The Power in Ageing: meet the women who have stepped into their power in their forties and beyond

Following an illuminating report that found that two thirds of women globally feel their confidence and self-esteem are improving as they age, Marie Claire has teamed up with Avon to celebrate the beauty in growing older.

Mother Pukka founder Anna Whitehouse features in Marie Claire and Avon's new campaign celebrating the power in ageing
(Image credit: Emily Gray)

Following an illuminating report that found that two thirds of women globally feel their confidence and self-esteem are improving as they age, Marie Claire has teamed up with Avon to celebrate the beauty in growing older.

Let’s be honest: the beauty industry doesn’t exactly have a sparkling track record when it comes to talking about ageing.

In an era of Botox, microneedling and caviar-infused face creams, conversations around caring for maturing skin always seem to err on the side of shame, with very costly solutions marketed to women to help 'fix' the inevitable signs of ageing.

Wrinkles are wrong, crow’s feet should be stymied by laughing less and don’t even dare mention pigmentation and texture. Oh, and younger is always better.

Well, not if Avon’s new Power in Ageing campaign has anything to do with it.

On a mission to bring the beauty industry up to speed with how real women actually feel about ageing, Avon and its team of scientists and experts are presenting statistical proof of what we’ve all secretly known all along: women feel they are becoming their most authentic and powerful selves in their forties and beyond.

So what’s it all about?

From perimenopause to caring for ailing parents, life after 40 certainly presents its challenges. But according to Avon’s report, most women see growing older as an opportunity to grow into their power.

67 percent of women polled by Avon said they feel their confidence was improving as they age, while 64 percent said their self-esteem was on the up, too.

Though this was the case for women of all ages, the most marked shift in attitudes to ageing could be seen among women in their forties, with 61 percent saying they feel more powerful, 66 percent saying they feel more in control of their own lives and 55 percent saying they feel more comfortable in their own skin than they did when they were younger. The overriding feeling among women over 40? One of relief, self-assurance and contentment.

So what caused the shift?

In the pressured pre-pandemic days of long commutes and tri-weekly spin classes, the onus was on women to have it all. (And to not knock a hair out of place while doing it.) But according to Avon’s research, now our ambition is simply to embrace what we have and feel comfortable in our own skin.

Case in point: almost three quarters of the women polled agreed that the pandemic has made them realise that life is fragile and getting older is something to appreciate. Better still, two thirds of women agreed that ageing is not something they fear anymore.

Among those women are award-winning journalist Poorna Bell, Mother Pukka founder Anna Whitehouse, GB Olympian Michelle Griffth Robinson, South African businesswoman and winemaker Ntsiki Biyela and Avon Representative Katie Joynson. As part of an exclusive podcast partnership between Avon and Marie Claire, they spoke to MC Editor-in-Chief Andrea Thompson about parenting, perimenopause and going back to skincare basics.

Marie Claire UK Editor-in-Chief Andrea Thompson

The Power in Ageing podcast series is hosted by Marie Claire UK's Editor-in-Chief Andrea Thompson.

"I'm over 50 now and I feel absolutely brilliant"

"I'm over 50 now and I feel absolutely brilliant,” former Olympian turned life coach Michelle Griffith Robinson told Andrea. “Yes, my hormones are still all over the place and sometimes I’m a headless chicken, I forget things. But in general I feel fantastic.”

A similar sentiment was echoed by award-winning journalist and author Poorna Bell, who described life post 40 as a “moonwalk”.

“On the cusp of entering 40 as a decade, I wasn’t handling it very well, and I just thought it would be the beginning of the end of things, actually,” she said. “But what ended up happening is that literally the day I turned 40, I felt something just settle. I felt something shift in a way that I would describe as quite grounding. The clarity was just immediate.”

GB olympian Michelle Griffith Robinson

Image: Jenny Smith Photography. "I feel fantastic," GB olympian Michelle Griffith Robinson told Andrea.

Mother Pukka founder Anna Whitehouse, meanwhile, spoke to Andrea about how her approach to self-care has changed post-40.

"A lot of my health, fitness and beauty has shifted to be on a more practical level. But practical doesn't need to be dull or lacking colour or lacking personality. I not only started really investing in my skin but in the process of anchoring myself with beauty," she said.

Journalist Poorna Bell appears on Marie Claire and Avon's Power in Ageing podcast

Image: Jade Keshia Photography. Journalist Poorna Bell spoke of how she found turning 40 "grounding".

The common denominator

They may come from all walks of life, but if there’s one thing that unites our Power in Ageing podcast guests, it’s the knowledge that confidence is power.

A photo posted by on

And if Avon’s meticulous research into what women want is anything to go by, it bodes well for their award-winning skincare. Having been responsible for some of the biggest breakthroughs in mass market skincare – including stabilising Vitamin C and Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) – the brand is certainly no stranger to offering women ground-breaking innovation at accessible prices.

Powered by Avon’s world exclusive Protinol™ technology, which helps to deliver seven powerful skin benefits in just seven days for dramatically firmer, smoother, healthier and more radiant looking skin, Renewal Power Serum has been hailed a pro ageing wonder product. (Just ask the 3 out of 4 women who, when recently trialled, said they’d switch from their current retinol-based product to Renewal Power Serum.)

But you don’t have to be a world-renowned winemaker or a prize-winning writer to add it to your regimen. As affordable as it is efficacious, Avon’s hero serum is brilliant beauty that won’t break the bank, so all women over 40 can take advantage of its power-harnessing benefits.

You’re still here, why? Head to to secure yours now.

Tune into the Power in Ageing podcast series on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music or wherever else you listen.

Kate McCusker

Kate McCusker is a freelance writer at Marie Claire UK, having joined the team in 2019. She studied fashion journalism at Central Saint Martins, and her byline has also appeared in Dezeen, British Vogue, The Times and woman&home. In no particular order, her big loves are: design, good fiction, bad reality shows and the risible interiors of celebrity houses.