What was the first thing you thought when you turned 30? Was it making “thirty, flirty, and thriving” your IG caption, was it wallowing in a pint of ice cream because your 20s were long gone, or was it by celebrating with a massive trip? No matter how you spent it, entering your 30s is a big, exciting time in your life, and we’d be remiss to say it won’t come with a few changes. The first one you might notice is the makeup routine you’ve been using for years just doesn’t jive with your skin anymore.
Now, can we say you’re going to suddenly have dry, sagging skin the day you hit the big 3-0? Probably not, but getting ahead and changing your routine now will only help you later and can help you enhance the skin you have now. Plus, many of us have kept the same routine, give or take a few products (hello, Naked palette), for years, so a little change is necessary to freshen things up a bit.
Obviously, these are just guidelines, so if you feel like black smokey eyes and tons of shimmer look the best on you, you know yourself better than anyone else. But adding a few of these changes to your routine is bound to make you feel like a spring chicken once again (and maybe even get yourself carded—woohoo!).
1. Exfoliate and moisturize your skin
Pretty much everyone from 16 to 65 should be following this tip, but it’s especially important for those who notice their skin has changed a bit since aging. Our skin naturally loses collagen and moisture over time, so it’s no surprise that it can tend to feel a bit tighter (not the good kind) and drier once you turn 30. Applying makeup over a dry face is a no-go, so it’s smart to use an exfoliating product that will get rid of all the dead skin and any flakiness and follow it with a moisturizer. If you have oily skin, you can just add the moisture wherever you need it.
2. Swap mascara and eyeliner for eye drops
Instead of trying to open your eyes with tons of mascara and eyeliner, use eye drops. Mascara and eyeliner are great ways to make your eyes look open and wide, but harsh blacks and thick lines can have the opposite effect, making your makeup look too “done-up.” Eye drops, however, brighten the eyes from the inside, so you immediately look awake without a stitch of makeup.
3. Use a color corrector for dark circles
You’d think by your 30s you’d finally have a set sleep schedule, but think again. We somehow need even more sleep now than ever, and those five or six-hour nights we used to thrive on don’t cut it. What are we left with? Dark circles that just won’t quit. Instead of piling on concealer like we used to, work smarter, not harder by opting for a lightweight color corrector. A 2-in-1 product will correct and cover any darkness while also brightening the under-eye, leaving you looking fresh and awake (even if you’re not). You can also opt for a correcting concealer in a peach or orange shade to counteract the blue/purple hues in dark circles. Then, just use a lightweight, creamy concealer (we love NARS Radiant Creamy for this) to blend in with your skin tone and brighten.
4. Use creams to fake a glow
Instead of slathering your face with metallic primers and glitters to look glowy and dewy (we’ve all been there), a glowy base is all about layering with creams. Adding a glossy cream blush or a liquid bronzer to your routine will create a dewy base without having to resort to shimmery highlighters. Plus, if you have any texture on your face (read: fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, scars, acne), a cream will do a much better job of glossing over it, whereas a powder product can sometimes cling to those patches and make them even more noticeable.
If you have oily skin and feel like creams will just slide off your face, place them wisely. Add your blush and bronzer farther back on your cheek, closer to the temple, where the face naturally has a bit more shine. Then, when your natural oils come through, it’ll look natural and intentional. You can also use a translucent powder on a small brush to pinpoint areas you want to reduce shine and keep your makeup lasting all day. Lightly dusting a little powder around the edges of your blush and bronzer will keep them from moving around while maintaining the glossy glow you love.
5. Forgo a clumpy volume mascara for a lengthening and separating one
When you look at someone who looks very youthful and fresh, one of the first things you’ll notice is their lashes. They’re not heavy and weighed down by tons of mascara. Instead, they’re long and separated, looking like someone who just has naturally long, gorgeous lashes. Kick all those clumpy, volumizing mascaras to the curb for something a little bit lighter. While you can always bring those out for smokey eyes and editorial looks, natural-looking lashes will make you appear more awake and fresh and will enhance your eyes more than ever.
6. Try your natural brow shape
We’ve lived to tell the tale of quite a few brow trends in the last 30 years. From the sperm brow to the block brow to the fluffy brow—the little hairs above our eyes have been put through the wringer. Once you hit your 30s, you realize that while these trends are fun, there’s nothing quite like your natural brow shape. Whether your brows are naturally straight, have a high arch, or resemble that of Cara Delevigne, your natural shape is that for a reason, and it’s because it fits your features the best.
If you’re recovering from a bad plucking situation, give your eyebrows some time to grow. In the meantime, use a waxy gel to hold the brow hairs into place, following your natural shape. Then, you only need to fill in hairs where you actually need it, using a very fine pencil to create hairlike strokes.
7. Find products with a sheen rather than shimmer for the face
Just because you turned 30 doesn’t mean you have to ditch highlighter. Heck, I say highlighter after 30 should be a necessity. You just have to go about it a little differently. Go for a product with an invisible, blendable sheen rather than something with lots of sparkle particles running throughout. Heavy, thick powder highlighters you might have previously reached for do the opposite of making your skin look sunkissed and glowing the way a cream does. Look for a product that gives a glow without adding any shimmer to the face. These shimmers emphasize texture and fine lines and often make you look extra made-up, but a product with a glossy texture or sheen can make you look like you’re glowing from within.
8. Opt for glossy, balmy lips
If you’re noticing the rest of your face getting drier, you’re probably noticing it in your lips too, meaning all those matte lipsticks just don’t cut it anymore. You need a lip product that’s hydrating, and there’s nothing more hydrating than a glossy balm. If you’re missing your lipsticks, opt for something with a touch of pigment. These kinds of lip products are taking over because they’re the perfect combination of glossy but not sticky, tinted but not opaque, hydrating but not messy. Using one of these is like stepping into sophistication.
From here on out, we aim to treat skincare like any other self-love practice, starting with the top five ways to pamper and care for your skin in your 30s.