Remember those old Oil of Olay commercials? The ones with the tag line, “Some people grow old gracefully, I intend to fight it every step of the way”? Those commercials always kind of creeped me out, because there’s something about the implication that getting older is somehow something to be ashamed of.
It’s no secret that we’re a culture obsessed with youth & beauty. But I think there’s something to be said for the beauty & wisdom that comes with age. I love grey hair (seriously, as much as I love my pink hair I can’t wait to go grey), & every line & crease on someone’s face makes me think about their stories, where they have been, what they have learned.
I’ll admit that there are days when I look in the mirror & think, “What happened to you?!” The creases around my mouth (yes, from laughing), the tiny crow’s feet starting to form around my eyes, the crepey skin on my chest… None of those things were there five years ago. But I’m learning to love them.
However, I do get comments quite often on how young I look. I’ll be 36 in September, but I often get mistaken for being in my 20s. I have learned a lot of things about looking young, & I’m happy to share what I’ve learned.
Skincare. When I was in university, I used to get teased by my roommate’s boyfriend for all the creams, potions & unguents I’d smear on my face every night. Seriously, I’ve been using eye cream since I was 20! All that was vindicated when, on Monday, he commented on the use of Photoshop on my FaceBook profile picture… Of course, the photo had been run through Instagram, so it had some filters on it, but that’s pretty much all me!
- Never use harsh or drying soaps on your face! It seems so counter-intuitive, especially when you’re young, but trust me when I tell you that you won’t look like a grease-ball if you try oil cleansing even for one week. It helps keep your skin moist, clear, flawless. I will never go back to soap.
- To that end, wash your face every night. Even if you’re tired. Even if you’re drunk. (Especially if you’re drunk.) It won’t prevent wrinkles, but it will keep your skin glowy, which always makes you look young.
- Use eye cream & a decent moisturizer. Don’t break the bank on these, as there’s no proof that spending more money equals better moisturizing, but definitely always use them. I use Lush’s Enchanted Eye Cream & Enzymion, but your mileage may vary.
- In a pinch, you can pierce the end of a Vitamin E gel cap with a pin, & squeeze that on fine lines & wrinkles.
- Sunscreen. You know that you’re supposed to wear it. But do you? Every day? Probably not. I know that I didn’t. Now I do. It makes a huge difference. You know those older women, with the skin on their upper chest that looks like crepe paper? You want to avoid that. Put sunscreen on every bit of exposed skin before venturing out-of-doors. I like Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen SPF55.
- Try also to stay out of the sun. Carry a summer umbrella on particularly high UV days.
- Don’t load on the goopy foundation. It really emphasizes your wrinkles & pores. Ick.
Radiance creams. One of the effects of aging on the skin is that your natural glow just seems to fade. But you can totally fake it! BB (“beauty balm”) creams are all the rage right now. They come at every price point, but personally I like the one from Garnier. BB creams hydrate, add radiance to the skin (just a glow, not a shimmer), & are tinted to even out your skin tone. I never leave the house without this stuff on my face!
Loads of water. You know you’re supposed to drink it, but did you know it also helps keep your skin soft & supple? Totally true. Drink lots.
Vitamins. If you need ‘em. I did a round of Perfect Skin vitamins, & I definitely saw a difference in how I looked. I can’t wait to get more! (Always consult your doctor before taking any new vitamin.)
Know your body. Take a good look at your family’s medical history if you can. See where the potential hereditary health problems might be coming down the road, & try to incorporate prevention into your life. Healthy inside equals healthy outside!
Exercise. Of course. Just can’t escape that one, can we? A good cardio workout brings blood to the surface of the skin, which helps keep up that glow & maintain the skin’s elasticity.
Good foods. Eat lots of green leafies & berries! They’re good for you, & there’s been some research that indicates that anti-oxidant rich foods help keep us lookin’ good.
Stop smoking already! Okay, okay, I’m still a smoker. But I promise you that this is the last year. My gift to myself for my 36th birthday is stopping.
Inner beauty. Yes, this contributes to your outer beauty. If you’re nasty & mean (but totally hot at 20), your hotness will be gone when you’re older & all that will remain is your nastiness. Have a good attitude. It helps. Work on that personality, & you’ll have so much to offer the world that the last thing people will be thinking about are your smile lines. If I had my way, everyone would be lovely & charming to each other all the time.
Keep your brain clever. Do some puzzles. Less TV, more books. If nothing else, you might even learn something.
Plan for your retirement. Doing this now will help keep stress out of your life, which makes you look more haggard than you are.
Consider non-invasive procedures. I’ve heard great things about microdermabrasion, & some judicious Botox is not necessarily a bad thing.
Plastic surgery. You guys, plastic surgery is risky. It’s still surgery, after all. That’s not to say that I’m above it! I have been known to talk about future procedures like they’re a fait accompli. My feelings on the subject may change over time, but right now I would consider going under the knife. This isn’t for everyone, & of course your decisions are yours, & I’m not a medical professional! But if you choose plastic surgery, please please please take your time, find an excellent surgeon, & don’t take the choice lightly.
Remember, no amount of plastic surgery is going to hide the fact that you’re getting older.
Love yourself. Love who you are. Love who you are becoming.
Accept change. You are never going to look how you looked at 20, 30, 40. Find meaning in where you are now, & it will serve you well. Get over the stereotypes about aging. Everyone does it; it’s part of the process of becoming your wonderful, authentic, amazing self.
“Know, first, who you are; & then adorn yourself accordingly.” ~Epictetus
Did I miss anything? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!