25 Genius Hacks for How to Look Younger
These easy tips will have you looking and feeling less than your age.
Picture a fresh-faced Barack Obama in 2008. Now, picture his more graying current visage. 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 busy, with real stress and real responsibility. How can you be sure to feel, act, and look like the leader you know you are? How can you polish your image to effectively show off the stuff that matters, i.e. your intellect and experience? What can you do to turn back time in the days leading up to a major corporate showdown or high school reunion? Well, the first thing you can do is read on, because we've put together 25 helpful hacks for how to look younger fast.
25 Amazing Secrets for Looking Younger
Slow down the aging process with the tips below.
1. Sleep with an extra pillow.
When you sleep, gravity pools fluid around your lower eyelids, where the skin is soft and elastic, causing under-eye puffiness. To avoid the bags and maintain a more youthful appearance, 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 for about 10 minutes.
2. 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.
3. 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 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. Even a single bout of aerobic exercise helps increase blood flow to flood the body with endorphins that will improve clarity of thought. Beyond that, regular exercise can help us maintain the muscle mass we may otherwise lose with age.
4. 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.
Firstly: never, ever, wear pleats. "Pleated pants add five 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.
You can also try going monochromatic. Wearing one color from head to toe elongates your look, according to Seymour. Dark tones enhance the effect. If you're drawn towards brighter colors, that's OK too. A bold necktie evokes youthfulness, then you can add a pocket square for flair. Make sure it's in the same color family as the tie but in a different pattern.
Finally, 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."
5. 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.
6. Adopt better posture.
When we age, our spines compound, and our posture tends to take on a natural, reflexive hunch. This development goes hand-in-hand with aging, so counteract that by staying flexible and keeping your spine straight.
7. Hide thinning hair with a haircut.
It will instantly make 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.
8. Add beer for fuller hair.
There are any number of volumizing shampoos on the market that will give body to your hair. But a light lager also works—seriously. "The yeast clings to each strand, making hair look fuller," says hair and skin-care expert Riquette Hofstein.
9. 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 causes the skin to wrinkle prematurely.
10. 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 post-coital glow is undeniably real.
11. Hit the hay earlier.
Additionally, going to bed one hour earlier than usual will give you the energy of two cups of coffee the next day. By contrast, getting less than six 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.
12. 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 five or 10 minutes can help increase memory and learning.
13. 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. 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.
Don't forget to lotion, either. According to a study published in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, hand lotion can help rejuvenate wrinkled hands. It does this through a natural compound called urea, which can help reduce the appearance of lines.
14. 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 eight-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.
15. Lather your skin in retinol.
Retinol is a specific type of vitamin A that, in cream form, can peel away dead skin cells, 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. Dermatologists from the American Academy of Dermatology recommend using caution here, especially if you have delicate skin. Try testing your new product on your forearm a few days before applying it to your face. If you experience any stinging or burning, stop using immediately.
16. 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.
17. 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 one milligram every day, says Edward L. Schneider, M.D., dean of the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology at the University of Southern California.
18. Put on your game face.
You can get rid of undereye circles by applying gels or creams containing chamomile essential oil. You can also 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.
19. Relax, warm up, win big.
Just before you walk into the boardroom, take 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.
20. Choose your liquids carefully.
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 antioxidant known to reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
21. Reduce sun damage by using sunscreen.
When it comes to wanting to look younger, sunscreen is key (no matter what skin tone you're working with). Not only will this protection prevent wrinkles and other signs of skin aging, but it might just save your life. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, using broad-spectrum sunscreen every day can reduce your risk of developing certain kinds of skin cancer by up to 40 percent.
Other signs of sun-damaged skin include freckles, liver spots, and uneven pigmentation. Lotioning up rain or shine may seem excessive (yes, the sun's rays can hit you even when it's cloudy), but believe us when we tell you it's worth it. It's easy, non-invasive, and a whole lot cheaper than laser skin resurfacing and chemical peels.
22. Go easy on the foundation.
It makes sense to lean on makeup when trying to disguise dark circles and improve the overall appearance of aging skin, but too much of it can create the opposite effect. Foundations, in particular, are known for drying skin out, which actually accentuates pores and highlights fine lines and wrinkles. If you're not ready to cut it out of your routine, stick to creams over powders and make room in the purse for a hydrating mist.
23. Start incorporating facial massages into your routine.
Facial massage may sound like a new concept, but people have been performing them for centuries. Though there are different techniques, they all revolve around manipulating and rubbing the skin to stimulate circulation. In doing so, practitioners can improve elasticity, decrease muscle tension, stimulate the lymphatic system, and even achieve a temporary "lift."
24. Don't forget to take care of your teeth.
Nothing says "I'm aging" quite like stained teeth. As we grow older, tooth enamel gets thinner, leaving our teeth more vulnerable to discoloration. Maintaining your pearly whites is one way to disguise this ugly reality of aging.
25. Embrace your gray hair.
Yes, going gray is an indication of age—but hiding it through hair dyes and other treatments doesn't always help you look younger. Some stylists say they would rather see their clients rock a healthy head full of gray hair than allow their roots to start showing anytime upkeep becomes an issue.
That's it for our tips on how to look younger, but be sure to check back with us soon for even more beauty hacks. You can also sign up for our newsletter to take advantage of what's next!
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