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If I told you that there are just three things you need to do to look even more amazing – there’s no way around how I’m going to put this – and knock 10 years off your perceived age, would you want to know what they are?
They’re not difficult, they need a bit of investment, sure, but the results are genuinely staggering. And no, I’m not talking injectables, I’m not talking down time and I’m certainly not talking about things just for women, but if I were looking at someone my age, these are the things that I would notice most and which, frankly, age us. Intrigued? Then let’s go.
Nothing gives our years away like our teeth and, in particular, their colour. Yellowing teeth are a classic turnoff these days and yet so few of us over fifty consider teeth whitening. You can dye your hair or smooth away wrinkles all you like but as soon as you open your mouth your age is writ large and you didn’t even notice. As our tooth enamel thins it exposes the yellowing dentin below which also thickens as we age, getting even darker. Many people judge our health by the condition of our teeth so as soon as you laugh, speak or yawn your companions are making judgements about you. They can’t help it. It might be subliminal but we all do it. Whiter teeth are perceived as more attractive so if you’ve got a family photo, major presentation, job interview or date, whiter teeth are absolutely key.
When I last had teeth whitened it was a case of custom trays being made (from a mould of my teeth) and then filled overnight with a gel that caused as much pain on sensitive teeth as a Fab Ice Lolly permanently stuck to them. The only way to get through was a supply of ibuprofen but these days it’s much better. Custom trays and a gel that doesn’t cause so much as a tiny niggle set you back around £458.00 from Vitality Dental and after two or three weeks you return to the dentist to see how many shades you’ve lightened and decide if you want to do more. Honestly, whitening toothpastes just aren’t going to cut it at our age, you need a professional solution from your dentist. Don’t be tempted by the UV light whitening appliances online either. The light does whiten teeth but puts you at risk of radiation and is four times more damaging than sunbathing. That’s radiation in your mouth. Do you want that? It’s the same as ever, you get what you pay for and you deserve to have your dentist handle this for you.
We have different problems. Men get those “Dennis Healey” bushy brows and women often have thin brows. To be honest, these days I also get alarming single hairs that sprout overnight, are incredibly coarse and rise vertically upwards. Pluck these out with no mercy.
Men need to get both shape into their brows and to curb those straggly hairs. My top advice would be to get them waxed for the shape (this isn’t me just being sadistic) as so many Hollywood stars do. Zac Efron for one. Waxing gets a great shape while a pair of brow scissors or tweezers can tame those stragglers. The key for both men and women is to remember that brows are sisters, not twins. n other words, they aren’t exactly the same and should be treated as individuals. The curve, hair lie and so on will be very slightly different for each brow.
Women have many more choices. Thin brows might lead you to opt for tattooed brows from the like of the world-class Karen Betts or microblading from Tracie Giles. Both of these involve permanent ink and the reason I suggest the above two practitioners is that I’ve seen cheaper therapists apply ink that, over a few months, turns purple. Now, I don’t know about you but that’s not the look I thought we were going for. Permanent brows start at £400 and microblading at around £160 - expect to pay more for the above-mentioned skilled technicians. The results mean that you always have brows coloured, shaped and ready to rock and that’s what you pay the money for. It can last up to three years before you need a top up. If your brows are thin and it plays on your confidence, this could be a great way forward.
If your brows are healthy in shape and size then you’re down to threading, plucking or waxing to get a shape. I’ve had bad experiences with threading where they caught the skin and slit it, resulting in a scar on my brow bone which you can still see in certain lights, but you do you, as a good practitioner is great. I prefer a wax. Waxing is a bit blunter in shape than threading or tweezing, there are less nuances, but it sets you up with a shape you can maintain at home very easily with a few tweezered brows every few weeks.
Once shaped, there’s no question that our brows need filling in with colour. Your choices, if you haven’t gone with a permanent solution, are wax or powder. You could dye them but you’ll get a more subtle effect with a daily solution. Dye’s are a bit monotone for the look we are after and none of us can face a brow-dye disaster. Choose a colour similar, or one to two shades darker than your hair colour. If your hair is grey, pick a tone like taupe (I use Chantecaille’s Waterproof Brow Definer £34.00 from Space NK), which comes in three shades to suit all skin tones). What we don’t want are heavy, dark brows on light skin or too-light brows on darker skin. Get a natural look that shows, not one that is insipid. Any brow bar or cosmetic counter will help you out and great brows will literally drop ten years off your look.
Finally, you can pile on all the make up you like, have as many fillers as you want, face yoga your fingers senseless but if your foundation, your skin isn’t glowing with vitality and health then your radiance is dulled.
Diet, is there any need for us to go through this again? You know the drill – water, plants, different coloured plants, probiotics and more kimchi. Supplements are also useful. Please don’t take any without asking your doctor but for skin omegas, zinc, magnesium, B12, vitamin D, plus a probiotic should get you started. Please go to a quality brand such as Viridian because not all supplements are created equal or a site such as Victoria Health where you have a host of choices.
Once we move to topical skincare it’s very, very simple. There are just three products that are essential, critical, non-negotiable for skin over fifty and they are summed up with CSA.
Vitamin C (our “C”) is a brightening serum that has an antioxidant effect on the surface of skin but choose wisely, as vitamin C oxidises fast (anyone who makes fresh orange juice knows this) and so you want one that can sustain on your bathroom shelf for four weeks. You also need it at 10% concentrate so a classic example is Medik8’s C-Tetra, £35.00 for 30ml. Apply direct onto skin after cleansing.
Sunscreen (our “S”) is the best way to prevent more sun and pollution damage. In other words, to halt lines and wrinkles forming. It is an everyday product, right after your moisturiser (if you use). Do not just use on sunny days. More and more sunscreens protect from blue light (screens) and don’t you think prevention is better than cure? I’d go for Murad’s CitySkin Age Defense Broad Spectrum SPF50 (RRP £60.00 www.murad.com).
Finally, at night it has to be Vitamin A or Retinol (our “A”). This is one of the very few ingredients proven to turn back the damage done to skin and smooth out those lines and wrinkles. It is your go-to skincare for night, but again, choose wisely as not all retinols or retinoids are the same. We’re back to Medik8 here and their Crystal Retinal, £39.00. With retinol, you need to build up tolerance in the skin and this takes time. Start with Crystal Retinal Level 1 and see how your skin reacts. If it flares, ease off and go back to it after a week or so, perhaps buffering down with a moisturiser. Gradually, move through the levels and you will see remarkable results.
Teeth, brows, skin. Sorted. Now you just have to sit back and wait for the “you look well” compliments to flow in, the rest is our little secret.
Written by Karen Davis, Amazon #1 best selling author and founder of www.toyl.co.uk the award-winning beauty box for women over 40.