How to age gracefully

Ever wondered why some women just get better with age?

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FORGET expensive face creams, Botox or other treatments that promise to erase wrinkles and slow down the hands of time.

Despite all the hype, there are no magic potions to make lines disappear, turn grey hair back to its natural state or give you back your youth. Even resorting to the surgeon’s knife won’t completely halt the ageing process.

We all know that the combination of a balanced diet and regular exercise will help keep your skin and body looking healthier and younger — the old adage “beauty comes from within” is fact not fiction.

While I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t seek out the services of an accredited cosmetic surgeon, medical practitioner or professional skincare expert, many experts now suggest that if you want to look younger, you need to think, act and feel younger. Adopting a happier, more positive and engaged attitude can make people think you are younger than you actually are.

Time passes for everyone, no one is exempt. But there are a few things you can do to prolong the process and still maintain a sense of self.

20 TIPS FOR A HAPPIER HEALTHIER YOU

“You don’t stop laughing when you grow old,
you grow old when you stop laughing”

1: One of the biggest giveaways of age is the way you move and hold yourself. Stand up straight and make an effort not to slouch — rounded shoulders will always make you look older. Regular exercise will keep your body supple and help you move in a younger way.

2: Give up smoking and watch your alcohol intake — they both deprive the skin of valuable nutrients and cause it to age more quickly.

3: Wear a sunscreen all year round. Sunlight is the main cause of premature ageing but, remember, daily exposure to the sun is also important for vitamin D — crucial for optimum bone health.

4: Boost your intake of low-fat, protein-rich foods. Protein slows insulin levels and stabilises blood sugar levels, both of which help avoid weight gain, and reduces the risk of disease and stress.

5: Take daily supplements of B6 and B12 (to reduce cortisol and increase levels of serotonin), and antioxidants rich in vitamins A, C and E, zinc and selenium (essential for ridding the body of free radicals linked to premature ageing and the development of disease).

6: Water is the staff of life. Drink six to eight glasses a day to cleanse toxins from your body and leave skin looking brighter.

7: Get enough sleep — preferably eight hours — to rejuvenate and repair the body. Our bodies produce growth hormone during a deep, restful sleep. People who have trouble sleeping often have lower levels of growth hormone. And a lack of sleep is a stressor. Trouble sleeping? Try placing a sachet of a relaxant, such as lavender, under your pillow and avoid stimulants like coffee, tea or alcohol before going to bed.

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“The beauty of a woman, with passing years only grows 

8: If you’re going grey (or white), resist the temptation to tint your hair back to its original natural colour. Skin tone lightens with age and your natural shade will be too dark. So aim for one shade lighter than your natural colour or have highlights to blend in the grey for a more natural look.

9: Exfoliate all over to encourage circulation and stimulate skin cell renewal — a process that slows down as the skin ages.

10: The hands are one of the first areas to betray age. Protect them with sun block in summer and wear gloves to do chores and for protection in winter. Use hand cream frequently.

11: Don’t forget that the skin on your neck and chest is as fine as the skin on your face. Make sure to include these areas in your daily skincare — and suncare — routine.

12: Look after your eyes — they also are one of the first areas to show age and stress. Always use an eye cream or eye gel. To ease tension, reduce puffiness and refresh eyes place tepid camomile tea bags, slices of cool cucumber or raw potato on the eyelids and lie down for 10 minutes.

13: Less is best when applying make-up. Older or more mature faces benefit from colour and definition, but be wary of really slapping it on! Remember, lines and wrinkles are accentuated by heavy foundation and powder — especially when used around the eyes. If you would like to read more, go to Look Fabulous Forever.

14: Keep up-to-date with make-up trends and colours. Pearlised or frosted eye shadows are not flattering on a mature face. Stick to matte or satin shadows in neutral shades. Alternatively, define eyes with an eye or kohl pencil smudged slightly, or a dark pressed powder eye shadow applied with a tiny brush just above the eyelashes to avoid a harsh line.

“The beauty of a woman is not her facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passions that she knows”

15: Lipstick that has seeped into the tiny lines around the mouth is a classic sign of age. Prevent this by dotting lips with foundation and then outlining with a lip pencil in a shade close to your lipstick or natural lip colour. Apply lipstick and blot with a tissue.

16: Protect lips from drying out by using a lip balm that contains an SPF. Mix it with a little lipstick if you want some colour.

17:  Treat stretch marks with vitamin E which can regenerate damaged skin tissue. Use in its purest form by massaging in wheat germ oil or the contents of a vitamin E capsule. Or try Bio-Oil.

18: Don’t get stuck in a time warp. Keep abreast of fashion trends without letting yourself become a fashion victim — be on-trend with clever use of accessories.

19: Dress your age. Fifty might be the new 30, but that doesn’t give us license to dress like we used to. Have fun with fashion, but be proud of the woman you have become and know how to dress for your body shape. Great style is truly ageless and the best fashion of all is stylish, well-cut classic basics in quality fabrics.

20: Learn to listen and laugh a lot. Go dancing, join a club, get involved in a charity and meet new people.  Be alive — in mind, body and spirit. And keep your mind active; never stop reading and learning.

Think you’re past your prime or do you celebrate the woman you’ve become? Are you embracing getting older instead of trying to hold on to your youth? Any tips and tricks you want to share? Would love to hear from you. Ever stylishly yours …

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