Look younger tomorrow: these all-natural anti-aging tips work in less than 24 hours
A WHOLESOME DIET, regular exercise, and other long-term good habits lay the foundation for a healthy glow. But sometimes you need to shine right away. The following expert-recommended fixes can help you turn back the clock in just 24 hours. Try them–you’ll look and feel more youthful and vibrant. (For lasting youthfulness, see “Fight the Effects of Aging with These Habits,” page 81.)
1 Touch Your Feet. Reflexology, or stimulating the pressure points on your feet, reduces stress, says reflexologist Nancy Alfaro, and if you’re relaxed, you look younger. To relieve stress instantly, press your thumb into your solar plexus point, located just below the ball of your foot. Hold for one minute and repeat on your other foot.
2 Elevate, Your Head. Propping your head up with an extra pillow reduces the eye puffiness that can add years to your face. Gravity drains fluid so it doesn’t pool around your eyes, explains Janice Cox, author of several beauty books, including Natural Beauty at Home (Henry Holt, 2002). Simply slip an extra pillow under your head 15 minutes before you get out of bed.
3 Chill Out. Cooling your eyelids also helps eliminate puffiness, says Cox. On each closed lid, place a cold tea bag (any type will do), a refrigerated cucumber or potato slice, or the secret weapon of many makeup artists–a chilled teaspoon (put spoons in the fridge the night before), “[Spoons] fit into the contour of the eye, and the metal retains cold long enough to be effective,” says Tamara Marcus, an esthetician. In 10 to 15 minutes, any of these items will reduce puffy eyes.
4 Heal Hands. Rough hands are a dead giveaway of age. To rejuvenate them, right before bedtime slather on a generous coat of sesame oil, canola oil, or sunflower oil, suggests Cox. Slip on cotton gloves (or you can use socks), and sleep with them on. The oil barrier prevents moisture loss from your skin, she explains. By morning, your hands will be baby soft and smooth.
5 Banish Bloat. Retaining water can make you appear heavier. Diuretic herbs like horsetail (Equisetum arvense) or dandelion root (Taraxacum officinale) can help you drop 3 to 5 pounds of water weight in a day, according to Daniel Mowrey, Ph.D., an herbalist and president of the American Phytotherapy Research Laboratory. To safely lose a few pounds for a special occasion, Mowrey recommends taking 1 g of either horsetail or dandelion root in capsule form twice a day for one day. Or you can take 12 drops of either herb tincture in a cup of warm water two or three times a day. Don’t exceed these dosages. If your body sheds too much water you could lose electrolytes, the mineral salts like sodium and potassium that facilitate communication between cells.
6 Move with Grace. “If you don’t move well, you look old, no matter how good your figure, hair, or makeup is,” says Claire Nettle, a Feldenkrais practitioner. Poor posture can result from a sports injury or even just from slinging your purse, gym bag, or briefcase over the same shoulder every day for several years. Feldenkrais, a method that teaches proper movement, uses gentle exercises to amend slouching, limping, and other problems. You’ll see results after a single hour-long session, which typically costs $75. To find a practitioner, call the Feldenkrais Guild at 800-775-2118.
7 Get Energized. Droopy eyelids and nonstop yawning are hardly the hallmarks of youthful exuberance. For a safe, natural energy lift within a day, take Eleutherococcus senticosus, formerly known as Siberian ginseng. “The energy [you feel] is smooth and steady, rather than a quick jolt,” Mowrey explains. He recommends taking 6 g daily in capsule form, divided into three doses, with meals. You can take this herb indefinitely.
8 Live in Love. When you’re in love, you glow. But you don’t need to wait around for Cupid’s arrows. Plastic surgeon Eve Bruce, M.D., author of Shaman M.D. (Inner Traditions, 2002), says you can get the same results simply by evoking a memory of love. Try this meditation exercise: Set aside 20 minutes to sit comfortably in a quiet place. Close your eyes and recall a loving memory of a friend, a pet, a parent, or a child. To help you focus, inhale through your nose deeply for four counts and exhale through your mouth for eight. Consider lighting scented candles or playing music that takes you back to that particular time. Once you get the hang of it, Bruce says, you can recall certain thoughts instantly and make yourself glow at any time.
9 Make a Mate Latte. To put extra pep in your step, brew yerba mate tea (Ilex paraguariensis). This grassy-tasting South American herb is loaded with stress-fighting B vitamins as well as mateine, a close cousin of caffeine, which boosts energy but isn’t addictive. Mowrey likes to make a mate latte in a French press: Steep a heaping tablespoon of mate in 2 cups of boiling-hot water for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain, pour into a large mug, add a dash of cinnamon, ginger, or stevia (an herbal sweetener), and top it with steamed, frothed milk.
10 Mist Your Face. Dull, dry skin can magnify fine lines. “When skin is dragging, it’s thirsty,” says Marcus. For an instant dewy look, she recommends spritzing on the following recipe whenever your skin feels tight: Combine in a spray bottle 1 cup distilled or mineral water, 1/2 cup witch hazel, and 3 drops of chamomile (Matricaria recutita), geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), or lavender (Lavandula officinalis) essential oil. (Stored in a cool, dry place, the spray keeps indefinitely.)
11 Cover Up Gray. Silver hair can be beautiful and sexy, but it almost always guarantees that you won’t get carried at a restaurant or bar. If you want to get rid of gray, rinse your hair with henna. Henna, a plant-based hair dye, doesn’t contain damaging chemicals, and it adds body and shine so hair looks fuller, says Cox. And because the dye coats rather than penetrates the hair shaft, the color fades out gradually and evenly. You will have to redye your tresses every six to eight weeks to maintain your color. Henna for every hair color is available in natural food stores. Follow package directions.
12 Get Sweaty. Though you may equate sweat with uncleanliness, perspiration actually helps your skin flush toxins that make it look dull, blotchy, and old, according to Mark Hyman, M.D. One way to sweat is with a mineral bath. Fill the tub with water that is as hot as you can tolerate, add 1 cup each of baking soda and Epsom salts, and soak for 15 minutes. The baking soda and salts will boost your circulation and balance your skin’s pH, inducing an allover glow.
13 Sip Wine. After drinking a glass or two of wine, you may feel more youthful and daring. But that’s not why experts recommend sipping your favorite Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon. Antioxidants in white and red wine maintain the elasticity of your arteries by reducing plaque buildup. Flexible arteries can dilate (expand) easily, ensuring good circulation in your skin and helping prevent wrinkles from forming, according to Michael Roizen, M.D., an internist and author of The RealAge Diet (Harper Collins, 2001). In fact, just one glass of wine promotes immediate vasodilation, bringing a rosy (but temporary) flush to your cheeks.
14 Have Sex. Post-coital glow isn’t just a state of mind–it’s visible in your face. “Making love is like the fountain of youth,” says Laura Corn, author of several sex book