Many women want to know the secret to looking younger as they get older. But the truth is no single silver bullet can make you look younger. Ageing is a natural and unavoidable process that will gradually change your appearance whether you like it or not. However, if you worry about pesky fine lines and wrinkles or your skin and hair naturally becoming drier, a few tricks will help you take ten years off your appearance.
The anti-ageing beauty industry rakes in millions of pounds every year. Unsurprisingly, it isn't easy to separate those that actually work from those just using the term as a marketing buzzword. So we've put together a few tried and tested ways to keep yourself looking younger naturally.
Protect skin from sun damage
This is the number one scientifically proven hack to keeping your skin looking younger for longer. Damage from the sun's UV rays is known to cause wrinkles, dark spots and other skin issues that will instantly make your skin look older. It can be difficult to reverse after the skin is already damaged, so take action now. If your skin is already showing signs of long-term sun damage, you should still start protecting it now to prevent the problem from getting worse.
Whatever the weather is like, and even if you think you don't need it, make sunscreen a part of your daily skincare regime all year round. UV light can damage your skin even when you can't feel it. Most experts agree that sunscreen above SPF 50 doesn't have any additional benefits, so choose a sunscreen between SPF 30 and SPF 50. You can get daily moisturisers with SPF protection from brands like Estee Lauder and Elizabeth Arden if you don't want to add an extra step to your beauty routine.
As you get older, your skin naturally becomes dryer and can look duller as a result. Moisturising is a vital part of any beauty routine and becomes even more crucial as you age. Natural skincare products are a great option here. They are less likely to irritate your skin and contain natural vitamins to keep your skin looking radiant. You can even use products like olive oil or coconut oil, applying a thin layer in the evening to rejuvenate your skin overnight.
While your face is the most obvious place your skin will show signs of ageing, don't forget the rest of your skin! The neck, in particular, loses its elasticity faster than anywhere else on the body and can show your age even more than your face. So make sure not to neglect your neck and decolletage when you're moisturising. Your hands are another area susceptible to premature ageing, so remember to moisturise them regularly.
Avoid heavy foundation
When fine lines and wrinkles start to show, it can be tempting to wear more full-coverage foundation and concealer to hide them. However, wearing too much heavy makeup can actually emphasise the dry areas and wrinkles because of how it settles into the skin. If you don't moisturise quite as much as you should, this will be an even bigger issue.
To prevent that dry, cakey look, try swapping out your foundation for a tinted moisturiser or mixing a little moisturiser with your liquid foundation. Dry or powder-based products are likely to exasperate and worsen any dryness, so stick to hydrating liquid products. A primer should also be a staple in your beauty routine. Your primer fills in any large pore or lines on your face to make your foundation go on more smoothly and last longer throughout the day.
Similar to overloading your foundation, you may want to try and distract from signs of ageing with extra eye makeup or bright, loud clothing. But this often has the opposite effect and makes it more obvious you're trying to hide something. Natural-looking makeup is always in style, so apply mascara and eyeliner sparingly to enhance your natural beauty, rather than piling it on.
The same goes for your wardrobe. Wearing loud prints, sparkles, or over-the-top clothing is more likely to make you look frumpy than distract from signs of ageing. Growing old with grace is all about staying classy and elegant as you look older. Classy doesn't mean boring, either. Add a pop of colour or a statement piece but choose a look that is tasteful and refined.
Care for your hair
Your hair is another area that can really show your age. The obvious advice to dye or tint your hair. While many women embrace the grey and look fantastic, it can be a fast-track to looking older. Again, colours that are too bold or loud may look like you’re overcompensating. Go for a colour that’s either close to your natural colour or looks natural with your complexion. If you’re paler, avoid going too dark as it will make you look pale and ashy. Instead, look at honey browns or a light auburn shade. If you have darker skin, stick to a shade close to your natural colour, with added shine or a slight red tint.
Keeping your hair healthy is also vital. Like the skin, hair tends to get dryer over time which will make you look older. Make sure the haircare products you're using are moisturising. Argan oil, shea butter and coconut milk are great natural ingredients to look for, which will keep your hair and your scalp healthy and moisturised. Try not to use too many products that dry out or damage hair, like hairspray, gels or straighteners.
Get a natural glow without sun damage
Having a natural glow can make your skin appear younger than it is, but it’s not worth risking sun damage for. Thankfully, there are plenty of products that will give you a natural-looking tan without you even having to leave the house. But beware: some darker self-tanning products can be a little tricky to master and end up looking patchy.
Test products out on parts of your skin that aren’t often visible, like your stomach or back, before you lather them all over your face. If you’re new to self-tanning, opt for a gradual tanner or tinted moisturiser to start with. This will avoid any potential streaking, blotchiness or build-up.
Thick, fluffy brows
Bushier brows are definitely in fashion this year, and the trend doesn't seem to be going anywhere soon. Far from the skinny brows of the '90s, thicker, healthy-looking brows will instantly make you look younger. Picking the right colour is vital to avoid the infamous caterpillar brow, so find an eyebrow pencil or gel that's one or two shades darker than your hair colour. Pencils are the most straightforward product to use on your brows, but if you tend to have dryer skin in that area, it's worth practising with a pomade or gel.
Don't apply it as one thick line. Flick the pencil or brush in small, thin strokes that look more like individual hairs, following the direction of your natural hair. The inside end should be thicker and rest right on the edge of the brow bone, but not too square at the end. Your brow should naturally get thinner towards the end, so make sure the transition from thick to thin is gradual and looks natural. The arch and outer end of the brow should sit higher than the inside end, closer to your nose. A slightly raised arch will lift your eyes, making them appear more open and awake.
Dress for your body type
Many people tend to replace their clothes less often as they get older, but this can easily lead to wearing clothes that are the wrong size or out of sync with current trends. Hiding your body in baggy or shapeless clothing won’t flatter your body and will make you look frumpy. Tailored, clean lines will help you look elegant and put together, which is key to looking youthful.
Don't hide yourself away! Well-fitting clothes will boost your confidence as well as flattering your figure. A local tailor can be your best friend when it comes to refining your wardrobe. Even if you don't spend a considerable amount of money on clothes, getting a few minor alterations is generally pretty cheap and will make any clothing look more expensive.
Keep your smile bright
Teeth can be a surprisingly good indicator of someone's age. Yellow or stained teeth will make you look older and less attractive, whether you're in your sixties or twenties. White, healthy teeth give you a brighter smile and the appearance of a young, fresh mouth. Dental hygiene is vital. The number one priority is making sure your dental hygiene is up to scratch. Invest in an electric toothbrush if you haven't already and speak to your dentist about how you could better care for your smile.
To go the extra mile, whitening your teeth will make them that much brighter and give the impression that they are healthier and younger. Professional whitening services will have the best results, but make sure you research any provider thoroughly before diving in or ask your dentist for suggestions. There are also many products on the market for use at home, from whitening strips to specialist toothpaste. These tend to only give results with continuous youth, so check out some reviews online and give one a try for at least a month. The change can be gradual, so think about taking photos so you can check if it's working for you.
How to look younger: Frequently asked questions
How can I look more youthful on a budget?
Looking younger doesn't need to break the bank. There are plenty of cheap, natural products that nourish the skin, so you don't have to invest in expensive branded skincare. Coconut oil can do wonders to keep your skin looking younger. There are also loads of DIY face masks you can make at home that will cleanse your skin and avoid premature ageing.
Does diet play a part?
Of course! Your diet and exercise regime affects every part of your overall health, including the health of your skin. Overindulging on sugar can increase the ageing of the skin, and salty foods can further dry it out. A healthy, balanced diet will help avoid damaging your skin from the inside and keep it looking youthful.
What other lifestyle factors play a part?
As with your diet, there are many ways your lifestyle may contribute to earlier signs of ageing. Smoking, regular dehydration and a lack of sleep are three of the main culprits that can speed up the ageing process. Looking after your body and looking youthful go hand-in-hand, so make sure you continue to make healthy lifestyle choices.
Can I get rid of the wrinkles I already have?
Unfortunately, there is little you can do to turn back the clocks on damage that has already been done. At the end of the day, ageing is a natural process and can’t be avoided forever! But looking after the health of your skin and optimising your makeup routine can help to make them less visible and slow down the process.