I tried Gen Z beauty trends at 40 and here's how it went Advertisement

I tried Gen Z beauty trends at 40 and here’s how it went

Flawlessness has no age

By Rituparna Som  January 23rd, 2020

The day I turned 40, I was struck by a ray of confidence—I could do and say anything and it carried weight. This is obviously some cult secret that the world had been keeping from me. But… and it’s a small but…I feel a bit left out. The world of ‘beauty’ still decidedly belongs to the young ’uns, the trend makers. Millennials are ageing. Gen Z is now making spending decisions. And us 40-year-old-suddenly-confident ones—we want to sit at the cool table too. Oh, just me then? Cool, cool, cool.

Yes, I do want to try everything that comes with an invisible disclaimer: Not for 40-year-olds and above. So I spent three weeks trying out Gen Z and millennial beauty trends to see how I would personally deem each of them 40-appropriate. From rainbow hair to faux freckles, it was about moving beyond contouring and deep diving into a world of doughnut foreheads and halo eyebrows. Look up the latter—they’re no-go zones. I’m not going to use injectables to create a doughnut shaped impression on my forehead, and I don’t have the patience to draw an oval connecting my eyebrows. Because I have a life. 

Scroll through the gallery for my experiments:

Barrette sacking: Sooooo doable. Such a fail! I have a short bob and very fine hair— honestly, the barrettes were clinging on for dear life. I was also making some sort of Hansel and Gretel bread/barrette trail and ended the night with just two of the seven I had desperately tried to clip on. I wore it to a relatively safe zone—a dinner party with just a handful of guests. Most of them just asked me what was going on (with the hair, not my life). Some of them politely handed me the clips that I kept shedding. One of them suggested I try a ‘hair band’ if I was that keen on keeping the hair off my face. I will give myself big points on not losing much hair though.

Face rollers: This was a tough one. On one hand, I was peer and Instagram-pressured into getting one. Then suddenly I had three. Then, I met skincare expert Paula Begoun who scared the pants off me with stories about how rollers “broke collagen”. But the studies talking about the benefits of  lymphatic drainage kept bringing me back to my beloved three. I’ve met enough people who can’t stop raving about the glow a face massage has brought about. Plus, my jaw-clenching tendency loves a bit of jade roller action. The verdict is out on this one folks. I feel I should dedicate 2020 into researching this. 

Unicorn hair: No. Just no.

Glitter brows: Soap brows—you know the ones—pomade without the colour. Brows combed out to look spiky but natural. The updated young ’un version comes with glitter. Eyes with a bit of mascara, plain lids and softly glittery brows—yes! They were subtle—being able to wear glitter without looking like a 5-year-old who got lost in some arts and crafts project.

Photo: Christina Nadin/Instagram

Faux freckles: I tried. I really did. With a toothbrush. Honestly, I just looked pockmarked. Hard pass.


Masking: Yes, yes, not technically a millennial or Gen Z driven trend—but come on, when else would we be talking LED masks, rubber peel-off masks, and glitter masks in common parlance? The recent reports about the dangers of unregulated LED masks (they can ruin your eyes) and the obvious (insert eye roll) dangers of using glitter in skincare, easily put me off these. Rubber masks? Totally different. I’ve tried them at my dermatologist, given in to the Dr Jart creepy baby face packages, and even made my own (with gelatin, and an utter failure mind you). They are so satisfying. And they don’t feel like they’re taking away with a layer of your skin. They’re gentle, cooling and highly recommended post sun exposure. 

Photo: Karlie Kloss/Instagram
Tortoiseshell eyeshadow: The clue’s in the title. Using a skin tone-matched brown shade with spots of black, and then blended to create a tortoiseshell effect. Firstly, this requires some sort of art degree to pull off. Secondly, you need to be a pro at winged eyeliner, because the edges of the eyeshadow are defined within that elongated shape. Think of it as a winged drawn-out patch to match the shape of your eyes. Now, I’m not bragging, but I’m a pro at creating this particular shape. Still, by the end of it, I just looked like a brown panda—not the cute sort either.

Korean glass skin routine: How I love this trend! Not just because of my biased love for South Korean culture, and especially skincare. Who doesn’t want clear, glowing skin—now available as an intense facial (with BB cream injected in your skin), IV infusions, and of course, in skincare and make-up. I went the lily-livered way and hoarded bottles of AHAs, glycolic acids that peel away layers of dead skin to reveal glowing skin underneath. It’s been the most successful of all my trend experiments, where my entire regime has been overhauled, pared back, and become super intuitive. A combination of always using sunscreen and occasional gentle acids has led to my skin being naturally lit, sans make-up—kind of what glass skin is meant to be. Of course, I cannot resist a spot of Westman Atelier Super Loaded Tinted Highlight.

Call it a challenge, a desperate non-acceptance of my new decade, the workings of newfound confidence, or just plain curiosity—I enjoyed these three weeks—it’s the most fun I had in 2019. It led me to my first epiphany of the new decade—doing your thing will be the biggest beauty trend, no matter where you are or how old you are. 

Photographs: Imaxtree.com/2019 (Backstage), Instagram