It’s been said that age is just a number, but each new number seems to come with its own set of skin and hair “arghs” that affect our appearance and confidence. The good news? Simply knowing what to expect with every birthday can help you uncover the best beauty hacks by age.
Here, we collected the “agers” that are most common in your 40s, 50s, 60s, and beyond. Then, we carefully selected spa-inspired remedies and affordable products that reverse them, so you’ll look and feel your best no matter the number!
If You’re In Your 40s: 3 Beauty Hacks for Skin and Hair
Typically, with the onset of perimenopause, this is the decade when hormones begin to rapidly swing and fluctuate, says Miami dermatologist Anna Chacon, MD. All of these internal transitions can slow the activity of fibroblasts (cells that produce collagen and elastin), causing loss of skin elasticity as well as shifting skin tone and texture and shortened hair-growth cycles.
Here are three beauty hacks that may slow down that process.
For Laugh Lines
“A decline in skin-firming collagen and elastin turns dynamic wrinkles around the mouth — ones that appear when you’re smiling but go away after you stop — into static ones,” says Dr. Chacon.
To smooth them, try a rice water “toner.” The grain’s antioxidant inositol stimulates fibroblasts to produce more collagen and elastin, diminishing the appearance of lines.
To do: Soak 1 ⁄2 cup of uncooked rice in 2 cups of water for 30 minutes. Strain the water into a jar. Dip a cotton pad in the water and sweep onto the face, and let it absorb. Rinse if desired. Repeat twice a day for results in a month.
No time to DIY? Swipe on a rice water toner, like Tony Moly Wonder Rice Smoothing Toner (Buy from Soko Glam, $23).
For Thinning Hair
Nearly 40 percent of women see some degree of thinning by the time they turn 40. But a strategic combo of rosemary oil and Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo (Buy from Amazon, $11.19) can reverse it.
Ketoconazole in Nizoral kills the scalp fungi that cause follicle-damaging inflammation and hair loss, while rosemary oil’s rosmarinic acid increases circulation to the scalp, spurring new growth. In fact, the mix has been shown to thicken hair by 35 percent and thwart shedding by 17 percent in three months.
To do: Add 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary and 2 cups of olive oil to a slow cooker. Cook on high for two hours with the lid off. Let cool 30 minutes, strain oil into a bowl, and discard the leaves. Next, mix 10 drops of the oil into a dollop of the shampoo. Rub on the scalp for two minutes and rinse. Use three times a week to see a difference within 30 days.
No time to DIY? Mix the shampoo with a pre-made rosemary oil, like Weleda Condition & Shine Hair Oil (Buy from iHerb, $17.36).
For Age Spots
After years of sun exposure and a shift in hormones that activate melanocytes (the cells that produce skin’s pigment), dark spots and freckles can become prominent and plentiful. The fix? A turmeric and yogurt spot treatment.
The spice’s curcumin inhibits the activity of melanocytes to fade spots, while its vitamin C content brightens skin, says aesthetician Ildi Pekar. And yogurt’s lactic acid dissolves dead, discolored skin cells to boost the skin-lightening benefits.
To do: Mix 1 teaspoon of turmeric and 1/2 a tablespoon of plain yogurt. Dab onto spots, then rinse after 15 minutes. Repeat three times a week to see more even-toned skin within four weeks.
No time to DIY? Dot on a turmeric spot treatment, like cocokind Turmeric Tonic (Buy from cocokind, $13).
If You’re in Your 50s: 3 Beauty Tips for Skin and Eyes
“This is the time period when most women enter menopause,” says Dr. Chacon. “Estrogen levels begin to drop significantly, leading to a rise in testosterone and a slowdown of the thyroid gland, both affecting the formation of healthy skin cells.”
To the rescue: Test out these three beauty hacks.
For a Dry, Dull Complexion
As skin cells turn over at a slower rate, dry cells are left to sit on skin’s surface for longer periods of time, resulting in a lackluster and ashy complexion. But a scrub made with papaya (its alpha hydroxy acids gently dissolve dead cells), sugar (its granules exfoliate skin) and olive oil (its squalane hydrates) will instantly restore skin’s youthful glow.
To do: Mix 1 tablespoon of mashed papaya, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and 1⁄2 tablespoon.of olive oil. Massage onto a damp face for one minute, then rinse. Use twice a week to see results within two weeks.
No time to DIY? Polish skin with a papaya and sugar face scrub, like Tree Hut Brightening Pineapple & Papaya Face Scrub (Buy from Ulta, $9.99). We also love this luxurious Papaya Facial Mask (Buy from Facial Lounge, $76).
For Ruddy, Rashy Skin
Whether from rosacea, skin sensitivity or hot flashes — all more common once we hit our 50s — our complexion can easily become red and irritated. The simple and soothing solution: a facial mist made with gotu kola (an herb in the parsley family, aka cica) and witch hazel.
The herb’s saponins ease inflammation and fortify skin’s barrier to keep flareups at bay, says Dr. Chacon. And witch hazel’s tannins shrink swollen capillaries to reduce redness.
To do: In a spray bottle, combine 1⁄2 cup of water, 1⁄2 cup of witch hazel, and 8 drops of gotu kola extract — like Nature’s Answer Gotu Kola Extract (Buy from iHerb, $10.49). Mist onto the face twice a day for flare-up-free skin in three weeks.
No time to DIY? Spritz on a cica spray, like Dr. Jart+ Tiger Grass Calming Mist (Buy from Dr. Jart+, $23).
For Dark Under-Eye Circles
The reason for pesky under-eye shadows? A slowdown in circulation that allows blood to pool and show through the already-thin skin under our eyes.
What can help? A coffee compress. “The brew’s caffeine improves blood flow to move stagnant fluids, and its antioxidants help brighten skin,” says New York City dermatologist Marina Peredo, MD.
Bonus: Diuretic caffeine flushes fluids and cuts down on any inflammation and puffiness that can make the dark circles more prominent.
To do: Soak two cotton pads in a bowl filled with brewed, cooled coffee. Wring out excess and place on top of closed eyelids for five minutes, then remove and rinse skin. Use three times a week for results in two weeks.
No time to DIY? Apply a coffee eye mask, like MasqueBAR Coffee Hydro Gel Eye Patches (Buy from MasqueBAR, $3.99).
If You’re 60 or Older: 3 Beauty Hacks for Hair and Skin
In these postmenopausal years, estrogen, collagen, and elastin levels are at an all-time low and gravity has made its mark, says Chacon. “Skin becomes thinner, less taut and more droopy, and hair turns coarser and less pigmented,” she adds.
To help you with these changes as you continue to get older, check out these beauty hacks.
For Wiry Grays
The older we get, the less hair-hydrating natural oil our scalp produces, making already-dry, gray strands feel even coarser. To the rescue: a coconut milk and honey hair mask.
Coconut milk’s fatty acids penetrate into hair to restore moisture and soften strands, while its vitamin E seals hair’s cuticle for added shine. And humectant honey further conditions tresses so they’re soft and shiny.
To do: Combine 1⁄2 cup of coconut milk and 2 tablespoons of honey. Apply all over damp hair, let sit 15 minutes, then rinse. Repeat weekly to prolong the results.
No time to DIY? Coat your hair with a coconut milk hair mask, like Herbal Essences Coconut Milk & Aloe Sulfate-Free Hair Mask (Buy from Amazon, $11.19).
For a Double Chin
A combination of weakened neck muscles and lax skin creates a sagging effect that gives the illusion of a double chin — no matter how thin you may be, says Chacon. To firm the area, try a serum made of wheat germ oil and aloe.
The oil’s vitamin A and antioxidants restore elasticity to skin, while its phytosterols (plant molecules) increase elastin production so skin looks and feels tauter. And emollient aloe hydrates so the area looks suppler.
To do: Mix 2 teaspoons of wheat germ oil — like Now Foods Wheat Germ Oil (Buy from iHerb, $11.28) and 1⁄2 tablespoon of aloe vera gel. Rub a nickel-size amount on skin along the jawline and down the neck, then let absorb. Use twice a day for results in four weeks.
No time to DIY? Slather the area with a wheat germ oil mask, like The Body Shop Vitamin E Sink-in Moisture Mask (Buy from Amazon, $23).
For Deep Forehead Furrows
The dramatic drop of skin-firming collagen and elastin levels in our 60s leaves us with etched-in lines across the forehead, which can be made even more obvious as dead skin cells continue to pile up on skin’s surface.
One easy way to conceal these wrinkles is to snip in bangs, but if fringe isn’t for you, try a peel made of brown sugar, egg whites and lemon juice.
“The sugar’s glycolic acid whisks away dead, dry cells so skin looks instantly smoother,” says New York City dermatologist Michele Green, MD.
It also draws moisture into skin to plump it and “fill in” creases. And amino acid–rich egg whites tighten skin, while the vitamin C in lemon juice spurs collagen and elastin synthesis so the complexion remains firm, smooth and youthful.
To do: Mix 1 and 1 ⁄2 tablespoons of brown sugar, 1 egg white, and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice. Apply to dry skin on the face, then rinse after five minutes. Use once a week for line-free skin in four weeks.
No time to DIY? Use a glycolic acid peel, like No7 Laboratories Resurfacing Peel 15% Glycolic Acid (Buy from Amazon, $16.99).
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This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.