By Tina Sloan,
Author of Changing Shoes: Getting Older -Not Old- with Style, Humor, and Grace
Find a Hairdresser Who Likes You. You want to go to someone who genuinely wants you to be beautiful. A good hairdresser will keep you up-to-date, but knows you well enough not to give you a Duck's Ass or some other cut that doesn't suit your personality.
Avoid Snow White Syndrome. Women who keep coloring their hair dark tend to look ridiculous after a certain age. Your skin tone changes and lightens as you get older, and suddenly your former hair color becomes too harsh for your complexion. Recognize that if you have always been a brunette, you likely need to go lighter now, or at least get some highlights to frame your face (like Diane Keaton's in Something's Gotta Give).
ALWAYS Wear Makeup. Remember the story about bumping into an old boyfriend and trying to hide in the cantaloupes. Lauren Hutton makes wonderful beauty products for aging women; they are available online and come with an instructional DVD that provides some great anti-aging techniques and tricks. I also like Chantecaille and Bobbi Brown. I once met Bobbi Brown and she told me, "I make my products for your kind of woman."
. . . But Don't Overdo It. Nothing is less attractive than an older woman with bright pink cheeks. Plus, heavy makeup makes you look years older (and I think this is true as early as your thirties). At our age, less is more, so realize that you probably need to simplify your routine and start using more natural tones. If you're not sure how to do this, get a makeup professional to help you.
Avoid Powder on Your Face. Powder makes you look dry and settles in the creases in your skin, making wrinkles more prominent and you look older. Foundation or base is great since we need to even our skin tone out (like I do). And today there are so many good products available for older skin. Many of them multitask, providing anti-aging ingredients along with an even skin tone and dewier skin.
Learn the Art of Contouring. With contouring, you're putting a darker color on the places where you want to create more definition, such as your jaw line. A makeup professional, or Lauren Hutton's instructional DVDs, can teach you how to do this.
Use White Around Your Eyes. The skin around the eyes thins as you get older, leaving you vulnerable to shadows and dark circles. Using white concealer on the inside corners and under your eyes will brighten your entire face and make you eyes look younger. Just make sure to blend it -- mixing it with moisturizer if necessary -- so you don't look like startled jackrabbit.
Use an Eyelash Curler. Everyone should have an eyelash curler as there is no better way to open up your eyes and brighten your entire face, especially since the skin of the eyelid tends to thicken and droop over time. You can buy one for a few dollars at the drugstore. It will work best if you heat it before using it -- simply run it under hot water or heat it with your blow-dryer. The words thicken and droop really upset me, but opening your eyes is kind of like a mini-face-lift!
Lighten Your Eyebrows. Much like your overall hair color, lighter brows are better as we age. You can lighten them with bleach and toner. To find the right shade of toner for your skin type, seek the advice of a professional, probably someone at your salon.
Get Your Teeth Whitened. When our teeth get yellowed, they age us tremendously, and coffee, tea, and red wine are all the culprits. You can get your teeth whitened by your dentist or use the at-home strips sold in drugstores, which do work, although not as well (but you can't beat the price).
Accessorize. A pretty colored scarf or earrings or necklace can be a terrific way to liven up any outfit and announce to the world that you care about how you look. Accessories also work to camouflage our flaws: People will say, "Oh, what a pretty scarf!" and not, "Oh, she's put on a few pounds."
Find a Few "Uniforms" that Work for You. If you tend to just give in and throw on whatever shapeless, comfortable clothing is sitting on the chair, you are putting yourself at a disadvantage. You can avoid this and be chic anywhere, anytime by finding a few "looks" or combinations that work for you and wearing them often. For me, one uniform is beige or black slacks with a white shirt open, a blue blazer, a gorgeous chunky necklace, and big earrings -- and pretty shoes, of course. You work it out and just keep wearing it, even when you are tempted to reach for the sweatpants and slippers. I find that when I'm dressed nicely, even if I'm just sitting at home, chances are I will find something exciting to do to make that outfit worthwhile.
The above is an excerpt from the book Changing Shoes: Getting Older -Not Old- with Style, Humor, and Grace by Tina Sloan. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.
Copyright © 2011 Tina Sloan, author of Changing Shoes: Getting Older -Not Old- with Style, Humor, and Grace.
Tina Sloan, author of Changing Shoes: Getting Older - Not Old- with Style, Humor, and Grace, played the role of Nurse Lillian Raines on Guiding Light, which aired its final episode in 2009 after a seventy-two year run on radio and television. She has appeared on many other television shows, including Third Watch, and Law & Order: SVU, and in a variety of feature films, including The Brave One and Changing Lanes. She is currently shooting two feature films and touring nationally in her acclaimed one-woman show, Changing Shoes. She lives in New York with her husband, Steve McPherson. They have one son, Renny.
For more information please visit http://www.changingshoes.com/ and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter