Getting older can bring about a lot of physical changes – new wrinkles, sagging skin, age spots. Sometimes it happens slowly and other times all at once, leaving you to look in the mirror and ask, “Who is that face?” In Hollywood, it can seem like the entire city was dipped in a Fountain of Youth. Stories about facelifts, Botox, and laser corrective surgery may make all the headlines, but many senior stars have far more accessible secrets to continue looking young and beautiful. Take a peek into their arsenal for your own chance at turning back time.
Starting at the top, hair is never neglected. Hair is one of the first things noticed by the public and it is rare celebrities disappoint, regardless of age. Whether to go natural gray or dye, however, is very up in the air. Eight-time Grammy winner Emmylou Harris told People magazine keeping her prematurely natural gray hair was “the best thing I ever did.” Cindy Crawford disagrees, contributing her youthful glow to her luscious, healthy locks.
Any color too dark can look unnatural and mature a face. Soft colors, such as blondes or ash browns, can brighten and soften your face and provide a healthy glow. Indeed, many celebrities have chosen these colors on the red carpet. Suzanne Sommers continues to be a blonde bombshell despite being well into her late 60s.
For men, reconsider facial hair. Celebrity makeup artist Ramy Gafni cautions against it, saying it’s very rare to look younger with a beard or mustache – unless your name happens to be Sean Connery. “It’ll almost always make you look more mature.” Take a look at the next release and notice how many seniors are sporting clean shaven faces. Mega celebrities Daniel Day Lewis and George Clooney both keep clean shaven and save the beards for roles.
Here is where the magic happens. As the old adage says, put your best face forward. Skin care is arguably the biggest contribution to that youthful glow. As we age, the protein collagen in our faces declines, resulting in a loss of firmness and elasticity. Restoring the collagen provides the most significant boost in turning back the clock and there are plenty of tricks to do it without surgical intervention.
Celebrity makeup artist Carmindy has the secret to a five minute instant facelift using nothing but highlighter. Dab and blend highlighter beneath your eyebrows, at the tops of your cheekbones, and on the inside corners of your eyes. These three locations create an overall effect of a total lift, leaving you looking fresh and youthful.
Sally Field has notoriously smooth skin thanks not only to a regime of moisturizers, but also by avoiding the sun. Celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas believes this is what has kept her ageless. “Sally’s skin has maintained elasticity despite her years, and the only way to do that is to avoid harmful environmental factors that lead to damage.”
85 year old Emmanuelle Riva attests to the lack of sun for her own smooth skin. Stylists say her lack of sun damage is attributed to frequent sunscreen use, as well as a daily moisturizer with hyaluronic acid, aquaxyl, and cermides to keep soft. Jackie Weaver, 66, swears by vitamin E. She uses a water-based cream in the morning and an oil-based moisturizer and multi-vitamin skin serum at night.
Experts recommend using a moisturizer with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. These sun-blocking properties provide full UVA/UVB protection. It’s never too late to start looking after your skin.
In an interview with AARP magazine, Billy Crystal let slip his greatest “beauty secret”: sharing his life with someone he loves, stress elimination, and continued exercise. “I do workouts to stay fluid – you don’t want to let stuff tighten up.”
Helen Mirren, who has famously said she will not diet for Hollywood, keeps her sleek physique by utilizing an exercise program created in the 1950s for Canada’s Royal Air Force pilots. It is a 12 minute routine that can be done in your own home with excellent results. Check out fit450.com for more information.
America’s Sweetheart, Betty White, attributes her spunk to staying busy and exercising with her golden retriever.
Stress is widely known as a silent killer. Exercise releases endorphins to combat stress and elevate serotonin levels for a happier, healthier you. Perhaps the best beauty secret of all is a killer smile.
Betty White doesn’t just thank her dog for keeping her feeling young – she keeps incredibly busy. “I think it’s terribly important to look forward to another day,” she told veterinarian Steve Dale. “A new day to be excited about.” She is also an avid crossword solver, saying it keeps her mind sharp enough to still memorize lines at her age. Billy Crystal says his grandchildren help keep his mind and body agile.
There is a large number of senior celebrities who dedicate their time to causes they passionately believe in. Betty White has worked with the Morris Animal Foundation for 40 years. Audrey Hepburn and Katherine Hepburn were both active in many charities, such as UNICEF, into their later years.
Remaining mentally stimulated and physically active is perhaps the most crucial step in looking – and feeling – younger than the calendar. A recent study in 2013 showed keeping mentally engaged can prevent Dementia and Alzheimers. They found the results were evident in both those who have been life time learners and those who kept active in reading and puzzle solving later in life.
Researchers recommend starting small, with a daily walk, and gradually adding other small changes. Activities to keep your brain active include continued learning, crossword puzzles, attending lectures or plays, gardening, and playing games.
You don’t need a plastic surgeon on speed dial or a celebrity makeup artist on call to look as young as you feel. Join a book club. Dye your hair – or don’t. Shave your beard – or don’t. Find a worthy cause to dedicate yourself to. Most importantly, find ways to feel good and look forward to each new day.