Cristina Carlino
Photo: Kay & Co. Photography
1. Our souls project our age.
I feel young when I've got my arms around Grace, my 9-year-old daughter. I feel old only when I am trying to look young. That inner light of happiness or that shadow of fear can age you up or down by decades. A woman who smiles often and shows enthusiasm for life projects youthfulness no matter what age she is.

2. Twenty is not the new 40.
There is no reason for women in their 20s to get antiaging injections! A browful of Botox or cheeks puffy with fillers just make young women appear older. Think of it as playing dress-up with your mother's clothes: It might have been fun, but it was never your look.

3. Change is both an end and a beginning.
Maybe you've lost your job or your man. Maybe your periods have started to skip. These events can make you feel and look much older than you are. As you go through life's transitions, build a cocoon for yourself and bring a journal. Most often a beautiful butterfly emerges if you use the time to rest, reflect, and re-create not the new you but the best you.

4. If you love yourself, others will, too.
Women are kind to everyone, it seems, except themselves. But self-love, the knowledge that you matter no matter what, gives you the ultimate glow.

5. You need to make peace with your "beast."
I believe that all women have a beauty and a beast within. The beast is that inner voice that makes you question your worth, and it gets louder with age. Those negative emotions can crush your beauty. The solution? Not to fight the beast but to make peace with it. Your reward will be loving the whole woman you have become instead of the divided woman you were.

To free your beauty and tame your beast, participate in Carlino's interactive online journal at

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