Is the world starting to agree with the Bible - that grey hair is a crown of glory? Not quite, says Hannah Wickens, but it might just be going in the right direction, and Kylie Jenner is leading the way.


Source:  Sipa USA / Alamy Stock Photo

In the aftermath of Fashion Week, influencers are applauding designers for including 80’s ‘supermodels’ in their catwalks. This means women often in their 50s, a veritable leap forward in an ‘anti-age’ saturated society.

Conversely, such influencers are also deriding one of the most eminent cats of all; Kylie Jenner - a notable socialite - for the presence of her ‘natural’ face.

The girl can’t draw breath without criticism, but these inflammatory remarks publicising a glitch in her ‘filler-filled-prematurely-ageing face’, may have prompted her subsequent dissolving of these fillers. 

Jenner isn’t the only one under fire; accusations of Gen-Z’s dramatic stress-induced aging infiltrates our inboxes; it seems stress lines can no longer be filtered out. 

Jenner isn’t the only one under fire. Accusations of Gen-Z’s dramatic stress-induced ageing infiltrates our inboxes; it seems stress lines can no longer be filtered out. Or maybe cultural conditioning has provoked those in their forties to freeze their faces to preserve their younger selves, thereby shrinking the age divide. Either way, it’s apparent that this is no longer a skin-deep issue.

Hot on the heels of fashionistas obsessing over aesthetics, International Women’s Day ignited a fresh upsurge of women exhorting each other to embody all our predecessors fought for in a plea to move beyond external attributes by celebrating integral feminine characteristics.

So how do these worlds collide, in praise of age, living authentically, in a way that internal beauty exudes outward as an external representation of our identity?

Friends star Courtney Cox erased Botox, realising it was adding layers and thereby hiding her true beauty in an unproductive youth-driven quest. Her fellow actor Meryl Streep, continue to eschew such meddling, favouring meaningful facial expression as a prerequisite for acting. Audrey Hepburn notably cautioned the press to leave her wrinkles alone, stating she had ‘earned every single one.’  Yet other celebs who were vociferously against intervention in their thirties have in fact opted for an injection enhanced leap into their forties.

Courtney Cox erased Botox, realising it was adding layers and thereby hiding her true beauty in an unproductive youth-driven quest. 

Personally, visions of an increasingly artificial generation, mirroring my Barbie-filled play in childhood, has inspired a renewed allegiance to endorsing conventional aging. Our celebrity-occupied media may be immersed in static smiles, but perhaps there’s scope for another way, one that liberates us from a fear of the inevitable aging process.

A belief system swayed by the wave of others’ criticism will get caught in any storm, but the tide can turn with a shift in focus. In Ecclesiastes, meaningless is a ubiquitous word, in the sense that we become preoccupied with temporal things during our comparatively short stint on earth. Vanity is a plague of our age, ostensibly diminishing the role of character development as our finite minds struggle to comprehend infinity and so immediacy is prized and with it an insatiable drive to maintain youthful radiance.

Marketing terminology perpetuates this fear of fading freshness, fuelling consumers’ appetites for youth-enhancing products.  In Proverbs we read that ‘grey hair is a crown of glory’, something to bask in rather than conceal. Yet I too fall prey to rinsing away age-revealing markers along my hairline, conscious of nurturing a 16-month-old in my 46th year of life. I’m not immune to youth-preserving aspirations and attempt to daily incorporate practices, such as facial exercises to relieve tension, rather than ironing wrinkles out with medicinal procedures, desiring that my girls can quickly recognise emotion in my expression.

Additionally, the financial pinch of Botox is potentially equal to that endured physically, and even if expendable income was a reality, I’d struggle to reconcile using such resource to straighten my complexion rather than for providing food for our table or for that of others. Plus, accepting toxins into the body for purely cosmetic reasons, where certain evidence suggests a resulting compromised immune system - along with a minor phobia of needles - reinforces my inclination to steer clear.

It is written that one day, when we cross the threshold into eternity, we will receive a new body; so in this whisp of a life we should spur one another toward loving ourselves ‘as we are’ so that we can love others well too. We need to find our source of identity and endorsement in the Living God who created both face and physique so perfectly, without a need to tweak for approval.

I believe the finest version of ourselves is found in knowing the unconditional love from God and letting his love transform our hearts and minds. Then, hopefully, any tension in the form of fear or worry dissolves from our bodies and we accordingly freely become the radiant selves he created.