I was lucky to have a mother who always cared for herself and taught me the importance of looking after my skin. She was so ahead of her time when it came to beauty, too! I wish I'd known that when I was 20 years old, and here are some tips for your 30-something self:
When I was 20 years old, I thought I was invincible
You're 20; you're invincible. You think you'll live forever, and that's fine because life is just beginning. But, unfortunately, you don't know anything about skincare, and you have yet to hear of sunscreen, so when your friends tell you to put some on, they sound like they're trying to sell you something at the mall kiosk.
Many remember this: "I used to think I knew everything." It's true! We've all been there. When we were younger and less experienced with life (specifically skincare), we thought we had all the answers. But as time goes by and we learn more about ourselves and other people, we discover that it isn't always easy to make intelligent decisions while navigating through our lives in an imperfect world full of poor people who sometimes do dumb things (that includes us).
"I wish I had known how much sunscreen to use."
I wish I had known how much sunscreen to use.
I was in my thirties before I started using sunscreen regularly, and even then, it took me several years to figure out that I needed to apply more than just a dab of the stuff. I've seen firsthand how people make common mistakes when applying sunscreen: They don't often reapply enough or miss spots like the backs of their hands and the tops of their feet. Using too little doesn't work well; too much can result in breakouts and clogged pores. My advice: Apply liberally (a lot) every time you go outside to protect yourself from damaging UV rays—and aim for about one ounce (about the amount in an average shot glass) per application."
"I would tell my 20-year-old self to eat more fish and less sugar."
Fish may be the answer if you're looking for a quick beauty tip that will leave your skin looking and feeling younger.
Fish is a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients are great for your skin, heart, and brain. They can also help reduce inflammation, which we all want to avoid—especially if you're aging gracefully.
But what about sugar? Isn't it bad for us? Well, yes, but not as much as you think! Sugar is sometimes good, as long as you don't overeat it. However, eating it often or in large amounts can cause tooth decay and redness on your face.
"Don't go to bed with your makeup on."
Don't go to bed with your makeup on.
It's tempting to leave your face on after a long day, but it's not good for you—or what you're sleeping in! If you have time, cleanse your skin before crawling into bed. Just like at the end of the day, use a gentle cleanser and warm water. Be sure to follow with a toner so that nothing gets trapped in your pores overnight—if possible, try an alcohol-free option for an extra boost of hydration. Afterward, use an eye makeup remover designed for sensitive skin and other areas that need extra attention (like around the eyes).
"Learn the look that's best for you. Don't try to look like someone else."
The biggest takeaway from this list is that each woman has unique beauty and style. The best advice for you is to learn what looks most flattering for your body type, hair color, and skin tone. Try different styles and see what works best for you!
Even if you're not looking to reinvent your style, there's one lesson here that's still crucial: don't try to be something that isn't natural to who you are. If a trend doesn't fit with how comfortable or confident you feel in it—no matter the season or period—it'll only make life harder for yourself. Take our word for it: Confidence makes everything better!
"Use those anti-aging products!"
While this is not a comprehensive list of all the skin care products that can help reduce fine lines and wrinkles, here are a few:
- Leave-on retinol. This helps prevent new wrinkles from forming and fade existing ones.
- An eye cream with antioxidants, peptides, and hyaluronic acid. These ingredients hydrate the delicate skin around your eyes so you can look younger and more extended.
- A gentle exfoliant that contains polyhydroxy acids (PHAs) to even out pigmentation caused by sun damage over time. Like retinol products, PHAs also fade dark or red spots caused by acne scars and dyspigmentation (which appears as splotches on light-skinned women).
"Apply a moisturizer after cleansing, morning and night."
- Apply a moisturizer after cleansing, morning and night.
- Choose a moisturizer that's right for your skin type—dry, oily, or combination—and apply it in a thin layer over the entire face and neck. Your 20-year-old self will thank you: Moisturizers can help prevent dryness and signs of aging, like fine lines and wrinkles, by keeping the skin hydrated, elastic, and smooth.
"Find a stylist you love and stick with them!"
Find a stylist you love and stick with them. "If you have someone who knows your hair and they can give you tips on how to care for it, that's huge," says Babiuk. "Ask them questions and see if they give good advice." If they say don't use too much product or don't blow-dry your hair, listen to them! It's all about taking things slowly and keeping an eye on what works best with your natural texture—and there are plenty of ways to style curly hair without having to use products all the time.
You should also feel free to change your look as much as possible—no matter how long you've been wearing it. "I think older women should try different things because we have more maturity than younger women," says Babiuk. "We know what works for us better than younger girls do."
"Save your money for something you want."
Make a budget, and stick to it. You should already know how much money you're spending each month on bills and expenses, but now it's time to think about what else (if anything) you want to save for. It could be a vacation or something more practical, like retirement savings or new furniture. Regardless of your goal, ensure you're setting aside some money from each paycheck to reach that goal by the end of the year or sooner!
"Healthy skin comes from healthy eating. Hydrate from the inside out."
You might think that the best thing you can do for your skin is to slather on fancy-sounding creams and lotions, but the truth is that healthy skin comes from healthy eating. Hydrate from the inside out: drink plenty of water, eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, eat healthy fats like avocado or nuts (instead of refined carbs), and avoid processed foods with many additives. Avoid sugar (or at least cut back) as much as possible. And don't forget about alcohol—it can cause dehydration, which ages your skin prematurely!
Your skin needs different things as you get older. So be sure you're giving it what it needs!
- Use a non-abrasive face wash.
- Get plenty of rest and avoid stress.
- Eat well, drink plenty of water, and exercise regularly to stay healthy.
- If you have oily skin, use an astringent to help remove excess oil on your face; if you have dry skin, use moisturizer or serum; if you have acne, be sure to wash your face twice daily with an antibacterial cleanser (or even three times if necessary); if you have sun damage or age spots from the years of tanning beds and days spent out in the sun too long without sunscreen—be sure that when applying foundation or powder over the top of whatever else we're going to put on our faces today—we remember to do this first, so it'll work better when everything else is applied afterward because then it'll cover them nicely without leaving marks behind once we're done!
There are many things to think about regarding your skin, which can get overwhelming. But if you start by taking good care of yourself from the inside out, your skin will thank you. And remember: Never stop learning! The more you know about how your skin works and what products work best, the better off you'll be in the long run.