Tricia Cusden is on a mission to get you to embrace your age. Rather than subscribing to the idea that you're meant to side-step aging and buff out wrinkles, Cusden likes the idea of embracing the natural changes and still feeling your best and most beautiful - all because of this new stage, and not despite of it.
Cusden is a trailblazer when it comes to the beauty world, where she is carving out a niche for an older generation of beauty vloggers with her channel, Look Fabulous Forever. Living in South West London, she began her YouTube channel out of disappointment that older women were being ignored almost completely by the beauty industry. "The perception of our ageist society is that older women have little value or worth. The beauty industry is one of the worst culprits in my view," Cusden shares. "The only conversation that most beauty brands are prepared to have with me at the age of 70 is via the language of ‘anti-aging’. It’s as though no-one can possibly imagine that I am happy to be the age i am and look the way I do - and have no desire to ’turn back the clock’ (as if!)"
In tandem with her channel, she also launched an online beauty brand in the same name, Look Fabulous Forever, all at the age of 68. Her makeup brand has formulated a line of cosmetics especially made for older faces, eyes, and lips, and her videos only show women over 50 years of age, giving a pro-age rather than anti-aging message.
In fact, her channel started completely by accident - she never thought that "beauty vlogger" would be part of her resume. She wanted to create a tutorial for her makeup brand to show how her cosmetics work, and she uploaded the video to YouTube on a whim, thinking it would get lost in the shuffle and never be watched or found. So you can imagine how shocked she was to see that her modest clip was getting thousands of views per day. There was obviously a market of women who loved makeup just as much as their younger counterparts - who would have thought, huh?
Cusden now has a successful makeup company, a beauty channel with nearly 30 thousand subscribers, and a blog that not only talks about beauty but shows readers that this could very well be the best part of their lives, and encourages them to make the most of it. And makeup ties directly into that message.
"I feel that many older women ‘throw in the towel’ when it comes to their appearance. They feel invisible and start to think ‘what does it matter what I look like?’ Taking the time and trouble to apply some beautiful makeup every day can lift your spirits and help to bolster a feeling of self worth," Cusden says.
A case in point: Cusden once received an email from a reader where the woman shared that she had to take down all the mirrors in her house because she could no longer bare to look at her changing face. Cusden is determined to help women like her change their mind and see their reflection without the lens of societal expectations distorting their view. She wants them to see that they are beautiful.
"I feel that everything we do at LFF - our makeup, my blogs, the videos and all the information and inspiration on our website helps to challenge the notion that older women cannot be beautiful. Ageism feeds the notion that old age is a terrible and fearful thing and that those women who are now old should be ashamed of how they look. I found that comment incredibly sad. In contrast I have lots of mirrors in my house because I want to meet myself in those mirrors every day and acknowledge that my face is perfectly fine - despite the obvious signs of age upon it!"
For Cusden, makeup is one way that she engages with the world on her own terms, and that's why it's important. She only hopes to make other women feel that way, too.