Your old grooming habits are about to die hard: While you can’t stop Father Time, you can stop his signs of aging (including hair loss.) If you want to look younger longer, take these tips to heart. We can’t promise you’ll live forever, but rest assured you’ll be the talk of the nursing home in 50 years.
Invest in serum
The word “serum” is most often associated with youthfulness and truthfulness. Well, here’s the truth on serum as it pertains to your face: It’s the secret ingredient to your anti-aging regimen. Serums are so light that they seep into all three layers of your skin, whereas moisturizers are intentionally heavier and only rest on the outermost layer. (Think of serums as your offense, and moisturizers as your defense.) In turn, the best serums will restore elasticity to your face by boosting collagen production and smoothing any signs of aging, like dark spots, wrinkles, and fine lines. These potions come at a cost, though; most serums are upwards of $50, at least.
Take cold showers, followed by a body lotion
Ever wonder why Pharrell Williams (born in 1973) still looks like he’s in his 20s? He claims it’s cold water; apparently supermodel Naomi Campbell passed along the secret that cold water tightens the pores. Translation: It gives you firmer, healthier skin. So, as comforting as that hot shower feels, try turning down the temp and cleansing your face and body with a cool lather. (Though you should still use hot water to shave.)
Since hot water can dry out the skin, you’ll be preserving moisture all over your dermis. If you chase the shower with a highly concentrated body lotion (especially in the dry winter), you’ll never have to worry about looking like a reptile.
Wear SPF, always
You can file this next to “Drink 8 glasses of water a day”: It’s something you know is important, yet you still neglect doing it. However, those UV rays are one of the main culprits of dark spots and wrinkles (not to mention worse things, like melanoma). You should put a light SPF on every day before you leave the house; find a moisturizer that offers broad-spectrum protection (meaning it blocks both UVA and UVB rays). This will protect your face, neck, and arms from sun damage (even in winter) while simultaneously hydrating the skin.
Apply moisturizer, always always
With or without SPF, moisturizer is probably the single most important step in your anti-aging routine. It’s like a multi-vitamin for your skin; applied twice daily (morning and night), it keeps your face nourished and hydrated while also protecting it from harmful pollutants. You’re playing a long game, though. It will not give you the brightness of a serum—which itself should be used to supplement a moisturizer, not in place of one—but it will have you looking 40 at 60. Moisturizer is the real secret to “aging gracefully”. Find one with SPF if you can, and consider a highly concentrated night cream for your nighttime application. (Get one with alpha hydroxy acid, AHA, to dissolve dead skin cells.)
Speaking of dead skin cells… they’re dead weight. Lose ‘em! You need to buff your skin once or twice weekly, to scrub away the skin cells that block pores and strain the skin. Pick up a body scrub or an exfoliating bar soap to do your body good, and find a gentle exfoliating cleanser for your mug. But heed our advice: Just do it once every few days, or once a week. Your skin cells don’t turn over quickly enough to justify frequent scrubs; if you overdo it (or if you scrub too hard), you’ll risk redness and irritation, causing more damage than good.
Go easy on shampoo, heavy on conditioner
Ask any guy you know who has “great, youthful hair” and his secret is probably that he probably shampoos less than you, but conditions more often. While it’s important to cleanse your face twice daily, it’s important to shampoo your hair twice weekly, at most. Unlike your face, which has active skin cells, your hair is only active at the roots. Thus, if you overwash the dead stuff—the actual hair itself—you risk drying it out beyond repair. The solution is to condition frequently: Do it after each shampoo, to refuel each strand with nutrients and hydration. Then, use it between washes as well; conditioner still helps remove excess oil, product, and grime.
Prevent hair loss with the right products
Don’t gamble on some libido-compromising pill. If you want to preserve your hairline (or your hair’s density), find a shampoo that battles DHT (a byproduct of tesosterone that could mess with hair growth) while stimulating hair follicles and boosting circulation in the scalp. Since we’re not advocates of shampooing frequently, balance this with a complementary energizing serum to combat DHT and sebum production as well as alopecia.
Give your eyes some extra attention
The skin under your eyes is thinner and more sensitive than the rest of your face. Signs of aging are especially prominent here: puffiness, wrinkles, and dark circles have you looking like a tired raccoon animorph. To counter, gently apply eye balm each morning to the skin underneath and around your eyes—tapping it on with your ring finger—and then employ an overnight serum to do the regenerative work while you sleep. Oh, and wear sunglasses.
All dermos agree: Use retinol
The best aging reversal (and anti-aging) product is retinol. Retinols reduce acne, heal scarring, shrink pores, smoothen wrinkles, dissolve dead skin cells, and balance the oil in your skin. You can get a high dose with a prescription, but they’re expensive unless your insurance can cover. Luckily, however, some over-the-counter creams come with smaller doses. Use them overnight in place of a night cream. Apply it to the face, ears, and neck, then wash it away in the morning. You may notice some redness and peeling at the start, but this will subside within the first week or two. After continued use—sometimes as long as six months—you should notice an almost miraculous difference in your complexion. But beware—retinols make your skin hyper sensitive to the sun. Keep that SPF handy.