Diane Keaton on Beauty and Aging: ‘The Dimmer Is Your Friend’

Diane Keaton still looks terrific at age 71, in part because her iconic style never gets old.

Has she changed the way she dresses as she’s aged? “Hell no, not even at all,” Keaton says. “Although if you look at Annie Hall, I’m sleeveless and my arms are dangling around. I did expose my body. Now I would say no exposing of any aspect.”

Other later-in-life rules: No blush (“You don’t want the kewpie doll look”), no gowns (“Why would anybody wear a gown after age 60 or something? I mean, are you kidding?”) and stay vigilant about lighting. “It’s important when you’re making up. The dimmer is your friend.” The effect may not translate once you step outside, she concedes, “Of course it’s going to look worse, I don’t have to look!”

Keaton talked to PEOPLE exclusively for the World’s Most Beautiful 2017 issue about her beauty routine, the male gaze and why she’s said no to plastic surgery.

How has your routine changed since Annie Hall days?

Oh you know, I don’t even remember. I just washed my face — that was a good thing, I kept clean. And I always liked eye makeup and lipstick. I still do — a little shadow and pencil, lipstick. Those lips shouldn’t be too dark. I like a beige-y pink.

In what ways have you fought the outward signs of aging?

Of course I’m going to do the best I can. Given the circumstances. I exercise — I really enjoy my treadmill. My hair is now white. It’s better to have light around your face — I think it looks better on older people. Darker hair is not as softening.

No plastic surgery?

No. My feeling is that everybody has their hands and their hands are always at the face, so if the hands don’t match the face it’s a little weird. My hands are the hands of the age I am. They’ve been through a lot and they look like it!

Teeth whitening?

Okay, here’s my feeling about teeth whiteners. Personally, I would really like to have much whiter teeth than I have. But my teeth are so bad because you know when I was younger, I went through a period of bulimia. That ruins your teeth. I’ve had so much work just to keep mine! Don’t ever go there. So, I think if I were to have whiter teeth, I’d have to get rid of my teeth.

How about your neck — do you feel bad about it?

Of course. Hello, how about every part of my body? My eyes have always drooped down and now they almost go to my ears. I’m used to them, what can I do?

Noses supposedly get bigger with age too.

Yes, thanks for the good news, Kim! We need to have this talk more often. I wasn’t even thinking about my bulbous nose until you brought it up and now I’m like, that’s not a good feature either.

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Do you feel men still look at you appreciatively on the street?

No men have any interest in me in that way. But do I have interest in them? I think I have more interest in just companions, family, old friends.

Do you remember suddenly noticing that men weren’t looking at you in that way?

I think it’s kind of happened incrementally. I mean, I don’t like to be looked past. It’s not fun. But you’re fortunate in some regards if you’re famous because you get fake interest. People pay attention to you because they have to. I do notice that if I’m, say, driving to Arizona and I don’t have my hat on, which seems to identify me, people treat me like a regular person.

Do you still flirt?

Not at all! I like to talk, I like to engage people, hear what they have to say. Stir it up a little, makes it more fun. But no, no flirting. I think it’s a natural, gradual decline in the need for that. A few failures doesn’t help!

Do you remember the last compliment you got on your looks?

I do remember it. I was in Beaumont, California, and I went to the Starbucks and some women recognized me because I had my hat on. And I was wearing one of my weird outfits and they came up to me and said, ‘Oh, you look so great!’ They were really sweet. But I think what they’re seeing isn’t really me. I think they’re seeing a symbol. It’s me, but they identify their experience of seeing the films, or seeing me on Ellen or something. But hey, I’m grateful. Who are we kidding?

As such a recognizable star, do you feel you need to look good every time you leave the house?

Yeah, you have to comb your hair and you have to wear something you think looks good, but I like that. That’s fun.

Everyone has little paths or little hints about what will make them feel good. Do whatever you want — to heck with it! But that’s the other point: Don’t take too much time on yourself. Keep looking outward — that’s where the amazing part of life is.

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