“Youth is wasted on the young. ”
I never gave George Bernard Shaw’s saying much thought until the young man who loads my hay at the feed store started referring to me as “Ma’am.”
True, age is only a number, but most of us still want to appear younger than we actually are. With that in mind, I agreed to this assignment and made it my mission to search out some of the best tips on how to look younger and feel better, whatever your age.
Skin Care 101
Makeup can mask imperfections and help hide a few years, but it all starts with your skin, so you want to keep it in the best shape possible.
Wear sunscreen. This one seems obvious—especially living in Florida—but you’d be surprised how many people go without, even though the sun is the No. 1 culprit for causing brown spots, wrinkles and sagging. And no, the miniscule amount in your foundation isn’t enough! Apply at least SPF 30 (preferably 50 or higher) every day. Don’t forget your neck and chest, tops of ears and tops of hands.
Say “no” to tanning beds. Whether you get a tan from the sun or a tanning bed, it causes DNA damage to your skin and can lead to cancer.
Drink more water. This one’s a no-brainer but worth repeating.Skin is the largest organ in your body, and bottom line, it needs water. Aim for eight glasses a day. If you need a little flavor, try one of the many flavor enhancers on the market today.
Avoid excess caffeine and alcohol. Tasty as they may be, these beverages are diuretics and cause dehydration, which affects the entire body, including your skin.
Kick the sugar habit. High consumption of refined sugar and processed carbohydrates compromises your skin’s integrity and resiliency, accelerating the aging process. Collagen proteins become more rigid, and skin becomes less elastic.
Don’t smoke. The toxins in cigarettes harm your skin, not just your lungs. Smoking prematurely ages you by decreasing skin elasticity, and yellowing teeth and nails. Plus, pursing your lips causes fine lines around your mouth.
Exfoliate one to three times weekly. In your mid-20s, collagen production begins to slow. You can encourage your skin to produce more collagen by using a facial scrubbing pad or textured exfoliation cream according to label directions. This helps increase cell turnover and sloughs off dead cells that can dull the skin’s appearance. Exfoliating also helps skin better absorb moisturizers and skin treatment products. (If you can afford it, visit your dermatologist regularly for a micro-dermabrasion or chemical peel, which offers a more advanced form of exfoliation than can be achieved with over-the-counter products at home.)
Try facial oils.More popular than ever, facial oils protect the skin, hydrate, rebuild and maintain the lipid barrier, and act as a carrier for other active ingredients to more deeply penetrate. They can also speed up healing and repair, prevent water loss and help plump skin. You don’t want a greasy residue, so look for oils that penetrate deeply and quickly. Among these are argan, jojoba, apricot kernel, avocado, macadamia, passion fruit, kukui nut, borage-seed, rosehip, camellia, calendula, yangu and African marula oils. Look for less-processed, pure, organic plant oils. Apply facial oil—you only need a few drops—right after cleansing the face. Wait a couple minutes before applying sunscreen and foundation. At night, apply facial oil after cleansing and applying your anti-aging treatment. The oil will calm skin and help prevent irritation.
Use retinoid facial creams. Such creams help your body produce more collagen and lessen wrinkles and age spots. Any retinoid cream will help, but prescription creams are more potent than over-the-counter formulas. Results are often seen within just weeks with a prescription cream.
Sleep on your back.Sleeping on your side or stomach all night puts pressure on fragile facial skin, which can increase wrinkles and creasing on your face. Ladies, this applies to your décolletage (chest) area, as well.
for Younger Looking Locks
Your hair may be aging you more than you suspect, but you can change that ASAP.
Get clean. Shine looks youthful, so use a clarifying shampoo to eliminate product buildup that dulls your hair. An apple cider vinegar rinse after cleansing your hair will also help eliminate buildup.
Zap frizz. Blot—don’t rub—hair dry after washing, and always use a conditioner to moisturize strands and prevent frizzing. Comb out tangles from the bottom up to avoid breakage.
Snip ends. Forget those conditioners that promise to heal split ends. Cutting them off is the only real cure, so schedule regular trims.
Use an SPF Hair Product. It’ll help preserve color.
Bulk up. Your hair, that is. Look for mousse with panthenol in the ingredients to help fine hair look bulkier and more voluminous without being weighed down.
Go for texture. Spritz on a texturizing spray when hair is damp, and tousle with your fingers as it dries. A loose, relaxed, “messy” look is more youthful than stiff and structured.
Change your part. Something as simple as changing where you part your hair can make a noticeable difference.
Watch that color. Don’t try to cover gray by using the darkest common shade. That results in flat, monotone color that looks unnatural and can age you even more. A more youthful choice is varying color strands in the same basic color, not one overall hue.
Get trendy. Break out of your hairstyle rut, and try something different. Drastically different isn’t necessary, but try a change from your basic silhouette to update your look. Discuss ideas with your stylist before he or she whips out the scissors. Search Pinterest for some ideas that you like for inspiration.
Long or short?There’s no hard-and-fast rule that mature women can’t wear long hair. It depends totally on your hair and how you wear it. Uncolored (think silver) long hair tends to look more natural than long, colored hair. Generally speaking, a shorter, “sassier” style will look more youthful, but don’t chop off those tresses just because you hit a “certain age.”
Makeup Tips for a Fresher, Younger Appearance
OK ladies, who wouldn’t mind looking a few years younger than her actual age? P.S. You don’t have to use expensive department store makeup to get great results.
#1. Use a foundation or tinted moisturizer that matches your skin tone, and don’t forget your eyelids when applying it.
#2. Apply concealer if you have dark circles or under-eye bags.
#3. Choose colors carefully. Go for colors that flatter your eye color, but don’t get matchy-matchy, as in blue shadow with blue eyes. Experiment to find colors that enhance your eyes, not overwhelm them. You want people to notice your eyes first… not your eye shadow. Oh, and a little bit of shimmer can go a long way to brighten your face. Just stick to one area of your face, though. Shimmer on the lips? Avoid the eyes and vice versa.
#4. Become a blending expert. Practice blending eye shadow with your fingertips, cotton ball or swab. The goal is a natural look. Even if you use a 1-2-3 eye shadow kit for creating a “smoky” eye, there shouldn’t be obvious definition between colors.
#5. Keep dark shadow colors to the outer corners of eyelids; this will help open up the appearance of eyes.
#6. When it comes to eyeliner, think outside the black box. Try another color like navy blue, chocolate or rich amethyst that will add definition, but without harshness.
#7. Use a light hand with liner. Restrict liner to the upper lid, and if you’re older, skip the “cat eye” trick, which can accentuate droopiness.
#8. Curl your eyelashes. It adds “lift” to lids and opens up eyes.
#9. Fill in sparse eyebrows with a brow pencil in a matching color. Follow the natural arch and don’t make them too dark or thick, as this looks artificial.
#10. Exfoliate your lips. Apply a little coconut oil to lips; then gently buff them with a warm washcloth. Apply lip balm, and let this soak in before using lipstick.
#11. If you use a lip pencil, make sure it matches your lipstick. The last thing you want is a frighteningly obvious outline. Stay within your natural lip line; trying to make lips look plumper by extending the line doesn’t fool anyone.
#12. Go for lip color in the pink range (think rose, mauve, etc.) instead of dark wine and plum colors, which can age your face. Soft tinted glosses are a great way to go, too.
#13. Be careful with face powder. Yes, it helps “set” makeup, but it also settles in all the fine creases and lines, accentuating them. Instead keep your makeup bag stocked with creams, liquids and gels. The more moisture, the better!
#14. Accentuate the positive. Want a brighter looking, youthful appearance? Try placing a small amount of a bright (even white) eyeshadow in the inner corners of your eyes, closest to your nose. A little dab will do ya and will help to reflect light and lessen signs of fatigue.
#15. Apply makeup in natural light. The end results will look more natural this way, as opposed to using artificial light, especially fluorescent.
#16. Add a few falsies. Highlight your eyes without going overboard by adding just a few false lashes along the corners.
Feeling Better Overall
Maybe you’re a guy and couldn’t care less if you have a few well-earned wrinkles around your eyes. Or you’re a confident woman of a certain age who doesn’t mind letting the world know you’ve lived more than a few decades. You may not be striving to look younger, but you still want to be healthy and have a strong body to carry you toward your future. Here’s what you need to know.
Sleep is your friend.It’s during the deep stages of sleep that your body produces human growth hormone (HGH), which helps the body rejuvenate. Research shows that sleeping six to eight hours per night helps the body produce more HGH. Restless or interrupted sleep means lowered production of HGH, as well as more fatigue and stress. Studies have shown that people deficient in HGH tend to have a higher percentage of body fat around the waist.
Eat right.Eat fewer processed foods. Skip the soda; drink more water; eat more fiber. Strive for at least five servings of fruits and veggies per day, especially those high in antioxidants, such as berries, grapes, pomegranate, kale, Brussels sprouts and red cabbage. New research shows that a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet is best for brain health, so ditch the carbs and add avocado, fish and nuts to your diet.
Wear sunglasses. Over time, UV exposure can lead to cataracts, so always wear sunglasses. Look for lenses that block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays.
Take care of that smile.Mouth health is directly related to overall health. It’s a fact that people with gum disease are more likely to have heart disease and lung problems. Not to mention the fact that you just plain look better if your teeth aren’t stained… or absent.
Laugh more. The saying, “Laughter is the best medicine,” is true. Laughter lowers blood pressure, increases vascular blood flow, reduces stress hormones, increases memory, improves alertness, helps the pituitary gland release pain-suppressing opiates and gives many muscles a workout. So, rent a funny movie, visit a comedy show or plan a game night with friends—it’ll do your body good!
Maintain good posture. Your mother knew what she was talking about when she used to say, “Stand up straight!” Good posture—when sitting and standing—makes you look as much as 10 pounds lighter. It also increases confidence and allows you to breathe more deeply. A simple way to improve your posture is to imagine a straight line from your heels, up your legs, spine and coming out the top of your head.
Exercise regularly. You don’t need to run a marathon (unless you want to), but strive for a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise a day.
Use your brain. Engage your brain for more than just work-related necessities. Lifestyle has been proven to have a huge impact on brain health, so stimulate that gray matter. Turn off the television, and engage your brain in a variety of different ways, such as word games, puzzles, learning to play a musical instrument or a new language.
Have more sex. Having sex at least three times a week can help you look and feel younger. It’s been shown to boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, improve sleep, reduce heart attack risk, lessen pain and lower stress. So the next time your husband or wife gives you “that look,” say “yes!”
Maintain your friendships. Research shows that as your social network gets smaller, your risk for mortality increases. One Australian study showed that older adults with strong networks of friends were 22 percent less likely to die during the study than those with weaker social networks.