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As much as we know that we cannot stop the sands of time nor reverse the hands of our biological clocks, it is still admirable how we keep on searching for new ways of how to look younger at 40. Nobody wishes to look older than they really are; except if you're a teenager who wishes people would take you more seriously and also can't wait to get a driving license or live alone. If anything, it is the dream of every woman alive at this moment to age as gracefully as fine wine and remain attractive deep into their sunset years. All women wish to keep the smooth skin, voluminous hair, quick wits and attractive persona from their 20s and 30s for as long as they possibly can.
Nonetheless, turning 40 is a bit like being at a crossroad. For one, you're young enough to still want to be attractive, yet old enough to have made peace with certain aspects of your personality/appearance that you simply can't change. Most probably, at this juncture it is safe to say that you are at the peak of your career, have a bit of world experience under your belt but still stay up at night scouring for new tips to look younger at 40. And there's nothing wrong with that. Actually, Google estimates that the keywords, 'beauty tips for 40 year old women' were among the most searched phrases in North America and Western Europe in 2019. This just goes to show that you're not the only one who wants to keep looking great at 40. It's, nonetheless, quite a challenging undertaking and you will need as many anti aging tips for 40s as possible to fend off the ravages of Father Time.
In response to this, we have compiled top 10 beauty tips for women over 40 to help you go toe-to-toe with Mother Nature and, hopefully, emerge victorious. These valuable tips are sourced from leading dermatologists, top nutritionists and world-class makeup artists who are at the forefront of the ground-breaking research that has revolutionized the anti-aging industry. They were kind enough to share some of their little-known secrets to looking and feeling great even at the crest of middle age. Cheers to that! Let's dig in.
Clean your Face Properly
The 40s are, without a doubt, a facial-aging defining moment. For the first time in your life you are having to contend with fine lines and possibly crow's feet thanks to the onset of the gradual hormonal changes that usher us into the dreaded perimenopause stage. Speaking of which, experts who are well-versed in hormonal skin aging believe that these minor, but still distinct, changes in our complexion are as a result of the decline in estrogen production that starts in the fringes of our late 30s then drops sharply and precipitously in our mid 50s. This should form the crux of your anti-aging efforts if you want to look younger at 40.
You see, estrogen is responsible for the plump, supple, thick and youthful skin that we typically have in our formative years. Take that away and you'll start to notice reduced elasticity, increased dryness and more sagging which eventually culminates into wrinkles. For this reason, it is important that you have a facial cleansing routine that takes into account that you no longer have the same supportive fat and collagen level that you had back at 21. And this the following:
- You need a gentler cleanser: As established earlier, dry skin is a common and expected occurrence in middle age. As such, you need a special cleanser that does not sponge off moisture from your skin or leaves you dehydrated afterwards. Instead, you need one that infuses water droplets into your epidermis even as you scrub it to get rid of grime and dirt. This will not only help maintain the plumpness and suppleness of your face but will also fortify the epidermis against the characteristic dryness that plagues us at 40 and beyond.
- You need a neutral pH Cleanser: Your cleanser should be ideally neutral in alkalinity or acidity. The last thing that you want is to wash your face repeatedly each morning with a highly acidic soap that progressively damages your epidermis and leaves your skin vulnerable to infection and irritation. Besides, cleansers with neutral pH make it easier for your body homeostatic processes to maintain an optimum acidity/alkalinity skin balance.
- You need a toner after using the cleanser: Toners were developed to help restore the ideal alkalinity-acidity balance in the skin moments after using potentially harsh cleansing agents. And let's face it, it is not easy coming across a mild cleanser that works as well as the harsher ones in getting rid of gunk and grease from our skin pores. So in the event that you are forced to use a high-pH cleanser, be sure to use a toner afterwards to undo some of the damage that it may leave behind.
- You need a cleanser that is tailored specifically for you: According to dermatologists, the biggest mistake that many women who are searching for ways of how to stay young-looking after 40 make is failing to match their skin type with the appropriate cleanser. Those who have naturally dry skin, for instance, should go for hydrating washes. At the same time, if you tend to have oily skin, then a foaming wash would serve you better than anything else as it is designed to get rid of excessive surface oil without necessarily making your face dry.
- Choose a cleanser that can stimulate cell regeneration and turnover: Now that you have made it your mission to fight fine lines and wrinkles, then it would go without saying that you need a cleanser packed with AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) to trigger cell regeneration and improve the overall elasticity of your skin. It also helps prime your face to absorb anti-aging serums better.
As you can see, it is not just enough to wash your face regularly to keep wrinkles at bay. You also have to learn how to do it properly, and with the right ingredients.
Keep your Skin Moisturized
Moisturization is the foundation on which all successful anti-aging efforts are built. If done right, it is usually very effective in addressing the tell-tale signs that characterize the average woman's skin at 40 such as age spots, dull skin, wrinkles or crow's feet. Remember that the skin on your face has been your first line of defence against allergens, pollutants, microorganisms, radiation plus all manner of irritants for the past four decades or so. Thus, it is only obvious that at this juncture, all that hard work of shielding you from environmental aggressors has taken a toll on its collagen and hydration stores. And this is where a good moisturizer comes into play.
For starters, a well-formulated moisturizer softens your skin. This is very important if you are to minimize the conspicuousness of any wrinkles or fine lines that are starting to crop up and ruin your otherwise alluring looks. And considering that the average 40 year old woman's wrinkles are hardly invisible, you will want to introduce a hydrating serum that plumps up your skin just enough to lessen the perception of such little things that give away your age.
Secondly, the massaging and gentle rubbing action that we typically use to apply a hydrating serum is believed to promote a positive cell turnover and trigger the regeneration of new skin cells. And if done regularly enough, it can also influence the production of elastin and collagen, both of which are necessary if you want to regain and hang on to your youthful looks. Besides, bear in mind that it is easier for wrinkles to form on a skin that is perpetually dry than one that is constantly nourished and moisturized.
Thirdly, a well-formulated moisturizer is tailored to balance your skin's moisture profile. In simpler language, a good moisturizer like this water gel cream from Maryann's is designed in such a way that, after use, your skin is neither excessively oily or dry. Speaking of which, getting your epidermis to stay in that sweet spot is integral if you are looking for ways of how to get youthful skin at 40.
Lastly, some of the best moisturizers for women after 40 take into account the fact that mature skin has a lower cell regeneration rate than that of younger guns. As such, the manufacturer behind these hydrating serums will infuse a number of special ingredients to keep your skin well-nourished enough to keep your dwindling collagen stores from deteriorating further with age.
Still on hydration and moisturization at 40, it would also help a lot if you could get into the habit of drinking at least 8 glasses or 2 gallons of water a day. Apart from flushing out accumulated toxins that could be countributing to the dullness of your skin, it is an excellent way of infusing water droplets from inside out.
Put on Eye Cream
Truth be told, employing a superlative eye cream in your beauty routine is the holy grail of anti-aging and looking decades younger than your peers. You see, the skin around your peepers is one of the most fragile areas that is susceptible to a slew of environmental aggressors. It also does not help matters that it is naturally more prone to dryness and flakiness that plagues most women after 40. Besides, the area under your eye tends to show fatigue and age more prominently than other parts of your face. In fact, if there's a dead giveaway that can betray your age faster than you can recite your horoscope, then it is your under eye area.
What's more, years of squinting and rapid eye movement means that you probably have a few wrinkles and fine lines around this area by the time you are deep into your 40s. Decades of sun exposure and lack of enough sleep, on the other hand, imply that a majority of women also tend to have dark circles and puffy eyes at this stage of their lives. That's why it is important to invest in an anti-aging eye cream at 40 that can address and correct some of these things.
Speaking of aging gracefully, here are some of the key reasons a quality eye cream should feature in your daily grooming routine now that you are closer to 50 than 30.
- Tackles wrinkles and fine lines: It's a well-established fact that collagen production tends to tank progressively in our 30s and beyond. For those who are not aware, this is the protein that is responsible for your skin's elasticity. The area around the eyes is often among the first regions to show these deteriorating collagen levels through the characteristic folds and fine lines that are giving you that dreaded middle-age and mature look. Fortunately, you can correct this by applying a good eye cream such as this one from Maryann's stable that is designed to infuse retinol, vitamin C and collagen peptides to restore the lost youthful plumpness.
- Addresses dark circles and sunken eyes: We are all too familiar with the frustrating dark circles that showed up sometime after our 35th birthday and refused to go away. These stubborn dark circles are often the culmination of sun damage, blood build-up and using the wrong skincare products for a lengthy period. Again, a good eye cream should be able to take care of that by infusing a few skin brightening/lightening ingredients and thicken up the skin to conceal that gaunty and sunken eye look that is not doing your complexion any favors. Actually, it is easy to look good at 40 by simply getting rid of these displeasing circles.
- Minimizes puffiness and under eye swelling: Another common pet peeve for being blessed enough to reach your 40s is the puffiness and annoying under eye cream that makes it so easy for someone to guess your age. It's typically just the build up of fluid and blood that a cold under eye serum (preferably refrigerated before use) should be able to take care of with comparative ease.
As you can see, it is virtually impossible to nail the specifics of how to look younger at 40 naturally without a reliable under eye cream in your anti-aging arsenal.
Rub the Sunscreen
Research shows that sunscreen is not just great for shielding your precious skin against the damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun thereby preventing sunburns and the onset of skin cancer. It also packs some crucial anti-aging properties that help slow down the loss of your collagen stores. There's even a study that illustrates how women in their 40s and 50s who use sunscreen regularly appeared to age 24% less conspicuously than those that wore it intermittently.
When you consider that the sun is the planet's biggest source of harmful UVA rays, it is easy to see why unfiltered sun exposure accelerates aging.
- First, UVA rays are notorious for depleting collagen; the same collagen that is responsible for keeping your skin youthful, firm and smooth. And by not wearing sunscreen every time you go out in the sun, you're giving these UVA rays an unfettered access to your valuable collagen stores which aggravates any other environmental damage that your skin has suffered so far. You can forget the dream of looking younger at 40 if you continue forgetting to lather up on that sunscreen daily.
- Secondly, exposure to UVA rays can dilate and expand your blood capillaries to give that characteristic reddened skin tone that is synonymous with spending too much time in the sun. And, of course, this does not augur well with your skin's future attractiveness.
- Thirdly, not wearing a good sunscreen often predisposes your skin to forming a brown pigment which looks even more pronounced whenever you are out in the sun. Have you wondered why most elderly women have a specific blotchy looking tinge in their skin? Now you know.
- Lastly, you must know that UVA and UVB rays are strong enough to penetrate the innermost layers of the skin and wreak havoc on the underlying supportive infrastructure which keeps your face wrinkle-free.
Simply put, it's impossible to master the basics of how to look great at 40 if sunscreen is not part and parcel of the equation. Besides, dermatologists will always insist that you use sunscreen in conjunction with other anti-aging retinol-based creams such as this one by Maryann to suppress wrinkles even further. Apparently, retinol makes your skin super sensitive to sunlight and, if sunscreen is not used, you could undo all the good work done by vitamin A the moment you step out into the sun.
Try Unique Hairstyles For Forty Somethings that Accentuates your Youthfulness
Outside of expensive and invasive plastic surgery (which we honestly wouldn't recommend), the other next best way to look younger at 40 is sporting a flattering hairstyle. A new haircut has the unmatched potential of opening up your face to accentuate the highlights of your face that make you look youthful. It could be the bold brows, full lips or high cheekbones, it does not matter. For this, you may want to book the services of an experienced stylist to advise you on the best hairstyle that fits your hair texture and face shape instead of experimenting on your own.
Having said, there are a number of haircuts and stylistic approaches that are guaranteed to shed off some years from your persona to keep you looking great at 40. They are;
- Long layers: A good way of highlighting your youth is layering your hair such that it pools more at the bottom than around the face. This releases the literal and visual weight of the hair from your face and gives your shoulders a little more volume.
- Slightly curly bob: It's a practical alternative to long layers especially if you (for any reason) can't sport chin-length hair. A curly bob is also a good way of camouflaging drooping features by drawing one's eyes away from your facial imperfections.
- Asymmetrical bangs: The bangs are a great way of drawing eyes away from the fine lines and semi-wrinkles that may have started to form, especially if you happen to have a naturally high forehead. It's also a good way of emphasizing your cheekbones if you have ever felt that they were your strongest suit.
- Wavy long hair: When done properly, loose waves can make you look years younger than you really are particularly if you have naturally curly or wavy hair. Unlike straight hair, the curls in wavy hair can be set in a reminiscence of your younger days thereby shedding off a couple of decades from your overall look. Besides, they are a perfect definition of healthiness and lustre when nourished in just the right amount of shine.
Makeup Tips For Women Over 40
Besides hydration, the other fountain of youth that you can drink from and turn back the hands of time momentarily is learning how to apply makeup correctly. Here's a collection of make up tips for women over 40 gathered from leading beauticians and cosmetologists.
i. Workout your Undertones Correctly
It helps if you can work out the right foundation shade that can gel in correctly with your skin's undertone. It's actually one of the makeup tips to make you look younger that is overlooked by a majority of women. Knowing your undertone - whether it's neutral, warm or cool - makes choosing the subsequent complexion products i.e the concealer and foundation a walk in the park. A good way of working out your undertone is observing how your skin reacts naturally to the sun. If you are one of those who tan easily then it's safe to say that you have warm undertones. On the other hand, if you tend to burn rather than tan in the sun, then you definitely have cool undertones.
ii. Prep your Skin Before Makeup
The key to younger-looking make up in your 40s is hydrating your skin sufficiently prior to starting the application process. It gives your skin that elusive plump and youth look even before you pick up a makeup brush. Additionally, it also gives the makeup that you'll apply afterward a staying power to last the whole day.
Speaking of preparation, the best way of doing it is combining the potency of a good primer, a reliable eye cream and a deep-hydrating moisturizer. Nonetheless, as much as this stage is important, it's still crucial not to overdo it lest you risk ruining your whole look.
iii. Work with Colors that Compliment and Add to Your Natural Colouring
Knowing your undertones is one thing; but you still have to match them with your natural coloring to compliment your hair color and improve your overall look. For example, you'll look better and younger in yellows, reds, gold and warm-toned browns if you have warm undertones. In similar tandem, icy blues, pinks, purples and silver should work better for you if cool undertones are your thing. Actually, this is one of the most important things to take into consideration if you're using makeup to look younger.
iv. Go Easy of the Foundation
Applying just the right amount of foundation is the game changer that can make the difference between looking flawless and awkwardly out of place. And learning how to whip up an effective base within a short turnaround is one of the most underrated makeup techniques to look younger that most women are yet to master. Speaking of mastery, an easy way of doing it is by starting your application smack in the middle of your face and working progressively outwards to get that natural-looking finish by blending it with your skin's hues.
v. The Simply the Eye Makeup the Better the Result
Since the goal here is how to make yourself look younger with makeup and not to look like an freshly-out-of-highschool emo teen, then you may want to avoid strong hard lines that draw unnecessary attention to your eyes. Makeup experts often recommend just a whiff of cream or liquid eyeshadow to conceal any dark circles or puffy eyes rather bright-looking colors which may not augur well the rest of the makeup.
vi. Condition your Lashes and Fill your Lips
By 40, it's quite possible that your lashes or brows wouldn't be as thick and luscious as they were back when you were 23. Hence, you may want to invest in a lashes conditioning treatment to hydrate and strengthen them as well as correct the thinning and brittle-looking brow. It's also a good way of subtly drawing attention to your eyes without weighing them down unnecessarily.
Similarly, use a neutral-toned lip liner before going for the lipstick to create an illusion of fuller lips without them looking ridiculously overdrawn. This is a critical part of the art of how to look younger makeup now that you may have thinning and less glossy lips.
Always be Hydrated
Water is so important to your anti-aging efforts that it may be accurate to say that you can't hack agelessness without involving plenty of water in your plans. What more, dehydrated skin has been shown to develop wrinkles and fine lines faster than well-hydrated and plump skin, which is what you want to avoid if you are interested in how to look ageless. This becomes even more important when you throw in the simple fact that as we naturally dry up the more years we clock alive. The average water content in a 43-year-old woman, for instance, is approximately 55% compared to the 65% of a 21-year-old girl.
Apart from lending a hand to your antiaging efforts, water plays the following vital roles as far as hanging on to youthfulness goes;
- It relieves fatigue which , as a result, allows one to adopt and keep up with a rigorous training schedule. Bear in mind that regular exercise is also one of the key cornerstones of an effective anti-aging routine.
- Hydration is important for maintaining proper joint health and function. You need your joints to be well-primed and lubricated if you're to keep up with the same energy levels from your 20s and 30s.
- Water is a known detoxifier that flushes out toxins that could be impeding your anti-aging efforts.
- Numbing hunger pangs by drinking plenty of water is a good way to control the amount of food we eat everyday which could accelerate our weight loss efforts. It's also easier to stay within a given weight bracket this way.
- Water is the ultimate humectant that is guaranteed to keep your skin plump, wrinkle-free and smooth with zero side effects whatsoever.
Arguably, the best thing about hydration as an anti-aging strategy is that water is readily available, plentiful and almost free.
Collagen, for those who may not be familiar with the term, is the protein that forms the natural infrastructure that keeps your skin taut, elastic and smooth. While the body is quite capable of synthesizing its own collagen peptide molecules, the ability to replenish used up collagen stores gradually wanes with age. In fact, starting from our mid 20s going forwards your body is usually inept at producing this peptide with as much comparative ease just a decade earlier.
Dermatologists often attribute this loss to the progressive inability of the body to extract collagen from the diet. Which, of course, leaves it with no other choice but to extract it from the collagen stores underneath our skin. The end result of this vicious cycle is the wrinkles and fine lines that populate our faces at 40 which, interestingly, were not present back in our early 20s.
Fortunately, advances in nutritional science have made it incredibly easy for us to replenish our lost peptides and, at the very least, slow down the onset of unsightly wrinkles and other middle-age giveaways. If anything, this is actually the crux of how to look and feel younger than even your peers who are pushing late 30s. Here's a quick rundown on that.
- Take Collagen Supplements: Unlike two decades ago, there are now plenty of affordable, absorbable and well-formulated collagen capsules that one can pop to reload their collagen granaries. A good example are these Biotin and Collagen pills from Wellabs that are also blended with keratin for maximum anti-aging effect.
- Use a collagen-fortified cream: Collagen is surprisingly also perfectly absorbable through the epidermis, especially if you often use a mild cleanser and an exfoliant regularly. Which, as a result, means that you can impart this valuable elastin-supporting peptide through the skin. Nonetheless, it is important to work with only proven creams, such as this collagen-bound cream by Maryann Organics, to avoid wrecking further havoc to your precious skin.
- Eat a diet rich in collagen: As a complementary gesture to your anti-aging efforts, you may want to incorporate foods that are incredibly rich in collagen to your eating routine. And this includes the likes of chicken, fish, egg whites, berries, galic, red and yellow pepper, beans, avocados and herbs that are rich in collagen such as gynostemma and horsetail.
But taking collagen is not enough if you want to look great at 40. You still have to give some foods that can be potentially damaging to the little collagen you have left, a wide berth. Staying away from refined sugar, for instance, has proven to be extremely valuable in holding off Father Time, as is steering clear of simple carbohydrates, sodas, alcohol and fruit juices. In short, if something has added artificial sugar, then it is not great for your skin after 40. The same goes for junk food, pastries and greasy appetizers. Stay away from them unapologetically.
Get as Much Sleep as You Can
It must be great news to know that you can literally sleep yourself to a younger-looking complexion. Though it may seem strange, we are all familiar with this kind of damage that poor sleep leaves behind:
- Swollen and puffy-looking eyes
- Darker circles around the peepers
- Palerm, flaky and chapped-looking skin
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Droopy eyelids and hanging corners near the mouth
As if that is not enough, poor sleep impacts your youthfulness further thanks to the grumpy and defeatist attitude that follows several nights of insufficient rest. And this is definitely what you need if you want to look younger as a 40-year-old woman.
To be fair, the benefits of the proverbial 8-hours-a-night slumber transcends just looking good in front a mirror, because:
- Sleep is the only time some critical parts of your brain get the chance to reboot and recharge themselves. This kind of natural rejuvenation is necessary if you are to keep secreting valuable hormones that are associated with youthfulness such as oestrogen.
- The skin repairs itself primarily only when you are deep asleep. And, as expected, the longer and restful the slumber, the better the repair job will be.
- Rehydration and replenishment of lost collagen stores also occurs when we are in the dreamland. So, you're obviously doing yourself a huge disservice if you are not getting between 7 to 9 hours of sleep at least 6 out of 7 days a week.
The best thing about better sleep is that the anti-aging results don't take too long to show. One of the major shifts that you are likely to witness include:
- Fewer and less distinct wrinkles: Since your collagen stores are now being regularly replaced, then it automatically translates to less sagging of the skin.
- Less puffy and brighter eyes: The extra hydration and toxins flush that occurs at night means that you will be carrying less puffy eyes and dark circles around the next day.
- A glowing and youthful complexion: Snoozing is like an invitation to the body to boost blood flow to all parts of the skin (especially the face). Now you know the reason your face looks ashen, drab and lifeless after a night of little sleep.
- Fuller and healthier hair: Breakage, hair loss or even damage can be precipitated by lack of sufficient sleep. The genesis of this can be traced back to the observation of blood flow being better during shut-eye than when we are wide awake. And this is the same flow that delivers vitamins, nutrients and minerals to the hair follicles.
Smile. Smile. Smile
If you are looking for a cheap way of how to look 10 years younger at 40, then you need not look any further than a long belly laugh, preferably in the company of good friends. Anti-aging experts believe that being happy, cheerful and optimistic is the ultimate magic pill behind aging gracefully and being forever young at heart. Smiling and being constantly upbeat implies that you have finally found a way of not taking matters too seriously; which also means that you're less likely to be depressed or flustered. And nothing makes you age faster than chronic anxiety, worry and sadness.
What's even better, a happy personality is ordinarily perceived to be more friendly and approachable by others, which makes socialization and forming lasting bonds easier and less of an uphill task. Most importantly, finding a reason to be grateful and joyous everyday opens the floodgates of endorphins and dopamine (aka happy hormone) that translates to a better immunity and less likelihood of suffering debilitating illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimers.
And on a lighter note, a happy, jolly and smiley face will obviously have less furrowed lines than one that is constantly frowning, downcast and depressed. So smile your way to youthfulness!
Overall, the secret to looking young at 40 starts by accepting that you're now a well-seasoned, more-rounded and refined woman who is entirely different from your less-experienced and bright-eyed 20-something self. That also means that you have to tailor all aspects of your lifestyle bearing in mind that your body may no longer be able to handle some of the unhealthy habits that you could have gotten away with back at 25. So sleep longer, eat healthier and laugh more.