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How to make yourself look older in easy steps

Some of you might be wondering ‘why on earth would someone want to make themselves look older?’, and while that may come as an understandable reaction in some cases, in other times, looking older than you actually are can also be seen as helpful. As someone who’s always looked younger than my age—be that because of my ‘good’ genes or simply because of my obsession with childish accessories—I have tried many times to alter my makeup routine in order to look older.

Unfortunately, when you’re a woman, looking older can help you seem wiser and, dare I say, more professional. As most of you know, the persistent gender wage gap, the lack of top female executives, and the dearth of mentorship present unique challenges for women. We live in a society that worships youth, and yet sometimes, looking older (or should I say more ‘mature’) can really pay off in professional settings—or if you’re underage and trying to get into a club, no judgement here.

From the way you dress and speak to your posture, here are some tips on how to make yourself look older.

1. No more upspeaking

As Nylon explains, “Young women often end their sentences with a higher tone of voice, as if they are asking a question.” This is called upspeaking, and according to a survey, it can put you at risk of looking insecure or less credible. If you find yourself doing this, read aloud to yourself to start breaking the habit.

2. Fix up your posture

Slumping shows zero confidence, and on top of that, it will really mess you up when you actually are older! But don’t look like a toy soldier either. Keep your back straight but stay relaxed—you’ve got this.

3. Lower your voice

A study found that people prefer lower-pitched voices in both men and women. “Overall,” the authors note, “the influence of voice pitch on perceptions of leadership capacity is largely consistent across different domains of leadership.”

This doesn’t mean that you should walk around trying to talk like Vin Diesel—just that you should speak with authority.

4. Find a good tailor and wear monochrome

Of course, this tip only applies to those of you who are trying to look more professional and authoritative in their workplaces. In other words, do not wear a suit if you’re planning on looking older to some bouncers outside a club.

5. A good coat always helps

I won’t lie, I’ve always been a big fan of fluffy pastel coats, however, they’re not the best thing to wear when you’re trying to look more mature. Instead, try going for more fitted shapes, longer if possible, and in dark colours such as navy, black, grey, dark green or camel.

6. Less is more when it comes to makeup

Try to wear makeup in a more subtle way—you want to do that thing where you’re wearing makeup but in a natural, you-still-look-like-you way. Then again, if you like wearing a lot of makeup, you should be able to do as you please!

7. One accessory only

As mentioned previously, I love accessories—from sparkly hair clips and studded earrings to chokers and golden pendants, you name it, I have it! But I’ve recently learned that picking only one accessory helps you look less childish (and less fun if you ask me).

8. Work on your handshake

My grandmother always told me that no one likes a weak handshake, but then again, the same can be said about an excessively strong one. Make sure you have a firm handshake without going full Hulk on people.

9. Look people in the eye

Making eye contact with people you want to impress is very important. Meeting someone’s eyes not only shows that you aren’t afraid but, over time, it also builds trust.

10. Keep up with the news

That’s just what adults do…

11. Don’t be afraid to smile

Christine Clapp, a public speaking expert at George Washington University, told Levo, “Smiling not only makes your voice more pleasant to listen to, it also conveys confidence. You will appear friendly, approachable, and composed.” Why not, huh?

12. Try wearing a bold shade of lipstick

Lipstick is really not for me and my tiny lips, but a 2013 poll by the British Heart Association showed that 26 per cent of women had felt like red lipstick boosted their confidence.

13. Be confident

Okay, this one sounds obvious, but believing in yourself can improve your composure in no time! Sometimes, you’ve just gotta fake it ’til you make it.

14. Avoid printed tees

As cute as they can be, t-shirts with logos, funny sayings and other patterns are a clear sign that you’re still young. This includes band t-shirts, brand names, and logos. If you want people to think you are older, skip the t-shirts altogether.

15. Throw your backpack away

I mean…duh, schoolboy!

16. Stand up for yourself, politely but firmly

If someone disrespects you, feel free to tell them to stop without throwing a complete tantrum. After all, part of maturity is commanding respect.

17. Improve your vocabulary

That doesn’t mean bragging a thoroughly unintelligible vocabulary, okay? No one really needs words that are ridiculously hard to pronounce or understand in any conversation, just cut out childish words and replace them with carefully chosen and clear ones.

Remember that these 17 steps are superficial pieces of advice that could potentially help you out. Don’t think that wearing bright colours and having a high-pitched voice makes you any less mature than you already are, or need to be for that matter.

‘Beautiful vaginas’ are on the rise and so is the vaginal beauty industry

The wellness industry is thriving, for better or for worse, and with it, various vaginal products are appearing on the market. While some products are used to ease menstrual pain or increase sexual healing through pleasure, others are sold purely for the purpose of ‘finessing’ our genitals. Why is this trend happening now and how much of a problem is it?

Of course, this is not the first time that women are being targeted with false and unnecessary health advice. Gwyneth Paltrow, also known as the mastermind behind GOOP, recommended vagina steaming in order to balance hormone levels and cleanse the uterus, which gynaecologists strongly advise against.

A few years ago a new trend appeared that advised women to peel a full cucumber and penetrate themselves with it—not for the purpose of pleasure, but to ‘reduce odour’ and add ‘moisture’. Health professionals were quick to point out that this practice can actually lead to a number of diseases. In other words, your vagina does not need a ‘cleanse’, and unless a medical professional examined you and told you otherwise, basic hygiene should be enough.

Vaginal Beauty Products

Recently, there has been a worrying increase in various products being sold for the purpose of ‘beautifying’ the genitalia. There are now serums, charcoal masks, various scented perfumes and even highlighters to make your beautiful vagina even more… well beautiful, and this market keeps on growing despite medical professionals’ disapproval of it. Not only are these products unnecessary, but they also promote a false idea that our genitals need to appear a certain way, which can create insecurities for women while also capitalising on them.

TWO L(I)PS is a skincare company dedicated entirely to the vulva, which specialises in selling products such as activated charcoal masks for $28 and brightening serums for $150. While all products are dermatologically tested, their necessity should be put under question. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good charcoal mask, but only for my face—never have I considered applying one to my vulva.

The charcoal masks are said to “soothe, detoxify, brighten and moisturize the vulva,” and were in fact so popular that the company sold out of them two months after their initial launch (they are now back in stock). One of the brand’s serums, priced at $120, is made out of the skin whitening agent Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-36, and comes with the instruction to apply SPF 30 sunscreen the following days. Make your own judgement, but it sounds quite concerning to me that sunscreen would be needed in that area after using a serum.

Another company, The Perfect V, explains on its website that its products are “always for beauty’s sake. It is pure, indulgent pampering and love for your ‘V’. It is a multi-tasking luxury skincare formulated to rejuvenate, enhance and beautify the ‘V’.” Notice how the company never refers to the vulva or vagina by its name—instead, it is just the ‘V’, and if you buy their products, you can beautify your ‘V’ to become the perfect ‘V’!

It is certainly confusing that a company created by adults for adults won’t refer to genitalia by its real name, and should be taken as a warning sign. Perhaps it comes from the stigma surrounding women’s genitalia, but this only makes it all the more ironic that a brand entirely dedicated to selling products for our vulvas can’t even acknowledge that it is in fact called a vulva.

Among the products being sold by The Perfect V, which all claim to be both dermatologically and gynaecologically tested, there is a special $43 highlighting cream that promises to ‘illuminate’ your vulva and make it shimmer. This product can be compared to a highlighter you may apply to your face during your make up routine, only, in this case, it is meant for your vulva.

Everyone should be free to do whatever they want with their own bodies, so if you want to illuminate your vulva, please feel free to do so. My aim isn’t to judge customers, but more to highlight a bigger problem: the stigmatisation of the appearance of female genitalia. This is an increasing issue, and cosmetic surgeries, such as labiaplasty, have seen a 400 per cent increase in the last 15 years.

The stigma doesn’t just stop at the appearance of the vulva itself—it also touches upon other aspects, such as the vagina’s natural scent, its moisture or lack of such, or its pubic hair. One of The Perfect V’s best selling products is a beauty mist described as both “a natural skin conditioner and deodorizer,” that supposedly moisturises your skin and leaves your vulva smelling of roses. Another company called V Magic sells lipstick for your vagina, which supposedly moisturises and deodorises your vagina, too.

Similarly, the ‘Clit Spritz’ is a product sold by The Tonic, a wellness company specialising in CBD products. The ‘Clit Spritz’ is described as a “sexily-silky, gorgeously-scented oil designed to stimulate, lubricate and rejuvenate your lady bits.” Using the expression ‘lady bits’ once again stigmatises genitals. It is important to note that the company is selling the ‘Clit Spritz’ as a lubricant—a product that is both necessary and great—but the product’s description is vague and implies that your clitoris needs a ‘gorgeous scent’, which it doesn’t.

Not only are some of these products beyond ridiculous, but many medical professionals advise against applying and using them as they can affect a healthy PH balance and lead to infection. Vaginas can naturally clean and moisturise themselves, so unless your doctor told you to use a specific product, you don’t need one.

That is not to say all products are useless—the company Fur, for example, sells a concentrate to help eradicate ingrown hairs while soothing irritation. Many wellness companies do focus on creating products that help, while others focus on beautifying your genitals. It is up to you to decide which product suits you best, but perhaps try to do some research on each product before buying any.