Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Project Beauty - How To Make The Most Of Your Looks

I recently wrote about dealing with getting older and re-adjusting how I think of myself as a woman "of a certain age".  I'm 42 so I'm currently no longer the hot chick but I don't believe I have yet reached the "mature woman" either - it's like I'm stuck somewhere in-between.  Although I have been blessed with good genes, aging is inevitable so I must say that I have started to notice some changes in my appearance (hey, that didn't used to look like that! or "when did that happen?").  I don't know about you, but I have absolutely no interest in any kind of invasive procedures or cosmetic surgery - I plan to age gracefully, but not without a fight.  So what else can we do to make the most of our looks and still feel beautiful?

Here is what I have come up with as my general list...

1.  Get a good haircut and colour.  Find a cut that suits your face, not to mention a colour that enhances your skin tone (especially when you have gray to hide like me).  I think we're past the age of doing anything too crazy (like blue streaks or a punky cut) - then we appear to just be "holding on" and look ridiculous.  Something classy but still with the right amount of "edge".  There's nothing like that feeling you have when you've just had your hair done and walk out of the salon.  It's hard not to feel beautiful.  (For an added bonus, do your nails/get a manicure!)

Find your best style - check out some celebirty haircuts.  Or try out a style.

2.  Take care of your skin.  There are certain skin care products you simply can't do without, and some that you can.  You must have a good moisturizer.  I also think one corrective serum should be at the top of the list - depending upon your biggest skin concern.  Don't go for an expensive cleanser.  As long as it's gentle and can remove make-up, it will do the trick (after all, it washes off).  Everyone's skin is different, so experiment and ask for samples until you find those that work best for you.  Places like Sephora and most drug stores always have samples for you to try.  Last but not least, don't leave home without the sun screen.  Sun is the single worst thing to make your skin look old (and combine that with smoking and you have the two worst things - a double whammy).  Try a moisturizer that has a built in SPF - great for everyday, but not if you are outdoors for any extended period of time.  Trust me on this stuff... I worked for a pharmaceutical skin care line for 6 years.

Some of my favorite picks:

3.  The extension of taking care of your skin - choose the right makeup to enhance your features.  I've actually started wearing less makeup as I've gotten older.  I find that the natural look is much fresher and younger than a fully made up face.  To get that look, I choose a tinted moisturizer (with an SPF 20) that I combine with a light liquid foundation which evens out my skin tone.  This is my biggest concern so I want to cover but NOT look like I'm wearing a mask of foundation.  I then brighten my cheeks with a little powder blush and use a good mascara.  Lastly, my can't do without product... I use a tinted eyebrow gel to shape and highlight my brows.  There are tons of great makeup lines out there.  Mineral makeup is big because it is healthier for your skin (it can breath) and there are also lines with anti-aging and moisturizing qualities.

My favorites:
4.  Your wardrobe.  I think if you watch any makeover show (especially What Not To Wear) this is the focus of the show - hair and makeup just finish off the look.  I think the biggest mistake we make as women is attempting to hide the features we don't like, rather than accentuate the ones we do.  Now I'm no stylist (remember, I'm in marketing), but I do know that when you try to hide under you clothes, you ain't fooling nobody!  It's much better to play up what you do have and be proud.  You know when you feel good in an outfit - it can change your whole demeanour.  Having a confident composure is your best accessory.  People are attracted to those who feel like they own the room - and guess what, if you don't feel that way now, fake it!  Nobody will know and eventually you'll feel it too.    

 5.  Smile.  There is nothing more attractive than a happy person.  A true smile can light up your face.  If you have to practice, then do it!  Take some time during the day to find something to smile about, laugh with friends, read or watch something funny... it's good for you.

I think one of the hardest things to do as a woman is to love ourselves.  I do, however, feel that it gets easier as we get older.  I care less now about what people think of me than I did when I was younger.  It's like the pressure has been taken off - there's no competition anymore (not that there ever was, except maybe in my own head).  I also feel we are kinder to each other as we get older - because we all know, women are other women's harshest critics.  I think we often get dressed more for other women than for men!   So we need to start feeling beautiful, and then take the time to make the most of our looks.

P.S. Here are pictures of me with and without makeup... which do you like better?

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