Aging, no matter which number you’re edging toward, is uncharted territory with new milestones, new hair colors, and new skin-care needs to consider—but why does all the change have to be something to fear?
“Because we are living in a time and society that rejects the idea [of accepting that we age] and only values youth,” says Caroline de Maigret, co-author of Older, But Better, But Older, the follow-up to the bestselling How to be Parisian Wherever You Are from Doubleday Books that offers savvy advice on life, love, and more from a fabulously French, mature woman’s perspective.
Instead of fearing maturity and trying to run from it (because, spoiler: you can’t), de Maigret has made her age something she fully owns—and she advises you do the same. “To quote Shakespeare, ‘What cannot be eschewed must be embraced,’” de Maigret says. “This does not mean that aging is an absolute pleasure (it’s not, and that’s not the point of our book).”
“To quote Shakespeare, ‘What cannot be eschewed must be embraced.’”
There’s no sugar-coating it—sometimes getting older can be a downer, but it’s how you approach the changes that makes the journey more enjoyable. “Over time, I got to know my body, my desires, and what brings me pleasure,” de Maigret says. “Shakespeare was right: Embrace everything, and especially yourself.”
De Maigret uses Older, But Better, But Older to divulge all the life secrets that helped her along her journey, and she’s sharing five of her healthy aging tips here so you can age like a French woman, too (since French women are the embodiment of all things cool, of course).
Keep scrolling for 5 healthy aging tips for maturing in the most French way possible.
1. Do things you might not usually do
Creating new experiences is what maturing is all about—so lean into it. “With new experiences comes more knowledge and adventure,” de Maigret says. So if you’re presented with a new opportunity—even if it’s something you might not usually partake in—don’t count yourself out before you’ve given it a shot. It could turn out to be your new favorite hobby, and you’re never too old for more of those.
2. Edit your makeup bag
While you might have skated by wearing the same foundation for the past decade or so, you’ll want to keep an eye out for when your complexion starts asking for a product update.
“As your face changes, your make up habits change too,” de Maigret says. “For example, powder has a tendency to fix itself in lines, so it’s better to avoid it. Also, learn to vary your makeup according to the seasons. When winter is coming, a little bit of highlighter is your best friend [for] bringing more light to your face.” Once you notice what works versus what doesn’t, your new routine will full on flourish.
3. Make decisions that make you happy
Will spending a day in the sun lead to more wrinkles? Maybe. Does that mean you should stay cooped up inside whenever it’s sunny out? Definitely not, de Maigret says. Part of aging gracefully is learning to make decisions based on positive emotions rather than aesthetics.
“Sadly, a lot of the things we love also have an impact on our looks: basking in the sun, eating cheese, drinking wine, partying late,” de Maigret says. “But each smile reveals one’s wrinkles. You have to make a decision to keep living and to allow yourself to do things that make you happy.”
4. Maintain some mystery
According to de Maigret, the French woman embodies the idea of effortlessness (#truth), which means embracing an air of mystery. “Even though secretly we go to great lengths to make sure we age well, on the surface, we don’t want those efforts to be apparent,” de Maigret says.
Real-life application: Try to refrain from posting everything on social media. When you’re at happy hour with your girls or are logging some miles around your neighborhood, just soak it all in for yourself—and let your followers wonder about all the too-cool-for-Instagram things you’re up to.
5. Define what age means to you
The next time someone tells you to act your age, this is your permission to politely decline. “The age we feel is in our soul and in our heart, not just a number that ticks upward at every birthday like the odometer of a car,” de Maigret says.
So, it’s on you to determine how old you want to feel as you approach those used-to-be-intimidating birthdays. “In the end, it’s up to you to decide your age,” de Maigret says.