10 simple secrets to a younger-looking you

10 simple secrets to a younger-looking you

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Some people look much younger than their years. Here's how to be one of them.

We'd all like to look younger. But do you ever feel that panicked jolt when you realize that you're getting older with every passing second? Darn! See? I just got older typing that sentence! I know I don't want to waste any of my precious time trying to fight against... well, time. Check out these essential, economical and time-wise ways we can bring back some of that youthful spark.

Smile and laugh.

Giving up grins and giggles just because you don't want smile lines around your lips and eyes? Big mistake! It's not the lines that give away your age so much as your attitude. A joyous, full-bellied laugh can lighten and lift your spirits, slashing stress hormones and giving your insides a soothing, relaxing massage. And an authentic, toothy smile can instantly brighten and lift your face. Shy about the shade of your smile? Try an easy at-home whitening product for a quick boost of bright.

Open your eyes.

Let the world see your baby blues, or browns, or greens! Shore up errant eyebrows without over-plucking, aiming for a medium arch that frames a bit past the width of your eye. Perfect conditions for plucking? Use flat, angled-tip tweezers in an amply lit spot after you've just finished a shower so your pores are more open and willing. And if you're going to drop any dough on a youth-seeking product, go for a specially formulated eye cream. That delicate skin beneath our eyes soaks up water from regular lotions and gives us that balloon-eyed look that adds years to our faces.

Get your beauty sleep the right way.

Bedtime stress, late dinners and midnight wake-ups can all interrupt the flow of a healthy night's sleep. And when you're deprived of a deep doze, your skin will show it. Make sleep a non-negotiable part of your beauty routine. Get your 6 to 8 hours per night and wake to clearer skin and less under-eye puffiness (not to mention sexy bed-head hair!) For optimal beauty rest, sleep on your back with your head elevated to keep fluid from pooling around your eyes.

Focus on your forgotten spots.

You see your face in the mirror all of the time, but you get rarer glimpses of a certain spots on your body that are age giveaways - your hands and feet, neck and chest, and backs of your arms. Exfoliate and moisturize these oft-neglected spots. To spoil your hands and feet at bedtime, slather on lotion and slide your hands and feet into thin socks or gloves to seal in the moisture.

Do a bang-up job.

Forget the fringe of your childhood. Bangs done the right way can flatter your face's shape and features and snip years off your appearance. Whether wispy and side-swept or blunt and bold, bangs can hide crinkly forehead wrinkles and call attention to your sparkling eyes. Adding a frame to your face could also make your face look fuller and more youthful.

Eat like a grown-up.

That effortless, flawlessly radiant skin you had as a kid? You won't get it as an adult by eating off the kids' menu. To get young-looking skin, eat like an adult. Divide your plate between unrefined whole grains, lean proteins and antioxidant-filled fruits and vegetables. Make sure that a quarter of your day's calories come from the good unsaturated kinds abundant in olive and canola oil, avocado, flaxseed, nuts and fish.

Water well.

Hot water can strip your skin of a protective layer of oils and leave you high and dry. So turn down the heat on your steamy shower habit and instead take brief, cooler soaks. For beneficial steam, switch on a humidifier during those dry, cold nights of winter. Adding moisture to the air may give your skin that youthful, dewy look come morning. Also, even when you're not thirsty, your skin might be! Drink plenty of water to help to keep your skin looking plump without looking puffy.

Shield your skin.

When you were a girl, the sun was like a friend - warm, inviting and so much fun! Do you remember worrying about sunscreen as a kid? Yeah, me neither. To avoid the aging effects of sun damage, apply a light, moisturizing daily sunscreen with a minimum SPF 15. And know that sun-shielding headgear needn't be dowdy and aging - don a classy straw fedora or a floppy, large-brimmed sun hat paired with a fashion-forward patterned scarf.

Play and have fun.

Exercise boosts your circulation and saves your skin from the ravages of stress - but do you get as much as you should? When did fitness become such a chore and a bore? Remember how good it felt as a kid when you'd run like the wind and zip around the playground? You'd come home flushed and sweaty, happy and blissfully exhausted. Rediscover the fun of getting physical. Get a buddy for your next booty-busting gym trip. Crank up a motivating workout playlist while you're on the treadmill, sing along (even if it's just in your head) and pump your fists. Let your inner wild thing out to play!

Sit up straight.

I used to pout when my grandma would tell me to stop slouching. Grandma, you were so right. Stand in front of the mirror and ponder your posture: Are your shoulders scrunched up around your ears or slumped forward? Does your head hang low or do you jut your chin forward? Aside from the aches and pains it causes, poor posture can really age you. Take a deep breath, roll your shoulders and let them slide down your back. Tilt your chin down just slightly and lift your breast bone. Now look in the mirror. Doesn't it look like you've lost years - and pounds?

Source(s)- © McNeil Consumer Healthcare, division of Johnson & Johnson Inc. 2008