My Age-Related Appearance Tune-Ups

From do-nothing devil-may-care to full-on Donatella Versace, what is the right level of age-related physical maintenance?

There is nothing more controversial within our crowd than what is and what is not acceptable in the realm of age-related physical maintenance. There are the extremes of do-nothing devil-may-care and full-on Donatella Versace. I go for a middle route, what Tom Ford would call “best in class.” That means, not trying to look 40 but just aiming for the best I can look at my age and keeping my goals modest.

I worked as a photographer for a number of years. Part of that job was the careful study of people’s faces. There are a few things I’ve noticed that seem to work well for everyone.

Here are my suggestions for looking sharp:

  1. A good haircut. In my personal case, because I am a man, this is rather cheap and simple. For ladies, it is understandably more involved. When thinking about this, color and style are whatever you feel suits you best. Locate a person who does it really well. Keep up with visits at a regular schedule to align the maintenance schedule with your chosen style. If you are going all natural a la Kiki Smith, maybe it’s every 3 months. If you are all about a smart urban polished look, maybe it’s more like every month. The important thing is to keep whatever your chosen look is on track. Yes, this is work, and it is an expense, so choose your look according to what you think you can maintain.
  2. Acceptably nice teeth. If you have been putting off dental work, maybe consider now a good time to take care of it. This also means keeping them reasonably white. I don’t advocate the LA-perfect blinding-arctic-white-veneer look — some diversity of dentition is interesting. Basic whitening strips ($20) combined with regular cleaning goes a long way. I see my dentist 2 times per year for cleanings, doing the whitening strips maybe every month or so. If I know I have a talk or TV appearance coming up, I’ll do the strips the night before.
  3. Even skin tone. My feeling is, way before thinking about injecting stuff into your face and lips, get your skin tone even. At about age 50, I started having my trusted dermatologist Dr. Adam Geyer freeze my spot keratosis (brown spots) with liquid nitrogen. This requires a very high skill level and he is the only person I allow to do it. Because: failure = permanent scarring. So beware. For me, it didn’t break the bank, and was highly effective for yearly touch ups. Now about every 3 years I have a round of BBL Laser.  It stings, but it works well. The recovery is only about 6 days, the first couple days of which you probably don’t want to be seen. The cost is around $500.
  4. Posture. If you are only going to do one thing, this is it. Fix how you stand and how you walk. We humans are wired to equate health with posture. If you have bad posture you probably have back pain, or will have soon. Working at a desk and computer all day for years will have a seriously detrimental effect, forward head and caved in chest being a couple of the common maladies. A good Pilates practitioner can work wonders, as can a good yoga instructor. I find yoga deadly boring, but not Pilates — maybe because it hurts, it seems ok. I take a mat class once a week and find it magical for my slumping. Cost is $18/wk.

Bonus point: A quick word on injectables. If you are going to do Botox, please just a tiny bit strategically placed. The frozen, locked look of all the real estate above the eyelids, popular among local TV news people, is freaky. And although we live in astonishing times, you don’t want to look constantly surprised, which is a byproduct of over-Botoxing. Keep some mobility and you will still look human.

Maybe I should do nothing, and just accept myself as I age. But I feel better about myself doing all of the above, and for me, that is what really matters. Now that you know what I do, let’s hear what, if anything, you are doing. No judgements, just curious.


  1. Man, you are right. This topic is fraught. In the past I had a variety of minor improvements, but I’ve stopped doing them. Too lazy, I think, although I hide behind a mantle of authentic aging. Thanks for the ideas. I might get motivated again.

    • Hi Lynne,
      The above is just what I do and what seems to work for me. It’s a touchy subject though, and one that is really all about personal choice. It starts to get really tricky though if one gets on the invasive treatment band wagon. I’m thinking next week I may write about my meeting with Ivo Pitanguy, the inventor of plastic surgery. Hint: he has removed all the mirrors in his house so he won’t be tempted to judge his appearance.

  2. Something you didn’t mention David is grey hair, especially grey facial hair on men. I think that clean-shaven is a younger look. Grey facial hair will age the look of man 5 to 10 years.
    Again, if you don’t care how old you look then don’t worry about it.
    IMO Just for Men is one of the better products if you want to go the coloring route since it doesn’t get rid of all the grey. It leaves a little grey for a more natural look. Something about a 70-some guy without a speck of grey hair that just does not look natural.

  3. fixing my smile at age 71 has given me a new lease on life! I don’t care what anyone says. No one’s gonna shame me for spending the money. A smile is very important and i’ve always made sure i have beautiful teeth.
    In addition, I stay very fit, have my skin worked on and always have cool hair. hahahahaha It makes ME happy!!! Now is not the time to deny myself the things that enhance my life and that are within my reach.

  4. There is NOTHING wrong with caring for yourself in the manner YOU see fit. Some people may go to extremes- yet part of aging is becoming less Judgemental, isn’t it?
    Self love and self care should be recognized in all stages of our lives.
    Good haircuts, teeth, skin, and body are all good things to address- don’t forget what’s within- critical to keep the outside humming.

  5. I agree that maintaining one’s hair and white teeth is key over 50, but the surprise on this list was posture, but of course you are SO RIGHT! I saw a woman at a distance, wearing a mask, and I thought she was 10 years older than I am, because she was slightly hunched as she hurried to the restaurant we were both going to. Turns out, it was my friend, whom I was meeting for lunch, and we are the same age. So, yes–posture!


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David Stewart
David is the founder and face of AGEIST. He is an expert on, and a passionate champion of the emerging global over-50 lifestyle. A dynamic speaker, he is available for panels, keynotes and informational talks at david@agei.st.


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