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Inner Beauty, Outer Dazzle

In pursuit of the perfect combination of serenity and sexiness

Inner And Outer Beauty


Balance your inner and outer beauty.

You've been working hard on your inner beauty, I can tell. What else could possibly explain your recent decade-long frenzy of juicing, meditation and yoga?

Hey, I applaud the prospect of developing self-awareness and self-acceptance — to say nothing of becoming a nicer, better person. But I also have to admit I've always suspected our looks matter even more once we turn 50. We want others to keep admiring, hiring and desiring us, right?

The trick is to balance your inner and outer beauty, not trade one for the other. Here's how.

Don't get snooty about physical beauty. 'Tis a noble goal to unblock your inner chakras, hone your focus and radiate compassion. At the same time, looking good outside keeps your social media connections hot and fires up your ego. So, in the interest of staying perpetually ready for that unpredictable FaceTime, Instagram or selfie moment, try to always look:

  • Groomed. Whiten your teeth, stay on top of your roots and fix your hair in the a.m.
  • Fit-ish. Never underestimate the power of daily crunches, Spanx and a great bra. Whether your personal style is tailored, casual or basic, indulge in a trendy-feeling haircut, a new shade of nail polish and killer shoes to stay up to date.

Look good to feel good — and vice versa. Volunteering at a homeless shelter or hospital gives us that ineffable "inner glow" — but then, so does smart skin care and a brisk daily 30-minute walk. There's no need to choose between the psychic and the physical, though: Multi-tasking products let you work both sides of the "beauty beat," with plenty of time left over for altruism and reflection. Two cost-efficient improvers are the bedtime treatments offered by the likes of L'Oréal and Olay, which feature a cocktail of vitamin C, Pro-Retinol, glycolic acid, niacinamide and hyaluronic acid. You can also try tinted eye creams — some bolstered by a broad-spectrum sunscreen — which offer to conceal, hydrate and protect the entire eye area, including lids.

Dress to express and impress. One woman's castaways are another woman's closet standards, but who could have predicted that consignment shopping would be the new humanitarianism? At least that's the promise of some organic, eco-friendly, fair-trade brands that have recently become available online. So devote some thought to your style profile:

  • Are you a cool modern minimalist like Robin Wright, Judi Dench or Jamie Lee Curtis? If so, simple, crisp shapes in neutral colors are for you: Everlane is known for perfectly tailored trousers and elegant loafers, Eileen Fisher for sophisticated but comfy tops and skirts, and Hackwith Design House for sleek, plus-size staples for work and the weekend.
  • Are you a trendy dresser who likes to push style boundaries like Viola Davis, Angela Bassett or Helen Mirren? In that case, colorful, patterned or form-fitted clothes from the likes of Heidi Merrick, Maiyet or pricey-but-oh-so-ethical Stella McCartney will help you stand out from the pack.
  • Are you laid-back but edgy like Lisa Bonet, Julianne Moore or Sharon Stone? Slouchy chic pants and skirts — to say nothing of silky, hippie-inspired tops — are available from, among many others, H&M Conscious collection, Svilu and Zady.

Hmm … saving the planet, your soul and your style? Now that's what I call multi-tasking!

For more beauty and style tips for women 50+, check out The Woman's Wakeup and AARP's new Beauty & Style digital magazine, which is available for tablet.

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