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This Is What a 37-Year-Old Face Without Filters or Makeup Actually Looks Like

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What am I supposed to look like at my age?

Over the past year, we’ve seen this question appear repeatedly online and in our own group chats—and we certainly hear it in our heads as we look in the mirror. It pops up during the increasingly frequent conversations about skin care products, Botox, fillers, and other aesthetic treatments—all of which are meant to delay or undo visible signs of aging.

There are a lot of reasons why this is top of mind for people right now. First, the devil works hard but the beauty industry works harder—in 2022, it was valued at nearly $430 billion globally, with skin care worth an estimated $45 billion. Aesthetic treatments are becoming more accessible and widespread. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, “neuromodulator injections and dermal fillers emerged as favorites [in 2022], experiencing a nearly twofold increase since 2019.” Meanwhile, 20-somethings are getting “preventative Botox,” and apparently the only thing that stands between you and fake dimples is $1,500 of disposable income. The more people that engage in—and, thus, talk about—these things, the more others feel curious (at best) or pressured to join in (at worst). It’s also impossible to overstate the massive role social media plays in all of this. TikTok and Instagram have made us captive consumers of others’ faces (which may be altered by subtle and highly effective filters), as well as their casual recaps of getting, say, a lip lift or masseter Botox.

So if each time you open your phone you encounter people from ages 20 to 60 with the same face…and everyone from your hairstylist to your dentist is suddenly pushing “tweakments” on you…and friends you’ve known for years are straight-up changing their facial structure seemingly overnight…and you’re staring at yourself on Zoom all day and wondering if those smile lines have always been there or you’re just paying more attention lately…then, yeah, it’s natural to ask what the hell you’re “supposed” to look like.

You probably know, on some level, that there is no “correct” answer to that question. Everyone’s skin and hair are going to look different at a given age based on a variety of factors: Genes, lifestyle, stress, and illness all play a role, as does the amount of time, money, and energy you are willing and able to put into “improvements” and “prejuvenation.” And the idea of “aging well” is a pretty slippery concept anyway, given that the term has long been code for “doesn’t have obvious work done but still looks fuckable”—the sort of damned if you do, damned if you don’t expectation that women deal with for most of their lives.

All of this swirling in the ether eventually led us to create Group Shot, which we’re excited to launch today. Below, you’ll find makeup-free portraits of 14 people, all of whom are 37 years old, along with relevant details (like whether they smoke or wear SPF regularly, what they do for work, and how much money they spend on their skin care routines). Each individual was captured barefaced and in the same lighting, and the photos are not retouched at all. (We decided to start with 37 because that’s the age, according to one dermatologist we spoke with, that people start to “freak out” about how their face is changing.) We didn’t choose our subjects because they look “good” or “bad” for their age or because they have or have not had work done, but because they simply…are. It’s just a bunch of people showing their faces; that’s the whole thing.

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Source: Self

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