(Dec. 7, 2004) -- Younger may not necessarily mean better, but who wants to look older? Sure, we all know the mantras: Eat sensibly... Exercise... Avoid the sun. But what about the little things that can make a dramatic difference?
We asked experts who make a living helping people look good at every age to give us their best advice for achieving a more youthful appearance. Here are their top makeup, fashion, skin care, and hair tips. Go ahead, make them your own--you'll love the results.
"Less Is Younger" Makeup
Many women take the more-is-better approach to cosmetics when their complexion starts showing signs of age. Wrong move, says New York City-based Roberto Morelli, product developer for the Lauren Hutton Good Stuff makeup collection. "Keep it natural," he advises. Once skin starts losing its firmness, less is better, because makeup tends to slide into and accentuate lines and furrows.
Rather than applying an all-over foundation, dot an opaque concealer (or stick foundation) over brown spots and broken capillaries. Then use a sheer concealer to eliminate shadows under eyes and in and around skin folds. Avoid glossy lipsticks, which can slide into vertical lip lines. Stick to matte or pencil types instead.
For cheeks, try a soft cream-to-powder blush, which stays put and won't get caught in nearby crow's-feet. Rim eyes with a brown powder liner, applied with a dampened brush, for softer definition; harsh lines will exaggerate wrinkles and sagging.
Practice camouflage dressing, says Maggie McQuown, president of VisibleEdge Resources, a Dallas-based image consultancy. For example, to disguise the effects of gravity, stay away from round or scoop necks, "which repeat the curve of a drooping bust." Try V-necks instead to direct the eye upward. To hide a sagging neck, avoid the classic turtleneck--it pinches loose skin. Go for a scrunch-neck or loose-fitting mock turtleneck. And look for jackets with small shoulder pads to square off slumping shoulders and balance out widening hips.
As for jewelry, stay away from chokers, which draw attention to crepey neck skin. Instead, try a pendant necklace with that flattering V-line. Don't be tempted by dangly earrings that accentuate jowls. Better choices? Delicate stud, button, and small-hoop earrings are all classic looks that enhance but don't overpower your face.
Deeper Skin Care
To help smooth UV-induced wrinkles, clear up brown spots, and reduce other visible signs of aging, experts recommend adding a prescription retinoid to your skin-care regimen. "Retinoids are the most documented, scientifically proven de-agers out there," says Cherie Ditre, MD, director of the Cosmetic Dermatology and Skin Enhancement Center at Penn Medicine, a University of Pennsylvania facility in Radnor, PA.
These potent creams and gels (Retin-A, Renova, Avita, and Avage) are acid derivatives of vitamin A. Over time, retinoids stimulate collagen production and increase the skin's water content, which can prevent sagging. For the vast majority of dermatologists, retinoids are second in importance only to sunscreens, which should be used every day, at any age, in any weather.
Ageless Cut and Color
Rethink your hairstyle to look younger, suggests hairstylist William Johnson at the Bumble and Bumble Salon in New York City. If hair is straight to slightly wavy, a mid-neck to chin-length bob will showcase cheekbones--a plus on a face that's losing firmness. For curly or thick hair, aim for a shoulder-length cut. Anything longer tends to drag the face downward.
And for hair color: "Don't go to extremes," advises colorist Tom Dispenza of the Peter Emmand Studio in New York City. "Anything too dark accentuates the drabness of a complexion that's become less rosy and more ashy." If your hair is going gray, don't depart more than two shades from your original natural color. The gray will pick up the tone on the box, but strands that have kept their original color may turn an orangey-gold or brassy if taken more than two shades lighter.
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