Picture a fresh-faced Barack Obama in 2008. Then picture his more graying visage in 2016. Guess what? That’s what stress, frequent air travel, and politics can do to your mug. Now, maybe you don’t have to deal with Beltway-caliber backstabbers, but you’re still a busy dude, with real stress and real responsibility. How can you be sure you feel, act, and look like the leader you know you are? How do you polish your image so you can most effectively show off the stuff that matters—your intellect and experience? What can you do to turn back time in the days leading up to a major corporate showdown?
Here are 20 ways to put on a more-youthful face—and if you’re looking to bulletproof your body, as well, try out these Training Secrets of Ageless Superstar Athletes.
Sleep with an extra pillow.
When you sleep, gravity pools fluid around your lower eyelids, where the skin is soft and elastic, causing undereye puffiness. To avoid the bags, slip an extra pillow under your head. This will encourage gravity to drain the eye area. Chilled spoons also work. They fit perfectly over your eyes, and the metal remains cold just long enough to be effective, about 10 minutes. See here for our 10 Tips for Your Best Sleep Ever.
Put on an act.
“People don’t remember facts and figures, they remember impressions,” says Karen Friedman, president of Karen Friedman Enterprises, which helps CEOs and celebrities become more-effective communicators. To leave an impression of strength, youth, and vitality, be more animated. It’ll make you come across as commanding, credible, authoritative, and confident. Practice your delivery in front of a friend or a mirror, keeping these tips in mind:
—Project your voice. A booming voice sounds more youthful than a whisper. Imagine you are talking directly to the person in the back of the room.
—Speak slower. Quick talkers appear anxious. Pace your words at around 130 per minute.
—Straighten up. “The way you carry yourself sets the tone for how people will respond,” says celebrity voice coach Renee Grant-Williams. A hunched-over posture will make you look old before your time. In Voice Power, Using Your Voice to Captivate, Persuade, and Command Attention, Grant-Williams recommends “the position of power,” a stance that radiates power and control:
Stand and balance on the balls of your feet. Tuck under slightly for support. Keep your shoulders down. Arch up with the back of your neck. Keep your chin low. Look up from below.
Run and feed your brain.
“Physical activity can make people more mentally alert,” says Judy Cameron, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. In her previous studies at the Oregon Health and Science University, she has found that monkeys who ran on treadmills grew more blood vessels that supply the brain with oxygen and sugar-rich blood, the fuel that powers the brain. And even a single bout of aerobic exercise floods the body with endorphins that will improve clarity of thought. Get in a run a few hours before you go on. If you need a new pair of kicks, check out our Best Running Shoes for 2017.
Strike a slimmer profile.
Research has shown an anti-fat bias in every realm of society, particularly in the workplace, where fit, youthful people are more apt to receive promotions, earn larger salaries, and snag higher-profile projects. You can’t slim down in 24 hours, but you can look thinner by making a few strategic clothing choices.
—Never, ever, wear pleats—for godssakes. “Pleated pants add 5 to 10 pounds to your frame because they balloon out and make your hips appear bigger,” says Barbara Seymour, a communications coach who has represented Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, and RoC.
—Go monochromatic. Wearing one color from head to toe elongates your look, according to Seymour. Dark tones enhance the effect.
—Add some nonconformist color. A bold necktie transmits youthfulness. Add a pocket square for flair. Make sure it’s in the same color family as the tie, but in a different pattern.
—Wear what fits. “Tight clothes make you look heavier because you bulge everywhere, and loose ones make you look like you’re hiding something,” says Seymour. “If everything fits just right, you can give the illusion of thinness.” Also see: 5 Ways to Look Slimmer in 15 Minutes.
Chew gum, react quicker.
Avoid caffeine when you need to be at your sharpest—its effects don’t last. Instead, chew peppermint or cinnamon gum, or suck on peppermint hard candy. Research at Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia found a strong link between the smell of peppermint and improvements in mood, motivation, and athletic performance. That study complements previous research tying the scent of peppermint to enhanced energy levels and cognitive functioning. Another study at Wheeling found that the smell of cinnamon boosts brainpower and improves mental dexterity. For more great health hacks, here are 52 Super-Fast Health Boosters.
Adopt better posture.
When we age, our spines compound and our postures tend to take on a natural, reflexive hunch—this look goes hand-in-hand with aging, so counteract that by staying flexible and keeping your spine straight. Need ideas on where to start? May we suggest the Yoga Moves That Will Transform Your Sex Life.
Hide thinning hair with a haircut.
It instantly makes you look younger. And if you are balding or have fine hair, remember that less is more. Gravity causes longer hair strands to lie closer to the scalp, which exposes more skin on the top of your head. By getting your hair cut shorter and more layered, you won’t see as much scalp, which is the whole point. It’s an optical illusion. For our in-depth guide to getting a new ‘do, don’t miss our Best and Worst Haircuts for Men in Their 40s.
Add beer for fuller hair.
Any number of volumizing shampoos will give body to your hair. A light lager also works—seriously. “The yeast clings to each strand, making hair look fuller,” says hair and skin-care expert Riquette Hofstein.
Iron out wrinkles with a trout.
The best foods to keep skin looking young are fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like trout, salmon, and tuna, as well as broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, and beans. These foods stem the formation of advanced glycation end-productions, which cause skin to wrinkle prematurely, according to research at New York City’s Hoffman Center. And be sure to steer clear of the 40 Unhealthiest Foods if You’re Over 40.
Have sex, wake up younger.
“Sex brings blood to the surface of the skin, dilates your pupils, and gives you a youthful air,” says sex therapist Sandor Gardos, Ph.D. The golden post-coital glow is undeniably real. To really spice things up in the bedroom, try out some of the 30 Best Sex Toys For Enhancing Your Love Life.
Hit the hay earlier.
Additionally, going to bed 1 hour earlier than usual will give you the energy of 2 cups of coffee the next day. By contrast, getting less than 6 hours of sleep can decrease your performance to the point where you’re operating at the equivalent of a .05 blood-alcohol level, says former NASA sleep scientist Mark Rosekind, Ph.D., administrator of the of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Anticipation keeping you up? You don’t need to pop Ambien. Instead, eat a few fresh cherries or drink some cherry juice. Researchers at the University of Texas found that cherries are one of the best natural sources of melatonin, a popular over-the-counter sleep aid. Or, check out the 11 Doctor-Approved Secrets For Falling Asleep Faster—Tonight.
Nap like an astronaut.
In a NASA study, a 25-minute nap increased alertness by 54 percent and performance by 34 percent. Even catnaps of 5 or 10 minutes can help increase memory and learning. For more great health tips, read our 100 Ways to be a Healthier Person Right Now.
Count on your fingers.
Rough hands are a dead giveaway of age. And gnawed fingernails suggest that you never grew up. People notice hands the way they notice shoes, says Seymour. Trim your nails with a nail clipper and file down any burrs. We won’t tell anybody. Next, rub a little olive oil into your hands. It’s a natural moisturizer, and it’ll soften your cuticles so you can push them back.
Eat oats for energy.
Eat a power breakfast of oatmeal (not a sugar-laden instant variety) topped with chopped nuts, raisins, sesame seeds, and low-fat milk. The long-burning carbs and protein will fuel your body and brain for hours. Wash it down with two 8-ounce glasses of orange juice. A University of Alabama study found that 400 milligrams of vitamin C per day (the amount in a pint of OJ) significantly reduces the secretion of stress hormones.
Lather your skin in retinol.
Retinol is a specific type of vitamin A that, in cream form, allows dead skin to subtly peel away, revealing the more naturally glowing fresh, new skin underneath. And best of all, it’s available over-the-counter. Just don’t overdo it: You only need a pea-sized amount to cover your entire face.
Skip a meal now and then.
Intermittent fasting—denoting a day or two each week to consuming fewer than 500 calories—will help speed up the production of HGH, or your human growth hormone. In turn, HGH boosts your body’s collagen production, leading to brighter, plumper, younger looking skin.
Swallow B12 for brainpower.
Vitamin B12 helps lower homocysteine levels (an amino acid that promotes arterial plaque) and may prevent depression and improve cognition. But as you get older, your body doesn’t absorb this vitamin as readily from food as it did when you were younger. If you’re 50 or older, take 1 milligram every day, says Edward L. Schneider, M.D., dean of the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology at the University of Southern California.
Put on your game face.
Do your sideburns and eyebrows resemble Neil Young‘s? Trim them short, then follow this age-erasing plan:
—Get rid of undereye circles by applying Eye Gel with chamomile essential oil from The Art of Shaving. Or soak two cotton balls in a 50/50 solution of ice water and cold whole milk. This mixture offers an anti-inflammatory and contracting effect.
—As you age, the oil glands that caused acne in your teens shut down, leaving you with gecko skin. After you shave, apply a moisturizer. Or make your own: Add a teaspoon of honey to 1/4 cup of plain yogurt, mix, then apply a thin coating to your face. Rinse off after 15 minutes. The yogurt hydrates your skin, and the honey repairs small tears. Whatever you use, apply it to a wet face. Moisturizers are designed to trap water against your skin where it can be absorbed.
For fine lines and crow’s feet, try Zirh Rejuvenate, a cream made to stall collagen breakdown, or Innovative Skincare’s Active Serum. And here are 5 amazing new products for looking younger in 2017.
Relax, warm up, win big.
Just before you walk into the boardroom, grab 10 minutes for a quick warmup.
Relax. Drop a few golf balls into a gym sock and place it on the floor. Take your shoes off and roll the balls around with the bottom of your feet. Each of your feet contains more than 7,000 nerve endings. Stimulating them can trigger the release of endorphins, which reduces anxiety, says Kevin Kunz, co-author of Reflexology: Healing at Your Fingertips.
Consider your liquids.
Drink lemon water. Avoid caffeine, says Grant-Williams, it will dry your throat. Instead swig from a glass of cool water with a bit of lemon. It’ll help your voice to sound deeper, richer, and more commanding. Just like it did when you were 25. Red wine also boasts fantastic benefits—the stuff is chockfull of resveratrol, an anti-oxidant known to reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Top photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images