Fashion-and-style expert Charla Krupp is not one to mince words. "Aging sucks," she declares in her bestselling new book, How Not to Look Old: Fast and Effortless Ways to Look 10 Years Younger, 10 Pounds Lighter, 10 Times Better (Springboard). There's no reason to look like an "OL," or old lady, in Krupp's parlance, when you can look Y & H younger and hipper, that is. "My whole focus is about the workplace," says Krupp. "It's not about getting a man, or holding on to your relationship. Of course, it spills over. But my focus is for the Boomer woman who is finding herself looking older than everybody else at work, and realizing that she's very vulnerable." Krupp knows her way around the beauty business: She was the beauty director at Glamour magazine and a senior editor at In Style; she's appeared on dozens of national TV shows, including the Today show (132 times!) and the Oprah show. The author is married to Richard Zoglin, a TIME senior editor. TIME's Andrea Sachs spoke with Krupp.
TIME: Aging sucks, but isn't it just reality?
CHARLA KRUPP: I don't think we have to accept it. I think we can fight like hell to do everything we can to look younger.
Are you talking about plastic surgery?
I really feel that plastic surgery is aging. My favorite quote in this whole book is from Isaac Mizrahi: "Do you want to look 70? Get a facelift." People think, I'll just go under the knife and I'll look younger. That's not the answer, because if you have a bad facelift and you look like you had a facelift and your skin is tight and you look like a frozen monkey, you're going to look old! You're going to look old enough to have a facelift, because young people don't look like that. So we have to find the perfect balance of doing something to get rid of our wrinkles and lines and sagginess but we can't go overboard, because it doesn't work that way.
What kinds of skin procedures can we do that are not surgical?
I think that we are so fortunate to be coming of age at a time when we can go to a dermatologist and get Botox, and can get the wrinkles in our forehead and the crow's feet to disappear in a week, 48 hours sometimes. We also have so many FDA-[approved] fillers right now, these injectables there's a new one coming out almost every single month. One of the things that happens as we age is that our faces get thinner and gaunter, and we lose fat. A thin face is an old face, so you want to keep it plump. So we can plump it up with these fillers.
To get rid of sun damage and unevenness we were a generation that sat in the sun with record albums covered with tin foil and baby oil we can get peels, and we can have laser work. All that is just so much easier and less abusive on your body than undergoing plastic surgery.
All of that is expensive, right?
Yes, it is. It costs a fortune. I think that you have to decide if that's the way you want to go. A lot of women do have a lot of money, and they can spend money on these things. If you can't, you're just going to have to make do with a really good skin-care system, and be diligent about your face, and maybe get Botox once a year, and not every three months. It's like hair color: Some people can afford to do it every three weeks; some people have to do it twice a year. It's whatever your budget will allow.
Hair is a big issue too, isn't it?
Yes, the older we get, the thinner our hair gets. So we have to do things to disguise a bare scalp from showing, because that's really aging. So there are haircuts that you can do, and there are bangs, and a lot of volumizing products that will make your hair seem thicker. If it's really serious, you can get a prescription from your doctor for Rogaine. And if it's super serious, you could get a hair transplant, but that's surgery. And the other thing that we really need to do is color our hair.
Do all women really need to color?
I think that most women will look younger with colored hair. Now, there's this big gray-hair movement. I understand and appreciate women who have silver hair, and I think that they can look amazing, but it's such a luxury to be able to go gray. Because it is an aging look, and it means that you don't care about people knowing your age. If you have to support yourself, if you're going back into the job market say your job was just eliminated, and you need to get back into the swing of things you're not going to do well with gray hair.
You write that even eyebrows can make you look old.
It's such an easy fix! To go get your eyebrows professionally plucked, even if you just do it once, is not a big deal. You can probably do it for $25 to $30 somewhere. It will make a difference, because the eyebrows can be an instant facelift. They really lift your face up. The thing that happens in so many [areas] from your eyes to your breasts to your mouth to your stomach is that everything starts hanging and heading south. [Laughs.] So the whole idea of looking younger is to pick everything up.