By Jennifer Goldstein
Once upon a time, there were beauty rules you were supposed to follow when you hit a certain age. But, like perms and frosted lipstick, those guidelines no longer apply. To find the freshest antiaging tricks, Health polled 140 experts for their best advice.
Sure, we heard fundamental tips like "Wear sunscreen!" again and again, but we also picked up some unexpected strategies. Read on for nine great ones that will help you look amazing.
Warm up your hair color
"Ashy tones are your biggest enemy as you get older," says George Papanikolas, a colorist who works with actress Rachel McAdams. "Women tend to add pale highlights and go blonder to camouflage gray, but they end up looking washed out and older."
If you don't need to hide gray, try a few warm highlights around your face. "Blondes should go more golden; brunettes should try warm, caramel tones," colorist Robert Ramos says. For more gray coverage, use a permanent dye in a warm color one or two shades lighter than your natural pregray shade.
Health.com: How to brighten up your blah hair color
Avoid the mom cut
"Age shouldn't influence hair length," notes Mark Townsend, a Matrix celebrity stylist and Reese Witherspoon's go-to hair guy. So no need to go short at a certain age. In fact, the mom cut-ear-length, overly layered (think Hillary Clinton or Suze Orman)-adds years, according to the stylists we polled.
"Don't get stuck in no-man's land. Hair that's an awkward length without a discernible style is very unflattering," says Ryan Cotton, a stylist at New York City's Serge Normant at John Frieda Salon. He suggests an easy-to-style cropped cut (Halle Berry), a bob that's at least chin-length (Katie Holmes), or longer hair with layers (Julianne Moore).
Go for face framing
"Styling your hair back off your face can make you look 10 years older," Cotton says. If you have short hair, style it so it frames your face. For longer hair, bangs are the way to go, according to San Diego salon owner Jet Rhys. "They hide signs of aging and instantly give you a youthful appearance," she says, citing Goldie Hawn as an example of someone who knows the antiaging power of fringe.
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Skin & body strategies
Add back the glow
The real trick to a youthful complexion is exfoliation. "As you age, cell turnover slows, and removing the top layer of dead skin cells reveals the younger-looking skin beneath," explains Jeannette Graf, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.
Makeup artist Carol Shaw sees other postexfoliation benefits-"It lessens the look of lines and helps makeup glide on smoothly," she says.
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Keep your hands young
"Your hands can reveal your age even when your face doesn't," says Spirit Demerson, an organic-beauty expert. Keep them gorgeous with a cream that contains sunscreen and ingredients to improve texture.
Surprisingly, the skin on your hands isn't the only age giveaway. Several experts noted that certain nail looks can add years. For the freshest manicure, file nails to a short, softly rounded shape and paint on a pale-pink polish. Also, avoid frosts and superlong nails, which can be aging, Demerson says.
Go to the pros
Dermatologists have a ton of ways to take off the years-and many are less expensive and less invasive than you might think. For example, "Prescription-strength retinoids are proven to boost collagen production and diminish wrinkles," according to Beverly Hills dermatologist Ilya Reyter, MD.
Health.com: 7 ways you're aging your skin
And studies have shown that retinoids can also help fade the spots that appear as you get older. Best of all? A prescription often costs less than creams that simply cover or conceal fine lines.
Use a light touch
"Many women assume they need more makeup as they get older, but the less you put on the better you look," says Poppy King, creator of Lipstick Queen. Adds makeup artist Petra Strand, "I'd ban heavy base on anyone older than 25." Try a tinted moisturizer instead.
Embrace creamy textures
"Stay away from too much powder-it can accentuate wrinkles," says Olivia Chantecaille, creative director of the Chantecaille beauty line. Cream eye shadow and blush formulas are "more flattering on mature skin," according to makeup artist Jemma Kidd.
"Stop wearing browns; they're doing nothing for you," makeup artist Michael Marcus says. "A pop of color takes years off," adds Sara Strand, of Pop Beauty, who suggests pink for cheeks and lavender or olive-gold for eyes.
Health.com: Find the best natural colors for your complexion
Bonus: Look great all over
Women older than 30 do go sleeveless-and look darn good. (See Michelle Obama for proof.) To make sure your skin looks as great as your triceps, swap your regular body lotion for one with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), which gently exfoliate to reveal smoother skin.