Maintaining Inner and Outer Beauty : How Have You Women (&Men!) Done It Over The Years?
September 30, 2012 5:59 PM   Subscribe

Attention all gracefully aging/aged people: what practical beauty/fashion/makeup/skincare/LIFE tips can you offer me, a 20 year old woman, who also wants to age beautifully (Inside and Out?)

I'm 20 and I use sunscreen on a regular basis, try to smile rather than frown all the time, eat all my veggies and fruit, work on on a mildly moderate basis, take care of my skin (all natural homemade masks and scrubs over anything with stuff I can't pronounce!) and hair (down to my butt and totally healthy!)...

However, I have a few questions. Ladies who are particularly busty, how do I take care of my breasts? I have huge boobs (32 DD) and am unsure--am I supposed to be wearing a bra 24/7 because of the horrors of gravity, or am I to leave them free to grow strong? Am I to give them massages? What should I do to help minimize sagging in the future?

Also, how do YOU take care of your skin? What are your number one skin tips as you get older to maintain a glow and preserve skin health? I know about using SPF and try to drink proper amounts of water, but do you have any tried and tested tips?

Fashion/makeup/beauty-wise: What are some of your favorite classic looks/tips/etc? And how has your look grown and evolved over the years?

I'd like to hear all and any input about my question, which I know is very broad. I am happy to hear about how to maintain my physical and external beauty and how you ladies and gentlemen have done so.

But I also am rather anxious about how I look, very critical of my physical self, feeling differently about myself based on peoples' reactions to me, feeling as though if I'm not noticed I'm ugly...I feel as though this anxiety is not adding to my inner OR outer beauty, is actually taking away from it. It is taking all of my good energy and converting it into crap =/

So if anyone has any experience as to how I can alleviate this anxiety of how I look and be HAPPY in my own gracefully aging skin, I'd be happy to hear!!

Thank you so much =)
posted by rhythm_queen to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (47 answers total) 64 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Yoga. It will help your physical appearance, will keep you healthy as you age, and will also help with the mental self-critic you're wrestling with.
posted by Brittanie at 6:09 PM on September 30, 2012 [4 favorites]

Boobs: don't gain or lose a significant amount of weight and maintain upper body and core muscle tone and they'll pretty much stay the same forever. The bra 24/7 thing is a myth. Birth control might make your boobs grow which seems great, but when they shrink they might sag a bit so beware. And treat your decolletage like facial skin: good quality and regular sunscreen, exfoliating, moisturizer etc.

All bets are off if you have a kid though!
posted by fshgrl at 6:09 PM on September 30, 2012

Best answer: Push-ups or other pecs-strengthening exercises.

Go to a recommended licensed esthetician for advice on skin-care products. My skin totally turned around once I had professional advice (and I didn't think it was bad to begin with).

The anxiety starts to magically go away in your early 30s, as long as you generally take care of your mental health. It's seriously a brain development thing, where your frontal lobes finish developing fully and you feel more in control of yourself and less dependent on others.
posted by jaguar at 6:13 PM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

skin: cod liver oil. no shit. there are some fancy brands that come in flavors that completely hide the taste - i like the green pastures cinnamon flavor that is mixed with butter oil. i know it sounds utterly gross, but it comes with an oral injecter so you can squirt it into your mouth and mostly bypass tasting it. around the time i hit 30 my skin - which had always been fantastic - suddenly erupted in acne and keratosis pilaris. the cod liver oil fixed all of that really rapidly and now my skin looks better than ever. google 'cod liver oil skin'; lots of info.
posted by par court at 6:15 PM on September 30, 2012 [7 favorites]

Best answer: As you age consult a dermatologist, not the lady at the cosmetics counter. There's nothing at the cosmetics counter that a dermatologist doesn't know about. A dermatologist often has better/cheaper products, i.e. Retin-A versus Retinol. Plus, a doctors going to be on the lookout for anything suspicious.

As for boobs, yes support them unless you'd like some Cooper's Droopers. (The Cooper's ligament support the breast structure.) Get fitted for a bra by someone who knows what they're doing. Go to a real lingerie store for large busted women - not Victoria's Secret or its ilk.
posted by 26.2 at 6:16 PM on September 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

Don't worry too much about your facial expressions or wrinkle care etc. Botox at 29 though.
posted by srs airbag at 6:21 PM on September 30, 2012

Wear sunscreen and drink a ton of water!
posted by discopolo at 6:22 PM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

When out in the sun, always wear a big hat. It'll protect you from the sun AND you will look fabulous.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:23 PM on September 30, 2012

Regular dental care. Brush (Sonicare or comparable), floss, and rinse w/mouthwash. P.S. learn Spanish, wish I had at your age.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 6:25 PM on September 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Inner beauty?

Laugh daily. Forgive. Find someone to love who will love you in return. Appreciate the natural world. If it's a choice between putting on your makeup in the morning, and going outside to watch the geese fly overhead--watch the geese.
posted by BlueHorse at 6:32 PM on September 30, 2012 [11 favorites]

Don't smoke. Don't screw around with your skin too much. I have spent the last 20+ years alternately ignoring and freaking out over my skin, and ignoring it (simple gentle cleansing and moisturizing when I think about it) has always gotten me better results. I am 41 and no one - NO ONE - believes I am that old.

I subscribe to the adage that at a certain point, one may have to choose between one's face and one's ass. I have chosen my face. I recommend you consider this choice carefully.
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 6:42 PM on September 30, 2012 [7 favorites]

About bras: If you have proportionally "huge" breasts, you may be wearing the wrong bra size if you're wearing only a 32DD. Check out the informative bra post.
Short version:
1. Most women wear too large a band size. Measure yourself around the underbust and start with that number (in inches) as your band size - bras do come in smaller band sizes, so if you get a measurement like 28 don't panic.
2. Most women wear too small a cup size. Measure yourself around the fullest part of your breasts (with bra on), subtract your underbust measurement, then use this bra size chart to figure out a good starting cup measure.
3. Oddly, the cup size (letter) does not indicate a fixed volume. So a "D" cup can be pretty small on a small band size, but pretty large on a large band size. This means, among other things, that D cups can look very small/average-sized, and that on average women need larger cup sizes.
Lots more discussion in the links of the post.

About beauty habits:
Learn to cook reasonably healthy food for yourself. It's a great skill and habit to get into.
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:47 PM on September 30, 2012 [9 favorites]

Best answer: Wear good sunglasses whenever the light is making you squint even just a little bit. Sunglasses and hats will delay wrinkles around your eyes.

I wore ill-fitting bras for years (I'm a 38F); go to Nordstrom and get fitted in proper underwires (especially non-US lines like Freya and Fantasie if they fit you) and then order online from

I've given up on the facewash merrygoround; I use this olive oil soap (annoying site, sorry) and a Clarisonic, and I don't think I look 45.
posted by catlet at 6:50 PM on September 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Don't smoke.

Wear sunscreen.

Get as much sleep as is feasible.

Eat your vegetables.

Don't worry too much about all this crap.
posted by Sara C. at 6:53 PM on September 30, 2012 [6 favorites]

Best answer: About beauty and aging:

I'm going to take a different approach and suggest embracing a little of what happens. Yes, it's good to take care of yourself, but don't go too crazy about it. If you live an active, energetic life, you're just going to get a few dings and scratches and markers of age no matter what (I've got a patch of burst capillaries on my shin, but I'm pretty sure that the burst capillaries showed up around the time I did a 60-mile walkathon to fight breast cancer, and I'd rather have had that experience than having perfect legs).

Take care of yourself healthwise, but don't worry too much about physical signs of aging. They happen to everyone.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:57 PM on September 30, 2012 [7 favorites]

Moisturize your skin every night, wear sunscreen even in winter and when possible wear a hat or somehow protect your face from the sun.

If you wear make up, remove it as soon as you get home, and invest in a high quality foundation.

I also recommend taking care of your mental health by meditating, doing therapy if there are any hardcore unresolved feelings eating you, cultivating healthy hobbies and keeping good friends around.

26.2...can you give examples of a good lingerie shop?
posted by Tarumba at 7:10 PM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: - yoga
- don't fucking smoke ever oh my god
- floss like whoa
- stay away from the nasty uppers of the drug world
- get enough goddamn sleep and do not be afraid to insist upon it when others act like you're being silly
- moisturizer! especially in the winter. it doesn't need to be some $500 a jar shit either
- don't pick at your skin ever
- take care of your knees
- don't be afraid to get botox when you think you might need it
- FUCK THE HATERS except not literally because they don't deserve you
posted by elizardbits at 7:16 PM on September 30, 2012 [16 favorites]

Sleep enough. It's part of the magic skin care trio with sunscreen and hydration.

Building your pectoral muscles might help your breasts defy gravity, or not. It kind of depends on your breast shape and composition. But hey, worst case scenario, you'll have strong pectoral muscles, so you'll come out ahead.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:32 PM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

What everyone said, plus an additional TAKE CARE OF YOUR KNEES. It might not seem like a beauty tip, but good knees mean that you can exercise and not walk around looking like you're ninety. KNEES. See the dentist regularly, too.
posted by clone boulevard at 7:33 PM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Really, don't smoke. Limit time in the sun. Make sure you get good nutrition, esp. including vit. D.

On a recent trip to California, I saw a lot of obvious plastic surgery; some of it made people look kind of odd. If you ever want to pursue it, be conservative, find a great surgeon, and look at lots of examples of their work.
posted by theora55 at 7:36 PM on September 30, 2012

Best answer: Stay curious. Do things that bring you joy. Don't hang out with people who stress you out or who you don't actually like. Besides its own merits, being happy is a fantastic appearance-enhancer.
posted by momus_window at 7:49 PM on September 30, 2012 [6 favorites]

Organic, raw coconut oil. Use it on your skin, your hair, and for cooking. It really is amazing. My skin has never taken to lotions very well, but coconut oil it eats right up.
posted by Rocket26 at 8:11 PM on September 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

Best answer: When I met my husband I was in my early 20s. One night he looked at me and said "I can't wait until you're in your 30s, you're going to be a knock-out". It's funny, but having that thought implanted in my brain made me think that I was just going to get hotter as I aged, and in a way, he was right, I do look healthier and more vibrant now at 38, then I did back then. My advice would be to incorporate daily activity into your life as a way to get exercise and relax; walking, biking, yoga, and paddling have all been great for me. I also eat a healthy, whole foods diet that is high in fiber and full of vegetables. I do drink a lot of water, but I also drink coffee and beer in moderation. Actually, everything in moderation is probably a good rule of thumb. And get enough sleep! I think that makes a huge difference in terms of how your well your tissue repairs, including how your skin looks. In terms of keeping your breasts looking good, I agree that doing upper body strength training is probably a good idea- I work out at a gym in the cooler months and focus a lot of my attention on my upper body and core. I have always worn an under-wire bra, but I have no idea if that makes a difference. My grandmother had breast cancer a few years ago, and she wanted to show me the scar after her surgery. When she pulled her shirt up, I was amazed to see that at 85, her breasts still look pretty awesome. She had 5 kids and as far as I know never worked out and ate whatever she wanted, so a lot of it is probably just genetics. Overall, I think the best advice I can give is to tell you to treat your body and spirit well. Express yourself in a way that feels true to who you are, make time for fun and laughter, and look forward to seeing the future you!
posted by ezrainch at 8:16 PM on September 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

Stay out of the sun, don't smoke, drink plenty of water and eat well, and stay away from fashion magazines.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:29 PM on September 30, 2012 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Get into a recreational physical activity now that you'll still be able to do comfortably when you're 80. I am only in my early 30s, but I've already had to give up some much loved activities, and starting over from scratch can be tough. I've also seen others get seriously flabby now that they can't run/play ultimate/whatever, because it is so much harder to develop new hobbies once career and/or family take center stage. Many people above are recommending yoga, and I think this is one reason it helps you age so gracefully. The especially cool thing with yoga is that you can continue to tangibly improve as the years go by.

There are some other great options out there too though: bike touring, hiking, swimming, and dance classes are just a few.
posted by susanvance at 8:31 PM on September 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

You're already doing it, but, sunscreen. Every day. Winter, summer, cloudy, rainy, whatever. Sunscreen.

I'm gonna disagree with the Botox suggestions above. When someone's face doesn't move it really doesn't make them look better, to me. But to each her own.
posted by litlnemo at 8:57 PM on September 30, 2012

Best answer: Drink alcohol very moderately, but enjoy it when you do. If you smoke-stop. Drink water, lots of it. If you plan on having children plan on not having perky breasts. Travel as much as you can to places where they don't speak your native language, and be open to adventure. Make friends of all ages. Have many orgasms, shared or not. Wear sun block, but enjoy the sun. Know that you are important. My skincare consists of the same as my English gran who had beautiful skin her whole life. Wash with a mild soap and use a simple cream like Oil of Olay for day and night. take extra vitamin E,A and D.
When a few wrinkles come,accept them. I am more than middle aged and have never had anyone tell me my eye crinkles turn them off-in fact, the opposite. Embrace the beautiful person who is you and let others embrace you,too.
posted by Isadorady at 9:01 PM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Eye cream, every day, without fail.

Sunscreen on your face EVERY DAY, without fail.

Use less makeup each decade you get older (around your eyes, anyway). Drink little alcohol, lots of water, and have as many orgasms as possible.

Oxytocin gives you a host of health benefits, and cuddling/sex triggers oxytocin production in the human body. So, masturbate or have a lot of sex... or just skin-to-skin contact works, too.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:07 PM on September 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

And don't get botox, get bangs. If you're really self-conscious about wrinkles, try microdermabrasion first at least. I get it about 6x a year; I'm 40 and I still get carded every single time I go out to the bars.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:11 PM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've always taken the phrase "grow old gracefully" to refer entirely to attitude, and not to looks. Like, embracing gray hairs rather than dying them. With that in mind, I'd second the above suggestions that pertain to your outlook, rather than, like, moistening your skin wth lotion or drinking lots of water or other (to get opinionated) malarkey.
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 9:32 PM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Take all this advice about sunscreen to heart, but be careful with the skin on your face. It's very delicate. Be gentle taking off your makeup every day and applying sunscreen every morning. You can wind up with masses of facial wrinkles if you aren't careful. That's why the 'less is more' approach works so well in regards to healthy facial skin.
posted by toastedbeagle at 10:09 PM on September 30, 2012

My mother is in her 50s and looks fantastic. She never smoked or did drugs, barely drank, wore sunscreen every. single. day., and never really messed with her hair too much. I don't know what contributed to her good looks the most (I'm hoping it's genetics, but it was probably the sunscreen) but I will count myself as lucky if I look that good in 20 years.
posted by third word on a random page at 2:54 AM on October 1, 2012

Oh yes, what St. Alia said. Stay away from lifestyle magazines - they exist to make you feel you need to be/own/do everything that you are not, without acknowledging the awesome, unique, valuable person that you already are.

I credit AskMe for getting me off the fashion & gossip mags, even at the nail salon. It's hard to explain how much better I feel about myself after a couple of years without the glossies.
posted by catlet at 3:16 AM on October 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: At 20, enjoy how beautiful you must be right now, even if you don't think so. I've found old pictures of me in my 20s and was astounded at the fact that I was beautiful while at the time I was obsessed with my flaws and thought I was ugly. Yes, stay away from the ladies magazines, look in the mirror and see what works for you right now when you are at your youthful best.

Best thing for your skin is good heredity. How are your parents and other older relatives holding up? I have very good skin in my 60s after doing not much about it, but so did one of my grandmothers and my Dad. I would say don't use soap on your face, do use sunscreen, use a moisturizer if you need it. Vitamin E oil is good, and it is cheap. Use cosmetics that suit your coloring and lifestyle. If you smoke, quit. Drink lots of water. Have fun and stop worrying about aging, you are much too young for that to be a concern now.
posted by mermayd at 4:33 AM on October 1, 2012 [8 favorites]

Fighting and kicking against age is not graceful. Save that part for when you're old enough you can truly say you "grew old gracefully", then you can fight and kick.

Take care of your skin, but don't go too overboard too early. Wrinkle cream isn't for 20-somethings. Really. Beyond maintaining moisture and keeping away from UV, you'll be fine for 15 years or so. But never neglect.

Fashion will attempt to make you it's bitch. Resist. Easiest way to "look old" is to wear fashions intended for someone much younger. You aren't that old yet, but you will get there. There are fashions that get called things like "classic" and "timeless". You'll look perfectly acceptable, but you'll be remembered for what you did and said, rather than how you dressed. This is probably a Very Good Thing.
posted by Goofyy at 5:34 AM on October 1, 2012

In addition to yoga, start strength training and keep it up forever.

Don't forget sunscreen on your hands and chest!
posted by jgirl at 6:13 AM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm 50 and I'm frequently told that I look 30. My mother is 70 and she looks great. So for starters, start out with good genes, Eastern European ones have served me well.

I've lived in California, Arizona and Florida, I maintain my ghostly pallor. Sunscreen is a must!

Regular skin care. Morning and night, don't skimp on the moisturizers. Anything gentle will do, although you can't go wrong with Clinique.

Don't let your haircut or your makeup fossilize. Since I was young in the eighties, big hair will always look right to me. Thankfully my hair-dressers help me not look like an idiot.

Even if you get fat (or like me stay fat) don't give up on fashion. No one says you have to buy elastic waist pants and ugly floral tops. So don't. Also, realize that there is such a thing as age-appropriate. Booty shorts, even if you're still rocking a hell of a body are really, don't.

Workout. I've always worked out, I'm strong, have good bone density and when my sciatica isn't bothering me, I'm Soooooo flexible.

Eat well. Lots of veggies, water, fruit and protein. Eat with friends, laugh a lot. Have some wine occasionally.

Don't stress the small stuff. One of the best pieces of advice I ever heard was, "When you look back on your life, you'll remember what you did, not how you felt." So do fun stuff.

Travel. Travel makes you smart. Travel is fun.

Don't get into, or stay in, shitty relationships.

Children. If you're going to have kids, do it when you're young, or don't do it at all.

Cut yourself a break. As you age stuff changes. Your body changes. This isn't bad. Sometimes it's inconvenient, but you are who you are. Embrace it all, what's the alternative?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:40 AM on October 1, 2012 [3 favorites]

If your posture isn't good, improve it. There are AskMeFi answers and links all over the place with suggestions, so I won't repeat them here, but as an older woman who spends a lot of time looking at other older women, the difference between the ones who carry themselves well and those who don't is huge. Walk like the person you want to be.

And vaseline on your lips every night. You know those older women with really dry, wrinkly lips? That's the only reason I'm not one of them.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 7:18 AM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Drinking water actually won't probably have much visible effect on your skin. The idea that you have to drink eight glasses of water a day is a myth in itself. However, in general, the idea that anything you ingest is going to have a visible effect on your skin is not something you should pay attention to. You should eat good food to be healthy - of course - and your general health will be reflected in your appearance - of course - but do not fall into the trap of regarding food as a primary skin treatment or a primary cause of skin conditions. Not that it can't be... I've known people who struggled with eczema and eventually discovered - while under medical investigation - that it was set off by dairy, for example, and improved greatly. I've known other people who struggled with eczema and grabbed a bottle of aloe vera juice that a hawker told them would cure it "from within", shelling out £18 for it, which is just randomly letting yourself be ripped off; or, for example, if you gave up dairy at random without first doing a scientific literature review.

I say this because, as an acne sufferer with ADHD, there's a lot of lying going on about your conditions being an outward manifestation of impure eating habits. I am not exaggerating when I say that, if I'd listened to anyone who hectored me about pursuing medical treatment instead of innerly purifying my bowels through diet, I would have given up virtually all foods except water and raw vegetables without salt. It's just another way of trying to trick people into getting eating disorders.

Speaking of which, I recommend two books: "The Fat Fallacy" by Dr Will Clower, and "Towards Perfect Posture" by Brian Door. I have a trick for burning movements into my muscle memory, which is to repeat them 128 times - you don't have to do all 128 reps in one session, you can do as many as possible for an hour, make a note, and pick it up again the next session.

So that is how you don't slouch and how you don't get eating disorders.

Are you wearing a hat, young lady? You need a hat with at least a 2-inch brim. A fedora is nice and will get you through most everyday situations. Felt for the winter and late fall, fabric for spring and early fall, straw for post-Easter through Labor Day.
posted by tel3path at 7:47 AM on October 1, 2012 [5 favorites]

These are all good tips, but honestly, for you at age 20, the less time you spend thinking about your appearance or "aging," the better. Seriously, I mean, take care of yourself, but you have your 30's, 40's, 50's and on to experience the joys of wrinkles, gray hairs, and saggy boobs. Right now, you are still YOUNG, and growing UP, not old. LIVE your life, and enjoy your youth, instead of worrying it away!
posted by Asparagus at 7:55 AM on October 1, 2012 [6 favorites]

Don't get into, or stay in, shitty relationships.

Children. If you're going to have kids, do it when you're young, or don't do it at all.

Please note that the former is much much more critical to your well-being than the latter of these. I think that's worth noting because oftentimes women will, in pursuit of the latter, sacrifice the former. Don't do that.
posted by Asparagus at 7:59 AM on October 1, 2012 [5 favorites]

Wow, I must have missed that thing about children -- having them young is good for your energy levels, but having them older is good for your self-centeredness and relative lack of paranoia, so there's no right answer. Worry about that later, I say!!
posted by acm at 8:17 AM on October 1, 2012

Best answer: Learn or maintain good posture & core muscle strength. Take care of your back, knees, and elbows. Hopefully that will help you to avoid hunching over as you age. Take meticulous care of your teeth--floss floss floss and see the dentist regularly. Be gentle with your hair. That's not to say don't cover up gray if you want to, just don't end up with fried, overprocessed hair. Not a good look for anyone, ever. In the same vein, it seems like the older I (and other friends & family) get, a more professional (yeah, expensive) haircut makes a huge positive difference in appearance. Not sure if it's changes in hair texture, the way the hair frames your changing face, or what, but yeah. If it strains your budget, pick a very simple, low-maintenance style so you don't have to go to the salon as frequently.

Everyone is right about skincare, sunscreen and hats. Get to know your body (or have a partner help) and keep an eye out for strange moles and potential skin cancer. Hopefully catching them early will minimize scarring and other problems from having them removed.

Take care of your body as well--breast self exams, regular gynecological visits/tests, and be aware of the symptoms of heart disease, diabetes, and any other major illnesses that run in your family. Catching these things early will keep you healthier longer, hopefully, and that's beautiful. Of course, survivors of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease are beautiful, too, so if you find yourself among them, try to stay positive and surround yourself with loved ones. The good care you've taken of your body will give you an advantage for sure.

Get plenty of sleep, don't be afraid to relax and take time to slow down. Enjoy your life as it happens and try to find ways to be joyful and kind in your everyday life. Happy or optimistic people just seem more youthful somehow, and a kind spirit outshines any physical "flaws."

I am still rather young (mid 30s), so take the above with a grain of salt, but they are things that I find beautiful in older female relatives and friends, and older women in general. Hopefully that is helpful.
posted by Fui Non Sum at 9:25 AM on October 1, 2012 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I wish someone had told me to remember to use sunscreen on your decolletage/neck/breast area. I've hit my early 40's with a nice face that looks a good 10 years younger but my upper chest and hands give away my age. I am large boobed 44G and the best advice I can give about the girls is to wear a good bra that fits properly. They will drop some that is the nature of the fight against gravity and nothing will stop it completely. Good news though is you can hoist them up in a good bra and they look as good as new with clothes on. Do not skimp and for the love of god get a properly fitted, comfortable bra and look after it properly.

Walk a lot, my 72 yo old mother walks at least 2k every day(well at least until some recent health problems) and has the most amazing ass still, she got wolf whistled recently as she was striding along in her jeans and a jacket and looked so much younger from behind. That completely made her year.

Oh and she looks like she's only 60ish from the front too and has to show her pensioner card all the time. She moisturises her face religiously, nothing fancy she was an oil of olay person for years, though now has fun trying all the new stuff they are coming out with, but twice a day she cleans her face and moisturises it well. She exfolliants once a week, and gets her brows shaped and eyelashes tinted regularly as she says it makes her face look brighter.
posted by wwax at 10:37 AM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Strength training! Lift weights! This is SO important for women, especially, as they age. It's not so much about looking good as being able to carry out activities of daily living once you hit your 60's or so. You don't want to be the elderly lady so frail that she has to get help carrying her groceries. You don't want to be huffing and puffing after climbing one flight of stairs. Strength training keeps your muscles and bones strong and healthy.

If you don't like yoga, Pilates is a good alternative. I alternate weight-lifting days and Pilates or yoga days at the gym.

Having good skin and great hair is a wonderful thing, but you need health and strength first and foremost - all else is gravy.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 1:14 PM on October 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

Don't do anything permanent to your body that you may regret later ... super-skinny brows (may not grow back) or tattooed makeup, giant piercings, etc. (The other tattoos are up to you, but I know a number of middle-aged ladies who wish they no longer had them.)

What everyone else said about sunscreen, and then some! If you don't like hats, follow the Asian tradition and carry an umbrella.
posted by cyndigo at 8:45 PM on October 1, 2012

Best answer: The most critical thing you can do to maintain youthful, healthy, flexible, glowing skin is stay out of the sun. Cannot emphasise this enough. Broad brimmed hats, cover-up clothes, and if you must dip, epic quantities of high SPF waterproof sunscreen. Also: UV cut sunglasses are essential. Bonus: no skin cancer.

Take your exercise as part of your life, not as a separate activity. Walk for errands or to take the dog out. Do chores vigorously instead of paying for (and driving to!) aerobics. You get a workout, and the house gets clean. Dance like no one is watching, even when no one is watching.

Eat mindfully. Mostly plants. And not too many carbs. Pick a couple of days a week and just have one meal on each day -- the occasional semi-fast is quite healthful.

Don't make a habit of shortchanging yourself on sleep. You might miss a few parties but being well rested is essential for physical health -- and mental health, too.

Get lots of socialization, of many different degrees: lovers, friends, acquaintances and strangers. Form a strong bond with a few people and cherish their lives as you cherish yours throughout the decades.

Always be learning. When you find yourself becoming complacent or bored, change something. Keep life interesting. And talk to people about what you know, and ask people about what they know.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:12 AM on October 2, 2012 [3 favorites]

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