Whether you're in your 30s or your 70s, we've all had days when we look and feel tired, haggard, or upset. As a plastic surgeon, I can attest to the fact that medical treatments do work. But Botox and facelifts are not for everyone, and many people prefer simpler, less invasive approaches.
Here are a few ways you can perk up your look without ever setting foot in a plastic surgeon's office:
1. Give some love to your eyebrows.
The eyebrows frame the eyes and serve as a visual centerpiece of the face. Well-proportioned brows can help a face achieve aesthetic harmony. For a woman, classically attractive, youthful eyebrows share some important features: they are positioned slightly above the brow bone, they are a bit thicker than you might think, and they're arched above the lateral third of the eye.
For a man, the ideal brows sit lower, right on the brow bone, and they have only the slightest hint of an arch. Consider growing in or thickening your eyebrows with a brow pencil. Take a close look at where they arch, and make sure that point is above the lateral third of the eye. Also keep in mind that the ideal color of an eyebrow is about half a shade darker than the hair.
2. Hair: hold the highlights.
Highlights are fun in your twenties, but as you age, they can make hair appear more brittle and dry. The most youthful hair looks for women in their thirties and beyond are generally even, lustrous shades that complement your skin tone. Using an oil-based serum can smooth the hair shaft and keep hair looking silky. Of course, much about your hair depends on your personal style, genetics, and coloring, but many women find that wearing their hair slightly longer and darker helps maintain a fresher look.
3. Be vigilant about sunscreen.
There are literally thousands of sunscreens on the market, and even for the savviest shoppers, making the right choice can be overwhelming. Plastic surgeons believe that the best sunscreens contain both zinc and titanium — metal pigments that physically block UVA and UVB rays from damaging your skin. I wear SPF 50, which blocks 98% of the sun's rays from hitting your skin, every day, rain or shine, and I recommend that my patients do the same. There is no need to splurge on expensive department store brands — just carefully check the labels at the drug store.
4. Choose skincare products wisely.
I'm a big fan of skin care products with retinols, which increase the rate of cell turnover and improve the skin's texture. Many over-the-counter products contain retinols, but higher strength retinols require a prescription. If you decide to use a retinol to improve your skin, remember that they are not safe for pregnant or lactating women. They also make your skin extra-sensitive to the sun, so you should always wear sunscreen.
5. Remember your mom's advice.
Some of the best ways to keep a youthful glow are the tried and true long-term ones that our parents have been telling us about since we were kids: getting enough sleep, drinking plenty of water, and eating a balanced diet rich in leafy green vegetables. It turns out that Mom was right, and these strategies are excellent long-term ones.