We took a list of age-old beauty wisdom to the experts and, to our surprise, discovered more fact than folklore. When it comes to beauty secrets, it turns out, mother knows best. Here, her 12 greatest hits to keep you looking forever young.
1. "If you keep making that face, it'll freeze that way."
Repeated expressions can cause wrinkles While your expression won't freeze in an instant, "repeated facial movements - especially ones held for long periods of time - can cause lines over time," says Amy Wechsler, MD, a Manhattan dermatologist and psychiatrist. Consistent muscle contractions pull skin while age and sun exposure weaken skin's collagen, making it less likely to bounce back from the temporary tugs and creases. Eventually short-term lines turn into permanent, visible ones.
Lines caused by repeated movements, such as laughing, smiling, squinting, and tensing your brow, are commonly seen around the face, says Wechsler. Wear sunglasses to avoid squinting, try to relax your face (and mind), and always protect skin with sunscreen because UV rays are a leading cause of wrinkles.
2. "Show off your pearly whites."
No surprise here: Whiter teeth can make you look younger. The real surprise is how much younger: A 2011 study found that a pearly smile can take off up to 13 years. The fastest way to help teeth appear whiter and brighter is to swipe on a blue-based lip color. "Blue works to counteract any yellowness," says Mally Roncal, creator and president of Mally Beauty. Look for shades like raspberry red and fuchsia, and steer clear of orange-y lip colors, which can bring out the yellow in teeth. And stick with glossy finishes, which brighten the whole face.
Related: 5 Makeup Myths Busted
3. "You look prettier with your hair off your face."
Always pull back your hair"Too much hair covering your face can drag your features down," says Jet Rhys, hairstylist and co-owner of the Jet Rhys salons in San Diego and Solana Beach, California. "Styling hair away from the face looks natural and plays up your features." Just be sure to keep hair soft and not pulled back tightly, which can add years to your appearance. Keeping hair out of the way also helps prevent skin from absorbing the styling products in your locks, which can clog pores and cause breakouts (not quite the youthful look you're going for).
4. "Worrying causes wrinkles."
Cortisol, a stress hormone, can disrupt the formation of new collagen, says Wechsler. And any breakdown in collagen - a protein behind skin's smooth, spongy appearance - paves the way for wrinkles. It also makes skin thinner and weaker, making lines more visible. In turn, weakened skin loses its ability to hold onto moisture, and blood vessels become more fragile, opening the door to more wrinkles. To de-stress, practice deep breathing, exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, focus on the positive, and catch up on sleep. Taking time out to cuddle, have sex, or connect with friends also helps reduce stress levels.
5. "It's never too early to start using eye cream."
Early eye cream use can help prevent wrinkles There is certainly some benefit to using an eye cream before crow's feet appear, says Ranella Hirsch, MD, a Boston dermatologist. Many women would prefer to prevent wrinkles with eye cream and sunscreen than erase lines later with Botox. Look for a cream that contains moisturizers such as glycerin or hyaluronic acid, and sun protection (to ward off UV-induced lines) or retinoids (vitamin A derivatives that encourage skin cells to turn over - a process that keeps young skin smooth and radiant but decreases with age). More good news: It's never too late to begin using an eye cream either. Many of the ingredients that help prevent lines may also reduce their appearance, says Hirsch. But ultimately no cream can completely erase lines, so prevention is key.
Related: Is Your Makeup Aging You?
6. "Rinse your hair with cold water to add extra shine."
"Warm water opens a hair's cuticle to allow shampoo and conditioner to do their job," says Rhys. In turn, rinsing with cold water helps to close the cuticle and seal in moisture from conditioner. "A closed cuticle reflects light and extinguishes frizz," adds Rhys. Hair that gleams looks healthy and youthful, while age, heat styling, and product-buildup can dull your locks.
If you can't bear a cold shower, offset dullness by pouring one-cup apple cider vinegar mixed with two-cups water over hair after washing and conditioning. "Vinegar, a gentle exfoliator, removes product build-up and dandruff from the scalp and smooths the cuticle," says Rhys.
7. "Stress will make your hair fall out!"
Stress can cause hair lossStress can "absolutely" contribute to hair loss, says Wechsler. "It can literally flip the switch on the hair follicle's growth stage from an active to a resting phase." Once in the resting phase, hair remains there for three to six months, meaning hair loss today could be the result of strain endured several months earlier. Chronic periods of anxiety - like those caused by an illness, divorce, or sudden tragedy - typically cause this kind of hair loss, though any stress can contribute, says Wechsler. The good news? If the stressful period has ended, your hair will return.
If you're experiencing hair loss, consult a dermatologist or physician. Iron deficiency, anemia, thyroid abnormality, and genetics are also common culprits.
8. "Less is more when it comes to makeup."
More makeup is not always betterWomen don't need more makeup as they age - they need the right makeup. Any dry substance on the face piles on the years by accentuating creases, so toss the heavy powders and matte lip colors. "Translucent powder is the enemy," says Roncal. "It leaves a white cast making you look washed out, tired, dry, and cakey. It also settles into pores, fine lines, and wrinkles." She suggests using a clear setting powder with a satiny finish that diffuses lines instead. Swap matte lip colors for creamy, satiny, or glossy ones, and avoid harsh lines when applying makeup, as they look old-fashioned. "Go for a smudgy, smoldering look around the eyes; look for softer lip pencils; and make sure you blend, blend, blend," advises Roncal.
Related: Best Natural Beauty Products
9. "But… always wear blush."
"Mom is totally right on this one," says Roncal. Blush can enliven a dull complexion and even give you an instant facelift. "It's all about the right placement," adds Roncal. Swirl blush onto the apples of your cheeks first for a fresh-looking flush, then sweep it back towards the ears to create a lifted appearance. A good go-to shade is pinky-peach, which flatters most skin tones.
10. "You are what you eat."
Your diet can affect the look of your skinIt turns out diet can affect not just your waistline, but also your skin's appearance. Consuming fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants can help shield skin against sun damage and inflammation, two causes of lines and wrinkles, says Wechsler. Scientists agree: British researchers found that participants who ate tomato paste, rich in the antioxidant lycopene, daily for 12 weeks had 33 percent more protection against sunburn. A 2011 study also reported that regularly eating foods packed with polyphenol antioxidants, such as artichokes and Brussels sprouts, can help fend off aging caused by UV rays. But remember, although antioxidants can keep you looking young, no amount of veggies is a substitute for sunscreen.
11. "Don't stray too far from your natural hair color."
"Not only do you look more youthful with a few natural colors in your hair, it also softens your look," says Rhys. And softer looks younger. "There's nothing more dated than a harsh, solid, monotone hair color - particularly when grey comes into play." Rhys' rule of thumb: Lighten up when hair turns gray. Ask your colorist to highlight your hair with hues similar to what you had as a girl. "Having at least three different colors swirling through the hair brings back a child-like result."
12. "Mayonnaise is the best conditioner."
Mayo is great for your hairUse a mayo-based treatment in your hair once or twice a month to score more manageable locks. "I've tweaked my mom's recipe by adding avocado," says Rhys. "The two combined are full of the good fatty acids and healthy oils that help add shine and moisture to stressed hair." (Remember: Glossy hair equals younger looking hair.) Combine one-half cup mayo with half a ripe mashed avocado and apply the mixture to damp hair. Cover hair with a plastic shower cap for 15 to 20 minutes, then rinse, shampoo twice, condition, and style as usual.
What beauty advice did your mom give you? Let me know in the comments!
-by Stephanie Tweito Jacob
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