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November 5, 2007

Is Your Makeup Aging You?

Cakey foundation and glitter — get over it! Ning Chao learns insider tricks for looking forever young.

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Cindy Crawford 1990 (left), 2006 (right).

Cindy Crawford, 1990

Photo Credit: R. Platzer and J. Merritt/Getty Images

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My first glimpse of the inevitable came when I noticed my favorite shimmery blush creasing above my cheekbone. It was around my birthday (I had just turned 28) when the changes started: I soon began to see the freckles across my face as irreversible sun damage, the crinkles around my eyes as permanent — not just a side effect of smiling. I felt like Meg Ryan freaking out about turning 40 in When Harry Met Sally: "It's just sitting there like a big dead end," she cries. I know: I'm not even 30, but I already feel I'm going downhill.

I'm not alone, of course. Whether it's a new white hair or a brand-new wrinkle, the earliest signs of aging have a major impact on our self-confidence. "It's our biological wiring," says David Sarwer, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Human Appearance. "People want to look like they're viable romantic or sexual partners, and fertility is at its peak from the late teens to mid-20s." Extreme as it is to think of a late 20-something as being past her prime, there's every good reason to start tweaking one's makeup routine now, when it's less about fun experimentation (flaming-red lips for clubbing, sparkling cheeks for a date) and more a matter of correction and restoration. "Teenagers wear makeup to feel out their womanhood. When they're 13, they want to look 19," explains makeup artist Paul Starr, who works with both Lindsay Lohan and Michelle Pfeiffer. "But then one day things shift, and women want to look younger."


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