How old can I look?

Friday 8th May 2015

I must admit I'm not a fan of the selfie, but in the interests of science I took a bunch of photos of myself to see how Microsoft's how-old.net website reacts to different expressions. How old can I make myself look?

 

From above

Fair play to Microsoft, they got this one spot on - I am indeed 39. Lucky guess?

 

Angry

I've read articles saying that the best way to get a young score is to pull a neutral expression that minimise any lines on your face. I can add a decade by looking angry.

 

Confused

Result! An extra 16 years by looking confused.

Kat always says I look like Beaker from the Muppets when I pull this face. Sadly the website couldn't tell me how old Beaker looks:

 

Gurning

I can only hope I look this good at 48.

 

Scowling

I'm pretty sure I've got a face. Maybe it's too old to detect.

 

Tongue out

Bit surprised by this one, is this what 52 year old men do?

 

Black and white

This is the same picture that scored me 39 at the top of the page, now scores 49 in black and white. What's going on there? Maybe it thinks that the world used to be in black and white and so anyone with a black and white must be old?

 

Saturation

I wondered how Photoshop could change my age, if black and white adds ten years. Going from least to most saturated (left to right) takes me from 48 to 44, but at the extremes it couldn't detect my face. Young people are more colourful, obviously.

 

Me too

Finally, I thought I'd try putting multiple copies of myself in the picture and see if it gave the same answer:

I think we've learned something important here: how-old.net needs more work. In a row of six identical colour photos of me it can only spot faces in two of them and gives them ages of 44 and 51, and in black & white there's an 8-year age difference between six identical photos, from 40 to 48.

To look as old as possible, I need to look confused. Have a go yourself and see how old a score you can get, then leave a comment with your tips for looking old!

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