How to Look Years Younger Without Surgery
For men and women of a certain age, looking more youthful no longer means a trip to the plastic surgeon. Cosmetic surgery may have its place, but there are seven important things you can do starting today that will make you look years younger in a relatively short period of time. I learned these things from an amazing 50-plus woman who looked like a college student. Now before you go too much farther, I have to caution you. These things are incredible, they work, and they are not impossible … but they are difficult. If you want the easy way out, call your plastic surgeon. But if you want to take the natural route to the fountain of youth, here we go.
You may think you carry your age in your face, but people “guess” your age by how you move. The youthful figure is thin, muscular, flexible, and strong. Your exercise program should include lots of cardio (this allows you to move around without huffing and puffing—a definitely “fogey” give-away), training with free weights, and some flexibility exercises. I can recommend exercise programs from The Firm but you can use lots of others. Your minimum schedule is two hours of weight training a week plus four hours of cardio with some stretching thrown in. The best way to break this up is to work out—vigorously but sensibly—five days a week and make one of those days a “long” workout of two hours. Try jogging, endurance walking, cycling, Zumba, swimming laps, weight training, and so on, but do not go wimpy. Mixing it up is not only a boredom buster, it will enhance your workout strategy. Build up slowly. But remember this: the kind of exercise that makes you look 20 years younger is the tough stuff.
Improve Your Posture
One of the biggest give-aways for looking old is a curved back, slumpy sitting, and shoulders that ride up too high with respect to your neck. Fix your posture by thinking of the top of your head as a flat surface (hey, maybe it is) and then try to get that flat surface as tall as you can. Consciously push down your shoulders. Do this as you walk and sit. Take a “posture check” as often as you think about it during the day. Young people may not have perfect posture, but correcting your posture will make you look more youthful (Posture tends to worsen as we age).
Your wardrobe can make you older in one of two ways—either you dress like an old person (that’s out) or you dress too young (this backfires by making you look like a person who is too old for his or her clothes). Grab onto the current styles and keep your clothing updated, but avoid extremes. Clothing should be snug and fit well (baggy clothing ages you) but never too tight or revealing. Do not be afraid to try a new style if you can pull it off.
Keep the Focus off Your Hands
Your hands will betray your age faster than anything else and there is not a lot you can do to make them look youthful. The best strategy is to avoid doing things that cause people to focus on your hands. Ladies, get a manicure and wear polish, but avoid extremely long nails, eye-popping colors, and gaudy nail art. You can wear rings and bracelets, but do not make your hands the focal point of the ensemble. If anybody gives you a major diamond, have it made into a necklace. You do not need to walk around with any bling or with naked nails (that focuses attention, too), but as you age, you need to go to understated hands.
The best way to look young is to be fit and trim, and that means eating lots of veggies with some protein, and little to no processed foods, fast foods, or junk. Most people feel a major power surge with a healthful diet and that will show in your face and your attitude as well as your body … making you look years younger. This is a very important step because eating heavily processed food and junk food ages you from the inside out by send a surge of free radicals to your system. Break up with all foods that say “hydrogenated” anything on the label, since these foods age you inside-out.
Young people can power through a sleep deficit, but older people have more trouble doing without shut-eye and it shows up in puffy eyes, wrinkled faces, grumpy attitudes, and persistent yawning (definitely a geezer move). Compared to young people, most middle-aged people have more demanding jobs, more hectic daily routines, and heaps more responsibility; that takes its toll if you don’t take enough time out to sleep.
Old people think everything is old—it’s the “been there, done that” attitude. Get over it. Start to find new things that get you excited or renew your interest in the things you love—hobbies, fashion trends, movies, causes, or even advanced education. The young are continually exploring the world and pursuing future dreams. You may not have your whole life ahead of you, but you can still have some dreams for the future. Ever notice how young people get excited when a new restaurant in town opens up or their favorite actor makes a new movie? Get back into the mindset of exploring the new things all around you.
Get to Know an Aesthetician
These are men and women at spas or dermatology clinics who specialize in skin care. Before you jump into the arms of a plastic surgeon, find out what an aesthetician can do to help you slough off dead skin cells from your face (this is one of the biggest reasons your skin looks old) and regain better skin texture and appearance. I am all for take-home products, but you need to have a few spa treatments a year to really wow the people around you.
As women age, their attention should shift from coloration and makeup to skin care. Older women do better with a more natural look—even if you are trying to look younger and younger people are wearing tons of makeup. Avoid bold colors, heavy mascara, and extreme styles (like cat-eye liner). They serve as road maps to the fine lines and wrinkles on your face. Use as little makeup as you can and still feel good about your appearance. Don’t say no to makeup, just change with the times.
Play with Your Hair
Hair can be a great way to accentuate a youthful look, as long as you avoid the youthful weird haircuts and strange colors. If you love accessories, try ornaments, clips, jewels, and streaks of color in your hair. Copy the styles of young people—but find styles that younger people wear that you genuinely like and can pull off. If your hair is a disaster, consider extensions or wigs. Having young hair helps to create that overall youthful image. (And face it, don’t we all know what “old man hair” and “old lady hair” looks like? Avoid that!)