We are always looking out for the next ‘new thing”–that one diet that will help us drop 15 lbs, or the skin cream with the latest anti-aging ingredient that promises to erase every wrinkle-instead of just taking some good, simple advice about what really works (and what doesn’t). No matter how many magazine articles or books we read about how to look (and feel) fab over fifty, a lot of us are still stuck in bad health and beauty habits that make us look (and feel) anything but fabulous.
Here are the most common blunders women over 50 seem to make, and the simple things you can do about them:
- Wearing clothes that are too loose and baggy: In an attempt to hide or cover up our bodies, especially if we’ve packed on a few post-menopausal pounds, we end up looking heavier. No matter what our size, a woman over 50 should have the right fit-not tight, but a fit that defines the waist. Best way to do that? Make a great tailor your new best friend.
- Trying to Dress ‘Young’ Instead of ‘Great': We live in a world that’s constantly shouting in our ears, “Young is better!” … but don’t listen! We’ve earned every crow’s feet we have, and buying into that nonsense is the perfect recipe for a fashion fail. When writing my first book, “The Best of Everything After 50,” I interviewed Diane von Furstenberg who told me that the key to looking great is to be comfortable. If you’re tugging at your too-short skirt you’ll be more focused on covering your thighs than on what you should be engaged in.
- Wearing the Wrong Bra: The majority of American women wear the wrong bra size, and it shows. We just don’t take the time to get properly fitted by an expert. The right bra can make all the difference in how your clothes fit, and how you look in them. Make sure to get a few different ones for specific clothes, including one for wearing under a t-shirt or other smooth shirts, and buy them in colors that are close to your own skin color for wearing under white or light colored tops.
- Not starting a retinol product soon enough: There are no magic amulets for reversing skin damage, but products such as Retin-A are as close as you can get. They work to exfoliate the skin while you sleep, and help build collagen. (Using a retinol product on the skin makes it even more sensitive to the sun so a product with an SPF of at least 40 is essential).
- Applying too much makeup in an attempt to ‘cover up': Women over 50 often try to cover everything up by applying too much concealer, foundation, blush, everything. Foundation should be applied very sparingly, and only then will you be able to see if concealer is even necessary. Keep it light, with pinkish tones for the lips, and rosy for the cheeks. Makeup artist extraordinaire, Laura Geller, suggests using black eye liner (waterproof!) following the eyelash line, top and bottom. Also, if your brows have become a bit sparse, fill in with a pencil. Get an expert to show you how first (even at a department store makeup counter). A lighter touch is key to a fresh, pretty face.
- Going with ‘single process’ to cover the gray: Using the single process approach to covering gray can create a single block of color, very often either too light or too dark, without any contrast. This can drain the face and be aging. Consider highlights along with your natural color (including the gray), or mixing highlights with the single process.
- Still trying to ‘diet’ to lose weight: Diets don’t work. Eating, eating often, and eating healthy does. Diets that focus on a specific category of food (protein, for example) aren’t sustainable. Eating small meals consisting of whole grains, lean proteins, nuts (almonds are a great choice), dark leafy greens (like kale), and lots of water go a long way in keeping hunger at bay, and the pounds off.
Remember: embracing your age and wanting to feel pretty are NOT mutually exclusive! See you at the Bash!
For more tips on living your best life after 50 (or 60, or 70 . . . ) check out “The Best of Everything After 50: The Experts’ Guide to Style, Sex, Health, Money and More” and www.bestofeverythingafter50.com. Keep me posted on how you’re doing by subscribing to me on Facebook and “tweeting” me on Twitter at @BGrufferman.