Elizabeth Banks: ‘age gracefully, whatever that means to you’

Elizabeth Banks has a big success on her hands with Cocaine Bear. It feels like she took the film on for a lark, but my gawd did it pay off. Good for her. I want to be angry that in light of her accomplishments as a director we’re talking about beauty and aging, but Elizabeth partnered with No7 so she wants to talk about skincare products. Elizabeth, who is a recent convert to retinol, doesn’t want to dictate how anyone should look or feel as they get older. She feels the person should define what aging gracefully means for them. The important part is to find a way to embrace aging because, as we’ve heard before, it’s a privilege not everyone gets.

Elizabeth Banks is embracing the aging process.

The actress and director, who just saw her most recent project Cocaine Bear hit theaters, turned 49 last month, and she’s embracing her age.

“My philosophy really is age gracefully, whatever that means to you,” she tells PEOPLE of the aging process. For her, it means treating her skin with the right ingredients, including those found in No7’s stable of skin-loving products.

Banks, who recently partnered with the U.K.-fave brand, tells PEOPLE that at the urging of her dermatologist to try retinol on her aging skin, she found No7. Admitting she was hesitant about how drying retinol could be, Banks says she was skeptical. However, No7’s retinol products convinced her.

“I was thrilled by them,” she gushes. “I had to step up my beauty routine, and No7 made me feel comfortable changing things up. People can be a little afraid of change, but No7 made it okay.”

“We live in a society that loves and values youth and beauty,” she says. “I get it. I love looking at beautiful young people too. I like to remind people, you’re never going to look as good as you do today, right now, because aging is a privilege. It’s better than the alternative, right? You want to age, trust me.”

It can be easier said than done, though, Banks says. As she’s looking ahead to entering a new decade, though, she encourages people to examine why they feel that pressure to look a certain way.

“If it’s for you, if it’s your mental health looking in the mirror, then do what you need to do to keep yourself feeling confident every day,” she says. “But if you’re looking around and going, ‘You know what? I don’t need to do this for somebody else,’ then make your decisions based on that.”

[From People]

“’You know what? I don’t need to do this for somebody else,’ then make your decisions based on that.” I agree with this wholeheartedly. I feel it’s when people make beauty choices for other people that they really go awry. When a person makes a choice for themselves, they know exactly what they want to do, like I want less lines around my eyes or I don’t like my grey hair. But if the choices are to please someone else, sometimes it’s shooting blind. Guessing what someone else wants fixed leads to the wrong thing getting tweaked (or too many tweaks).

As for retinol, I’m glad it works for those it does, but I can’t. I guess it’s a good thing I don’t mind the roadmap on my face because I just gave retinol a second chance and the burn was so bad it took almost two weeks before I could apply any product to my face. So like Elizabeth said, my version of aging gracefully is going to include lines, I guess.

Photo credit: Xavier Collin/Image Press Agency and Jeffrey Mayer/ Avalon

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8 Responses to “Elizabeth Banks: ‘age gracefully, whatever that means to you’”

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  1. Yay says:

    @Hecate — Try The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid Emulsion (super inexpensive at Sephora). It’s the most gentle retinol, and it works. There’s a bunch of science behind why it’s gentler and still effective, but anyway, try it. (Not a spokesperson, just really love this product!)

  2. C says:

    I love retinol and tretinoin. But there are alternatives if you can’t handle it, you might want to try bakuchiol or retinyl esters. Azelaic acid is great too.

    Right now I use a lot of things for prevention, and by prevention I’m not as hung up about lines or wrinkles in future as I am about things like sun-damage induced redness, preventable brown spots, etc. Catherine Deneuve is a great example of someone older who has gorgeous skin, she was always a proponent of staying out of the sun.
    But that’s just me since I don’t care for excessive sun exposure anyway. Anyone who enjoys the sun shouldn’t be a vampire for fear of looking older someday, or now.

  3. Lizzbert says:

    If you try retinol again, do it under the guidance of a good dermatologist! There are very mild prescription versions that you can try—I started with once every three days, with a moisturizer and an oil. It’s also important to wait at least 20 minutes after washing your face, you want that skin dry!

  4. Emmi says:

    I love retinol, it’s more or less the only active product I need. I started wtih the First Aid Beauty one years ago because the Pauls’s Choice one also made my face fall off. The FAB one is so gentle. If someone can’t handle that, they may really just not react well to retinol.

    I have a bit of a bad relationship with the word “gracefully”. “Elegant” is another one. There are certain notions attached to both and I have actually decided to not be either. I’ll just let it rip, frankly. I think she’s just saying to do you.

    • otaku fairy says:

      I know what you mean. Sort of like ‘lady’ or ‘role model’ (although that one is slowly evolving to be less about Hays code shit).
      What she and Christina are doing may not be the constant stream of radical that’s demanded of women (and only women, because people were pretty chill about Joe Jonas and Marc Jacobs), but I’ll take this over celebrities telling us they’re not doing anything.

  5. HollyGolightly says:

    I recently got into an argument with somebody because I said that I don’t feel, “You look great for your age!” is a compliment at all. It’s actually very rude and sexist (since nobody seems to say it about men as much.) They’re not telling you that you are attractive or beautiful–they are saying that you don’t look as bad as they think you should. It’s really so rude and I can’t believe people freely say it all the time like it’s a compliment and women should be giddy and grateful to hear it.

    I also feel it’s disrespectful to all the years you have been on this earth living and learning! (I actually think I look a lot better now than I did at 25, honestly. I definitely feel more beautiful and confident. I don’t understand how looking younger automatically means looking better.)

    • ama1977 says:

      I agree!! I’m 46 and I’m happy to be here. I also feel more confident and at home in my own skin than I did in my 20’s. I just really DGAF about what most people think and I have also really accepted that people I don’t know are almost never worried about what I’m doing/wearing/look like. I like how I look with makeup so I wear it many days, but there are days I don’t feel like it and I go out with my born face, lol. 20 years ago I wouldn’t have felt comfortable doing that.

      I also agree about “looking good for your age.” It’s definitely a backhanded compliment at best. I’d much rather hear “that color looks nice on you!” or “I like your earrings!” and just have people keep their thoughts about what any certain age “should” look like to themselves.

  6. Eurydice says:

    49 might be considered old-age in Hollywood, but not so much in the rest of the 21st century world. I’m happy she’s “embracing” it (like there’s a choice) and we’ll see how she embraces 59, 69, 79, 89, etc.