Unless you’re a 16 year old trying to buy Boone’s Farm (why??), no woman intentionally tries to look older than her years. Yet sometimes we succumb to fashion trends that don’t have our best interests at heart. Other times it’s less intentional – a “look” you were able to pull off in your 20s now looks harsh and unflattering.
Whatever the source, the following will make you look older than your years no matter what your current age. Luckily the fix for each is pretty inexpensive or even free! Where possible, I’m (gulp) including pictures of myself demonstrating both the unflattering look and the solution so you can judge for yourself!
Thin, over-plucked eyebrows. Thicker eyebrows that are flatter across the top look more youthful – pull out your baby pictures to see what shape works best for your face.
If you can, let your eyebrows grow back in, then get an eyebrow template to shape them more naturally. If you’ve been over-shaping for too long or they’re just naturally sparse that might not be possible, so consult a professional for help establishing a good shape you can maintain. [Fact: you almost always see super skinny eyebrows on porn stars. ‘Nuff said, your choice what you do with this information.]
Dark nail polish on your hands. I loooove the look, but as you get older the skin of your hands thins, the veins become more prominent, and you may even have sun spots (see Jenn’s Beauty Bill of Rights for advice on that front). A dark polish can look very witch-like on older hands…and emphasize man-hands (yes those are mine, I don’t want to talk about it).
Wear pink or peach toned polishes that blend with your skin color. Bonus: it makes your fingers appear elongated! If you just have to wear a dark polish keep those hands hydrated and make sure the color undertone (cool/warm) is flattering to your skin tone.
Being underweight. That’s right, there is such a thing as “too thin”. As you age, your face in particular loses more of that baby-fat that made you think your cheeks were pudgy. Emaciated is never a youthful look.
This is a fine line to walk, because a fuller face looks younger but you can’t selectively gain weight in your face. Just maintain a healthy weight while getting regular exercise and eating right. Fillers are an option if your face has lost too much padding. If your face is heavier I would strongly advise against using makeup to contour: unless you’ve gotten expert advice you tend to just look dirty. (And not the good kind.)
Avoid heavy foundation/powder. Unless you’re on stage or camera it just looks unnatural. It also settles into creases and expression lines, leaving an obvious river of makeup that detracts from people seeing YOU.
Too much hairspray. I struggle with this because I have fine hair that doesn’t hold style well. Shellac’d hair looks like a helmet, period. Touchable and moveable = attractive.
There are 3 Bs when it comes to hair and looking youthful:
[When I went to the salon with my hair styled as seen in the picture immediately above and came home with my current cut, my then-boyfriend said it had instantly taken 5 years off. The only difference was some textured bangs-esque stuff around my face. Ouch.]
Brown lips aren’t natural looking. There are very, very few exceptions to this. (You aren’t one of them, please trust me.) This was a trend I fell victim to in the 90s so I’m not throwing stones, I’m just sayin’. You can plead the Fashion Defense but the bottom line is that human beings are programmed to be attracted to pretty. Artificially brown lips ain’t that, ever.
I won’t go off on a tangent about matte lipsticks but they’re dicey. Lips should be a healthy looking shade of pink/coral/red, with a little gloss/shine. Not corpse-colored.
Yellow Teeth. At this point in our program I’ll redirect you to my photos at the beginning of this post. No one ever thinks their teeth are yellow until they get them whitened. [It makes me regret smiling in the early 90’s.]
You won’t look like that, really. If you’ve ever watched the evolution of the people on reality TV shows you might have noticed when they “suddenly” seemed to look more pulled together but you aren’t quite sure why. It’s likely their teeth.
Your tooth color shouldn’t be too far off from the whites of your eyes. [If the whites of your eyes are also yellow, um…maybe you should leave this page and google liver disorders.]
You can get pretty good results if you’re consistently using Crest Whitestrips, so start there and after 6 weeks you can evaluate whether professional whitening is in order. Or pounce on the next laser tooth whitening Groupon/Living Social/Crowd Savings and get it done quick!
Too Tan. Let me be clear: I adore Kelly Ripa. She’s gorgeous, hilarious and smart. I want to be her BFF. But in putting this example together I had a really hard time finding a non-tanorexic picture of her. [She was also a strong contender for the skinny face/unhealthy face look. I worry, Kelly.]
We all know that there’s NO such thing as a healthy tan, and getting a “base tan” to prevent skin damage is a fallacy. (Right??) Chemical tanners are an option, but don’t get crazy with it: it detracts from your God-given hotness.
Final Thoughts. If you aren’t sure whether any of the above apply to you, ask a girlfriend you trust, ask me or Jenn, or just critically stare at yourself in the mirror. You’re worth the time!
I’m sharing generalities and of course there’s always an exception, but 99.9% of us regular folks are NOT the exception. Heck, even celebrities that are inherently, stupidly, unearthly beautiful (*cough* Angelina Jolie *cough*) look less so when they make these simple beauty blunders. We can learn from their mistakes and each other’s: pick a few and start looking younger tonight!
Images (in order of display): author’s own; Angelina Jolie (left, right); author’s own; Nicole Richie (left, right); author’s own; Jennifer Lopez (left, right); Ross’s bleached teeth; Steve-O; Kelly Ripa (left, right)