My friend Luisa and I have known each other for 10 years now. Throughout the years, we’ve always been there for each other – we’ve confided in one another, sharing our sentimental problems as well as any work-related issues and ambitions via email, over the phone, on Skype or in person while having an aperitif. No matter the distance (she lives in Zurich, I live in Milan), we always find a way of seeing each other. And each time we meet up we go on a crazy shopping spree! Naturally, we shop for makeup. We are especially united thanks to our common and insane passion for lipsticks. I love every shade of red while she prefers nudes or dark purple shades, despite being quite hesitant about wearing bold lipstick colors. Why? Well, a makeup artist representing a famous brand once told her that it would make her look older, given her skin tone and that, “since she was nearing 40”, she should find solutions to help “make her look younger”. You can imagine how upset I was upon hearing these words…
Today, Luisa wears the lipstick she loves, even dark purple at times, without paying much attention to what others may say. “I’m not afraid of aging,” she says, “I just want to feel good about myself at 30, 40 or 50”. How could I argue against that? That’s exactly what we all want! I’ll let you in on a secret: although I’m a bit nervous about transitioning to my 40s (40!), no skin or makeup expert will ever crack my total zen attitude towards wrinkles. I have them, I can’t erase them, they are proof that time has passed and that I’m more mature than I was a few years ago. Anna Magnani, the famous Italian actress, once said, “Let me keep all of my wrinkles, don’t take even a single one away from me.” This quote exemplifies the perfect attitude with which to embrace life and it is also the topic we are exploring in this post: how to feel and look your best at any age.
Let’s start by saying that there is no one set rule. Everyone is different, everyone’s skin needs differ. Factor in individual taste and you’ll quickly realize that it would be impossible to establish a universal recipe for looking your best. Even if you’ve come to see “aging” as a natural process and a normal part of life this does not mean that we can’t look our best at any given stage in our lives. You can look great at any age!
So what exactly is the key to embracing time as it passes? Being aware of what our body needs and getting into a healthy routine in order to feel healthy and in shape. And of course, choosing colors that best suit and enhance our skin tone, including the infamous purple lipstick if you feel it best reflects your “mood”. No constraints, no limits: that’s the only rule.
This does not mean that there is no useful advice out there, on the contrary! There are “universal” tips as well as tips that cater to specific age groups. I’m sure we can all agree on the fact that the skin of a 20-year-old will never be like that of a 40-year-old.
Here are 5 tips — the infamous “good habits” — which all of us, ALL of us, should consider. Translation: put aside some time for yourselves so you can love yourselves even more. Let’s see how.
Exercise: consistently and daily. There’s no need to run a marathon, or follow a rigorous training program at the gym. If you love fitness, that could be the right solution for you. However, if you have no intentions of going to the gym, don’t sweat it. All you need to do is choose between walking for about an hour a day, running for 30 minutes three times a week, doing a series of abdominal exercises, going bike riding or getting off one subway stop before your normal stop and walking to your usual destination (which, personally, is the option I prefer when I have a tight schedule).
Don’t forget to stay hydrated. Ok, this is nothing new. Everyone knows that you should drink at least a 1.5 litres of water a day to facilitate your body’s natural functions. Yet, although necessary, simply “drinking water” is not enough for your skin. Never forget to use a moisturizer, every morning and night, after a day in the sun or after having done sports. You’ll notice the difference right away!
Make sure you eat well. What you eat can significantly impact your health. Limit your intake of foods that are high in fat and sugar and choose simpler foods such as vegetables, white meat, fruit (red fruit is a must because it is so rich in antioxidants). If you have any doubts, see a nutritionist for some professional advice. It is the best way to invest in your health!
Sleep! Yes, that’s right: sleep is a cure-all! «It seems obvious — says dermatologist Antonio Di Pietro — but healthy, restorative sleep is the first commandment to follow for young, fresh-looking skin, strong shiny hair and eliminating toxins. Most of all, rest is a “radical scavenger,” that is, it rids your body of free radicals and neutralizes Coritsol, a tension-induced hormone that is harmful for skin».
Change your attitude! A positive attitude is the secret to eternal youth. A positive mood combined with a healthy lifestyle is the most powerful combination you’ll ever need in order to feel your best at any age.
If you’re 20
Keep your diet in check, and not just your sugar and fat intake: you should also go easy on the carbohydrates. “Consume carbohydrates in moderation,” says Jeffery Morrison, founder of The Morrison Center and author of the book Cleanse Your Body, Clear Your Mind — “and most importantly, limit complex carbohydrates like bread, cookies, and packaged foods which can produce elevated quantities of insulin, a substance which can also cause imperfections of the skin”. Using sunscreen to protect skin from the harmful effects of the sun is definitely one of the good habits recommended for 20-year-olds.
If you’re 30
What is the most common problem among women over 30? Stress: work (countless hours spent in front of monitors) and/or children put even the strongest women to the test. Skin will be crying SOS. For those who can, the best thing to do is try to catch up on sleep. For those who have small children or work 12 hours a day — which means their beds become somewhat of a mirage — what becomes a must is a good anti-aging cream. My advice is to include a hyaluronic acid-based mask as part of your beauty routine or a collagene-based mask that provides a booster effect and is super moisturizing.
If you’re over 40
Everyone is familiar with the benefits of exercise on your heart and lungs, but few people know how good it for your skin. According to Dr. Morrison, the perfect formula is to plan a session at the gym four times a week for at least 40 minutes per session, followed by a dry sauna when possible. The results? A true detox moment for your skin: exercise eliminates toxins and improves circulation as well as producing beneficial effects all over your body and skin.
If you’re over 50
Exercise+a healthy diet+super nourishing creams: this is the perfect recipe for feeling good when wrinkles start to become more noticeable. Often you’ll hear people saying, “50 is the new 40”. The truth is that 50-year-olds have overcome the anxiety-filled stage of, “I hate wrinkles!” and are often able to live more serenely as time goes by. Might this, by any chance, be the secret to happiness?