I tried Gen Z beauty trends at 40 and here’s how it went
Flawlessness has no age
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.
Photo: Christina Nadin/Instagram
Faux freckles: I tried. I really did. With a toothbrush. Honestly, I just looked pockmarked. Hard pass.
Photo: Karlie Kloss/Instagram
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