Recently, I went to an adult ballet class for Junior Council members at American Ballet Theatre. I haven’t danced regularly since college, and felt a tiny bit ridiculous rocking a unitard (aggressive…) which was the only thing I could find in my drawer. The bright spot was when a fellow student asked my age at the end of class; when I said 31, she was all, “No way! I thought you were twenty-five!”#Thisis31
Let me preface this by saying that I absolutely don’t look the same as when I was 25. In fact, people started telling me I look 25 when I was 16–and so none of this makes any sense. Maybe 25 is such a generally agreeable number that people tend to guess that first! But I have been paying special attention to the aging process over the past few years, and it’s restored a sense of confidence and calm as I navigate my new status as a thirty-something. Weirdly, my mom and my older sister haven’t really bestowed any special skincare wisdom as I’ve gotten older, probably due to the fact that they’re genetically youthful for their age. So I’ve had to discover a lot of these techniques through my own experiments–and I hope these tips can save others some of the trouble and confusion.
One thing I’ve definitely learned through these anti-aging routines is that your body is very resilient and can spring back, if you just care for it. Phew. So without further ado, here are some areas you’re forgetting to anti-age–and how to care for them!
Neck & décolletage
Because your neck, chest, and breasts have some of the most delicate skin on your body, these are the areas that age relatively quickly–and people often forget to take care of them until they see noticeable damage. “Neck wrinkles” was not a phrase I ever expected to associate with myself, let alone so early in my life. I mean, come on!! But right when I turned 30, I suddenly started noticing lines on my neck as well as lines on my décolletage from that time I had an eczema flare-up. I just can’t even. But this made me realize I’d been doing my skincare all wrong: as a makeup artist once told me, you’re supposed to do exactly the same steps (misting, serum, moisturizer) on your neck and décolletage as you do on your face. Even if it feels $$$$, it will save you money and drastic measures down the road.
*And* on top of that, I use a special décolletage balm to seal in the moisture and heal the deeper layers of skin. 5yina Guiying Décolletage Treatment is formulated with medicinal plants to restore skin elasticity, repair wrinkles and even stretch marks. It smells so heavenly thanks to a mixture of yuzu, wild bergamot, and rosemary, and I feel like a goddess every night when I use it. Take a minute or two to massage into the neck in upward motion, and over your breasts in circular and upward motion for some extra anti-gravity benefit. But the proof is in the pudding: the lines on my neck and chest have faded by about 90% since starting to use it about a month ago.
PSA: that de-puffing eye cream you’ve sworn by since pulling all-nighters in college may NOT be suitable for you now–in fact, it might be making under-eye crêpe-iness worse! Allow me to explain. There are de-puffing, soothing eye creams and plumping, hydrating eye creams, and they actually work in the opposite way. You have to choose the right eye cream depending on your age, current concerns, and even day-to-day skin conditions. I’ve been using Bella Aura Instant Lifting Eye Contour for a few years now, and it’s a great brightening, de-puffing eye cream, and sufficient hydration for warmer months. When it’s dryer and I notice more dry, crêpe-y texture under the eyes, I layer the cream with a balm or a few drops of my favorite oil. This helps me get the best of both worlds and customize according to my daily condition. Conclusion: When you’re looking for anti-aging eye cream, go for descriptions like “fine lines, hydrating, plumping, firming,” and look for a cream/balm formula, rather than “de-puffing, awakening,” and a clear, gel formula (which is what I had before switching).
Like the neck area, lips are a part of my body I took for granted right up until age 30 or so. That’s when I realized how much my formerly pouty lips had shrunk, almost to the point of changing the proportions of my face. In a state of panic, I ran to Sephora across the street from my office and got a Too Faced Lip Plumper which, while being cruelty-free, is hardly “all-natural” in any sense of the word. It has a nice opalescent look and your lips do swell up temporarily, but I quit using it after several times because my hair got stuck all over it and again, it’s not a permanent solution. (You might have noticed we don’t often recommend things you can easily get from Sephora–it’s not that we never try them, more that they don’t typically meet our high expectations).
Since then I’ve made some really amazing discoveries. 1) If you’re willing to spend some cash, and I highly recommend you do, I suggest 5yina Collagen Masks. Not only do these plump your lips, they anti-age your entire face–and the effect really lasts from 3-4 weeks. 2) On a budget, organic aloe vera gel works beautifully as an overnight lip plumper. 3) Earthwise Beauty Thelma Lip Treatment is a magically lip plumping balm. The first time I used it at night, I woke up the next day and was shocked at not just how plump my lips were, but how *red* they were. It was as though blood was flowing back up to my lips, if you know what I mean? It’s made with South African mafura butter and Brazilian bacuri butter, and has delicate aromas of vanilla and cocoa. Between these 3 things on rotation, my lips have been restored to their normal poutiness, phew.
Skin gets all the attention, but your hair also changes as you age–namely, you’ll get grays, yes, but you’ll also lose some volume and luster. I’ve been hyper conscious of matte, luster-less hair recently, and adding high-end, botanical conditioner and treatment has done wonders. I highly recommend Aveda Brilliant Conditioner , which restores shine like nothing else I’ve used.
I’ll be the first to admit, I think of my hands last! But think about how often you use your hands and how exposed they are to the elements, and it makes sense that protecting them starting now is the best policy.
I admit I don’t currently use this Chantecaille Retinol Hand Cream, but it sounds exactly like the kind of thing I need. Marine collagen-wrapped nanospheres of retinol renews your skin from within, while botanicals lighten hyperpigmentation. Crucially, it even contains SPF 6-8 to protect your skin from sun damage. As you know, retinol is sun-sensitive, so I would even suggest adding a pinch of zinc oxide-based mineral sunscreen like Earthwise Beauty Farizad’s Veil if you have sunny weather.
Do you have anti-aging beauty wisdom to share?
Related: Vegan Collagen-Boosting “Bon” Broth
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Photo: Peaceful Dumpling; respective brands