Many kids and teenagers spend their time trying to look older. What happens when you hit adulthood and start looking in the mirror and realize you're starting to look (and maybe starting to feel) your age?
As it stands, aging isn't a bad thing: it's natural and happens to all of us. But, as the exploding anti-aging market can attest ($271 billion at last count, according to MarketWatch) for many, it's something we'd rather delay. Unfortunately, it also can be necessary for career reasons. While the TV show "Younger" is fiction, the situation is based on a real-life dilemma. What happens when you age out of a job? Age discrimination is not only wrong, but it's also against the law. Sadly, it still happens.
So, take the following habits with a heavy grain of salt. Each one may be adding to appearing older (if that's something you want to avoid).
21 Habits that are aging you.
If you feel like you’re looking out of date or you just missing that youthful glow, these 21 habits may be the culprit.
1. Skipping makeup primer.
While it may seem like another (expensive) tube of goo, makeup primer serves an important purpose. It helps your makeup settle more smoothly into your skin. This is especially important if you have uneven skin tone, small lines or even the beginnings of wrinkles.
2. Using makeup that's too dark or too glittery.
While dark or glittery makeup might look great on the runway or in the club on Saturday night, in the office, it just makes you look older. If you feel that you’re looking a little older than you want to, try lightening up your makeup with some skin tone-appropriate neutrals or even a pop of bright lip gloss.
3. Applying excessive eyeliner.
The goth look from your teenage years just makes you look old and tired as an adult. This is especially true after a few hours of letting your liner relax into your skin — it can make you look like you have bags under your eyes, the opposite of rested and refreshed. Try keeping your lines thinner and wearing a waterproof liner to keep it from running.
4. Not taking care of your skin.
Healthy, well-moisturized skin can help you look younger. While you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on monthly facials, you should find a skincare regimen that works for you. This should likely include some type of cleanser, exfoliant, moisturizer and an SPF. If you have acne or other skin concerns, it might be worth spending a little more money to address them with a dermatologist.
5. Overplucking your eyebrows.
Thin eyebrows can actually make you look older than you are. If you’re struggling to grow your brows back out after years of overplucking, try investing in a good brow pencil or consider microblading for something more permanent.
While it may be insulting (and sexist) to tell a woman to smile more, rocking the heavy scowl can make you appear older. Not only can smiling make you appear younger, but it can also make you feel happier. (Fake it till you make it — right?)
While being tan can make you look younger, sun damage can make you look a lot older than you are. If you feel the need to get a glow, try a spray tan or some bronzer instead of hitting the tanning booth.
8. Wearing the same hairstyle you wore 20 years ago.
Nothing makes you look or feel more dated than an older hairstyle. If you haven’t updated your hairstyle in 20 or more years, consider consulting a stylist to find the cut that's modern and will flatter your features. NB: if you have longer hair, this doesn’t mean you can’t keep your length if that's working for you. You want to still feel like yourself.
9, Choosing clothing that's too trendy.
While this one might seem counterintuitive, dressing too trendy can make you look older than you are. Consider a signature style that has you looking and feeling your best. As a bonus, this will also make your morning routine run faster!
10. Wearing clothes that don’t fit.
Clothing that's too baggy or too tight can make you look older than you really are. If you struggle to find a look that works for you, consult a stylist or personal shopper to find some pieces that make you look and feel great. This includes undergarments like bras and panties. You want to find things that flatter your figure and make you feel comfortable.
11. Wearing too much pastel clothing.
While pastels might look cute on babies and grandmothers, its not super cute in the office. You can integrate these light colors into your overall aesthetic, but if you go too heavy you might look like an easter egg!
12. Wearing all black everything.
While black can be chic, it can also make you look older. If you are using black for its slimming effect, try a pop of color or some bright lip gloss to make sure you aren’t prematurely aging yourself.
13. Wearing too much jewelry or accessories.
Too many bracelets, a necklace that's too chunky or a ring on every finger can make you appear older then you are. If this isn’t the look you want to go for, try to tone down the jewelry a bit.
14. Not getting enough sleep.
Lack of sleep can cause dark circles under your eyes. When you sleep, your skin repairs itself, and you may look older if you skimp. The mental and physical benefits of adequate sleep are significant — so make sure you’re getting enough rest, not just because it will make you look younger.
15. Drinking too much.
Consuming too much alcohol can dehydrate your skin, which can make you look older. Try to keep the drinking to a minimum if you’re trying to look younger. Sip on water or some juice instead.
In addition to increasing your risk of lung cancer, smoking can make you age faster. When you smoke, you can get lines around your mouth and your fingers and teeth turn yellow, making you look older. If you do light up - consider quitting not just to look better but to save money and stay healthy.
17. Not exercising.
When you exercise, your body releases endorphins that not only make you feel good — they also literally give you that glow you want! Another reason not to skip the gym is that when you stay leaner and more toned, you look (and feel) younger.
18. Having bad posture.
Slouching and slumping can add years to your look. Try to stand up straight and use the power pose when you need to — it will make you feel stronger and more powerful as well as help you look younger.
19. Not taking care of your teeth.
Teeth that are yellow, stained or chipped can make you look years older then you are. Make sure you're visiting the dentist every six months for a good cleaning and keeping up with the brushing and flossing at home.
20. Feeling stressed.
There are both physical and mental consequences to stress, including ones that seem to prematurely age you. If you’re constantly stressed out try meditation, yoga, taking a walk to clear your head when you need it or talking to a therapist or other trained mental health professional. By finding other ways to cope with stress, you’ll feel better and look younger.
21. Skipping vacations and mental health days.
Like chronic stress, skipping vacations or mental health days can make you look older. Even when you're very busy. it's important to take time for yourself. If you can’t travel for vacation, try a staycation or book an afternoon at a day spa. By carving out some time for yourself, you’ll look younger and feel completely recharged.
There are many reasons why you might look old for your age. There are also many ways to reverse this problem. From a makeover to a vacation, try these tips to help you start looking and feeling younger this year.