Can you even imagine Gwen Stefani in the 1990s without her bold red lip? A bright red lippie can give you confidence and project a bold, self-assured look, and scientists at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom even did a study showing that red is the sexiest lip color! However, sticking to any single look over time is a beauty mistake. “People think it’s cute to have this look that is always recognizable as ‘you’ but it’s such a dated idea,” says San Francisco-based makeup artist Julieann Tillman. “We should all be updating our makeup and hairstyles at least every few years as we age, so we don’t end up looking like we’re caught in a time warp!” Red lip color also become problematic for another reason: As we age, our lips become thinner and the borders become more diffused, so bright, deeply saturated hues can bleed and feather at the edges of the mouth, highlighting deep lines and appearing too harsh. What’s more, many red shades can make the teeth appear more yellow. If you’ve been rocking a crimson lip, consider branching out to a sheer gloss that’s more forgiving of your lips’ borders (we like H2O+ Beauty Oasis Lip Gel in Currant Mood and Coral Authority), or experiment with nudes, as Gwen Stefani herself has done. (Curious to know what your lipstick shade says about your personality?)
Harsh hair color
Choosing hues that are either too dark or too light for your complexion can highlight sallow skin and make you appear even older. Especially if you’re beginning to see gray hairs, they’ll really stand out against a head of jet black, for example. Ask your hair dresser about the best hair shade for you, though Julieann stands by the classic advice to stay within one or two shades of your natural color. That also means avoiding any tints that could be described as “fun”—colors like maroon, electric orange, canary yellow, or neon anything—which can get old fast. (Feel free to dip your tips in blue for a few months, but then move on.) One easy way to transition from a harsh hair color is to introduce subtle highlights or lowlights that could blend with your roots and soften your look.