What’s Giving Away Your Age?

Women freak at the first sign of laugh lines or freckles that don’t fade, but your face isn’t the only place where telltale signs of aging take place. Find out what could be giving away the number of candles on your birthday cake -- and what you can do to stop them.

Get it off your chest

If your wardrobe isn’t made exclusively of turtlenecks, your neckline and bust are exposed to just as much sun as your face. For that reason, wrinkles and age spots show up here just as commonly, says Dr. Babar Rao, dermatologist at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J.

To make matters worse, we don’t take the same precautions with our neckline as we do with our complexion, he says. The result: loose, wrinkly and leathery skin. To keep your neck and chest supple and blemish-free, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to your neck and chest daily.

Investing in a few more turtlenecks couldn’t hurt, either. Rao says sunscreen is just the first step in sun protection; seek shade or cover up with clothes when possible. He also recommends using the same anti-aging regimen on your bustline as you do on your face. Moisturize in the morning and apply wrinkle reducers like retinol at night.

Lend a hand

Having a hard time guessing someone’s age? Take a quick peek at their hands. According to Rao, the skin on our hands is thin to begin with. As we age, it loses pigment and collagen, which makes wrinkles more pronounced and skin look looser. Not only are hands exposed to the elements 24-7; hand-washing can suck the moisture right out of them. To counteract this effect, apply hand lotion every time you wash your hands. And, just as with your face and neck, always apply sunscreen to the back of your hands whenever you’re outdoors.

Whiten up

A smile should be one of our most alluring features -- don’t let discolored teeth or receding gums detract from it. Decades of eating, drinking and skipping out on dentist visits can take a toll on pearly whites -- leaving them yellow or gray.

According to Dr. Louis Dipede, dentist and assistant professor of prosthodontics at New Jersey Dental School in Newark, N.J., maintaining a youthful smile is as easy as keeping up with good oral hygiene. “The color change is often due to deposits on the tooth, like tartar and plaque,” he says. Brushing, flossing and getting regular professional cleanings can help polish away yucky yellow deposits. Also, invest in an enamel-protecting toothpaste, which kills acid-forming bacteria, remineralizes teeth to rebuild enamel and forms a protective layer over the teeth to fend off new stains.

To restore some of that youthful white luster, try teeth-whitening products, which work well on yellow or brown teeth, says Dipede. The key to good results, he says, is consistency. Use a daily whitening product for at least two weeks, he says. This is how long it takes to break up and dissolve tooth stains. Though you may experience tooth sensitivity, this side effect is usually temporary, says Dipede.

Flash a youthful grin

To keep your gums from going the way of your hairline, be sure to brush and floss regularly. When plaque doesn’t get lifted from the teeth, it can irritate the gums and cause inflammation, known as gingivitis, in as little as two weeks. Let it go longer than that, and the inflammation can spread deep into the gums and jawbone, leading to receding gums. “And that can’t be repaired,” says Dipede.

To protect your gums while brushing, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush very lightly in a circular motion for two minutes. Even still, says Dipede, “You’re bound to miss a spot while brushing, and if tartar accumulates, you won’t be able to remove it from the nooks and crannies.” That’s why he says you should never skip out on seeing your dentist.

Lip Colors That Brighten Your Teeth

Teeth whitening at home is simple enough. But when you're on the go this season, the right lipstick can make your smile look instantly brighter. Here's how to find a shade that works wonders.

Lip Colors That Whiten
“Any color that creates contrast will make your smile pop,” explains Sonia Kashuk, makeup artist and founder of Sonia Kashuk Beauty. A bold, cool-toned lip color is perfect for maximum whitening, says Kashuk.

Reds, berries or hot-pink shades with blue undertones are also good options: They’ll make your smile look brighter and more youthful.

Lip Colors to Avoid
Believe it or not, the wrong lip color can actually make your teeth look yellower. “It's the yellow- and orange-based colors that can accent the negative so teeth don’t look white,” says celebrity makeup artist Julie Hewett. Another type to steer clear of: Lip colors that look muddy. They tend to make teeth look more yellow, says Kashuk.

How can you tell if a lip color is cool-toned or warm-toned? Remember that cool-toned shades are blue-based, while warm-toned hues are a bit more brown-based. “If the color resembles strawberries or raspberries, it's a blue-based color,” explains Hewett. “If it resembles a pumpkin, then it's more yellow-based.”

Find the Right Lipstick Now
Ready to make over your smile? Try one of these shades to make your pearly whites look even whiter now: 

  • Topshop Matte Finish Moisturizing Lipstick in All About Me, $15 at Topshop.com

  • Sonia Kashuk Ultra Luxe Lip Gloss in Ravishing Rose, $9 at Target.com

  • Hard Candy All Glossed Up Hydrating Lip Stain in Love Bite, $5 at Walmart.com

  • Girlactik Beauty Pout Shine in Stunning, a sheer berry with gold sparkles, $19 at Girlactik.com

  • Becca Ultimate Colour Gloss in Flamingo Crush Deep Fuchsia, $24 at BeccaCosmetics.com

  • Sonia Kashuk Undetectable Crème Bronzer, $10.99 at Target.com
Go forth and be beautiful!

Instant Confidence Boosters

A bad hair day, a wobble on stilettos or a sudden onset of the sweats can send confidence levels south. And it can be worse when those snafus happen during an important meeting or a hot date. We corralled a bunch of experts -- from doctors to stylists -- for their quick tips on tackling seven esteem sinkers.

1. Walk Tall
You've got the perfect shoes to go with that dress -- now you just have to walk in them. If you're feeling less than steady on heels, you can achieve proper balance through visualization, says Elisabeth Halfpapp, co-founder of the Exhale wellness centers across the country.

Practice first in bare feet. Stand tall and line the middle of your ears over your shoulders, keeping your chin parallel to the floor. Shoulder should be in line with hips. Keep hips over the knees and the knees over the ankle. Allow your tail to drop -- no tucking! And avoid pitching your body forward. Keeping your chin parallel to the floor, begin walking on the balls of your feet. “Place one foot in front of the other in a parallel stance, similar to a runway model, which can help keep balance,” says Halfpapp.

2. Hair Rx
If your do is having an off day, fake it, suggests Gina Pieper, artistic director of the Empire Education Group, a network of cosmetology educational centers. For instant style, add a clip-on hairpiece. For instant modern style, pick up a braided headband. Sweep hair into a loose pony and tease at the crown for a bit of volume. Pull the bottom of the headband behind ears for a more natural look, says Pieper. You can also try clip-on bangs or a long, sexy pony for a fast fix and a new look. Just make sure to match the pieces perfectly with your hair color.

3. Get a Leg up
These days, daring to bare -- your legs -- is a fashion do. But what can you do if your gams aren’t as glam as you’d like? Camouflage uneven skin tone and disguise bumps by applying a blend of your foundation and daily moisturizer, says Pieper. Start with 1/3 part makeup, 2/3 parts moisturizer. Play with the ratio to get the perfect coverage for you. "For visible veins or scars, concealer works miracles,” she says. Just beware that your legs may be a different shade than your face; check the applications in natural light.

4. Wake up
Feeling beat? Fake bright eyes with an application of a light-reflecting concealer one shade lighter than the skin tone, recommends Achelle Dunaway, veteran makeup artist and product developer. "This will create an illuminating effect to wake up eyes,” she says. Another option: Apply white eyeliner to the corners.

5. Stay Dry
Never let them see you sweat: "The ingredients that keep underarms dry have the same effect to the parts of the face that have the most glands,” says celebrity makeup artist Joanna Schlip. Slick a thin layer of clear, unscented deodorant across along your hairline and upper lip -- where makeup tends to melt. Follow with your favorite matte makeup look.

6. Banish Bad Breath
The result of excess bacteria in the mouth, bad breath can be the cause of many factors, including dry mouth. Pop some sugar-free candy or gum to keep the juices flowing and keep dryness at bay. “Always brush twice a day, floss daily and use an oral rinse to help kill odor-causing bacteria," say Dr. Elisa Mello of NYC Smile Design, a cosmetic dental practice. Try a teeth whitener or toothpaste with whitener so you're never worried about your smile.

7. Get Rid of Redness
Excitement, hot temperatures and drinking alcohol can all trigger a flushed face. If redness appears before a special event, Dunaway suggests washing with a gentle cleanser the night before, using your hands instead of a washcloth, which can be an exfoliator. On the big day, apply a green-based concealer to spot-cover any red areas. (Green neutralizes red for a more natural look.) To calm skin, you can also place your foundation in the freezer a few minutes before applying.

How to Look Gorgeous in Metallic Makeup

Silver bells, five golden rings and snow that sparkles like diamonds give us reason to celebrate this season. Extend the festive color flair to your makeup with heavy metals. Sometimes, metallic makeup can be a bit too icy snow globe instead of shiny party queen, so we got top makeup artists to give their insider tips to looking more shining star than disco ball.

Gilded Eyes

Take an unexpected twist on the smoky eye by choosing a gorgeous copper metallic shadow. Keep it tame (and age appropriate) by choosing finely milled, shimmered shadows instead of chunky glitter formulations.

  • Prep Step: A strong base will protect your end results. Prime the eye area with a wash of concealer over the lid, says celebrity makeup artist Napoleon Perdis, who has worked with Debra Messing and Leighton Meester. This gives shadow a stay-put anchor and ensures an even color finish.
  • Add Dimension: “Trace a brown liner along the rim of your eyes,” says Perdis. Dab the color slightly in the outer corner of the upper lid, then press a loose metallic copper powder shadow over the entire lid and into the outer lower lash line for drama.
  • Last Step: Pair it with a soft pink gloss for a glam-rock look that is powerful yet pretty. Or go neutral; it keeps the focus on your eyes.

Shimmering and Smoky
A metallic gunmetal gray is a soft alternative to a heavy-handed smoky eye. The shimmering color also imparts a similar sparkle as silver shadow. And this heavy-metal shade packs the same punch, without the risk of looking like a dolled-up tween.

  • Prep Step: Flawless skin is the best complement to highlighted eyes. Blend a tinted moisturizer sans luminescence over skin to even redness and cover any spots or blemishes.
  • Layer on Color: Using a black pencil, line along the top and bottom lashes and smudge. Sweep a gunmetal-gray shadow across the entire lid, says Perdis. Then, lightly work the same shade under the lower lash line for a soft, smoky effect. For easy blending, try a cream-to-powder formulation and apply with your fingers. Accent the inner corners with a dab of a white-silver metallic shadow.
  • Last Step: Nude lips in a creamy formulation are the perfect pairing to this cool, gray metallic eye. For a more dramatic effect, line lips with a pop of bright red lipstick.

Gold Fingers
Metal mania has hit the nail salon too. And with sparkle-infused lacquers, you can embrace the trend day or night. Gold, bronze and silver shades are the hot new neutral, go-with-anything polish. But it doesn't end there: All colors -- from aubergine to chrome -- can work in a glittering finish.

  • Prep Step: Keep nails short and squoval (a rounded-edge square). Longer lengths can look garish.
  • Slick On: For the most even finish and best burst of color, apply a base coat before painting nails. Don't feel like you need to invest in metallic lacquers, says celebrity manicurist Roseann Singleton, who has worked with Jennifer Lopez and Brooke Shields. Instead, grab a clear topcoat and transform any color you have into a chic glittering shade.
  • Make It Last: A few days after your mani, apply an extra layer of topcoat to extend the life of your manicure and keep it shimmering as long as possible.

Trim Pounds With Your Pet

Freelance writer Peggy Frezon spends most of her waking hours sitting in front of her computer. And so does her dog, Kelly. While working long hours on deadline, Frezon used to take breaks to eat snacks. “And since Kelly was my little shadow, my lifestyle became her lifestyle,” she says about her 10-year-old daschund-spaniel rescue.

The wakeup call came at a regular checkup at the vet’s. “My vet mentioned that Kelly was a little bit overweight, and she listed all the possible health risks that could occur: diabetes, heart problems, joint problems,” says Frezon. “Suddenly, I made the connection in my head: These are all the same problems my doctor told me I’d be facing at my last visit if I didn’t lose weight. My lifestyle was heading me to all these health issues, and now I was leading Kelly too.”

Today, Frezon is 41 pounds lighter, has lowered her cholesterol and no longer needs to take blood pressure pills. Her secret: a furry diet buddy.

Your Pet: An Exercise Machine on a Leash
Physician and obesity expert Dr. Robert Kushner confirms what Frezon realized: That overweight people with overweight dogs lose weight when they are encouraged to buddy up. His study included a group of overweight owners of obese dogs and a group of overweight people without pets. Turns out that the dog owners walked more frequently than non-owners.

“We found that dogs are even more compelling than a human buddy,” says Kushner, co-author of Fitness Unleashed: A Dog and Owners’ Guide to Losing Weight and Gaining Health Together. “A human buddy will call and say, ‘I can’t make it.’ A dog will never say that. A dog is an exercise machine on a leash.”

So it went with Frezon and Kelly too: Over the course of a year, they practiced portion control together, ate only healthy treats and stepped up their exercise. Kelly was even better than a personal coach, says Frezon. “When I wanted to cheat, I just had to look at her, and she would look back at me as if to say, ‘If I have to eat those carrots, you’d better eat them.’”

Today, Kelly is lighter by 6 pounds, which represents 15 percent of her weight. “Losing weight was something we had to do together,” says Frezon, who chronicled their weight loss journey in her book, Dieting With My Dog: One Busy Life, Two Full Figures … And Unconditional Love.

How to Lose Weight With Your Pet
If you and your pet both need to pare some pounds, here are four strategies the experts recommend you do together:

1.    Practice portion control. Almost everyone underestimates the amount they’re eating. And like us, our pets often belong to the “clean your plate” club. Stop eyeballing your servings and your pet’s. Invest in a good set of measuring cups and spoons. If your pet is only supposed to have 1 cup of dry food and 1 tablespoon of wet food, measure it out.

“I was giving Kelly two scoops of food a day and never measured the scoop,” says Frezon. “She was supposed to get 1/2-3/4 cups twice a day, but the scoop held 1 1/2 cups. I was doing the same thing myself with breakfast cereal. I was pouring cereal to the tippy top of the biggest bowl I had, which wasn’t the 3/4 cup serving on the package.”

2.    Add fruits and veggies to your diets.
Most dogs, like most people, enjoy some kind of fruits and vegetables (besides grass). “Our treats were things like baby carrots, bananas and apples,” says Frezon. “I got them for the dog, and then I started eating them myself.”

3.    Express love with activity.
“Reimagine treats as pleasant experiences,” suggests veterinary nutrition expert C.A. Tony Buffington, veterinarian and head of the Indoor Pet Initiative at the Ohio State University School of Veterinary Medicine. “You can give your dog a treat without giving it a snack. Interact with your dog in whatever way you both enjoy that doesn’t involve food: Teach it a trick, brush it, take it for a walk or throw a ball up the stairs.”

4.    Use the leash.
If both you and your pet have been couch companions for a while, start your exercise regime slowly, suggests Kushner. Using a pedometer, clock your total steps for three days in a row, add them all together and divide them by three. The average of the three is your baseline step count. Then, as you and your dog begin to walk together, add 10 percent to that step count the first week and continue adding 10 percent each week until you’re walking at least 40 minutes a day, five days a week. Experiment with intensity; vary brisk walking with strolling, even with jogging if you and your dog are up to it. And don’t stop once you both lose the weight!