More than a handy Sharpie board and sushi platter for wealthy Japanese businessmen, your skin is an overachieving wrapping paper that requires ritzy sustenance to exude its raw, slinky power over the male species (an effort also helped by wearing a dress slit up to your navel or being named Halle Berry).
As women whose steadily increasing gravitational fields and dress sizes are barometers of becoming old, spherical gas giants, we do everything possible to prevent our gut holders from jiggling, sagging, and ballooning.
Ergo, we purchase wrinkle-blasting creams that promise to be the Spanx of wobbly turkey necks and Jabba the Hutt chin rolls.
But when it comes to skincare, we toe the line between agency and really smart product campaigns.
It’s easy to get caught up in glitzy commercials featuring busty Victoria’s Secret model lookalikes in flattering lighting and think that the fountain of youth lies in unpronounceable $750 French creams.
However, the most effective anti-aging treatments are nowhere as expensive or as painful as the Botox, snake venom serums, and cactus and tequila massages we’re used to hearing derms and spokeswomen blab about.
Recently, More magazine beauty editor Genevieve Mosma went on “The Early Show” to point out five skin sins you’re committing right now that are putting one foot in the grave (at least skin-wise).
They’re small, sometimes unconscious actions, but with prolonged repetition they make you a Botox doctor’s dream job.
Best of all, if you follow Mosma’s advice—plus a few tips from yours truly—for limbering up your bad habits, smooth skin à la Doutzen Kroes can be yours au gratis.
I can't guarantee that you'll be inducted into the most elite, intimidating supermodel collective known to man after reading this article, but I can promise that you'll soon rediscover your hidden she wolf, and that you'll radiate so much awesomely fabulous natural beauty you'll need shades (and not just because I make you wear them later on to prevent wrinkles).
Spending Too Much Time Online
That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, unless it’s a rose you’re straining your eyes to see on your computer's LCD screen.
Yup, to prevent crow’s feet you should probably stop reading this article (only after you’re done with it, of course) and take up a less eye-intensive hobby like knitting or suspending your office mate’s stapler in a perfect cube of Jell-O.
Whether you’re logging on through your Blackberry, IPhone, or the plain old web, spending more than a few hours glued to the screen tires eyes and helps develop fine lines and (ugh) wrinkles.
Often what happens is you squint to read the small font on most web pages, creating those lovely laugh lines we associate with age.
The Solution: Ctrl+ the dickens out of your keyboard, ladies. Use these two buttons to increase the font size to at least 12 point.
When increasing font with largess, think about the Goliath lettering in a children’s book and aim for similar you'd-have-to-be-blind-to-not-be-able-to-read-it size.
No matter what makeup artists, persuasive Clinique counter ladies, and your good old ma direct you to do, do not pull your eyelids taut to apply liner. The skin around your eyes is only as thick as a sheet of tissue paper, and holding the lid down with your finger stretches the inelastic area. If you swipe on eye makeup every day, think about how many times over the course of your life your eyes get pulled like a rubber band.
The Solution: Some pencils and liquid liners have tips that are too rough, so look for pencils with soft tips, or even powder or cream liner that includes a brush applicator.
Try: Stila Smudge Pot in Black Cat ($20, Stilacosmetics.com).
Slurping Through Straws
Makeup artists and dermatologists disagree over the best course of action when it comes to straws.
The painters will advise you to sip through straws to prevent lipstick slaughter on your glass, but the scientists will say it’s the worst thing you could do, since drinking through straws makes you pucker your mouth, causing wrinkles.
The Solution: What good is a magnificent lip color without pretty, pillowy lips to put it on?
Good makeup begins with good skin, girls, so cut the lady crap and swig that Heineken like it was meant to be drunk—mug to your gullet and booze dripping down your shirt (don’t be surprised if, amidst your gustatory debauchery, a bevy of newly interested alpha males suddenly flocks to your side).
Also, apply a lip treatment to your pout every night after you’ve put on your night cream. Lips are frequently neglected in the flurry of life and anti-aging rituals that concentrate on the facial skin, but they need just as much peptide and antioxidant loving.
Try: Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Plump Perfect Lip Moisture Cream SPF 30 ($27.50, ElizabethArden.com).
Sleeping On the Side of Your Face
In ancient Egypt, scribes would record text by repeatedly pounding a small hammer and chisel into their work surface (FYI, by “text” I mean carving symbols into a rock, not messaging your boo on your Blackberry).
Reimagine the scenario with your face as the rock and the pillow as the chisel. If you habitually sleep on your side or on your stomach, the folds in the pillowcase will eventually make permanent marks on your face, and the pressure of sleeping in those positions aggravates fine lines and furrows that are already there.
Even worse, fluid pools on the side of your face that presses against the pillow, so you wake up puffy and with skin that’s been stretched this way and that for several hours.
The Solution: Duh. Sleep on your back! Geishas had it easy (or hard, depending on how you look at it) with sleeping stands—takamakuras—that went under their necks to keep their elaborate shimadas intact and prevented them from tossing and turning in their sleep.
Their handlers would also sprinkle rice around their heads because if the girls moved, the rice would stick to the pomade in their hair.
For a more modern—and less torturous—alternative, try Therapeautica Sleeping Pillow ($79, Therapeutica.com), which forces you to stay supine by cradling your head on either side.
This is the rule I live and die by when it comes to sun protection: The only time it’s safe to forgo sunscreen and sunglasses is when it’s so dark you need a flashlight to see outside.
We live in L.A., ladies, not the North Slope Burrough of Alaska, where resident eskimos go for months without sun! The sun is shining every day here (not that I'm complaining, because I'm a reptile when it comes to body heat), so if you don't cover up with shades, a large hat, and sunblock, the skin gods are going to serve you up a sparkling silver platter of melanoma, age spots, and Leather Face.
Even if I lived in Seattle, where it’s perpetually cloudy and gets 100 inches of rainfall a year, I’d still be wearing my cheap and chic H&M sunglasses, because skin-aging UVA rays come through the atmosphere no matter what, rain or shine.
Know why I’m so OCD about this? Sans sunglasses, you have to squint to see under sunlight. And squinting, as we all know by now, equals eye creepiness.
The Solution: Sunglasses. Sunblock. Broad-brimmed Kentucky Derby hat (yes, the ones that make you feel sorry for the dude sitting behind it).
Make those three things your modus operandi and you're set. Ensure your sunglasses and sunblock have broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection, and that your sunblock has an SPF of at least 30.
To really make this hit home for you, watch the video below of Noah Kalina, who took a picture of himself every day for six years (from January 11, 2000 to July 32, 2006) to chronicle how life imprinted itself on him.
Need more anti-aging advice? Subscribe above, or send Linda a line at LindaChang87@gmail.com.