It's not about trying to look 20 when you're 40, but rather a matter of nourishing yourself inside and out. Try these real world tricks to stay youthful no matter how many candles are on your birthday cake. By Holly Corbett, REDBOOK.
1. Celebrate your milestones
"Embrace birthdays by reveling in how far you've come and all of the experiences you've had," says Wendy Ferguson, 45. "I went to Antarctica for my 40th because I love travel and want to see the world. But celebrating doesn't have to be anything grandiose - just do something that's meaningful to you. It took years and experience in order for me to feel more comfortable in my own skin, but I've earned every laugh line and gray hair. And I think celebrating my age - rather than lying about it - has helped me grow older more gracefully."
2. Age-proof your eyes - at home
Try this cheap, at-home trick from Shelly Rush, CEO of Bella Semplice, a company that creates at-home facial and under-eye masks: Soak two cotton balls in a bowl of ice-cold whole milk; squeeze them out and place one over each eye. When your skin warms up the cotton balls, soak two more and repeat for up to 15 minutes. Cold milk constricts blood vessels to nix puffiness, the fat in whole milk moisturizes and replenishes dry skin, and the lactic acid helps remove dead cells to soften fine lines.
3. Customize your skincare routine
Your complexion changes as you age, which means you have to adjust the type of products you use in order to get the most benefits. "You don't need a truckload of products, just a few that contain ingredients specifically targeting your unique complexion needs," advises Fred Goudy, lead esthetician at Bliss Spa in Chicago. So, let your major concern guide what you buy. Opt for a formula with a strong exfoliating ingredient such as retinol to help erase fine lines; vitamin C and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) to lighten age spots and hyper-pigmentation; moisture-plumping hyaluronic acid for dry, flaky skin; anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory salicylic acid to ease adult acne; and peptides to help boost collagen and elastin to tighten sagging skin.
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4. Stand on your head just for fun
"My yoga teacher used to tell her students that if we stood on our heads for five minutes each day, we would never need facelifts or boob jobs because doing so helps fight gravity and aging," says Robyn Moreno, 39, author of Practically Posh. "I don't know if she's a genius or wacko, but its super-fun! And having fun makes you look younger."
5. Don't fight the gray
Many women automatically cover up their gray hairs before seeing if their new shade suits them. "While sparse gray patches can age you or make your style look messy, some women are striking with a full head of silvery or white hair," says Oded Gabay, celebrity hairstylist and owner of the Lovella salons in New York. Jamie Lee Curtis, Meryl Streep and Helen Mirren are just a few celebs who aren't afraid to rock their gray. But if you decide that keeping it natural just isn't for you, adjust your dye shade so it's a little lighter than the one you used when you were younger. White hair soaks up color more easily, making hues that once worked now appear too bright.
6. Learn to let go
"I was struggling with wanting my alcoholic, now ex-husband to stop drinking," says Lisa Sarick, 44. "Taking yoga classes and going to Al-Anon helped me realize the power of letting go and how to accept life as it is. I learned that I could be free - in the relationship or out of it. After divorcing my husband and following my dream of opening up a yoga studio, a woman who hadn't seen me in seven years didn't recognize me because she said that I looked so much younger! My secret is learning to let go: Stop struggling, fighting or resisting your life's circumstances and the people in it. You'll be more relaxed and less angry and resentful. Whether it's the stress that ages you, or because happiness shows on the outside as energy and youthfulness, it works."
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7. Invest in the right makeup tools
Radiant skin makes you look more youthful, and using the correct applicators is just as important as choosing the right cosmetics. "High-quality makeup brushes are superior to using your finger or a sponge when it comes to applying just the right amount of product for a smoother, flawless finish," says Suki Kramer, creator and formulator of Suki, a natural skincare and cosmetics company. "Natural brushes are better suited for evenly applying dry makeup - like powdered blush and eye shadows - while synthetic fiber bristles are best for creams or liquid because they tend to soak up less product than natural hair to cut down on waste. These tools will help disguise pesky signs of aging like dark circles, wrinkles, age spots and crow's feet."
8. Mind your appearance
"I come from a family of Cuban and Venezuelan ladies," says Laura Baez, 40. It's in our blood to always try to look polished, feminine and sexy! I really believe that looking good makes you feel good, and that feeling good makes you look good. I don't mean being thin or having perfect skin, but being healthy and minding your appearance - like never leaving the house looking like you just rolled out of bed in pajama pants without makeup and with messy hair. I just turned 40 and still feel like I'm 20. Age is only in your head."
9. Spa-ify your body lotion
Try adding a few drops of essential oils to unscented body lotion for a relaxing, spa-like treatment, says Katherine Goldman, founder of and celebrity waxologist at Los Angeles' Stript Wax Bar. Use lavender for relaxation, citrus to boost energy and circulation, and tea tree oil for blemished skin.
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10. Don't skip sunscreen indoors
You'd never skimp on sunblock during a day at the beach, but you might not think much about SPF during your daily commute, or when you're spending the day inside. But harmful UV rays can penetrate car, office and home windows, says Jennifer Aarons, director of spa operations at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, NJ. To make applying sun protection a no-brainer, use an all-in-one foundation, moisturizer, and sunscreen, such as Laura Geller Beauty BB Cream SPF 21. Bonus: The multitasking formula is also packed with anti-aging ingredients like brightening licorice root and conditioning vitamin E.
11. Get in balance
"Be sure to move and exercise at least 10 minutes a day, or better yet, three hours total a week by doing a routine that emphasizes correct posture and alignment while strengthening and stretching, such as barre classes," says Elisabeth Halfpapp, co-founder of Exhale Mind Body Spas' Core Fusion program. Moving like this keeps your spine supple, and a brittle spine is a sign of aging. "You'll feel better about yourself and have more energy to get through your day," adds Halfpapp.
12. Make time for (un)guilty pleasures
"Take better care of yourself on a daily basis to treat aging from the inside as well as from the outside," says Lydia Sarfati, founder of Repêchage, a natural skin and hair-care company. "Remember, you don't breathe when you're stressed. Not breathing properly means less oxygen gets delivered to your skin so the signs of aging creep up faster. I like to unwind at night with a 15-minute seaweed bath. It relaxes away the stress from the day and preps me for a good night's rest. My other personal anti-aging, de-stressing secret? Lots of champagne!"
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