Some say you get the face you deserve. We say phooey! You can get the face you want—at any age—with these insider tips.
Reimaging your makeup routine
The issue: Your cosmetics bleed, crease and slip-slide away
1. Switch to a sheer foundation. “Pores get larger as we age and a full-coverage foundation settles into them, making them look even bigger,” says Pat Wexler, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. A better bet: Use a light, hydrating formula and apply in a thin layer.
2. Go golden. “Skin loses pigment—and radiance—as you age. So either switch to a foundation with a warmer tint, add a drop of liq-uid bronzer to your favorite foundation, or make bronzing powder part of your makeup regimen,” says Sandy Linter, a consulting makeup artist for Lancôme. Try Clinique True Bronze Bronzing Gel ($19; clinique.com), Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess SunBlush Illuminator ($32; esteelauder .com), Elizabeth Arden Mineral Bronzing Powder ($32; elizabe-tharden.com) or YSL Trésor D’Afrique Bronzer Sun Powder ($72; yslbeautyus.com).
3. Cover blemishes correctly. “Never use an under-eye concealer to hide a pimple—it slides right off,” Wexler says. “I prefer an oil-free concealing pencil. It’s opaque enough to cover but dry enough that it stays put.” Her favorite: Shiseido The Makeup Corrector Pencil ($17; sephora.com).
4. Put on two layers of moisturizer. Apply one before foundation, then pat on a second, very light coat over your makeup. “This gives your skin a dewy finish and an extra dose of hydration,” says Audrey Kunin, MD, a dermatologist in Kansas City.
5. Create the illusion of lift. “Use an illuminating cream or powder on your upper cheekbone, the center of your forehead and just below your lower lip,” says Laura Geller, a makeup artist in New York City. “The first two spots make the top of the face appear lifted, the latter detracts from sagginess around the chin.” Good for most skin tones: DiorSkin Shimmer Powder in Pop Diamond ($43; sephora.com) or Laura Geller Liquid Candlelight Face and Body Glow ($24; qvc.com).
6. Use hot flash–proof makeup. “Water-resistant eyeliner and mascara stay put when your body temp soars,” says Geller, who also recommends keeping powder to a minimum since it cakes up on a damp face. Try Cover Girl Exact Eyelights Waterproof Eye Brightening Mascara ($8; drugstores).
7. Get cheeky. “A rosy color on the apples of your cheeks brightens not-so-radiant skin,” says makeup artist Bobbi Brown. Two we like: Jane Iredale Cream Blush in Clarity ($26; dermstore.com) and Bobbi Brown Cheek Tint in Sheer Raspberry ($22; bobbibrowncosmetics.com).
8. Book brow time. “Eyebrow shaping takes five years off your face. Have it done by a pro, then follow the lines yourself. Thinking you can create the right shape is like thinking you can cut your own hair,” says Kimara Ahnert, a makeup artist in New York City.
9. Stop waxing your brows after 40. “You’re killing the hair root,” Linter warns. “If you ever want to grow back those hairs, you’re out of luck.”
10. Do a mini eye-lift. “Use a brow pencil or powder along the top line of your arches to make the whole eye appear raised,” Geller says.
11. Stop eyeliner bleed. “Apply liner as you usually do, then use a cotton swab to subtly smudge the line at the outer corners, direct-ing it upward,” Linter says. “Skip this step and the color will settle into your smile lines, making you look tired.”
12. Don’t neglect your nails. Keeping your tips buffed to a shine—or polished in a color with some blue or pink in it (too much yel-low accentuates sallowness)—will make your hands look younger. A lacquer that works on almost everyone: OPI Nail Polish in Otherwise Engaged ($7; opi.com for stores), an opalescent pink.
13. Kiss dark lipstick good-bye. A very deep, dark lip hue is unattractive if it bleeds into the creases around your mouth. Soft, neutral shades such as rose or peach for fair to medium tones and sheer browns and berries for dark skin are the most flattering. Try Shiseido Perfect Rouge Lipstick in Vene-tian Rose ($25; sephora.com) for fair to medium skin, or Laura Mercier Shimmer Lip Colour in Candy Pink ($22; lauramercier.com) for dark skin.
Finding an updated yet flattering do.
The issue: You want to maximize the hair on your head—at the same time you’re sprouting unwanted fuzz elsewhere
14. Be wary of too many layers. The whole “no long hair after a certain age”’ thing is total bunk, but be careful of a cut that’s too shaggy, says Ted Gibson, a New York City stylist, “If your hair is graying, avoid lots of layers, because they make wiry strands even more stubborn and unruly.”
15. Think bangs, not Botox. Use your hair to camouflage forehead lines. But ensure that bangs are brow-skimming and fringed (not blunt) at the ends so the look isn’t too severe.
16. Skip the jaw-length bob. A style that hits right at the jawbone empha-sizes any sags. “Go for something about an inch longer,” Gibson suggests. “It’s just as chic, but it hides slack skin.”
17. Give mousse another try. If your last encounter with this foamy volumizer was when Madonna wore headbands, here’s the scoop: There’s a new mousse in town, reformulated so it still thickens but no longer stiffens. “A golf ball–size dollop applied to damp hair plumps your strands but still leaves them soft,” says Boston-based stylist Gretta Monahan, who likes Dove Body and Lift Volumizing Mousse ($3; drugstores).
18. Use a boar-bristle brush. “Gray hair is often kinky and hard to smooth,” says Farah Reid, director of education at New York City’s Blow salon. “Using a boar-bristle brush while blow-drying grabs and holds on to hair, creating more tension than you’d get with plastic or metal bristles.” Try the Mason Pearson Boar Bristle Pocket Mixture Brush ($90; beauty.com).
19. Don’t shampoo every day. Sudsing up more than three or four times a week can dry your hair and fade your color. “As you get older your scalp produces less oil, so you don’t need to wash as often,” says Kyle White, a colorist at New York City’s Oscar Blandi Salon. “But if you just can’t get used to the idea of a day without cleaning your hair [or you work out—and sweat—a lot], get in the shower and rinse with just water, or spray a dry shampoo into your roots, then brush it through.” Try Bumble and Bumble Hair Powder ($34; bumbleandbumble.com).
20. Add a few highlights by your face. “It brightens up your skin and softens the look of fine lines,” says Jason Backe, a colorist at Gibson’s salon.
21. You’re going gray where? If you want to match the hair down there to what’s on your head, try a color kit safe for sensitive skin (look for some- thing made without ammonia). The creator of Betty Hair Color, Nancy Jarecki, points out that if you’re tired of the natural look, going orange or hot pink might perk things up a bit. (And you thought the Brazilian was your only option.) Betty Color ($15; bettybeauty.com) comes in 10 shades.
22. Try a hair growth inhibitor. A prescription cream like Vaniqa or an over-the-counter option such as Aveeno Positively Smooth Moisturiz-ing Lotion ($8; drugstores) reduces the growth of coarse body hair that can be caused by hormone fluctuations.
23. Invest in a magnifying mirror. To zero in on stray hairs—around your eyebrows and elsewhere—skip
the reading glasses and pick up a small magnifying mirror with suction cups. If you stick it on the bathroom cabinet, you may be surprised at what you’ll see in a different light.
Keeping your complexion clear
The issue: Wrinkles, age spots and breakouts, oh my!
24. Peptides. We repeat: peptides. Every single dermatologist we interviewed insists it is the most effective ingredient in serums and moisturizers to firm and lift. One peptide-packed product that works on all skin types: Kinerase C8 Peptide Intensive Treatment ($98; sephora.com).
25. Add retinol to your regimen. Whereas peptides plump and firm, retinol (or tretinoin, its Rx cousin, in products like Retin-A and Renova) smooths and evens out skin tone. Try ROC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Serum ($22; drugstores).
26. Breaking out? Don’t even think about borrowing your teen’s medication. “Their acne products contain benzoyl peroxide, which is too drying for older skin. A product made with salicylic acid, antioxidants and calming ingredients will work just as well without leaving your skin dry and tight,” says Wexler. We like Neutrogena Rapid Clear Acne Defense Lotion ($8; drugstores) and Pat Wexler Acnescription Overnight Acne Repair Lotion ($20; bathandbodyworks.com).
27. Hormone surge? Up the ante. “Women can get cystic pimples well into their forties,” says Denver plastic surgeon Christine Rogers, MD. If you tend to erupt the week before your period (or, if you’re perimenopausal, around the time you feel like you’re PMSing), exfoliate with an at-home scrub or peel twice a month to keep pores clear and slough off dead skin cells, clear-ing the way for (and boosting the potency of) your treatment products, says Los Angeles dermatologist Zein Obagi. At-home scrubs that promise results without lasting redness: Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Gentle ($65; katesomerville.com) and Olay Regenerist Detoxi¬fying Pore Scrub ($9, drugstores).
28. Fight fine lines—in the shower. Before you step under the water, massage a drop of grapeseed oil into the skin around your eyes for 10 minutes, Obagi says: “It will improve skin texture.” The oil is moisturizing, yes, but it also contains antioxidants that fight wrinkle-causing free radicals, which are deposited on your skin by UV rays and pollution during the day.
29. Sleep on two pillows. “Keeping your head elevated prevents fluid from collecting around your eyes during the night and causing puffiness in the morning,” says San Antonio¬–baseddermatologist Vivian Bucay, MD.
30. Put your eye cream in the fridge. “The cold temperature shrinks blood vessels and helps to minimize under-eye bags,” Obagi says.
31. Moisturize in layers. “For maximum plumping, follow your regular lotion with a heavy cream or facial oil. On really bad beauty days, I put on oil and wait an hour before looking in the mirror,” admits makeup artist Bobbi Brown, who swears by Bobbi Brown Extra Face Oil ($60; bobbibrowncosmetics.com). A 10-minute moisturizing mask also plumps you up fast. We like Sonya Dakar Hydrating Blue Mask ($67; sonyadakar.com).
32. Baby your neck and chest. Because the skin there is so thin, these areas generally don’t age as well as your face—especially if you’ve been lax on sunscreen. “Using a moisturizer with retinoids or peptides will help,” says Miami and New York City–based dermatologist Fredric Brandt, MD. “But your skin in these areas is sensitive, so don’t use it every night—that could leave you overly red and flaky.”
33. If all else fails, go Italian. “Skin luminosity makes you look younger,” Rogers says. “Once a year, I go bike riding in Italy, where I can eat all I want and look at gorgeous Italian men all day. It makes my complexion glow.”
Maintaining a healthy, shiny smile
The issue: Just when you’ve found your voice, your teeth start to yellow
34. Remove stains at home. Combine equal parts baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, and use it to brush your teeth once a week. “This combo removes surface stains—and it’s totally safe,” says New York City cosmetic dentist Gregg Lituchy, DDS.
35. Follow the 20-minute rule. “Whitening toothpastes don’t stay on the teeth long enough to work,” Lituchy says. “A product should sit for at least 20 minutes to provide any kind of noticeable result.” To lighten at home, try Crest Whitestrips Advanced Seal ($45 for a two-week supply; drugstores), which should be worn for 30 minutes twice a day.
36. Consider porcelain veneers. “Many women over 40 were given tetracycline as children, which permanently darkened their teeth,” Lituchy says. “Whiteners alone probably won’t bleach out the stains, but porcelain veneers instantly and permanently give you a white smile.” Veneers start at about $500 per tooth.
37. Get a dental face-lift. Cheek sagging is often caused by receding gums as we age. “If you have your teeth subtly built up with thin veneers or bonding, it stretches the tissue of the upper lip and gives you a natural face-lift sans surgery,” says New York cosmetic dentist Jeff Golub-Evans, DDS.
Boosting your beauty mojo
The issue: To look good, it helps to feel good—in sometimes intangible ways
38. Wear a scent that’s not too spicy. Fragrance can make you feel fresh, femme fatale–ish or even formidable. But don’t overdo it. “During menopause, when your body temperature can spike spontaneously, you should avoid intense scents. Heated up, they become cloying,” says Debbie Wild, fragrance and lifestyle director for Jo Malone. A safe but still sexy pick: Jo Malone Honeysuckle and Jasmine Cologne ($55; jomalone.com).
39. Make your scent endure. Another by-product of dry skin? “Fragrance doesn’t last as long,” Wild says. What helps: slathering on body lotion before you spritz to give your skin a slightly tacky surface—and something for your scent to latch on to.
40. Raise your brows for photos. “This gives the appearance of an instant face-lift,” Kunin says. (If you aren’t Botoxing, this is your payoff.)