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7 Ways Your Signature Look Is Making You Look Older

A bold red lip, heavy retro bangs, or a French mani may once have defined your look, but now it's dating you, especially if it involves any of these aging style sins.


Red lipstick

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.


Heavy foundation

A flawless finish may have been your beauty trademark for years, but now that face full of foundation could look dull and drab, and draw attention to fine lines as the makeup settles into them. As your skin matures, though it seems counterintuitive, you’ll want to reach for lighter formulations—or perhaps a tinted moisturizer or primer (we love Colorescience Mattifying Perfector SPF 20 and Alastin HydraTint Pro Mineral Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 36)—and may even find yourself needing a different shade. These makeup tips can help you look amazing in photographs.


Bold eye makeup

Maybe the smoky eye or cat eyeliner flick was all the rage when you were first learning to make up your face, but if you are still rocking this look today you might need a beauty overhaul. Dark colors can smudge into fine lines around the eyes and actually emphasize dark circles and puffy skin. Color palettes with glitter in them can be especially unflattering for more mature eyes. “Glitter is to be avoided, unless you are a teenager!” Julieann says. Make your eyes really pop with these eye makeup tips, and find out the other makeup mistakes that are aging your face.


Deep tan

A healthy glow can make you look relaxed and healthy, which explains why the tanning industry is worth a reported $5 billion. But with the compelling scientific evidence that sun exposure causes not just wrinkles and skin damage but leads to skin cancer as well, smart sun worshipers are foregoing dangerous UV rays and instead getting their tan from a bottle—or embracing a paler beauty ideal. If you’re still going for the St. Tropez bronze of your youth, look around at today’s fair-faced celebs and wake up to a healthier attitude toward sun protection. Once you’re ready to trade in your bronzer, go for a subtle glow with gradual tanning products such as Vita Liberata Self Tanning Anti Age Serum or James Read H2O Tan Mist.

06-ways-your-signature-look-may-be-aging-you-overdrawn-ali-blumenthalAli Blumenthal/

Overdrawn lips

Apparently Marilyn Monroe would draw in her lips considerably fuller than they really were. Anytime you apply liner outside your natural lip line, you run the risk of looking like a clown once it begins to wear off. Pamela Anderson can be blamed for the 90s style of choosing a dark lip liner and lighter brown-toned lipstick. If you are still sporting this look, consider giving lip liner a rest, or at least stay within the borders of your natural lip lines and consider using a lip liner that’s the same color as your lipstick. If you’ve got serious Kyle Jenner envy, here are some tricks for faking a fuller pout.

These makeup stocking stuffers are perfect for the beauty queens in your life. 


The same hairstyle

If you find a ‘do that suits you, it can seem wise to stick with it. After all, it’s usually trends and fads that end up being more regrettable than classic styles. You might argue that Anna Wintour’s signature bob still looks chic, but if you have had the same hairstyle for a long time it might be worth asking your stylist for their honest opinion about whether it’s still working for you. Need ideas? These are the best hairstyles for your face shape. And on your “don’t” list, these are the hairstyle mistakes that could be aging your face.

Fiona Tapp
Fiona Tapp, is a Freelance Writer, Pro Blogger, and Educator. Her work has appeared on The Washington Post, New York Post, Brides, HuffPost, The Week, SheKnows, and many others. Her portfolio can be viewed at After a 13 year career as a teacher and school administrator, where she earned a Master's degree in Education, Fiona is well placed to offer expert advice on parenting, education, childcare and pregnancy. She has also travelled to over 20 countries and regularly writes on world travel and personal finance. When she's not writing she can be found reading to her toddler, and doing all the best voices!

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