When we were children we always wanted to be older and when others asked our age, we told people we were, “eight and a half.” It even continued after our tween years when all we could think about was having independence and getting that driver’s license to help us escape Mom and Dad’s watchful eyes. Being older would be cool, we thought. In the late 60s and early 70s, we believed that anyone over 30 was old—and not to be trusted. Now that I am, gulp, in “middle age,” all I can think about is “looking younger.” So here is some of what I practice to help turn back the clock.
• Weight control: the number one thing anyone can do to stay younger looking is to stay slim and toned. For some reason, obese people always appear to look older than they really are. I walk two miles every day, and half of it is uphill. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday I do either: Pilates, Yoga, weight training or use the ballet barre. I like feeling strong.
• Hair color: I recently read an article about how the women of France use haircolor per capita more than any other nation (and they pride themselves as growing older with dignity and style). There are some caveats with hair color however. The older you get, the closer your hair color should be matched to your skin tones. Total black is a death knell to looking young. In other words, darker is not better.
• Skin care: An assistant in a plastic surgeon’s office asked me how I keep my skin so nice! (Yes, I was floored too.) My answer is—exfoliate. I use a Buff Puff a lot. I don’t scrub hard but I fill it with an almond cream soap lather and buff away using a circular motion. Rinse and apply moisturizer.
Give yourself a facial using a “mask” product at least once a week. You don’t need to buy expensive ones either; see what’s offered at Walmarts.
• Eyebrows: Aging eyebrows are thinning eyebrows, unruly eyebrows, and brows with white hairs mixed in. Use something to keep the pores under the eyebrow hairs open and growing. You have to find a product on the market you can afford. When it comes time for makeup, apply tiny, tiny hairlike strokes with a sharp blond eyepencil. I also use another application in light red. Add wax to make every hair lay flat. Then follow with a brow colorant (which looks like a mascara wand but for brows) to disguise those gray-while wilder hairs.
• Age spots: Ugh, these are also called, “liver spots.” Banish them. I use Porcelana on my forehead, nose, cheeks and the backs of my hands. It lightens the skin and gives a luminous glow. There are other products more expensive and with different chemical additives; shop around.
• Lips: My lips are something I’ve always liked. And this suggestions comes from something Brooke Shields said years ago: coat your lips with Vaseline, Blistex, Chapstick, whatever. Then take a soft toothbrush and wet it with warm water. Now polish your lips with tiny circles. What are you doing? Exfoliating of course! But lips will be crust free, and soft and full. (And avoid the long-last lipsticks they are so drying.)
• Softer makeup: I don’t line my eyes like a raccoon anymore although I do use liner. I just put it on in a thin line and smudge it. I have also perfected the shadowy lid but it is not a night time scary version. And I must use a blush, but the hue is always perfect for me, a mauvy-pink powder blush works best.
ª Posture: Before Pilates I was a slumpy, caved-in mess. A walking fetal position, and didn’t even realize my core wasn’t holding me up. Old people walk bad. Try not to imitate them. Shoulders back and head lifted—your clothes will look better for your efforts.
• Dress: I know what’s in fashion but don’t wear plastic anything, mom-waist jeans, or dated clothes. My kids think I look hip (one son even said, “sexy” although that’s love speaking). I am conservative but wear good quality things that don’t dip to low where they shouldn’t, and don’t run to high where they might look bad. And I do have kicky things like leather and suede jackets, cool tops and lots of dark denim jeans—either straight leg, trouser, or bootcut.
Whew! From this list you would think I am high-maintenance but it’s just a common regiment so doing these things is second nature and goes f-a-s-t. And one might say, “It’s my gift to myself.” Yes, it really is.