Tried and true beauty tips to keep your skin looking young and fresh.
1. Beauty Math
Women getting a face-lift speak of wanting to "turn back the clock." But how many years does the surgery actually erase? An average of 7.2, reports a team of plastic surgeons from the University of Toronto. Medical students estimated patients' ages based on before-and-after photos of 60 women and men, ages 45 to 72. For a face- and neck-lift with blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery), the guesses peeled 7.5 years off the patients' ages. Adding a brow lift erased 8.4 years, while skipping the eyes dropped the payoff to 5.7 years. "We hope to give people a more realistic idea of what they can expect," says lead author Nitin Chauhan, M.D. And for those who don't want surgery, Dr. Chauhan notes that use of products containing medically active ingredients such as retinoic acid, growth factors, or peptides, along with a healthy diet, exercise, and sun protection, can also shave off years.
2. Powerhouse Primer
These fine-line disguisers help make foundation go on more easily - and last. But some are tacky and paste-like. Not Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Foundation Primer ($42, sephora.com); it feels great - even on dry, more mature skin.
3. High-Tech Eye Lift
Forty minutes to firmer, smoother undereye skin. That's the bold claim the new WrinkleMD ($129, universitymedical.com) eye treatment makes for its space-age system: Hyaluronic acid-infused gel patches are applied under the eyes and connected to "pods" that deliver a micro-current designed to help the moisturizer penetrate the skin. To test it, GHRI scientists used the lab's Visia equipment to photograph 21 women, age 35 and over, both before and immediately after a 40-minute treatment. The verdict: The photos showed some reduction in the appearance of undereye lines and wrinkles in all but one volunteer. Not all testers noticed a difference, however: Only 38% definitely saw fewer lines and an increase in firmness. But most liked the accompanying undereye moisturizer and serum, which they believed softened and smoothed their skin. "My skin felt silkier after using them," said one. Bottom line? While GHRI continues researching WrinkleMD's long-term effects, we think it's a good pick-me-up before a special event.
Related: The Best Anti-Aging Skin Products
4. Body-Skin Savers
For bargain anti-aging benefits from neck to toe, try Boots No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Body Serum ($20, target.com) with wrinkle-fighting pro-retinol A; Olay Total Effects Body Lotion ($7, ulta.com) with niacin, the same active ingredient found in Olay's face products; or St. Ives Naturally Smooth Body Lotion ($5.50, drugstore.com) - its blend of gently exfoliating alpha hydroxy fruit acids softens rough patches.
5. Brush and Brighten?
Get whiter teeth in as little as one week - just by brushing. So claims Colgate Optic White ($4.59, drugstore.com), a new whitening toothpaste with 1% hydrogen peroxide - the same active ingredient in whitening strips, but at a lower concentration. (Other pastes rely on silica, which simply scrubs off surface stains.)
How We Tested: Twenty women, ages 35 and up, replaced their regular toothpaste with the Colgate for one week and then evaluated its ability to whiten, its flavor, and more. In the lab, GHRI scientists examined the shade of volunteers' teeth before and after the week. Another 20 women underwent the same testing using the leading whitening toothpaste.
The Results: The Colgate lightened two testers' teeth by one shade; there was no change for those who brushed with the other paste. Though few Colgate users noticed any whitening, and some disliked the "very chalky" taste, two-thirds of the group said they would continue to use it. "I really loved it and will probably go buy more once it's gone!" reported one.
Our Bottom Line: For dramatic at-home whitening, use strips; consider this toothpaste to maintain brightening.
6. Sunscreen for All Seasons
Don't be fooled by the dreary weather - UVA rays, responsible for signs of skin aging, come through even on cloudy winter days. But sunscreens with UVA filters can help, researchers report in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. "These filters protect skin from direct UV damage, thereby inhibiting the formation of free radicals, rogue molecules that contribute to skin's aging," says lead author Steven Q. Wang, M.D. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen, and wear it daily. No matter the season, it really does help skin stay youthful.
Related: The Best Dress for Your Body
7. A Bright Swipe
Bright lipstick can take years off your look when it's from the new Poppy King for Boots No7 "Magic of Lipstick" Collection ($10 each, target.com). The line's seven shades - from a nude to a rich blackberry - are universally wearable, thanks to sheer, buildable coverage and a hydrating formula that's ideal for mature women
8. 60-Second Fix to Knock Out Wrinkles
No magic lotion will totally erase lines - trust us, we've looked. Still, for times when a quick fix is required, we asked dermatologist Audrey Kunin, M.D., to weigh in on the temporary skin-smoothing powers of these three ingredients:
GABA: Often called "faux-tox," it prevents the release of chemicals that cause facial muscles to tighten, leading to wrinkle formation. GABA is your best bet for masking furrows, like crow's feet or frown lines, for anywhere from four to 24 hours. Try Dr. Brandt Crease release with GABA & 3-D Lift ($75, sephora.com).
Silicone: Common in makeup and skin care, it instantly evens out skin's surface, filling in crevices and wrinkles. Give it a go with Covergirl Smoothers All Day Hydrating Makeup ($8.50, drugstore.com).
•Mica: Any type of depression in the skin creates a shadow, which accentuates the look of a wrinkle. Mica, a mineral, deflects light, eliminating shadows and minimizing the look of lines. Find it in Mary Kay TimeWise Luminous-Wear Liquid Foundation ($20, marykay.com).
9. Banish Red Hands
They're a dead giveaway of age. A speedy concealment strategy to try before a luncheon, party, or photo: Apply a green-tinted primer to counteract redness, suggests makeup artist Emily Kate Warren. Our pick: Make Up For Ever HD Microperfecting Primer #1 Green ($34, sephora.com). Go ahead, take off the gloves!
10. Write Off Aging
Build a look-younger arsenal with these brow, lip, and eyeliner pencils:
Sormé Treatment Cosmetics Waterproof Eyebrow Pencil ($11, sorme.com for retail locations). Its slight shimmer enhances brows' natural glossiness. And it creates soft highlights, making brows appear fuller when hit by light.
Make Up For Ever Lip Line Perfector ($18, sephora.com). This clear anti-feathering tool works with any lip shade and any color of lipstick.
Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Eyeliner Trio ($11, drugstore.com). These soft-tipped liners won't tug at delicate eye skin, and each one comes with a sharpener built into its cap so you can keep your lines crisp and well-defined.
11. Helping Hands
Give them 24-hour protection: Rodan + Fields Anti-Age Brightening Hand Treatment smooths skin with hyaluronic acid, day or night, and a swipe of its Anti-Age Age shield hand Balm SPF 30 on the backs of your hands prevents sun damage - and keeps palms from getting greasy ($32 and $43, rodanandfields.com).
12. Anti-Aging x3?
Imagine a product that could minimize wrinkles, reduce spots, and boost firmness...now imagine that it's a reality! Such a product does exist, it's called Avon Anew Genics Treatment Cream ($38, avon.com), and it promises this triple play against aging. Its patented ingredients claim to stimulate a "youth" gene that's been found to be especially active in a long-living community in Italy. But does it deliver?
How We Tested: Women age 35 and over used the night cream for eight weeks. At the start and finish of the test, our scientists used high-tech lab equipment to examine testers' skin for wrinkles, age spots, firmness, and moisturization.
The Results: In the lab, the majority of testers had an increase in skin firming, and a few had improvements in age spots. However, none showed any reduction in wrinkles. Lab tests proved the cream to be a decent moisturizer, and most testers confirmed that their skin felt firmer and softer. "My sister-in-law told me my skin looks amazing," reported one tester.
Bottom Line: Best used for skin-firming and softening.
13. The Best Neck Creams
Worried about wrinkles, uneven skin tone, or sagging? Read on for our top-tested picks
For fine lines and dry skin: Beauty bargains L'Oréal Paris age Perfect Hydra-Nutrition Golden Balm Face, Neck & Chest ($16, drugstore.com) and Olay Total Effects Night Firming Cream (pictured; $16, drugstore.com) aced lab tests for moisturization, and testers raved that the products reduced their fine lines. "It felt substantial and seemed to keep my skin moist for a long time," said one tester about the Olay.
For uneven skin tone: Panelists chose Lancôme Rénergie Lift Volumetry Neck ($90, macys.com) for improving skin tone and for its lightweight hydration. "This was non-greasy, absorbed well, and smelled wonderful," said a volunteer tester.
For sagging skin:Guerlain Orchidée Impériale Neck and Décolleté Cream ($365, nordstrom.com) scored highest in the lab for lifting; testers preferred it for firming and gave this "silky" cream top marks for reducing fine lines. "I really thought this worked better than what I previously used," one tester commented.
Related: 5 Ways to Fake an Eye Lift
14. A Look-Younger Pill
Talk about beauty from within: In a recent German study, women who took the pine bark supplement Pycnogenol (25 milligrams, three times a day) enjoyed a more glowing complexion after 12 weeks. Most strikingly, the supplement boosted the women's levels of an enzyme that generates hyaluronic acid (HA) by a whopping 44%; HA, a gel-like substance, is the primary agent in keeping skin firm and dewy. "No other natural product has been shown to stimulate HA production," says study leader Jean Krutmann, M.D. Pycnogenol's success, the researchers believe, is due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powers. And while the study was small (20 women), and there was no control group, the researchers noted that Pycnogenol also boosted elasticity and smoothness and reduced wrinkles slightly.
15. Bedtime Booster
Soothe skin overnight with Nuance Salma Hayek Intense Hydration Overnight Rejuvenator ($20, cvs.com), an extra-moisturizing combo of honey, royal jelly, and blue agave that's especially welcome after a day in the sun. Even better than its silky texture? Its lavender scent - to help you unwind before you hit the sheets.
16. What's Really In Your Skin Cream
More anti-aging beauty treatments are disclosing the percentage of active ingredients like retinol and alpha hydroxy acids on labels. But does a high number mean fine lines will fade faster? Maybe not, say dermatologists Jeannette Graf, M.D., of Great Neck, NY, and Jeanine Downie, M.D., of Montclair, NJ. Here, their smart-shopping tips.
Check the fine print. Retinol, retinaldehyde, retinyl palmitate, provitamin A...they're all wrinkle-fighting vitamin A derivatives, but "the first two are more effective," says Dr. Downie.
Try SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.5 and SkinCeuticals Retinol 1.0 ($54 and $59, respectively, skinceuticals.com).
If your skin is sensitive, a lotion with a weaker form may be less irritating, such as Neutrogena Healthy Skin Firming Cream SPF 15 ($11, drugstore.com) with retinyl palmitate.
Know your AHAs. One of the most popular alpha hydroxy acids, or AHAs, glycolic acid is an exfoliating powerhouse, instantly brightening dull skin. "A higher percentage means more exfoliation; most over-the-counter products have between 5% and 10%," says Dr. Graf. A gentler option is lactic acid, glycolic acid's cousin, as it's also a moisturizer. Because it's usually not irritating, the concentration typically isn't listed.
Try Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Acid 10% Moisturizer ($45, sephora.com) to boost skin's radiance.
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