Turn back the clock without spending a fortune thanks to these top tips.

By Melanie Rud
Updated September 09, 2020
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Of course, we're all about embracing the wisdom and experience that comes with getting older, but it can admittedly be more challenging to embrace the lines and wrinkles that crop up with every passing birthday. However, there are a handful of things you can do every day that add up over time to make you look and feel like your best self. Of course, some of these tasks relate to skincare, but not everything is about your complexion. Wearing your hair differently can also make you look younger. (And yes, you can still rock the gray if you want.) We spoked to the experts, including a dermatologist, a makeup artist, and a hairstylist, to share their best (easiest) look-younger advice. Here are eight of their expert-approved, turn-back-the-clock tips and tricks.

woman looking at skin in mirror
Credit: Westend61/Getty Images

1. Remember That SPF Isn't Just for Your Face

Bravo, if you've already adopted good sunscreen habits (i.e., applying a broad-spectrum formula with at least an SPF 30 all over your face 365 days per year). But here's the thing—your complexion isn't the only part of you that's subject to the sun's damaging and aging effects. Hands can often give away age even more so than our face, mainly because most people do little to take care of this exposed skin other than to perhaps slap on some hand cream. To that point, after you apply sunscreen on your face, do a second pass and cover the most often forgotten spots: your hands, as well as your ears, neck, and chest, suggests Devika Icecreamwala, M.D., a dermatologist in Berkeley, California. 

2. Sandwich Your Retinol

There's no denying that retinoids are the gold standard in the anti-aging world, lauded for their proven efficacy at smoothing fine lines, evening skin tone, and minimizing pores. The only caveat? They can be irritating for many people. But don't let that be a deterrent. Apply a plain moisturizer first, then apply a pea-size drop of retinol, such as Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Serum ($89, Sephora), then top that with another layer of plain moisturizer. Having this buffer on either side of the retinol helps notably cut down on the likelihood of unwanted side effects like redness or dryness. Also helpful: Always start by using any retinol product only one or two nights per week, gradually increasing use to give your skin time to get acclimated to the potent ingredient, advises Icecreamwala.

3. Load Up on Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a choice skincare ingredient, delivering a trio of benefits. It is a powerful antioxidant, helps fade dark spots, and also stimulates collagen production to keep skin smooth and youthful, says Icecreamwala. She advises using a vitamin C serum, such as the La Roche-Posay Pure Vitamin C Face Serum ($40, Ulta), because it's more concentrated than a cream, and it'll give you the best bang for your buck. But don't just apply the vitamin; eat it, too. Consuming fruits and veggies high in vitamin C, such as red peppers, strawberries, and Brussels sprouts have similar collagen-stimulating and youth-boosting effects.

4. Make Acids an Important Part of Your Routine

More specifically, we're talking about alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), which work to exfoliate the skin and deliver a one-two anti-aging punch gently. This not only leaves skin smoother and more radiant but also makes other topicals (hello, vitamin c and retinol) work more effectively. There are several AHAs to choose from, but if you have to pick just one, go for glycolic acid. It's unique in that it offers both those exfoliating benefits and can also boost collagen production to help combat fine lines and wrinkles. Peel pads, like Pixi Glow Peel Pads ($22, Target), make it easy to reap the benefits daily. 

5. Get Bangs

There's a reason they call it "bang-tox"—fringe covers your forehead, instantly hiding fine lines and wrinkles. But if you don't want to commit to full-on bangs, John Mouzakis, a stylist at Chicago's Mixed Co. Salon, suggests opting for a side-swept bang that ends at the corner of your eyes. This softer look is more versatile, easier to style, and the perfect way to camouflage crow' s-feet, he says.

6. Layer Eye Cream and Concealer

No one wants dark undereye circles and fine lines, but cakey, creased concealer is a surefire way to add years to your look. No, thank you. Combat this unwanted effect by adding an eye cream into the makeup mix. "After applying your concealer, gently pat a bit of eye balm or rich eye cream, like Olehenriksen Banana Bright Eye Crème ($39, Sephora) over the concealer for a slightly dewy finish," suggests clean beauty artist and makeup educator Jo Levy. "This immediately softens any dryness around the eyes and blends out your concealer a bit better, especially if you're using a medium to full coverage."

7. Switch from Black to Brown Mascara

Yes, it's that simple. "A black-brown or espresso shade often looks less harsh on the eyes and more youthful than classic black, and also complements all eye colors," says Levy. Who knew? One to try: Le Curler Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils ($29, Nordstrom). And for an extra eye-opening effect, remember to always curl lashes before swiping on mascara.

8. Keep Your Hair Long

Contrary to what you may have heard, your hair doesn't have to get shorter as you get older. "It's not the length that matters so much as the style," says Mouzakis. "An outdated haircut will instantly make you look older than you are." One telltale sign it's time to switch it up? If you've had the same haircut for a decade, a change is calling. If you're looking for a flattering length, consider a collarbone-grazing cut. It's flattering on pretty much any hair texture and the type and is long enough that you can still pull it back into a ponytail.


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