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Putting a good face on aging

The Baltimore Sun

The Los Angeles Times reports that, after years of steady growth -- especially among the middle classes, the cosmetic surgery industry is suffering nips and tucks because of the shaky economy.

While I'm sure that's a factor, I think there would be a lot more plastic surgery in this country if so many women my age weren't wimps.

We are afraid to have any work done because we are convinced we are going to be the one that dies while under the elective knife, necessitating one of those awkward obituaries.

Or we are going to be the one whose eyes never quite close. Or whose smile always seems to be ironic.

Plus, the one thing they never talk about in those advertisements for plastic surgeons is how to explain the facial bruising to your friends and co-workers without admitting to everybody that you've "had work done."

We can't all say we walked into an open door.

No. Plastic surgery has just too many loose ends. What we need are some age-appropriate beauty tips.

Not Seventeen magazine beauty tips. And not AARP beauty tips.

Nope. We need to hear from one of our own. Former beauty editor Charla Krupp has written a beauty book with the straight talk title of How Not to Look Old: Fast and Effortless Ways to Look 10 Years Younger, 10 Pounds Lighter and 10 Times Better.

Of course, Krupp looks 10 years younger, 10 pounds lighter and 10 times better than anybody you know, but her tips fit the bill: We want to look younger, but without joining the "she's had too much work done" club.

Here are some of the highlights:

Speaking of highlights, get some. The older we get, the lighter our hair should be and nothing ages you like dark hair in a solid color. Looks like a helmet or a bad hat.

Bangs hide a multitude of sins. We knew that. But Krupp suggests long, shaggy, over-the-tips-of-the-lashes bangs. The kind of bangs you look out from under coquettishly. She calls them "Y&H;" bangs instead of "OL" bangs. (Young and Hip versus Old Lady.)

And while we are on the subject of hair, you need layers and angles. Longish layers and angles. Hair that moves and swings. Lacquered-down hair and short hair can be so OL.

Pay attention to your eyebrows -- the only hair on your face that is supposed to be there. Keep them neat but don't over-tweeze, full but not bushy. Color or fill in your brows with make-up, but don't paint them on. Keep it natural.

Update your glasses with sexy new frames, and splurge on a couple of extra pairs for the office, for the weekend or on a sparkly pair for evenings out. But, for heaven's sake, don't hang them from a chain around your neck no matter how cute the chain is. Krupp says eyeglass chains scream OL.

Use just a hint of a natural-looking, cream blush. Krupp says it "will instantly make you look

Use a pink lip gloss. Your lips will look fresh and shiny. No deep, dark colors that will bleed into the cracks around your lips.

Get your teeth whitened. Nothing says OL like yellow or gray teeth.

Keep your fingernails just slightly longer than your finger, and painted in a fresh, clean pink or beige. Save the wild colors for your toes. And don't even think about artificial nails or nail art.

From here, Krupp moves into fashion, and how our clothing choices age us. Matchy-matchy outfits. Too young outfits. Hose, ripped jeans, short shorts, holiday sweaters or anything with an applique. She has a whole chapter on skirts, another on jeans and another on shoes.

For those of us determined to look younger without looking silly-- or appearing in an episode of Nip/Tuck -- I might add just one tip.

Hang around older men.


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