How to Look Younger Overnight – 8 Easy Steps!

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.

Author at age 25 (left); age 40 (right)

Author at age 25 (left); age 40 (right)

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.

Angelina is older in the picture at right, but looks much prettier and more feminine than at left

Angelina Jolie’s eyebrows

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).

Author's hands in dark polish

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.

Author's hands in light colored polish

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.

Nicole Richie's skinny phase in 2006 (left); healthy face/weight in 2005 (right);

Nicole Richie’s skinny phase in 2006 (left); healthy face/weight in 2005 (right);

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.

Wendy with helmet hair 2008

Helmet hair

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:

  • Bouncy
  • Bangs
  • Blonde

[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.

Jennifer Lopez's lips too dark/brown in her early years of fame (right); recent healthy lip color (left). Bonus: check out her eyebrows.

Jennifer Lopez’s lips too dark/brown in her early years of fame (right); recent healthy lip color (left). Bonus: check out her eyebrows.

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.]

'Friends' episode where Ross bleaches his teethI know what you’re afraid of: you’re afraid you’ll look like Ross on that episode of Friends where he bleached his teeth and they glowed in the dark.

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.]

Never thought I'd use Steve-O as an example for anything positive, but note the subtle difference before (left) and after (right) bleaching his teeth.

Never thought I’d use Steve-O as an example for anything positive, but note the subtle difference before (left) and after (right) bleaching his teeth.

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.]

Kelly as an Oompa Loompa (left); normal-ish color (right)

Kelly as an Oompa Loompa (left); normal-ish color (right)

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 (leftright)

6 thoughts on “How to Look Younger Overnight – 8 Easy Steps!

  1. jenn

    Excellent post, Wendy! But, I have some objections (but given only in the most loving way possible).
    – I regularly wear dark fingernail polish. During the fall and winter months, my fingernails are usually painted deep red or purple shades or black. However, I admit that I’m fortunate to have youthful looking hands. And sometimes I think lighter shades look weird against my dark skin.
    – And while I agree with “bouncy” and “bangs”, “blonde”? Umm, hello!!! Plus, our stylist Mark would never let me go blonde. 😉

    Lastly, I have a tip on the teeth whitening. I absolutely agree that it makes all the difference. I whitened my teeth about eight years ago and am due again pretty soon. I had trays made by my dentist, and the trick is to whiten one arch at a time (e.g., first the top teeth, then the bottom). That way you can monitor the whitening progression without overdoing it.

    1. Wendy

      None of us who care about you would ever let you go blond, nor do I prescribe it! 🙂 I’m simply regurgitating what science has told us: our brains interpret ‘blond’ as ‘young’. If that works in your favor then go for it!

      And your hands are definitely younger looking than mine! You’ll be able to pull off dark polish for many more years to come, maybe forever!

      I don’t think there’s one thing that will make you look older all by itself; there’s a cumulative effect.

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  3. bobbie

    I confess to loving Angelina Jolie’s super-skinny brows. In fact, every time I see that pic above, it makes me want to drastically pluck my eyebrows. They look so delicate, feminine, and old Hollywood to me. I’ve always had very thick brows (kinda like that Scottish girl on Agents of Shield), which is maybe why I’ve never been convinced that thick brows actually look good. People compliment me on them but I just think they’re gross…on the other hand, why knock myself out plucking them if they’re faddish right now?

    Does anyone else just not buy that thick brows actually make people look YOUNGER? I sure don’t think they do. Kids have very faint and delicate brows. It’s the same as when the dentist tries to tell me that “big teeth look younger than small teeth.” They even show me pictures to try to “prove” it. But I’m like, Seriously? I don’t buy that at all. Kids have cute little teeth. Old people have big horsey teeth because of receeding gums. I want small teeth and small brows. Does anyone agree with me or am I just crazy?

    1. Lesley

      I do love thick brows, having overplucked mine in the 90’s. I love the whole Korean straight brow. But the bigger teeth issue, I totally agree with you. Younger people have smaller teeth, imho. I think Cher Lloyd’s (don’t know if you have heard of her)teeth looked miles better before she had them ‘done’. Her front two look like bugs bunny now, bless her.

      1. kitty

        thick brows, and in particular straight brows look much more youthful because your eyebrows become very sparse especially at the ends when you age. the 90s brows are what i call “the disney villain effect”. take a look at the villains and see what they all have in common. also take a look at kiera knightly before and after with thick/thin brows on google. the difference is incredible.
        large front teeth are also more youthful because we wear our teeth down as we age, and nothing looks older than being toothless which is why you want your teeth to show when you hold your mouth slack.
        instead of thinking of how “little kids” looks, instead think of teens. i dont think any of us are going to look like little 3 year olds again, so thinking about it that way is a little silly


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