There’s a lot to be said for aging gracefully. It’s that elusive grail that seems like it’s always out of reach. Especially once you hit the big four-oh, it’s common to start constantly comparing your current self with a younger version of yourself.
When I was in my 20s I could vault up on that horse with no problem.
When I was younger my skin was porcelain smooth and flawless.
When I was in my 30s I was at my sexual prime and out to tackle the world.
Just how do you get back to being or at least feeling that young and vibrant again? Sadly, we can’t give you the elixir of youth. (Though, there are serums that come close!) The truth of the matter is that, while there are things you can do to repair some damage done and move closer to the shape you were in during your younger years, you just can’t turn back the clock.
It’s a good thing no one really wants to! Think about how awkward first dates were in your 20s. Think about that career change you made in your 30s. Tough times!
Fortunately, being sexy and graceful in your 40s isn’t as much about turning back the clock, as it is about how you feel and what you do to take care of yourself. Being over 40 is not the end of your life. Not even close.
Sexy and Graceful in Your 40s Is a State of Mind
It’s only in our late 30s that we come into our full beauty, and don’t fully hit our stride until our 40s. So where is the disconnect?
A global study conducted by Dove entitled Beauty Comes Of Age found that nearly six in 10 women believe that while men over 50 are viewed as distinguished, women over 50 are viewed as over the hill or past their prime. Paradoxically, 60% of women said they were not concerned about the idea of aging. So it seems we’re not actually bothered by the fact that we’re getting older. It’s society’s perception of aging that gets under our skin.
“Women today are redefining aging. It’s all about power,” writes best-selling author, Naomi Wolf, in her book The Beauty Myth. “Women today are very rejecting of older norms and expectations of how women have to age. Women are much more accepting of themselves now.” That acceptance comes from within, not from worrying about what everyone else is thinking.
Professional coach and author of Who’s That Woman in the Mirror?, Keren Smedley, says “Feeling sexy is all in your head and, as an older woman, your brain still works pretty well! It’s about focusing on what you have, not on what you don’t have or what you used to have.” Focusing on feeling comfortable about who and what you are, rather than what you used to be, involves a pretty big mind-shift. It requires you to shed all the misconceptions that society has placed on aging and to just be comfortable in your own skin.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to do what you can to look and feel your best, as long as you don’t let that become your driving factor in life. There’s no shame in wanting to look as good as we can for as long as we can.
Skincare for Your 40s
If a few fine lines and wrinkles start to make their appearance or your skin seems to be slightly saggier than before, so what? None of that has an impact on how sexy you actually are.
However, here are some tips if you want to focus your skincare routine for specific concerns.
A good facial care routine requires some effort and special attention. Choose products that are rich in peptides, antioxidants, vitamins, hyaluronic acid, and alpha-hydroxy acids like glycolic and citric acids.
- Use a gentle cleanser at night. Your skin is prone to dryness, so you don’t want to strip it further while you’re removing dirt and debris.
- Moisturize to combat dryness and rehydrate thirsty skin. Look for something rich and emollient to give you a more supple, luminous appearance.
- Apply an anti-aging serum. Choosing the right serum can help to combat damage from the sun and provide an added boost of moisture.
- Wear sunscreen. This is perhaps the most important skin care tip at any age. UV rays are responsible for most of the aging changes you see in your skin. Protecting your skin as much as possible will minimize those changes longer. Even if you aren’t planning on sunbathing, your skin is exposed to sun during your daily activities (even driving to work).
Dress the Part
Toss out the clothes that mimic your teenage daughter’s. Revamping your wardrobe does wonders for your self-image. Replace any unflattering clothes with items that make you feel good and are a little more classic. Opt for colors that flatter and show off your gracefulness. Rich, deep, saturated color is unique and extra flattering. “Most women work really well in jewel tones,” says personal stylist, Noelle Cellini. Definitely avoid the bright pink bubble gum colors. “They look too young and aren’t as sophisticated,” she says.
“Know the great parts of your body,” says Alexandra Suzanne Greenawalt, author of Secrets of a Fashion Stylist. “Even if you have more than one, just pick one to accent. If you’re wearing a tight, low-cut top, don’t pair it with a miniskirt. Wear something more demure on the bottom for balance.”
Do what feels right for you! Feeling sexy and graceful into your 40s and beyond is all about a state of mind. Embrace it!