You may not give aging much thought—until someone says you look tired when you feel perfectly rested. As I approach my 40s, I notice that my face doesn’t always reflect my inner state—the faint lines, subtle age spots, and occasional under-eye puffiness make me look older than I feel. In those moments, I wonder about all the lotions and potions (and procedures) that promise to turn back the clock.
These musings took an interesting turn when I visited my 96-year-old grandmother a few weeks ago. I had brought her an antiaging moisturizer as a gift, and after reading the words on the box she asked earnestly, “This won’t make me look too young, will it?” I thought about the cream’s tantalizing promises: Take 10 years off now; look younger instantly. And I thought about what would happen if I actually erased 10 years. There would be no husband, no children, no writing career, no professional accolades— none of the experiences I’ve had that define who I am today. And I realized I didn’t really want my youth back.
But I didn’t want my puffy eyes or tired skin, either—so I stopped at a department store and picked up a few items that could calm my eyes and brighten my skin. As I’ve discovered, you don’t need to take drastic steps to keep your face looking young. There are dozens of products designed to target common age-related skin problems from crows’ feet to lackluster lips. Just pick what you need, and soon your mirror will reflect the youthful and energetic person inside.