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Birthdays happen, but looking older is optional. Here's how to take years off-without keeping your hands in your pockets.

What's Giving Away Your Age?

Your Hair

Here you're contending with not one but three aging factors: time, chemicals (from dyes and highlights), and the environment (yep, it does damage in this area too). "A 25-year-old can have 50-year-old hair-and vice versa, depending on the level of exposure to these elements," explains Atlanta stylist Gary Travis.

Good Housekeeping Magazine AGE GIVEAWAY For every cause of aging hair, there's a different manifestation. Dryness-in the form of messy frizz and loss of shine-is public enemy number one. Damage or age is to blame if your hair used to look good but is now thinning or dull or has a dishwater color.

REVERSE THE CLOCK Hair isn't alive, it's dead-but so is a cashmere sweater, and it will still look better if you care for it. Older hair is thirsty, says Travis, so first and foremost, you need to give it moisture-but not the kind you find in the shower, which is drying. (It sounds counterintuitive, but the less often you wet your hair, the healthier it will be.) Instead, after every shampoo, use a protein- or antioxidant-rich conditioner or treatment to strengthen and protect and to restore shine. To try: Nexxus Y Serum.

If you color your hair, try touching up just the new growth rather than recoloring (read: damaging) your whole mane. It's also important to soften your color as you get older, says colorist Louise Galvin, who's based in London, England: "The same tone that looked good when you were younger can seem too harsh as you mature." Your cut can also make a difference: Ask for one with movement, then keep ends trimmed and go easy on ultrahold products-a stiff, super-coiffed look always adds years.

Your Hands

They take a daily beating, says Dr. Downie. The culprits: everything from harsh soaps and shuffling papers at the office (both suck out skin's moisture) to the UV dryer at the nail salon (which-who knew?-contributes to those dreaded age spots).

Good Housekeeping Magazine AGE GIVEAWAY As you get older, hands look bonier and veins become more visible-both the result of reduced collagen production. Sun spots from years of exposure become more pronounced.

REVERSE THE CLOCK You don't have to wear gloves, but you do need to protect your hands with sunscreen-just as you'd apply hand cream. Exfoliate regularly to improve circulation and texture, and moisturize 24-7. For paper-thin skin that really shows the veins, ask a doctor about laser therapy to help the overall appearance of your hands. Restylane injections will work faster (plumping up the backs of your hands) but are more costly and can be painful.

Brush Up on Beauty

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