We’ve all been there: That moment midappointment when you catch yourself shamelessly staring at your hairdresser, dermatologist, or dentist and thinking, How the heck does she pull it off? What’s the secret to her great hair, pore-free complexion, or flawless teeth?
Well, we decided to go straight to the source and find out how to get that ageless look—naturally. We asked the beauty industry’s most sought-after stylists, aestheticians, and MDs to divulge their tricks for stopping the clock. If there’s no fountain of youth, their unexpectedly simple advice might be the next best thing.
“First thing every morning, I massage organic sesame oil from the health-food store all over my body. Working it in wakes me up and really gets my blood circulating. Plus, the oil hydrates my skin, giving it a healthy glow. Then I jump in the shower—the oil naturally cleans away dead skin cells.”—Lisa Hedley, founder and creative director of the Mayflower Inn and Spa, Washington, Conn.
“Anti-inflammatories are the best anti-agers out there. From improving heart and immune functions to helping hair grow and skin look supple, they truly do wonders. I take three 500 milligram capsules of omega-3 fish oil in the morning and at night. I look for labels that say, ‘molecularly distilled for purity,’ which means pesticide-free.”—Arlene Noodleman, MD, medical director of the Age Defy Dermatology and Wellness Center, Campbell, Calif.
“I avoid stained teeth by drinking my coffee quickly. If you sip it over the course of an hour, it keeps coating and recoating. The same goes for other staining liquids, like tea and dark juices.”—Elisa Mello, DDS, cosmetic dentist, New York City
“I’ve stopped using foundation every day, because it settles into wrinkles and makes them more noticeable. I start with a concealer just where I need it (under-eye area, blemishes, etc.) and follow it with an allover application of tinted moisturizer.”—Joanna Schlip, celebrity makeup artist for Physician’s Formula
“Because I’m a plastic surgeon, companies send me so many skin-care samples—and some of them have 10 different steps! But I’m realistic, so there’s no way I’m going to sign up for some huge beauty system that costs hundreds of dollars and requires a commitment that I’m not willing to make. Honestly, here’s my daily skin-care routine: I go home, wash my face with a drugstore cleanser, put on a moisturizer, and fall into bed. I find that this simple regimen works well for me.”—Karen M. Horton, MD, plastic surgeon and reconstructive microsurgeon at the Women’s Plastic Surgery Center, San Francisco
“The number-one ingredient that I avoid in my diet is processed sugar. The reason: It speeds up the aging process by binding to and eventually weakening the collagen in your skin, which can lead to premature wrinkles and sagging. I eat lots of vegetables and fruits every day—and I steer clear of Twinkies at all costs!”—Ava Shamban, MD, dermatologist and owner of the Laser Institute for Dermatology and Skin care, Santa Monica, Calif.
…Scrub with it instead
“In the shower, I lather my hands with a mild cleanser, add a handful of white sugar, and slather it all over my face and body. It makes my skin so smooth and creates a great canvas for makeup.”—Carmindy, celebrity makeup artist
“At night, I straighten my hair with a flat iron and put it up in a loose ponytail right above my forehead—it’s not cute, but I don’t care—and wear it like that all night. When I take it down in the morning, it has such a youthful bounce to it.”—Laura Hittleman, corporate director of beauty services, Canyon Ranch, Tucson, Ariz.
“I treat the skin around my eyes separately. Face creams can be too irritating, but products made for this delicate area work wonders for smoothing fine lines. I prefer to use a gel formula; the lightweight consistency keeps my eye makeup looking fresh all day.”—Laura Hittleman, Canyon Ranch
“I was really beginning to notice signs of aging on my hands, so I started taking care of them with the same routine that I use to take care of my face. Every time I exfoliate or use a mask on my face, I exfoliate or apply that same mask to my hands, too. I also use an enzyme concentrate on both my face and hands. I think this has made a big difference.”—Kirsten Combs, spa director, Mii Amo, Sedona, Ariz.
“I absolutely believe in massage. Moving blocked energy makes me feel younger from the inside out. I especially love reflexology and deep-tissue massage.
If you don’t have the time or money to get one regularly, you can achieve a lot of the same benefits by taking 20 minutes each day to stretch, meditate, and calm yourself, breathing deeply in and out.”—Lisa Hedley, Mayflower Inn and Spa
“I use an over-the-counter topical vitamin C cream that has a 30% concentration. It’s a wonderful antioxidant that helps my skin repair itself from sun damage. Plus, it has natural sunscreen properties in it, so combining it with my daily SPF has a synergistic effect.”—Arlene Noodleman, MD, medical director of the Age Defy Dermatology and Wellness Center, Campbell, Calif.
“I snack on anything with malic acid—like strawberries, apples, and grapes—which act as a natural tooth cleanser and help break down stains.”—Elisa Mello, DDS, cosmetic dentist, New York City.
“If I’m running out of the house and don’t have time for makeup, I just put an illuminating primer all over my face and chest. It contains tiny reflective particles that help bounce light around the skin and make fine lines less noticeable.”—Carmindy, makeup artist and co-creator of Sally Hansen’s Natural Beauty Inspired by Carmindy.
“I wear my hair layered around my face, even if it’s just a tiny bit of fringe around the cheeks. This style has a lifting effect on my features; cuts that are all one length draw the eye downward and give the illusion of droopiness.”—Ann Minahan, hair stylist and owner of Riah Salon, New York City
“Instead of using a styling gel to control my curls, I scrunch a nickel-size amount of conditioner or treatment mask into my damp hair before blow-drying. The conditioner not only tames flyaways and frizz but also provides serious hydration, which, I believe, is the key to younger-looking hair.”—Rita Hazan, celebrity colorist and owner of Rita Hazan Salon in New York City
“I take care of my lashes, so they don’t get brittle and dry—and eventually fall out. My secret: When applying my eye cream at night, I dab a little bit extra onto the tips of my lashes with my fingers so they stay moisturized and healthy.”—Joanna Schlip, celebrity makeup artist