Look Younger: The cheat’s guide to anti-ageing
Celebrity magazines love nothing better than printing mean-spirited photographs that reveal the unflattering attempts of older women to hang on to their youth with Botox, cosmetic surgery and collagen. The results look as artificial as the means. Growing older gracefully is laudable, but that need not mean giving up entirely. The true secrets to staying young are laughter, love and an open mind, but there is no harm in seeking a little extra help, if it can be done as naturally as possible.
The most common age giveaways are the décolletage, neck, hands, greying hair, poor posture, thinning lips and ageing make-up. Here's our guide to ageing gracefully and staying younG - naturally...
Tricks with tramlines
Vertical lines, or tramlines, on the chest are caused by ageing and sun damage. The skin on the décolletage is delicate, so use a sun block. A gentle exfoliant on the upper chest can improve skin texture and reduce wrinkles. Jurlique does an all natural Herbal Recovery Neck Serum, £52.75, which helps reduce lines.
Face the future
Sea buckthorn oil, one of the most valuable oils on Earth, is the must-have anti-ageing ingredient for facial skin. It is very hydrating and tests have shown an increase in moisture of skin up to 76 per cent in as little as four weeks of use and a reduction in wrinkles and fine lines by almost 30 per cent. Alva Natural Skincare uses organic sea buckthorn to boost ageing complexions in its Moisturising Day and Night Creams, £16.50.
Don't under-estimate the importance of the massage your skin gets whilst cleansing. Avoid dragging the fine skin around your eyes while you remove eye make-up as it can damage the skin. Tapping the skin around your eyes gently with your fingertips after cleansing has an excellent effect on eye bags.
Botox makes most health-conscious people rear back in alarm, but a less drastic solution is minimising the appearance of wrinkles through cleansing. As wrinkles naturally deepen with age, any make-up or everyday dirtcan collect in them making them appear more obvious. The Clarisonic facial skin brush, £175, cleans the skin deep down, removing make-up more effectively than lotion and cotton wool and brightening the complexion.
Helen Sher, founder of the Sher System, says that one secret to premature ageing could not be more natural: "Splash warm water on your face 20 times morning and evening. Immediately apply moisturiser to seal in the moisture." This encourages cell renewal and improves circulation.
Making it up
Make-up tips for older skin
Simon Hall, a colourist, hairdresser and make-up artist at Karine Jackson's salon, says that the most common make-up mistake for older skin is "too much is too much". Lighter shades with a light touch work best. Reflective particles in cosmetics are very flattering to older skins, so choose glimmering shades, but make sure it's glimmer not glitter. Nothing looks worse than glitter trapped in a wrinkle. The same goes for heavy foundations – mineral powders are more natural and sit more lightly on the skin. "Bronzer is more flattering than blusher,"says Simon, "and paler lipsticks also look good as they give the illusion of fuller lips. Just remember that when you use texture or colour you're highlighting that feature, so you have to be comfortable with it."
Dry flaking skin is an ageing giveaway
Thin, lined lips can give a pinched look. Paler lipsticks or glosses will help, and although the trout pout is thankfully out, plumping up the lip and improving the lip line is possible with natural lip products that contain an element of chilli or mint oil, which promotes a rush of blood to the lips and increases their size.
Emma Doherty, head make-up artist for Jane Iredale mineral make-up, says that getting the eyes right is key to a young look. "Eyelashes and eye definition fade as we age so a clever solution is to ensure the brows are groomed and defined. Use an eyeshadow in a similar colour to the hair and apply with a small angled brush. This looks more natural than a pencil, but don't go darker as that can look ageing also."
Put a bounce in your bob
A little coiffeur camouflage does not mean piling on the chemicals. Herb UK's organic colour, available from salons like Karine Jackson in London W1, uses minimal bleach and the colour itself is derived from organic ingredients. "Hair ages as much as skin, and as the protein and keratin break down it will dry and frizz," explains Karine Jackson, top UK hairdresser.
"If it begins to thin and lose volume, use a spray gel on the roots then, using your fingers, rub at the roots – this 'confuses' them and makes the hair stand up giving you the appearance of more hair. Finish with a light spritz of gloss spray. A colour that's too dark or light can make your skin look heavy, instantly ageing you. Older hair needs to be coloured more frequently as the natural pigment fades so I would strongly recommend organic."
The cut is as important as the colour for defying age. "If your neck is wrinkly, be careful not to cut the hair too short as this will highlight the area," says Karine. "A gaunt and thin face will look worse if hidden under a lot of hair. Choose styles that are off the face but with some volume."
Buff it up
Dry and flaky skin on the body can be a bit of an age giveaway. Make your own body exfoliator with a handful of sea salt, mixed with some olive oil and a few drops of lavender or tea tree essential oils. Moisturise afterwards, ideally with LiveNative's Essential Woman, £12.99, a face and body moisturiser that combines fresh, organic, vegan aloe vera, shea butter and coconut oil for a collagen boost to help cell regeneration. Emu Oil, £6.99, a natural product rich in omega oils, has been getting excellent results in helping scars and age marks to fade; Demi Moore and Elizabeth Hurley are big fans.
Although a Jordan-esque orange tan flatters no one, having the slightest glow of a tan makes many women feel healthier, a little slimmer and even younger. British company Laidbare has produced a Natural Tan With Vitamin Complex, £10. Free from synthetics, parabens and other artificial ingredients, it is a pure cream which works with your natural pigment giving you a natural-looking glow.
Age spots, usually found on the face or hands, are hyperpigmentation blotches. Prevent any more by sun screening, but for existing age spots, lemon juice can help age spots on the back of the hands to fade, and A'kin's Pure Radiance rose hip oil, £14.99, is useful for facial age spots.
Sleep it off
One of the most simple, natural and cost-effective steps to a youthful appearance is a good night's sleep. Sleep expert Dr Neil Stanley says: "Keep the bedroom for sleep; this means avoiding discussing relationships, financial problems or other potentially stressful topics in bed. Thirty minutes before lights-out, switch off your mobile, turn off the TV and close down the computer. Remember, you cannot find sleep, sleep must find you."
Work it out
As we age, our muscles begin to weaken. Exercise helps, and a 'shoulders back, head up' posture can take years off the appearance. Tim Bean, co-author of Turn Back Your Age Clock (£12.99, Hamlyn), recommends combining "press-ups, leg lifts and an upright row" to help avoid the "loss in height and the stooped and round-shouldered appearance" that can accompany ageing. "Exercises should be performed with a weight heavy enough to allow two sets of 10-12 repetitions, but not light enough to allow 15."
Ageing is a state of mind. If you feel and act young, you will look it. Being able to look as young as you feel is an added bonus. Thankfully the beauty industry is catching on to the idea that many women will not sacrifice their belief in a healthy, natural body for the sake of a youthful ideal. So growing old gracefully can mean staying young... naturally.
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