The old adage is true– when you’re young, you want to seem older than you really are and when you’re old, you want to seem younger. Well, why don’t you all just act your age? Some of your beauty and fashion trends might actually be making you look older than you really are. Here are 15 makeup and fashion mistakes that age you.
1. Dressing too trendy
Rather than invest in pieces that may be passé by next season, stick to classic, sophisticated items that will stand the test of time. But that doesn’t mean you can’t infuse some edgier styles into your wardrobe–look to trends that are here to stay: leather, military, dark florals, plaid, and slimmer cuts such as tailored pants and pencil skirts.
2. Wearing your hair too long
Many women associate flowing locks with youth, and short styles—i.e. “mom haircuts”—with maturity. “But as you get older and begin to lose fat in your face, really long, straight hair can actually make you look more drawn. Choosing a cut with face-framing layers and lots of body, on the other hand, can help your face appear rounder and more youthful.
3. Too much heavy black liner
Dark, dramatic eyes can be tricky to pull off and they tend to be less and less flattering on most women as they age. Our eyelashes thin out as we get older, and women sometimes try to overcompensate for that with lots of black makeup…but all that does is draw attention to the wrinkles around your eyes. Instead of a black liner, choose a dark brown or grey—and remember that less is more.
4. Getting a tan
Spending time in the sun may give you a temporary youthful glow, but in reality, it’s a fast track to premature aging. Ultraviolet rays from the sun wreak havoc at the cellular level, breaking down the collagen fibers that help skin retain its elasticity and supple appearance; they can also cause pigment changes and permanent dark spots. Research shows that this type of damage can begin after just a few days of exposure without protection,
5. Ignoring your hands and chest
Your hands, neck, and chest are also exposed to sun on a daily basis, and women tend to forget about protecting them the same way they do their face. But these are the areas we tend to see a lot of brown spots and wrinkles—they can be a dead giveaway, even if your face looks really youthful. Along with a regular SPF, a daily moisturizer can also keep skin looking and feeling smooth and baby soft.
6. Don’t go too tight or too loose
Anything in the extreme—whether it’s too tight, too loose, too short, too long—can draw negative attention, especially if you’re visibly uncomfortable or self-conscious while you’re wearing it.
7. Wearing dark lipstick
A well-defined pout can help define your features, but one that’s too dark (or too bright) may just draw attention to laugh lines. A lot of women are really stuck on the idea of always using heavy lipstick, but I think that gloss gives a softer, more youthful appearance.
8. Using too much foundation
The solution to fine lines isn’t always to cover them with loads of makeup, in fact, if you use too much foundation you’ll risk it settling into those creases, only making them more noticeable. The key is to spot correct only where you need it, with a liquid or cream foundation, concealer, or even just a tinted moisturizer.
9. Wearing too much shimmer
Stay away from “frost” or “iridescent” eye shadow if your goal is to look younger. These light-reflecting formulas actually accentuate fine lines and creases around the eye. Instead, apply a matte shadow to your entire lid and—if you do want a bit of shimmer—apply just a touch to the inner corners.
10. Too much blush
Too much blush doesn’t just look bad—it can really label you as an “old lady.” There was a certain era when more was better when it came to blush, and you can still spot those women today because they’re still piling it on. For a more natural looking glow, we recommend applying bronzer to your hairline and jawline, then rubbing just a tiny amount of cream blush (again, powder can flake and settle into creases) into the apples of your cheeks.
11. Dressing too young
Wearing something that your daughter (or granddaughter) might pick out? Chances are, people will notice—but not the way you want them to. In our society, we expect to see certain trends from certain age groups. If you’re a 50-year-old woman and you dress like a 9-year-old or a 19-year-old, it’s not going to gel with our expectations. The incongruence can be pretty harsh, and it can accentuate your age rather than hide it.
12. Mismatching tops and bottoms
Wearing styles that don’t work well together is unflattering for all ages, and can add years to an otherwise youthful appearance. A great rule of thumb is that if you’re wearing a skinny silhouette on the bottom, choose a more forgiving, flowy piece on top. Or flip it: If wearing a tighter top, add a looser, flared skirt or a wide-leg pant to balance out the proportions.
13. Abusing your eyes
The skin around your eyes is very sensitive, but it’s also the skin women tend to be harshest on. We apply all kinds of creams and cosmetics there, but you can do more harm than good if you’re too aggressive. Too much rubbing, poking, and prodding can not only damage the skin, she adds, but it can cause red, puffy eyes, as well—not a good look at any age.
14. Keep it neutral
So now you know that too much eye or lip color can make you look older—but so can not enough, according to a 2013 study from Gettysburg University. When volunteers were asked to compare pictures of human faces, they rated those with more facial contrast as looking younger. Darker lips, eyes, and eyebrows seemed to make the most difference.
15. Not using the right moisturizer
Our skin tends to get drier as we get older, and moisturizer becomes more and more important. For your face, choose a lightweight, non-comedogenic formula (which means it won’t clog pores the way a lot of body lotions can), and apply it immediately after washing or taking a shower. Without a base of hydrated, healthy skin, makeup can only do so much.