Sunday 16 December 2018

The over-60s beauty bible

In our series on positive ageing, Tanya Sweeney asks the experts for their top tips on how to keep a youthful glow as you get older

Uptown girl: Model Christie Brinkley still looks amazing at 64. Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty
Uptown girl: Model Christie Brinkley still looks amazing at 64. Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

It was Audrey Hepburn who said that "the beauty of a woman with passing years only grows", but both gravity and science remind us that while this may be true, beauty can often do with a helping hand after a certain age.

Yet we only need look at Christie Brinkley to know that turning 60 isn't what it used to be. If you've ever wondered how some women manage to keep their youthful glow, here are a few rules to live by:

Do 'face yoga'

Apparently, Meghan Markle, while still only in her 30s, is a massive fan of the daily face and neck exercise regime. Certain exercises can work the hypodermis (lower layer), the dermis (middle layer) and epidermis (upper layer) of the skin to allow for better blood and oxygen flow towards skin cells. Some techniques even stimulate collagen and elastin production. YouTube is replete with video tutorials.

Eat your way to healthy skin

Irrespective of age, Orla Walsh of the Dublin Nutrition Centre recommends that all women drink lots of water. "Get your weight in kilos and multiply it by 30 and again by 30 to give yourself a range of how much water you should be having," she explains. "Most women need 2-2 ½ litres." Anti-oxidants are also hugely important in the fight against ageing free radicals in the environment, while Vitamins A, C and E are important for skin health. Walsh also suggests women up their Omega-3 intake; one of which, ALA, is found in flax seeds.

Use SPF

"The best advice I give my clients is to use an SPF all year round in skincare and beauty products. It's the best prevention for our skin," says Elena Costello, of Brown Thomas's Beauty Style Team. "Lots of beauty brands like Estee Lauder and bareMinerals have recently updated formulas to now protect against blue light (digital device damage) that is having a harmful effect on our skin.

"NARS Sheer Glow Foundation is a universal foundation that's amazing for all clients regardless of age. It's fortified with skin food ingredients like turmeric for redness and Vitamin C & E."

Reassess your skincare regime and look for more potent products

Meghan Markle supposedly does face yoga. Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty
Meghan Markle supposedly does face yoga. Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty

It's probably high time you take a look at your established skincare products and keep an eye out for products with active ingredients like peptides and hyaluronic acid. "Clients often come in and are concerned about a particular area - the most common being lines or wrinkles and a lack of firmness or elasticity in the skin," explains Costello.

"We can typically treat these areas with potent skincare formulas in creams and serums that are clinically proven to drive results - La Prairie Skin Caviar Liquid Lift Serum and Dior's Capture Youth Lift Sculptor Age-Delay Lifting Serum are two of my go-to products for this."

Reshape your brows

A strong HD brow may look great on millennials, but older women will often find that a brow pencil shade a little lighter than natural hair colour is softer and much more flattering.

Time to go short?

By 60, many women just aren't ready for the short hair chop yet, but a mid-length style, cut in accordance with condition and colour, could take years off. Most women think that going blonde is the next logical step in the fight against grey, but for many Irish skin tones, a harsh blonde will only wash you out. Instead, maintain a natural base colour, and ask your hairstylist to add texture and depth with rich colour.

Try an alternative to Botox

"The plastic look of Botox and fillers leaves most women expressionless with waxy looking skin" says Neelu White, who has been specialising in non-intervention skincare for older women from her Liffey Street salon. Instead, White recommends the RF Collagen Wave Treatment, a non-invasive aesthetic device that plumps up skin to minimise wrinkles, gives face, neck and décolletage skin strength and elasticity, and reduces subcutaneous fat in the double chin and neck. In short, it restores the fresh, sharper and youthful appearance of the skin."

Combat dryness

Heavy foundation can look and feel drying on more mature skin. "Sebum (natural oil) production is decreasing yearly," explains White. "This is when you start to see significant changes in the deeper facial structure.

You will have some collagen and even bone loss, which translates into looser skin and decreased volume - especially in the mid and lower sections of the face. Decreased oil production also means that skin is more sensitive to changes in climate or season."

Adds Jennifer Rock, author of The Skin Nerd: "A facial oil that contains nourishing oils full of omegas and vitamins such as rosehip oil, jojoba oil and avocado oil could be added in to your night-time routine on top of your usual serums."

Try Stress relief

Take up yoga, meditation or another form of effective, daily stress relief. "As we age, our bodies become less efficient at fighting the stress hormones that age us prematurely," says White.

"If you stress a 20-year-old and a 50-year-old, the younger woman's cortisol level returns to normal more quickly than that of the older woman." In other words, the cumulative effects of daily living, gravity and UV damage could be offset by a regular dose of relaxation in a quiet room.

Get a good night's sleep

"When we sleep, our cells rebuild and repair themselves, as the growth hormone functions only at night," notes White. "If we don't sleep enough, this function is impaired. If you sleep badly, you are likely to be stressed and this can cause capillaries to tighten up, affecting the flow of nutrients to the skin. So no matter how good your products and treatments are, if you are a night owl, you will not get 100pc benefit from other products and treatments."

Tomorrow: The best hobbies for older people

Irish Independent

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