Lines, wrinkles, pesky pigmentation spots – getting older means waging more beauty battles with every passing year, so what can you do to keep looking and feeling your best?
After all us mere mortals have neither the budget of celebrities who never seem to age, nor the willpower of those prepared to survive on mung-beans and water flown in from a far-flung South American rainforest… In fact the key to tackling those birthday beauty blues is firstly acceptance, according to those in the know.
Professional make-up artist Julia Francis has worked on Hollywood blockbusters, top TV shows, commercials and for glossy magazines including Tatler, Harper’s Bazaar and Glamour. ‘We’re definitely all more aware of anti-ageing these days because of the vast amount of products out there. It’s a constant daily reminder of the effects of sun damage and bad diet,’ she explains.
‘The best piece of advice to start from is that you have to accept the ageing process as there’s no point trying to fight it. You’re never going to prevent the onset of wrinkles and pigmentation but what you can do is complement this and help yourself to age more gradually and gracefully with a few simple tricks and tools.’
‘Think less is more,’ Julia advises. ‘You want to focus on lower-maintenance make up, reducing the amount you use but in the right places. Otherwise you risk end up looking like mutton dressed as lamb as too much product in itself is ageing.’
– Avoid darker hued lipstick or gloss as this draws attention to saggy skin and fine lines. Peach and orange tones should also be given a wide berth as they highlight yellowing teeth, another sign of ageing. Instead think pinks, neutrals or dusky rose shades.
Eyes – Reach for an eye pencil as opposed to liquid liner, as the latter only looks good on younger, smoother skin and pencils soften flaws. A smudgy effect is ideal for combating ageing. Also go for matte tones of eye-shadow as opposed to shimmery.
With under-eye concealer beware of ‘overkill’, instead working your foundation up to the bottom of your lower lashes and reserving concealer for dark shadows.
Cheeks – Keep blusher above the apples of your cheeks and use a foundation brush to blend well to avoid a hard-edge effect.
Brows – It’s a good idea to keep them a bit thicker and more natural looking as you get older.
‘Good general tips are to keep out of the sun, ensure you’re eating a healthy, varied diet and always use a moisturiser with a sun protection factor,’ Julia says. ‘In general when it comes to skincare products you want to invest in mid to high range products if possible as the more you spend the better the ingredients. For sun protection for example I’d recommend a brand like La Roche Posay.
‘With make-up it’s easier to cut corners and mix low-priced brands with more expensive ones to still achieve a great effect, but I’d say you’re looking at around £15 as the starting point for a good quality cleanser.’
Exfoliate – This is really important, and should be done a couple of times a week according to Julia. You can either use a scrub followed by a mask or a peeling mask that will do both jobs at the same time.
Mask-up – Rejuvenation Coach Star Khechara has been providing clients with bespoke skincare solutions for almost 20 years and says using a good face mask up to three times a week is fantastic for perking up your skin.
‘It can honestly knock a couple of years off,’ Star insists. ‘You can either make your own by buying a box of green clay and mixing with herbal tea, rose water or yoghurt or opt for a natural product from Neal’s Yard or Lush’s Ayesha face mask.
‘Masks actively detoxify the skin from the outside keeping us looking young.’
Hydrate – The most simple, yet highly effective anti-ageing tip, is to drink two litres of, ideally filtered, water a day. It costs mere pennies yet experts swear this acts as a natural facelift.
Ingredients – Ones to look out for with proven anti-ageing benefits include: Retinol, which helps to promote to new skin cells, lightens spots and tackles sun damage, Vitamin C which protects against ‘free radicals’ that speed up ageing, and Glycolic Acid which keeps skin radiant and again counters sun damage.
Star Khechara, who is often labelled the ‘facelift foodie’, says what we put into our bodies is integral to helping us deal with the ageing process. ‘Every single cell in the body is built, repaired and maintained from diet so foods we eat have a massive impact on anti-ageing,’ she explains.
‘It’s worth spending a little more on good quality, organic ingredients, cooking from scratch wherever possible and eating lots of raw foods as well.’
Red berries, kidney beans and artichokes are packed full of anti-oxidants – powerful anti-ageing agents, while purple and blue foods like blueberries and beetroot have important rejuvenating effects.
Fruit in general is packed with beneficial anti-ageing ingredients, as are leafy, green vegetables and healthy juices.
‘A great recipe for an ‘anti-ageing drink’, is to juice up five apples, four small carrots, one raw beetroot and some lemon juice,’ Star recommends.
Skin bleaching – According to the experts this has become a popular option for getting rid of brown ageing spots and pigmentation. You can either seek advice from a beauty salon or use a pigment gell at home.
Chemical exfoliation – If your skin condition is really bad this can be something to consider, as experts say it packs it with anti-oxidants.
High-tech ingredients – ‘There’s now an interesting middle ground in skincare where the organic side is embracing new scientific technology and vice versa,’ Star Khechara says. ‘For someone like me that’s really exciting!
‘New fashionable anti-ageing ingredients include apple stem cells that are great for skin rejuvenation, high performing carrier oils such as elderberry seed and sea buckthorn and fruit acids and enzymes such as ellagic acid which is fantastic for sun damage.’