jane cunningham age without apology interview

Age Without Apology expert chat: Top beauty writer Jane Cunningham

Our Willowberry Age Without Apology Insta Live Series is held bi-weekly on our Instagram page. These live chats with expert guests are designed to help you navigate age with confidence and style. Here are the highlights of our recent chat with top beauty writer, Jane Cunningham.

Jane Cunningham is an experienced beauty journalist and the straight-talking creator behind British Beauty Blogger, a blog which reviews the latest beauty products and examines the business behind them. Here we bring you the highlights of Jane’s words of wisdom complete with the importance of a better approach to beauty language around ageing; how men in boardrooms control women’s skincare narrative; and why it’s so important to change how we talk about age in front of younger generations.

The beauty industry and the language of anti-ageing

When I first started out, a long time ago, I completely embraced the whole anti-ageing thing. I used to write a lot for the Express and the Mail and never thought twice about writing, ‘This will get rid of your wrinkles’. It was only much later that I started thinking, ‘Wait a minute!’. I have seen some changes, but they are slower to come than I’d like. We see a lot of body positivity that we never used to see, but it doesn’t quite reach the face!

I think if there was a better beauty language around ageing for women, people would be happier but there isn’t. I want to see women being reassured that their beauty is not lost just because they have some lines on their faces.

Women have never been shown any other language to address those problems. They’ve never been told it’s ok to age. I think Willowberry does a beautiful job around the language of ageing and making people feel like it’s not a failure in life if you’re not looking ten years younger. The more people that do that, the better it will be, and a new language will be learned that’s not derogatory.

Age discrimination and how men in boardrooms control women’s skincare narrative

Ironically there are many barriers for women within the beauty industry. If you look at the very top of the big beauty corporations, it’s mainly men. Age discrimination in the beauty industry feels particularly galling because the people with the maturity to understand ageing have so much more to offer. Women my age are not being listened to, they are not being heard, they are not being spoken to in a way they would like and that can only really come from women of the same age.

On working as a consultant advising beauty brands on how to speak to older women

One way I do that is by going into those companies, putting envelopes with notes inside them randomly on chairs and then asking people to stand before me and read the contents out. The notes say things like, ‘You are unattractive because of your wrinkles’ and, ‘I’m sure you were much more attractive when you were younger’. Things you would never say out loud to anybody and yet this is what the beauty industry is saying out loud to women, day in day out, and we say, ‘Oh yeah, that’s fine’. That is not fine.

Skincare vs Treatments

I am not against Botox at all, and I like a bit of Profhilo [which is basically an injectable moisturiser] along the jaw line. The thing is, serums, lotions and creams with beautiful textures can make your skin glowy, dewy, supple and velvety. When you feel that your skin looks amazing, those little creases and perceived flaws are just not as relevant. People will say, ‘Wow! You are glowing, what have you done to your skin?’. Nobody ever goes, ‘What happened to all your wrinkles?’ after Botox, do they? Never!

If you’ve smiled a lot in your life and it shows? Good. That’s amazing, that’s something to celebrate, not something to erase.

Top beauty tips

Smile. A lot. And not just because people respond so well to a smiling face but also because it lifts everything! Apart from that? Moisturise, use SPF and be experimental: just because you are a certain age, don’t think certain things aren’t for you. Give things a go, particularly when it comes to hair and make-up. Budget make-up these days is excellent quality with some amazing formulations for the price, so I encourage people to try as much make-up as they want. Do that red lip, do that blue mascara. Do it all! It’s fine, it’s fun and that’s all it’s meant to be. If something doesn’t suit you, just move on.

People are asking a lot about lightweight coverage and natural looking skin: do a little experimental mix of your moisturiser or day cream or face oil with your foundation. Mix it up and you will have a lovely lightweight skin tint that is moisturising, too.

Fitting good skincare habits into busy modern life

One of my biggest tips is to keep a little box of your beauty kit next to where you sit to watch TV. Then do your skincare while you watch TV. The other thing is, do your face mask in the morning. Do not do your face mask at night! Why would you put on a mask that makes your skin look utterly lovely and then go to bed for 10 hours? It doesn’t make any sense. Wake up 5 minutes earlier, do your face mask, then enjoy the results all day.

How to Age Without Apology

Don't pass on the message that you’ve been taught about your face as an older woman to your daughters or to any younger women. They will be happier in life if they don’t constantly feel like they’re in a state of fade. Be really careful with your words around them. Don’t be saying ‘Oh, my wrinkles are awful’. Just don’t do it. Really try and wash yourself of the negativity around the ageing process and remember that you never, ever lose your beauty. It changes but it’s never lost.


Watch our live chat with Jane Cunningham in full here. Follow Willowberry on Instagram and look out for our Age Without Apology Insta Live Series every other Wednesday.

Willowberry is nutritious natural skincare for grown-ups, for your best skin. 

A favourite with top make-up artists, Willowberry's luxurious award-winning products protect skin’s natural barrier function, to nourish and revive grown-up skin without telling women to be 'anti-ageing'.

As seen in Vogue, Independent, The Telegraph, This Morning and more.