There is nothing more controversial within our crowd than what is and what is not acceptable in the realm of age-related physical maintenance. There are the extremes of do-nothing devil-may-care and full-on Donatella Versace. I go for a middle route, what Tom Ford would call “best in class.” That means, not trying to look 40 but just aiming for the best I can look at my age and keeping my goals modest.
I worked as a photographer for a number of years. Part of that job was the careful study of people’s faces. There are a few things I’ve noticed that seem to work well for everyone.
Here are my suggestions for looking sharp:
- A good haircut. In my personal case, because I am a man, this is rather cheap and simple. For ladies, it is understandably more involved. When thinking about this, color and style are whatever you feel suits you best. Locate a person who does it really well. Keep up with visits at a regular schedule to align the maintenance schedule with your chosen style. If you are going all natural a la Kiki Smith, maybe it’s every 3 months. If you are all about a smart urban polished look, maybe it’s more like every month. The important thing is to keep whatever your chosen look is on track. Yes, this is work, and it is an expense, so choose your look according to what you think you can maintain.
- Acceptably nice teeth. If you have been putting off dental work, maybe consider now a good time to take care of it. This also means keeping them reasonably white. I don’t advocate the LA-perfect blinding-arctic-white-veneer look — some diversity of dentition is interesting. Basic whitening strips ($20) combined with regular cleaning goes a long way. I see my dentist 2 times per year for cleanings, doing the whitening strips maybe every month or so. If I know I have a talk or TV appearance coming up, I’ll do the strips the night before.
- Even skin tone. My feeling is, way before thinking about injecting stuff into your face and lips, get your skin tone even. At about age 50, I started having my trusted dermatologist Dr. Adam Geyer freeze my spot keratosis (brown spots) with liquid nitrogen. This requires a very high skill level and he is the only person I allow to do it. Because: failure = permanent scarring. So beware. For me, it didn’t break the bank, and was highly effective for yearly touch ups. Now about every 3 years I have a round of BBL Laser. It stings, but it works well. The recovery is only about 6 days, the first couple days of which you probably don’t want to be seen. The cost is around $500.
- Posture. If you are only going to do one thing, this is it. Fix how you stand and how you walk. We humans are wired to equate health with posture. If you have bad posture you probably have back pain, or will have soon. Working at a desk and computer all day for years will have a seriously detrimental effect, forward head and caved in chest being a couple of the common maladies. A good Pilates practitioner can work wonders, as can a good yoga instructor. I find yoga deadly boring, but not Pilates — maybe because it hurts, it seems ok. I take a mat class once a week and find it magical for my slumping. Cost is $18/wk.
Bonus point: A quick word on injectables. If you are going to do Botox, please just a tiny bit strategically placed. The frozen, locked look of all the real estate above the eyelids, popular among local TV news people, is freaky. And although we live in astonishing times, you don’t want to look constantly surprised, which is a byproduct of over-Botoxing. Keep some mobility and you will still look human.
Maybe I should do nothing, and just accept myself as I age. But I feel better about myself doing all of the above, and for me, that is what really matters. Now that you know what I do, let’s hear what, if anything, you are doing. No judgements, just curious.