Where Age Is No Object: Malaysia

At MORE we believe we’re not getting older; the lighting’s just getting worse! We also believe that America’s youth obsession is not shared around the globe. Proving our point is this woman from Malaysia, where aging is celebrated as part of inner beauty

by Julia Savacool
brown haired woman standing on balcony in front of trees image
Shahreen Kamaluddin: In Malaysia, confidence and professional success (attributes many women gain with age) are held in high regard.
Photograph: Christian Witkin

American culture may tell us it’s all downhill after 18, but our own eyes tell us that while a woman can’t be forever young, she can be perceived as forever beautiful. Especially if she lives in France. Or India. Or Ghana. Or a surprising number of other places where one’s value doesn’t diminish after adolescence. And though there’s no denying the worldwide creep of America’s fondness for the under-30 set (China, known for its veneration of parents and grandparents, now has the second-highest face-lift rate in the world), not every country buys into that concept. Read on for locales where age brings rewards.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Shahreen Kamaluddin

In Malaysia, confidence and professional success (attributes many women gain with age) are held in high regard.

Who she is Kamaluddin is the managing director of Shahreen Corporate Communications and the author of Know Yourself, a best seller in Malaysia.

Malaysian beauty defined The country’s population consists of multiple ethnic, cultural and religious groups, mostly Malay, Chinese or Indian. A blending of their various traditions and aesthetic ideals has resulted in a preference for smooth, sun-shielded skin. Other facial features that are admired: “large eyes, double eyelids and a sharp nose with a high ridge,” says Kamaluddin. None of those features, of course, are tied to youth.

Why aging is attractive Because of Malaysia’s strong education system, many women occupy high-level jobs, such as head of the National Bank of Malaysia and chief of the Malaysian Securities Commission. “Achieving success is considered more desirable than physical beauty,” says Kamaluddin. “As a woman grows older, what’s [appealing] is her confidence and how she carries herself.”

The upside of birthdays “Frankly, I don’t really think about my age except on my birthday. And then I only spend some time reviewing the many things and people in my life for which I am grateful. With each added year, I know I am stronger, more resilient, confident and peaceful.”

The Malaysian beauty regimen Older women “have a better grooming sense than younger women,” maintains Kamaluddin. Besides, “Asian skin tends to age very well [thanks to diligent sun avoidance], so women often do look younger than their age.” Kamaluddin keeps her skin glowing with brightening serums, SPF 50 and natural-looking makeup. Her go-tos: Melaleuca Sei Bella skin care (seibellaskincare.com) and Bobbi Brown makeup (bobbibrowncosmetics.com).

Next: Where Age Is No Object: India

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First Published Thu, 2012-12-13 12:30

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