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Aging is weird. It happens in fits and starts. You go along for weeks or months, looking pretty good, feeling kind of fabulous about yourself and - boom! - one day you wake up and something has gone terribly awry with your knees. “They don’t even look like actual knees anymore, more like small, overripe cantaloupes” you whine to yourself. Or you catch sight of your arms in a picture from that wedding you went to. You thought you looked so great as you walked out the door, and it turns out you left wearing your grandmother’s upper arms.

You can exercise until you can bench press a Smart Car, you can subsist on wheatgrass and pumpkin seeds, you can even get an assist from your favorite plastic surgeon, but you cannot stop the cruel and inexorable march of time.

What you can do is relax a little and make the best of what you’ve got. Here are my five favorite beauty and fashion finds that make putting myself together less traumatic and a little more fun.

  1. Hair - Soft, shiny, well-styled hair that moves naturally is one key to belying your years. No matter what the length of your do, sprays, mousse, and styling gels can leave hair dry, brittle and unmoving, a hallmark of aging hair. My favorite product for maintaining youthful locks is in my kitchen. Every few weeks, I give myself a hot oil treatment with extra virgin olive oil. My dry frizz is transformed into lustrous locks in just a half hour. Livestrong.comhas step-by-step instructions on how you can turn this kitchen staple into a fabulous beauty find.
  2. Tretinoin and sunscreen - My friend, Dr. Susan Baskin practices aesthetic medicine, and she is a living advertisement for her profession. Every person in her office, including the good doctor, has gorgeous, glowing skin. According to Susan, two things make this possible, the consistent and long-term use of sunscreen and the prescription medication Tretinoin (the generic name for drugs like Retin-A and Renova). Since I’ve started keeping my face slathered in sunscreen on even the rainiest days and faithfully applying Tretinoin morning and night, my skin has become much smoother, the pores are smaller and the fine lines have virtually disappeared. I still have noticeable laugh lines – OK, crows feet for the haters out there – and my jaw line is starting to go, but overall my skin looks darn good.
  3. Mascara - As a natural, though currently color-assisted, blond with light blue eyes, I look like a lab rat without mascara. When I leave the house without eye makeup, people ask me if I am unwell or in need of a nap. Unfortunately, to this challenging physical combination, I must also cope with very deep-set eyes. This, friends, creates an eye-makeup disaster just waiting to happen. Virtually every brand of mascara I’ve tried has ended up in wide rings under my eyes, making me look like a fashion-forward raccoon or a sleep deprived drug addict. Imagine my delight when I discovered Blinc Mascara, sent to me one month last summer in my Birchbox sample box. Blinc doesn’t coat your lashes; it puts tiny little tubes of color on each lash. (Don’t ask how; just trust me on this.) It stays put perfectly, with no flaking or peeling, until you gently coax it off with warm water and a washcloth. Blinc mascara is a product heaven-sent for aging contact lens wearers. Like me!
  4. Scent - For more than 30 years, I’ve worn the same scent, a light, floral that reminds me of spring flowers and sunshine. I don’t feel fully dressed without it. A beautiful scent can be evocative and uplifting or mysterious and beguiling. Whether you’re a scent loyalist like I am or an adventurous spirit who matches her scent to her mood, a light spray of eau de toilette or a dab of perfume at your pulse points, can take your day from OK to oooh la la!
  5. Boots - If you’re anything like me, aging has done a number on your feet. Mine used to be adorable: tiny, plump and, truth be told, kind of perfect. Now they are not only significantly less lovely, my feet hurt. All the damn time. It’s hard to feel pretty when your dogs are barking. Pregnancy and distance running have expanded my tootsies from a delicate size 5 ½ to a battered size 7. The search for beautiful, yet comfortable shoes, for which I have a true addiction, is ongoing and, for the most part, futile. My solution? Boots. I have five pairs of cowboy boots that are extraordinarily comfortable, sassy, and look amazing with jeans and short dresses. For dressier occasions, especially in Maine winters, I have beautiful black suede knee high boots with pointed toes, a graceful heel, and most important, a deeply padded foot bed. They’ll take me through all but the dressiest of occasions.

These are my best beauty secrets, ones that I’m happy to share. If you want to tell me yours, I’ll be forever in your debt!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1441279618 chantal young

    I’ve got the Blinc mascara buzz going on – loved it at the beach all summer! Now I need to get my hands on that tretinoin and I’m ready to to go Karu! Thanks for the great post. You do look amazing everytime I see you and now I know how.

    • candacekaru

      I wish I had started the sunscreen and tretinoin when I was your age, Chantal. My greatest beauty secret however are the amazing people in my life, people like you. You and Tyler are keeping Maine chic. My fashion heroines!

  • Colette

    I’m really just a kid (57 in June) but I am very happy to hear about these beauty secrets. 4 out of 5 of these I have down. I learned a year ago about Castor Oil….I put it on my face when I get in the shower, when I’m done I take a clean wash cloth and steam it off. That’s it. No moisturizer or anything. Small pores and less lines. And CHEAP!
    I’m very happy to hear about the Cowboy Boots! Living in Santa Fe, NM for 15 years, It’s the only thing I have anymore.
    One more thing, BE YOURSELF! Don’t let your age change who you are. I got my nose pierced in July. Because I always wanted to. I’m going to get a small , white gold , tanzanite jewel for it next month. Don’t let anyone tell you your too old to do something you love.

    • candacekaru

      Right on, Colette! I totally agree that feeling good in your own skin is the best beauty tip ever. PS I love the castor oil idea!

  • OBob

    Candace, I’m not one to pay attention to beauty tips, but whatever you’re doing, keep on doing it! You’re fabulous!

    • candacekaru

      You don’t need beauty tips, Bob. Your inner beauty is dazzling

  • http://www.theprofessionalpalate.com Regan @The Professional Palate

    first of all, the whole eye debacle of “you need a nap or are you feeling well?” sans mascara is me, me, me… and i know i am a threat to overcompensate with extra eye be-dazzling b/c of it (i blame some of that on my southern roots… we simply get away with more make up down here than we should). can’t wait to try out this new mascara

    but this whole retin-a thing has my curiosity peaked. i’ve never used it and thought it was only for acne? so i’m assuming that a prescription only product, no? i’m debating over finding a dermatologist anyway…. i’ve got this massive exodus of my brown locks that neither my family doc nor my gyn can point to a cause… next step, have a dermo look at my scalp? if she can’t find anything, maybe i can twist her arm into serving up some Tretinoin.

    as always, amazingly helpful info my friend.

    • candacekaru

      Regan, I’m eager to hear how you like Blinc mascara. It has totally revolutionized my eye makeup routine. As for Tretinoin, yes, it definitely require a prescription.