Think you need a little nip and tuck? Think again— au natural is in.
“I travel around the world, and what I found that women really want is to look natural at any age in life,” says Dr. Neil Sadick, dermatologist and author of The New Natural: Your Ultimate Guide to Cutting-Edge Age Reversal. “Not surgically pulled and not necessarily younger, but healthy and refreshed.”
These days, looking your best isn’t necessarily about looking the way you used to. Here are 10 reasons you should think twice before getting a facelift.
1. Your hair color may be aging you more than you think. “Really dark hair—either a very dark brown or black shade—can make women look older than they really are,” says Marie Robinson, Clairol Color Director and owner of Marie Robinson Salon in New York City. “I recommend women warm up their hair color in their 40s, 50s and beyond to complement their skintone—highlights for blondes, and warmer browns are great options.”
2. Even gray hair can look chic and “young” when done right. (Think Kelly Osborne!) “The style and cut needs to be as contemporary as possible,” Robinson says. “And don't keep gray hair below shoulder length. It has a tendency to look drier and more brittle the longer it gets.”
3. Makeup makes a difference, too. “A lot of women notice they have larger pores after 35,” says Lois Joy Johnson, co-author of The Makeup Wakeup: Revitalizing Your Look At Any Age. “Primer will help conceal them for the time you’re wearing it—they’ll be nonexistent.”
4. A bright smile can give you an instant facelift. “Stay away from gooey, gloppy heavy lip glosses, or dark colors on the lips. They’re aging,” Johnson says. “It’s very fresh right now or use a stain with a tiny bit of gloss on top of it.”
5. Everybody’s not doing it. According to 2011 statistics from the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS), browlifts and facelifts in women ages 35-60 decreased 6 percent since 2010. Even Hollywood is starting to value the natural look. When casting a TV show set in the 1950s this spring, producers told the Miami Herald they approached regular women on the beach because so many of the actresses who auditioned were obviously surgically enhanced and they were looking for more authenticity.
6. Some who do get facelifts regret it. A British website devoted to beauty treatments and cosmetic procedures, TreatmentAdviser.com, polled its users and found 20 percent were unhappy with the results of their plastic surgery. And actresses like Nicole Kidman, Jane Fonda, Lisa Rinna and French beauty Emmanuelle Beart have spoken out about procedures they wish they’d skipped.
7. Facials are getting more fantastic. Microdermabrasion and peels that use enzymes, glycolic acid and other chemical exfoliants help turn over cells faster, giving your skin a younger appearance. “Regardless of what stage you are in life, you can still improve your skin,” Sadick says.
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8. Shopping is more fun than surgery. A wardrobe overhaul (or even a few small updates) can do wonders for your look. Pencil skirts, heels, bold colors, statement jewelry and well-cut dark denim are all stylish and perfectly appropriate for any age. Stop by the cosmetics counter, too, and look for skincare and beauty products that contain anti-aging ingredients like antioxidants, retinol, peptides and broadband sunscreen.
9. Non-surgical procedures are gaining in popularity. If you have your heart set on a more dramatic fix than hair or makeup changes, consider newer non-invasive technologies such as laser skin resurfacing, laser skin tightening or collagen-stimulating radiofrequency treatments instead of a facelift. Many of these truly are “lunchtime” procedures that require no healing time, Sadick says, but he cautions, “You want to go to a physician who has experience—someone who offers multiple technologies, not one that claims to do everything.”
10. It all starts inside. “Reduction of stress, exercise, eating a balanced diet with antioxidants, and sun protection are all important to having good skin and slowing down the aging process,” Sadick says. A good plastic surgeon will recommend that you quit smoking, get to an optimal weight and otherwise be in the best health possible for the safest and most successful facelift anyway. Do that, and you’ll find you’re looking years younger already—no surgery required.