Life may begin at 50 but, sadly, your skin and hair will need more care and attention once you hit that milestone.

Several factors play a part in how you look and feel, from pollution and diet to hormones and genetics.

But while you may not be able to turn back the clock, you can slow down the effects of time.

Hair Changes. "Hair ages and just as we reach the prime of our lives, nature plays a cruel trick changing the texture, colour and density of our hair," says celebrity hairdresser Trevor Sorbie.

"As the hair growth cycle slows down, each hair becomes finer so volume is lost.

"The production of melanin, the substance which gives hair its natural colour and softness, is depleted hair not only grows through white, but can become wiry and coarse."

He recommends hiding the first few grey hairs with a vegetable-based or semi-permanent colour in the same shade as your natural colour.

But if half of your head is made up of grey hair, a longer-lasting colour or a mixture of low and highlights will work better. The right hairstyle can also help.

"There are no rules," Trevor says.

"While I don't think ponytails are a good look at 60, many women of this age and older have long hair which they wear in beautiful chignons and elegant French pleats."

It's worth investing in specialist shampoo and conditioner to remove unwanted yellow tones from snowy hair.

These are normally blue and, while they may look alarming, the result is very effective as they add a silvery sheen to hair. Try L'Anza CP Anti-Ageing White Tea shampoo, £16.95, and Manuka Mud conditioner, £17.95 (01296 612062), Trevor Sorbie Professional Rejuvenate range, from £3.99 at Boots, or Boots Specialist Greying Hair shampoo and conditioner, £2.99 each.

Skin Changes. By now, skin should have acquired some wrinkles and lines.

"Consider yourself very lucky if you're relatively wrinkle-free when you have gone past your 40s," says make-up artist Barbara Daly.

Skin becomes thinner and more fragile, because less oestrogen is being produced. It's also less able to retain moisture and production of collagen and elastin slows down significantly.

Skin can also start to sag and droop, and skintone is likely to become more uneven, with an increasing number of sun spots. Stay out of the sun if you don't want these to worsen and use a sunblock at all times.

Treat skin with the TLC it deserves by choosing products designed to help turn back the clock but which aren't so harsh that they'll cause flare-ups in skin that's become more sensitive.

"Skin gets drier when you get older so it's important to keep skin moisturised and always use sunblock," says Barbara.

Use a mild soap or cleanser such as Simple's Really Creamy Foaming facial wash, £3.29, Dermalogica's UltraCalming Cleanser, £18.60 (0800 591 818) and Clarins' Cleansing Milk with Gentian, £13.50.

You can't beat an amazing moisturiser and those which have stood up to the test of time include Almay's Kinetin Daily Moisture cream SPF15, £18.95, RoC'sRetin-Ox Multi Correxion Day & Night cream, which has been clinically proven to take ten years off, £24.95, and Origins Youthtopia, £35.

Make-up magic. "Less is more and remember, wrinkles can't be covered with makeup.

Your make-up should be lightweight and not too caked on," advises Barbara.

Pay the most attention to your base foundation and concealer and spend time and money finding one which suits your natural colour the best.

"We lose colour in our skins and hair as we age but don't be tempted to warm up complexions with a darker or orangey foundation," says Barbara.

"Stick to a natural-looking colour instead and if you're in doubt, pick a lighter shade which will look more luminous.

With Barbara Daly's make-up for Tesco Moisture Foundation, £5.60, you can alter your coverage from heavy to light, and Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer kit with loose powder, £21 or 33 Euros, should be an essential in every woman's handbag.

Heavy eye make-up can have an unexpected ageing effect but Barbara says colour can look youthful if it's used correctly. "Don't be afraid to try colour, just lighten tones a little and stay away from big slabs of colour."

As for lips, she recommends staying away from pale, pearlised lips. Use blusher to add colour to cheeks Barbara prefers powders and creams to stains.

"Powders and creams are good for older skins as they have better consistency and are easy to blend," she says.