Is Your Hair and Makeup Routine Aging You?
If you don’t revamp your beauty routine as you age, your old habits could make you look older than you are. Try these 7 tips to keep looking your best.
You know to toss out old mascara and expired sunscreen. But were you aware that there’s a shelf life to your beauty habits, not just your beauty products?
We’d all like to look and feel healthy and youthful. But that’s different from trying to look young. (Does it surprise you to learn that a quick internet search for the term “anti-aging hair and skin” returns nearly 81 millionresults?!)
Here’s what you should toss in addition to that past-its-prime mascara: any products and routines that are supposed to recapture your youth. What you should focus on instead: tweaking your beauty routine to stay fresh and vibrant at the age you are now.
Sometimes, changing what products you use can keep you from inadvertently aging your look. And often, you don’t need new products at all — you just need to use the ones you already own in a different way. Here are the top seven hair and makeup mistakes that may be adding years to your look, plus simple new beauty tricks to swap in so you look great at any age.
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Mistake #1: Applying the Same Makeup Shade You’ve Always Used
Skin tone often changes with age. That means the shade of concealer and foundation you’ve been using faithfully for years may no longer be a good match, according to Caleb Backe, health expert for wellness product maker Maple Holistics.
“Wearing the wrong shade can actually make you appear washed out and older than you are,” he says.
Try this: Take a tip from celebrity makeup artists and choose a concealer and foundation that are one to two shades warmer than your past go-to products. “You’ll give yourself a warm glow that complements your current skin tone,” Backe says.
Also, skip matte formulas, which can look cakey and dull on older skin. Instead, choose one with a touch of luminescence. You might see terms like “radiance boosting” on the label.
Mistake #2: Using Heavy Makeup to Cover Flaws
In addition to reconsidering your foundation’s tone, also consider its weight, says Lindsay Kastuk, a New York City–based commercial makeup artist.
Your instinct may be to reach for a heavy foundation to hide what you see as flaws in your skin, Kastuk says. But thicker formulas can actually draw more attention to minor imperfections.
Try this: “Pick a foundation that is lighter and creamier in texture,” Kastuk suggests. “I love stick foundations for this purpose because they blend beautifully and don’t fully dry down. Matte formulas can be extremely drying.”
Look for products that contain hyaluronic acid or glycerin, which draw in moisture.
She also suggests going easy on powder. You may be used to patting on powder to set your makeup, but if you use too much, it can settle into facial lines. Make sure you’re using a minimal amount by applying it with a fluffy brush (not a puff or pad), says Kastuk, and “apply powder only in the areas where makeup tends to move, such as under eyes and around the nose.”
Mistake #3: Skimping on Moisturizer
Skin naturally begins to lose some of its elasticity as you get older, according to the National Institute of Aging (NIA). The body is churning out less collagen and elastin, which means your skin isn’t able to repair itself as quickly.
The result is dry, tight skin. You may also develop dry, flaky spots, the NIA notes, especially if you’re stressed or not drinking enough fluids. Diabetes, kidney disease, and other chronic health conditions can also bring on dry skin.
The age-related loss of sweat and oil glands compounds the problem. In fact, the Cleveland Clinic reports that 85 percent of older adults experience what’s called “winter itch” as a result of these factors.
Try this: Switch from lotion to an ultra-thick moisturizing cream designed for dry skin. Check the label for a combination of ingredients including:
- Ceramides to repair the skin barrier
- Humectants like glycerin and hyaluronic acid to attract and seal in moisture
Backe suggests applying moisturizer before putting on makeup. And moisturize more frequently throughout the day, he says—all over, not just your face.
Recommended reading: 5 Dermatologist-Approved Solutions for Dry Skin and Eczema
Mistake #4: Overfilling Your Eyebrows
The texture, density, and color of your brows can change with age. That’s because the hormones that help stimulate hair growth diminish as you get older and your pigment cells begin to produce less pigment, according to Cleveland Clinic.
It can be tempting to go overboard with the eyebrow pencil, trying to fill in brows that are thinner than they used to be. Fight that urge! “When you make your eyebrows too dark or don’t fully blend them in, it can make you look older than you intend,” Backe says.
Try this: Choose an eyebrow pencil that isn’t too soft. The softer the pencil is, the harder it is to control the amount of color you’re applying. You can also try brow powder or colored brow gel. Use a light touch to fill in sparse areas with several light, feathery strokes. Blend well with a brush afterward so the finished look is groomed and natural.
Mistake #5: Wearing the Wrong Lipstick Shade
When you were younger, you may have picked a lipstick color based on how it “popped” next to your skin tone. But as you get older, there’s a new consideration: your teeth.
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“Certain shades of lipstick that are yellow-based or red-based without any blue or purple tint can make teeth look more yellow, which is a sign of aging,” says Mandie Brice, a makeup artist and author of makeup skills guide Best Face Forward.
Try this: If you have a signature red or pink (or peach, plum, or coral) lip, there’s no need to abandon it. But consider testing out a different shade of your go-to color. Look for one that has blue undertones instead of orange or yellow ones, Brice says.
Mistake #6: Not Enhancing Gray Hair
Silver hair is trendy, according to Tiffany Young, founder and CEO of hair products company Thin Hair Thick. Embracing your gray won’t automatically make you look older, she says. But gray hair can tend to look dull if you don’t care for it properly.
Try this: Freshen up your gray color by switching to a “purple shampoo,” Young says. (You’ll see the word “purple” on the label.) Their formulas are designed to take out yellow tones, keeping blonde and gray hair looking brighter and more youthful.
If you’re not quite ready to embrace a full head of silver, Young suggests trying demi-permanent hair color, which helps blend grays rather than cover them with color, which can look artificial. Demi-permanent color is gentler on your hair since it contains no ammonia. Plus, “it puts color into the hair shaft in a way that makes mature hair look fuller,” Young says. It lasts for up to 28 shampoos.
Mistake #7: Sticking with the Same Hairstyle
You may have noticed that the texture and thickness of your hair are changing. That means the hairstyle you’ve worn for a while may no longer suit you.
Try this: Don’t be afraid to update your ’do. “I think people should invest in the right cut, which can portray the natural beauty of old age and keep hair happy and healthy,” says Allyson Carter, a professional hairstylist and founder of Hair Spies, a website with DIY hairstyling tips.
She recommends layers for anyone over age 50. “Layers add shape and movement to the hair while also framing the face and bringing out your most beautiful features.”
If you find that your hair is thinning, consider a shorter length, advises Young of Thin Hair Thick. “Longer styles tends to weigh the hair down and expose the scalp. Keeping a tidy, shorter style is key to maximizing volume and creating the illusion of fuller hair.”
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