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14 mistakes you're making that are causing you to look older than you really are

Emily DiNuzzo

The INSIDER Summary:

  • Putting time and effort into your appearance can make you look younger.
  • Looking your age is less about trying to be trendy and more about being comfortable and confident.

No matter how young or old you are, we can agree that we all want to look and feel our best. But there are a few mistakes that people are making every day that cause them to look older than they really are.

Some of these issues have quick fixes while others require long-term tips to make sure you look and feel great. Keep reading to see the 11 things that could be ageing you, and how to fix it.

You are holding onto old trends.

Janice Hurley, a professional image expert, has found that people have trouble letting go of past trends, which can seriously date their look.

'Believe it or not, men still wear pleated pants, and Tommy Bahama large patterned shirts and women hang on to those old polyester suits with the matching jackets and wide-legged pants,' Hurley told INSIDER.

Wearing these pieces can show that your style isn't current, but remember, 'fashions fade, style is eternal.' There are some classic pieces that you can rework or add to your updated wardrobe, just maybe skip cloning outfits from years past.

You are not thinking about your brand.

You don't have to live your entire life according to your personal brand, but dressing the part will help you match your look with your values and interests.

Instead of focusing on how to look your age or younger, pay attention to how your personality can shine through your clothes. Hurley has a great exercise that she has her clients do for this very purpose.

'I ask my clients to write down three adjectives in terms of how they want to be perceived,' she says. 'Then (they) look at every item of clothing after they try it on to see if that outfit creates that impression when worn.'

Being true to yourself will keep you feel confident, which will in turn make you look more youthful.

You wear clothes that don't fit.

Getting the right fit in everything from your bra to your shoes can transform your look. Sometimes the style of the clothes isn't the problem -- it's the way they fit.

'If (my clients) would understand that fit is more important than anything else they could rid their closet of clothes that no longer serve them,' Hurley says. Replacing old, worn, or ill-fitting clothing will take less effort than replacing everything you own.

You have bad posture.

How many times has your mum told you to sit up straight? Well, she is definitely onto something: How you hold yourself makes an impression on others and can have an impact on your health.

Holding yourself upright is a sign of confidence, according to Harvard professor Amy Cuddy. If you strike a Wonder Woman power pose and keep your head up, people won't be thinking about how old you are or what you're wearing.

You neglect your teeth.

Teeth naturally get yellow with age, but that's no excuse to give up on keeping them as white and clean as possible.

Sticking with the basics -- like flossing and regular brushing -- is just the beginning. Ask your dentist about the best ways and products to whiten your teeth. He or she might have different advice based on your dental history.

You don't watch what you eat and drink.

While it might not be groundbreaking to start eating healthy, research shows that it's actually the safest method to get youthful skin. Balancing your diet and getting in the right number of fruits and veggies is just as important as limiting foods that have been found to make you age faster.

This includes foods high in sugar, refined carbs, and trans fat. Alcohol is another big culprit on that list. This doesn't mean you have to cut everything out of your diet, but keeping an eye on how much and how often you indulge will only benefit your skin in the long run.

You wash your hair every day.

Washing your hair everyday strips it of it's natural oils and can cause excess breakage. Washing your hair less often will give it a chance to grow and get strong.

Juliette Dallas-Feeney, senior social media manager and beauty influencer at Birchbox, says that not washing your hair enough is a problem, too.

'If you don't wash your hair enough, it can do the same thing (as washing your hair too much) because of product buildup,' she told the New York Times. 'Your scalp can get yucky and gross.'

The recommended number of times you should wash your hair depends on your hair's texture. This is an easy way to determine how much washing your locks need.

You don't take care of your skin.

Your skin is another obvious indicator of your age. This doesn't just include wrinkles, but things like dry skin and tired eyes, which can both be avoided.

Reddit user Redhaired103 posted in /r/AskWomen that dark circles, pale skin, puffy eyes, and heavy makeup can also make you look older.

Make sure to gently exfoliate, moisturize, and treat your skin well by wearing sunscreen.

You wear the wrong makeup.

Finding the right shade and formula of makeup is key for a glowing youthful look. But your pigmentation can change depending on the season, so if you're wearing the same shade of foundation all year round, you're doing it wrong.

Committing this faux pas will not only look dated, but can result in you looking older than you are.

You're not drinking enough water.

Hydration is important to keep your skin looking great and if you aren't getting enough H2O, you are doing your body a disservice. One Daily Mail writer even claimed that drinking more water, as instructed by her doctor, took ten years off her looks.

Although her claim should be taken with a grain of salt, it is possible for hydration to affect your skin.

'If you get dehydrated, your body is going to pull water from your tissues, from your skin to maintain the concentration in your blood,' ABC News' chief health and medical editor, Dr. Richard Besser said. 'When it does that, your eyes are going to look sunken, your skin is going to feel dryer, it's not going to be as elastic and so you will look a lot older.'

Consider this just another excuse to take water cooler breaks at work. Make sure you're drinking the right amount of water for your body, too.

You skimp on regular activity.

The benefits of exercise go beyond your general wellbeing and your brain. Redbook reported that hitting the gym can improve blood flow and give you a healthy glow right after your workout. The long-term benefits of exercising include improving other things that make you look older, like your posture, Health reported.

You don't get enough sleep.

Beauty sleep isn't just a saying. HuffPost reported that sleeping could boost your 'youth hormone' which is produced during slow-wave sleep. A lack of this hormone, known as Human Growth Hormone (HGH), can lead to a slower metabolism, sagging skin, and reduced muscle mass, according to HuffPost. This is just another excuse to catch some more zs.

You don't protect your locks.

Damaged locks don't look good at any age. Celebrity hair colorist Meaghan Frayne of Angelo David Salon told INSIDER that shiny hair looks the most youthful, and you can keep yours that way.

'The worst thing any client can do to instantly 'age' their hair is heat(ed) styling without proper heat styling product protection,' she said. 'The structure of each hair strand literally begins to melt when exposed to temperatures more than 275 degrees.'

Frayne went as far as to compare hair protection with skin protection. She said that in the same way you treat your skin with SPF, you should treat your hair with heat protection products.

You need an attitude adjustment.

Quora user John Burginas said attitude can be a huge factor in how old you think someone is.

'Some people have positive or youthful attitudes, others worry incessantly,' he says. He also noted that attitude can affect a person's facial expression and attire, which both have an effect on the way you look.

Thiswriter for the blog Narcissista calls this being 'angry on the inside.' The blogger discussed two photos that were taken of her on the same day: One featured her naturally happy enjoying a margarita on vacation, while the other was taken shortly after getting into a fight with her husband. The only thing that changed between the photos was her attitude, and yet she looked younger and happier in the first photo.

It goes to show that what's on the inside can translate to what you look like on the outside.

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