The beauty industry survives on peddling youth, but Katie Couric is challenging the status quo.
The TV personality and former “Today” anchor, 64, went makeup-free for a People magazine spread published Monday. Though she admitted she was hesitant about a bare-faced photo shoot at first, the experience made her feel “liberated and vulnerable.”
“When we start seeing women as they age and appreciate the beauty that comes with that, women will stop trying to look young all the time,” Couric told People.
In a society where the term “anti-aging” is used to promote beauty and skincare products, women of all ages feel the pressure to conceal, rather than embrace, fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots.
Gwyneth Paltrow, for one, has said she struggled to feel beautiful with her crow’s feet, or the lines spreading out from the corners of her eyes.
“It’s just, sometimes you’re just like, ‘Is that me?'” she said on “The Beauty Closet” podcast in July 2019.
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Susan Yara, founder of Naturium Skincare and the YouTube channel Mixed Makeup, called Couric’s interview “really important, because it normalizes the aging process, specifically for women in entertainment.”
“The norm is that women disappear into the background as we age or we resort to plastic surgery to keep up with the standards of younger women, while men seem to thrive more when they age. It should be the same for women. We’re more confident and self-assured, and we bring wisdom that you can only get with age,” she says.
Couric is one of many public figures who is embracing her natural beauty and signs of aging. Over the course of the pandemic, Andie MacDowell showed off her silver locks, and Kelly Ripa poked fun at her gray roots.
“Being able to age is a privilege,” says Cassandra Bankson, a medical esthetician and YouTube personality based in California. As a former model, she recalled feeling “branded with ‘expiration’ dates at a certain age” in a culture obsessed with appearing young and flawless, which ultimately damaged her self-esteem.
Now, she says, “I often remind clients that fine lines and wrinkles are signs that we’ve loved, laughed, spent a summer in the sun, and learned along the way.”
“We should embrace how our skin takes care of us and the stories it tells,” Bankson says.
Tips on how to embrace aging
USA TODAY talked to cosmetic experts who provided insight on how to embrace aging instead of hiding it.
Remember that social media isn’t real: Michael Keyes, M.D., a plastic surgery fellow at the University of Louisville, reminds that “celebrities and influencers often use filters and photo editing apps to minimize skin discoloration, wrinkles and extra fat in unwanted places.”
“It’s important from a wellness standpoint to recognize what’s real and what’s not,” he says,and encourages following influencers who post unfiltered and raw photos instead.
Adjust your makeup routine: Aging is inevitable, but you can still take steps to look and feel good. Heidi Goodarzi, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist specializing in cosmetic and medical dermatology, suggests replacing foundation with tinted sunscreen for a wash of glow that won’t conceal your natural features.
Be kind to yourself: Yara reminds us that as we age, we should be proud of our bodies for the experiences it has gone through. “My confidence is truly my secret weapon, and I gained it through years of experience and becoming comfortable with myself,” she says.
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