the term and will still continue to cover them. But we’d love to see a future in which we phase the term out completely. We know it’s not easy to change packaging and marketing materials overnight, but we’d love to see more brands make a commitment to phase it out.”
Allure’s efforts are far from being ignored and have already propelled other editors to speak out. Siraad Dirshe, beauty editor at Essence magazine, shared her thoughts on the term. “I’ve always thought the term was a bit weird and oftentimes misused because honestly nothing is anti-aging,” she tells Yahoo Beauty. “If anything, there are products that are preventative and can help to slow down the physical appearance of aging, but we all inevitably age, like it or not. Using the term also implies that there is something wrong with getting older, which there is absolutely not. At the end of the day, the best thing you can do is to fully embrace aging and the lessons, as well as wisdom that comes along with it.”
Allure also tweeted an inspiring quote from cover star of the September issue, Helen Mirren, that read, “This word ‘anti-aging’ — we know we’re getting older. You just want to look and feel as great as you can on a daily basis.”
At the end of the day, Allure is touching on a topic that has been overlooked for far too long. Instead of just talking about it, staff members are putting action behind their thoughts and may cause a long-awaited shift in the industry that will eventually lead to more people embracing aging as we know it.
It’s about darn time. Salute!
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