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What I Learned About My Midlife Body, Beauty and Ageing

midlife-body-beauty-ageing

(Plus 9 Easy Ways to Look More Attractive)

Midlife – I’m not sure what you were all expecting, but I wasn’t expecting this!

Things move around, drop, and, well, basically change.

The good news is – I accept new concepts and situations relatively quickly.

One epiphany I recently had was that how we feel might be more relevant to our quality of life than how we look. 

But for many, those two are dependent on each other.

It seems humans are hard-wired to respond to beauty and attractiveness, so it’s interesting to see what happens when looks begin to ‘change’. 

I know genetics play a crucial role in our appearance and ageing. Some of us need to try, and some don’t.

Luckily, there are a few areas where we can make changes and see improvement.

Below, I discuss specific areas of my life where I made changes with considerable impact (plus nine easy, impactful ways to look more attractive).

Introduction

My Body, Beauty & Ageing Observations 

  • Fashion
  • Diet
  • People and Environment
  • Beauty
  • Individual Differences

9 Little Fixes That Make You Instantly More Attractive

  1. Bravely Experiment with Colors
  2. Treat Your Tootsies
  3. Brighten Your Teeth
  4. Adjust (or add) Makeup
  5. Correct Poor Posture
  6. Re-Style (not cut) Your Hair
  7. Change Your Hair Colour
  8. Find Your Fashion Style
  9. Study Photography or Art

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Introduction

I’m not sure why I used to fool myself and say, ‘Looks don’t matter’ – they do. 

But I don’t mean in comparison to each other. I mean, looks matter as a reflection of overall health. 

I’m sure most people desire to look the best they can (whatever their ‘quality’ of genes). Okay, some people want to look like supermodels, but many are satisfied if our looks are simply ‘maximised.’ 

I try not to judge anyone on how they choose to maintain their looks and health. 

It is a tremendously personal choice. And after all, you are the main one who has to live with you! 

So, it doesn’t matter if you wear makeup or no makeup, have procedures or no procedures, or follow trends or no trends.  

I have always looked a little younger than my age, but that does not necessarily mean I have always looked ‘good.’ 

A wrinkled, middle-aged person can look way better than a depressed, slim 20-year-old, in my opinion. It really isn’t a question of age. 

Looks can reflect a state of mind, which, in turn, can affect how we take care of ourselves. 

It’s not a simple matter of only feeling good, though. It may require a few actions or steps to see a difference. But, from my experience, it all starts with a mental shift in perspective.


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My Body, Beauty & Ageing Observations

Fashion

My looks improved when I stopped trying to squeeze into ‘fashion.’ 

Don’t get me wrong; fashion can be fun and uplifting, clothes are beautiful, models are stunning, etc. I often find fashion restrictive, especially when what is trending and available at the shops doesn’t match your style (or body).

I also felt restricted by my ideas. I had particular trouble with items worn on the lower half of the body. When I stopped wearing jeans all the time, things changed. 

Apart from being more comfortable and happier (which are noteworthy achievements!) I could eat a healthier diet. 

Restricting myself and dieting to keep my thighs a certain size to fit jeans meant I was also starting to affect my nutrition. 

I’m now a little ‘softer’ than I was, but I’m slimmer, my stomach is flatter, and my overall appearance is more youthful. I was sacrificing my health for the size of my thighs! Bring on the skirts and stretch trousers!!

The sun can be both your friend and your foe when it comes to aging.

While a little sun exposure is essential for vitamin D production, excessive sun exposure can lead to premature aging and increase the risk of skin cancer.

To protect your skin, always use sunscreen with at least SPF 30, wear protective clothing, and avoid prolonged sun exposure, especially during peak hours.

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Diet 

After facing several life-and-death situations where I struggled to find basics (like food), I learned that the body can handle a lot below ‘optimal’.

Forget sticking to my ‘diet of the moment.’ Some of us sometimes find ourselves in circumstances where we cannot focus on something as crucial as nutrition.  

During this period, I ate a completely different diet to my supposed ‘healthy diet.’ 

And I ate anything (mostly simple, unprocessed foods). Although I was under stress, my appearance started to change. 

Skin cleared and brightened; hair and nails grew well; body and face looked healthier, and energy returned.

So I was in survival mode and worried from moment to moment about what was happening around me – yet I started to look great!

It was an unexpected experimental time for me. There were more inputs into my health and appearance than just food.

I thought the stress about what to eat might be more damaging than any food!

Things have changed since that shock to my system, and after yo-yo-ing between foods, diets, and philosophies, I have settled back to a trusted way of eating from the past that my body seems to agree with.

People and Environment

Sometimes, it’s not the food…

As mentioned above, I had an improvement in my looks when I really should not have given everything that was happening around me. 

So why do we sometimes improve when we change our environment or location? It’s a complex answer, but I don’t underestimate the impact of ‘changing your scene.’

If you are unwell and can’t find answers in the usual places, try looking at your environment and who and what might be influencing your health.

Beauty 

My motto became ‘less is way more’ as I approached midlife. 

I always feel better when wearing makeup, but as my skin improved, I didn’t need layers of foundation 

to be acceptable in society. That was a revelation in itself! I know it’s not just me who hides behind foundation and concealers. I still use a little occasionally, but my life does not revolve around the skin on my face anymore.

Like my beauty revelations above, there was a period where I had to dial down my beauty regime to zero. I don’t do anything. And yes, shock horror – my skin improved too.

My reduced beauty regime saved me money, time and bandwidth. (There’s nothing wrong with products, by the way – they help many, I don’t deny that).

So, the new midlife me wears makeup occasionally, and a very minimal amount. (I should mention, at this point, that I’m hopeless at application and, if I had some makeup skills, I might wear more and make it look like less!). 

I have not returned to using any skin products at all. Let’s see what the future holds.

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Individual Differences

Now, in case you haven’t noticed, we are not all the same.

Some people from the much talked about ‘Blue Zones’ drink and smoke and enjoy long, healthy lives. 

Some athletes drop dead in their prime.

I have never smoked and hardly drink, so these could contribute to my midlife appearance. I love the sun, but my skin is pale, so I can’t spend much time in direct sunlight. I played a lot of sports when in my youth. I don’t know if any of this made a difference – Perhaps it did.

The best news I discovered on this (bumpy) journey in midlife is that if our looks go south, our other characteristics remain! So, if you are funny, kind or clever, you’ll probably stay that way. Yay!  Some of us even become wiser! (I said some, not all).

My beauty goal of late is to look better each year – that’s it. 

I hope you can all find a way to be comfortable with your midlife self. 

To help anyone who needs direction, below are a few easy, quick ways to feel and look better today.

  

9 Little Fixes That Make You Instantly More Attractive

“Why don’t you smile more? You could be so pretty.” Hmmm. 

How to look more attractive? That’s the question.

Most people I know want the lowdown on how to improve their looks. Regardless of age, feeling attractive and desirable is a fairly universal desire.

But it can be more than a little frustrating when well-meaning advice such as smiling (smiling makes my eyes disappear!) doesn’t make a significant or permanent change. What happens to our looks when we stop smiling?

We all know that good health goes a long way to improving our looks, but that can take a long time  (and is not helpful if you have a date this Saturday).

Sometimes, we want achievable, easy, instant steps.

Here are nine ideas and a few extra tips about how to look more attractive that you can implement today.

  1. Bravely Experiment with Colors
  2. Treat Your Tootsies
  3. Brighten Your Teeth
  4. Adjust (or add) Makeup
  5. Correct Poor Posture
  6. Re-Style (not cut) Your Hair
  7. Change Your Hair Colour
  8. Find Your Fashion Style
  9. Study Photography or Art
  1. Bravely Experiment with Colors

For a long time I followed fashion ‘colour theories’ about which palette would compliment my complexion.

Then, one day, I was gifted a top in a colour that was not in my suggested “best colours.”

And then something unexpected occurred – I received significantly more compliments on the occasions I wore that top (But how can that be? It’s not my colour!).

I realised that either the colour palette suggestions were wrong, or more likely I was interpreting my complexion or colouring incorrectly and following the wrong instructions.

It all became too confusing, so I started to wear the opposite colours to what I had been wearing for decades, and voilá – compliments everywhere!

It seems I was inadvertently highlighting my dark under-eye circles. I looked significantly better in lighter, brighter things.

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2. Treat Your Tootsies

I learned this one the hard way.

One year, while attending a summer wedding, I was casually talking in a group and happened to look down.

To my horror, I saw my feet looked eerily like my dried-up bathroom loofah.

They needed a little moisture (to say the least).

Some people are great at grooming or getting regular mani/pedi’s – I always admired such people!

If you live in a warm climate or wear sandals or foot-exposing footwear, never underestimate that other people will scan down to your feet (even if you don’t!).

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3. Brighten Your Teeth

We are not talking about turning your teeth fluorescent white and blinding people!

A minor shade improvement, no matter your existing colour, can add to your attractiveness.

One way to do this is with whitening products like toothpaste or trying natural products associated with removing stains from teeth, like baking soda.

You could also try to avoid substances that cause staining – such as caffeine, nicotine, soft drinks, juices, wine etc.

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4. Adjust (or Add) Makeup

This step can make an instant change to your attractiveness.

It might mean wearing less or wearing more.

You could start by experimenting with the minimum amount of makeup you can tolerate and then slowly adding more.

Some people may feel attractive in no makeup, and that confidence can sometimes translate to appearing more attractive to others.

Some people who do not wear makeup might try adding a little.

Wear it around town, check yourself in shop windows and bathroom mirrors, and see how it ‘feels.’

If you are unsure how to proceed, start with ONE change first. If you don’t wear any makeup – add lipstick or gloss.

If you wear a lot, use one less product (or remove a step in your routine) next time.

Sometimes, we get stuck in a makeup time warp. Modernising your look can increase attractiveness because it’s the aesthetic you see everywhere and feels ‘familiar’.

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5. Correct Poor Posture

We don’t think about our posture until we get a sore neck or back (or someone makes a rude comment!).

Perhaps an unflattering photo of a double chin or slumped shoulders is what does the trick and alerts us to how we sit, stand and walk.

Do you ever notice some people just have a certain ‘grace.’ They carry themselves in a way that lengthens and refines their natural form.

I like this tip to look more attractive because – it’s instant!

(Permanently undoing years of poor posture is not instant and may take time, patience and commitment). 

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6.  Re-Style Your Hair

I’m not talking about a new haircut (although a fresh cut often works fantastically!).

If you want a super-quick way to look more attractive, try wearing your hair in a new style. 

Perhaps you have never imagined yourself wearing your hair a certain way. What’s the harm in switching things up now and then?

Hair Styling Changes –

  • Change your hair Part
  • Try a range of Updos
  • Wear hair on One Side
  • Wear your hair Out/Loose (especially if you often wear it up)
  • Half up, Half down
  • Style to look like you have Bangs/Fringe
  • Curl or Straighten
  • Try Hair Accessories
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  1. Change Your Hair Colour

This one is an almost instant way to look more attractive (if you choose the right colour!).

Matching a hair colour to your undertones, eye colour and complexion can transform your looks like very few other interventions.

I didn’t realise my eyes were so green until I changed my hair colour to a reddish-auburn shade! (They always looked muddy brown to me!).

A more complimentary hair colour may change your skin, too (my skin appeared more tanned with red tones). 

As a result of this colour change, your makeup may need adjusting.

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  1. Find Your Fashion Style

I have had a lifelong problem with finding the right style of clothes. Nothing seemed ‘right.’

However, finding a compatible wardrobe to your style or aesthetic can improve your looks instantly and be the missing piece in your perceived attractiveness.

But it’s not necessarily in the clothes themselves.

Sometimes, you don’t feel comfortable in your skin – You don’t feel like ‘you.’ It might be because your style or wardrobe doesn’t suit your body, personality or aesthetic.

Looking more attractive is often linked to confidence, but it’s hard to strut your stuff when your pants are too tight!

Now I know you are waiting for me to say – to find your style you have to work out ‘who you are.’ That’s true to an extent.

But things change over time, so finding your style may be a long-term, fluid process.

In the short term, be a little courageous and throw things out (or remodel them) if they make you feel bad.

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  1. Study Photography or Art

Okay, this one is not instant, but it’s achievable if you have a little spare time.

I used to feel very unattractive in most photos because I didn’t understand lighting, angles, proportions etc.

One positive to come out of cameras on mobile phones is that you can start to notice your photos and the conditions in which you look more attractive (for example, not squinting outside at midday!).

There’s a reason fashion photoshoots often occur in the ‘magic hours’ or ‘golden hours’  (the first and last light of the day, when the sun is not overhead).

Studio lighting is from angles and front on, and usually not directly overhead.

Learning about photography changed my entire outlook on myself.

You may have perceived yourself as having “flaws” that are not there – they are distortions thanks to cameras.

I thought I had a big nose, but it was my poor camera skills! Phew!

This little fix involves you taking selfies and then learning about posing, lighting, angles etc.

Another way to look better is to understand some artistic principles.

Those who sketch or paint faces look at the shadows, shapes, angles, colours etc. to paint what they see

 (they have similar skills to makeup artists).

Final Thoughts

Often, there is nothing to improve – Your ‘beauty’ is only one element of what makes up your ‘attractiveness.’

But on those days you can’t lie to yourself (or the mirror), you now have a few tricks to try.

Looking better or more attractive is not necessarily achievable overnight.

The tips in this article might help give you a little boost and improve your self-esteem.

Like me, you might eventually figure out this midlife beauty caper, and realise it doesn’t matter as much as you think.