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We live in a society where youth is valued — and in which women, in particular, are expected to look as young as possible for as long as possible. Say that your self-confidence is undermined by your crow's feet, your wrinkled neck, or your southward-heading cleavages, and everyone will understand. Numerous cosmetic and surgical treatments cater to those who want to look younger than they are. 

What if you actually want to look older, though, either older than you are or just look your age? You'll be raising some eyebrows. As someone who was asked, by a door-to-door salesman, whether my "mom and dad were home" when I was 25 and very much living on my own, I get it though. Even now, when I am at an age where it is no longer polite to ask how old I am, people still frequently express surprise when they find out my real age.

No — looking younger than you are is most certainly not always a good thing! Looking like a teenager can very much affect how you are perceived. In a professional career, your customers and co-workers can easily see you as far less competent and experienced than you are when you look much younger. Getting carded when you attempt to buy alcohol is also, let's face it, downright humiliating after a certain point in your life. 

What can you do to look older and more professional?

Dress The Part

Even if you are in a line of work in which wearing jeans, sneakers and t-shirts is perfectly acceptable, dressing up rather than down instantly creates a professional impression. Darker colors such as indigo, black, grey, brown, and dark purples, reds, and greens make you look slightly older. Wearing professional-looking pumps with a slight heal as well as a button-down shirt and a few carefully chosen but fairly conservative pieces of jewelry can help you out as well. If you wear contact lenses, try whether a nice pair of glasses make you look older as well.

Your Hair: A Powerful Weapon

Your hair plays a huge part in the overall impression to give other people. Unfortunately, there is not one single hairstyle that is guaranteed to make people with "baby faces" look closer to their real age, so you will have to experiment a little. For some, strict and professional updos will do the trick. Others are better off with strict-looking bobs. Bangs make some people look older while making others look younger. 

My suggestion to you is to download one of the many apps in which you can experiment with hairstyles without actually going to the hairdresser first, and to see which hairstyle looks most professional on you. 

Makeup

Makeup can go a long way towards making you look the way you want to, if you apply it well. Darker colors, applied in a more conservative manner, can certainly put a few years on you. Search YouTube for some awesome tutorials. 

Don't Forget...

Don't forget that it isn't just the way you look that leads people to make conclusions about your age: oozing quiet yet impressive self-confidence can do a lot to help you. If you speak in an authoritative manner, addressing people as your equals, you come across as older. Smiling less can also add years to your face at any given moment in time.

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