With age comes wisdom, but with each birthday, and every quick glance in the mirror, also comes a host of beauty bothers that can increase anxiety and decrease our confidence. Here are eight common problems and how to fix them.
Oily, blemish-prone skin.
Thanks to the oil-producing hormones that start to rage again in our 40s, those breakouts you thought you left behind with high-school graduation? They’re baaack! What can help: a glycolic acid toner. “The astringent acid removes pore-clogging oil and toxins to reduce the occurrence of acne, but it also attracts moisture into skin, so it won’t dry out the complexion like many acne-fighters do,” says Dr. Jaliman. To do: Saturate a cotton ball with toner (like Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner, $15.30, Amazon) and sweep onto clean, dry skin once a day for blemish-free in two weeks.
Fast Fix: Dot a green concealer (like Physicians Formula Conceal Rx in Soft Green, $7.75, Amazon) onto blemishes. It neutralizes the redness in the inflamed spots to hide them stat.
The eyes may be the window to our soul, but according to surveys, they’re also a dead giveaway of our age. Since the skin that surrounds eyes is 10 times thinner than anywhere else on the face, it’s the first to crease as collagen begins to decline, says Heather Wilson, aesthetician and director of brand development for InstaNatural Skin Care. Her expert advice: Pick an eye cream infused with peptides. Comprised of amino acid, peptides increase collagen production to help plump and firm the delicate skin around the eyes while moisturizing the area so it remains line-free. To do: Massage a pea-size amount of a cream (we like Mad Hippie Eye Cream, $19.99, Amazon) onto skin around the eyes twice a day for smoother skin in four weeks.
Fast Fix: Apply a nickel-size amount of a silicone primer (like The Ordinary High-Adherence Silicone Primer, $18.20, Amazon) around the eyes. Silicone helps “fill in” lines so they’re less noticeable.
Well, knowledge is power! So we uncovered the agers to expect with each decade, the remedies to reverse them and the makeup tricks to cover them — so you look young and feel great in a flash.
A Dry, Dull Complexion
A slower cell turnover rate (which means dead, flat cells live on skin’s surface that much longer) leaves our skin looking parched and lackluster, says Wilson. To the rescue: a scrub made with sugar, strawberries, and olive oil. Sugar’s granules slough off dead cells, strawberry’s vitamin C brightens and olive oil’s fatty acids deeply hydrate. To do: Mix 1 Tbs. of sugar, 1 Tbs. of mashed strawberries and 1 Tbs. of olive oil. Rub onto damp skin; rinse. Use twice a week for fresh, glowing skin in two weeks.
Fast Fix: Sweep 2 drops of a gel blush (like Pixi Beauty Sheer Cheek Gel, $21.24, Amazon) onto the apples of cheeks. The dewy flush instantly wakes up the complexion.
Remember when freckles were considered cute? Thanks to years of sun exposure and a shift in hormones that activates melanocytes (the cells that produce skin’s pigment), the accumulation of the pesky brown spots are less adorable and more annoying. Plastic surgeon Anthony Youn, MD, recommends treating them with niacinamide (vitamin B-3). The vitamin inhibits the activity of melanocytes to fade spots, and it encourages cell turnover to reveal the healthy skin underneath. His tip: Apply a niacinamide-infused night cream (we like CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion, $19.15, Amazon) before bed when skin goes into repair mode. Do nightly for more even skin in a month.
Fast Fix: Top off foundation with an illuminating powder (like Catrice Cosmetics Glow Luminizing Powder, $8.99, Amazon). The light-reflecting particles in the powder help blur any discoloration.
We’re actually born with three rows of upper eyelashes, but by the time we reach our 50s, they’ve dwindled down to a single row. The spa-inspired solution from aesthetician Bella Schneider, who’s worked with Michelle Pfeiffer and Gayle King? A castor oil “mask.” “Its ricinoleic acid promotes new growth, while fatty acids moisturize and strengthen lashes at the root to keep them from falling out.”
To do: Before bed, swipe 2 drops of castor oil (like Heritage Store Castor Oil, $14.39, Amazon) onto lashes using a clean spoolie brush. Repeat nightly for fuller-looking lashes in one month.
Fast Fix: Place individual falsies (like Ardell Individual Lashes Starter Kit, $7.08, Amazon) onto lashes’ outer corners only. This adds subtle volume sans the overly fake look of a full set of falsies.
Dark Under Eye Circles
Those aging shadows appear when blood pools (thanks to a decline in circulation) and shows through the thinner skin under the eyes. To lighten the area, Schneider points to a turmeric eye cream. The spice’s vitamin K promotes blood flow to keep stagnant fluids moving, its vitamin C brightens skin and its curcumin reduces the inflammation and puffiness that makes circles more obvious.
To do: Mix 1⁄2 Tbs. of plain Greek yogurt (it moisturizes) and 1 tsp. of turmeric. Rub under each eye; rinse after 5 minutes. Use every other day for results in one week.
Fast Fix: Dot a peach color corrector (like L.A. Girl HD Pro Concealer in Peach Corrector, $4.25, Amazon) under eyes before applying concealer. The orange tone cancels out any blue and purple in under eye shadows.
Thin, Deflated Lips
The main reason your pout is no longer as plump as it once was? “A decline in collagen and elastin production causes them to shrink over time,” says Dr. Jaliman. Also, a lack of oil glands dries them out so they look even smaller. She suggests making a balm with cinnamon and cayenne pepper (they increase blood flow while boosting collagen and elastin production) and coconut oil (its lauric acid hydrates) to restore volume fast.
To do: Mix 1 Tbs. of coconut oil, 2 tsp. of ground cinnamon and 1 tsp. of cayenne pepper. Apply a pea-size amount to lips; rinse after 2 minutes. Use twice a week for results in three weeks.
Fast Fix: Dab peppermint essential oil (like Cliganic Peppermint Essential Oil, $6.97, Amazon) onto lips; cover with clear gloss. The menthol temporarily swells lips, and the gloss’ shine optically plumps them.
How ironic! The one place we don’t want to lose fat — the fat pockets that keep cheeks plump and lifted — thin out in our 50s! Dr. Jaliman’s magical fix? A facial exercise that strengthens the orbicularis oculi muscles around the eyes and mouth to “prop” cheeks up. It also stimulates collagen production to firm the skin around them so they stay in place.
To do: Cover your teeth with your lips and make an “O” with your mouth, then smile wide with teeth covered; release and repeat six times. Next, hold the smile with teeth covered, tilt your head back and move your jaw up and down. Repeat twice; relax. Do once a day for a more lifted look in 30 days.
Fast Fix: Dot a highlighter like L’Oréal Paris True Match Glotion, Walmart.com) onto the top of cheekbones. The placement of the light shimmer directs focus up to optically lift cheeks.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.