Going through my 20s & 30s' trials and tribulations has allowed me to gain some necessary wisdom that I will gladly take with me while leaving a few things in the past.
That being said, aging brings about new issues too. And, look, I'm self-aware enough to know 29 going on 30-years-old is still young. But there are fine lines where plump skin used to lay. Some of those decisions I made during my younger days (baking in the sun and not using sunscreen, frying my hair, and crash dieting are just a few) have caused me to pivot my beauty and wellness choices moving forward.
I've made it my job to figure out what works—literally—I compiled a list of tips, tricks, and other musings to take with me through my next birthday and beyond.
Below, find the most important lessons I've learned.
- Wear Sunscreen Every Single Day
UV damage is the number one cause of premature aging and most people don't actually wear enough sunscreen to get the proper protection. The best is to make sure to do two applications each time—one for your neck and one for your face. This will ensure that the neck gets a proper coating to keep it damage-free as well.
- Active Ingredients Will Actually Improve Your Skin
Actives (popular skincare ingredients like vitamin C, and acids) work to make your skin smoother, brighter, tighter, and just better.
There's one of my personal favorites, vitamin C—the powerhouse ingredients that works to lighten brown sun spots, prevent blackheads, even out skin tone, lift discoloration from breakout scars, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and encourage collagen production. It also helps to prevent environmental damage.
Because vitamin C has been one of the most extensively researched antioxidants in skincare, I find it one of the very best topical age preventers.
So, yes, active ingredients in your skincare are pretty much the secret to better skin.
- Wash Your Face Before Bed. Just Do It
Throughout the day, your makeup can trap dirt and environmental pollutants inside your skin, resulting in increased free radicals, which can, over time, can result in premature aging.
That being said, those same environmental stress still affect your skin, even when you're not wearing makeup. Washing your face is paramount to maintaining healthy skin.
During deep sleep, there is a boost in healing hormones such as growth hormone and melatonin, resulting in more rapid cellular regeneration and repair rates. So, using your favorite cleanser before bed and applying your nightly skincare routine works to help maximize those enhanced repair and renewal processes during sleep.
To be transparent, it's not like there haven't been a few nights where I can't possibly make it to the sink before passing out. And you don't have to beat yourself up about times like that (a few slip-ups won't kill you), but definitely start getting into the habit and making it a priority.
One or two days of not cleansing are unlikely to have long-term negative effects, but developing the habit of not gently cleansing makeup off can compromise your skin's ability to age well and the overall health of your skin.
- It's Worth It to Make an Investment
I love a deal—saving money is practically my life's blood. There's nothing better than finding a drugstore product that is just as effective as it is budget-friendly. That being said, there are certain things I'm willing to spend for, quality skincare being one of them.
See, good skincare early on is a preventative measure, and it's far easier (and yields better results) to spend a little extra coin now than try to make up for it later in life. It's still important to do your research, of course, and spend your money on formulas with good, clean ingredients and science-backed results.
- Your Skin, Hair, and Body Will Never Be One Size Fits All
This is a big one. No matter the invasive marketing or lack of diversity involved as part of any industry's facet, fitting into one singular beauty ideal will never be feasible and certainly not empowering.
We all look different and that is cool.
Our skin types and tones are different, and our bodies, our hair, and our experiences. Try (it's tough, and I continue to struggle with this) to feel good about your specific form. Beauty products and treatments are incredible as part of a larger way to feel good in your own skin, but take note of how each one affects you.
If it's not serving you specifically, get rid of it. That includes clothes, makeup, skin and haircare, scales, editing apps, and the like. You'll be happier for it.
- You Can No Longer Do the Same Things You Used to and Expect the Same Results
It's a tale as old as time—each year brings about new issues that never used to exist. I realized that I can no longer get away with the same old tricks—that, if I wanted to be healthy and look my best, I had to start incorporating different things into my daily routine.
Those things include perfecting a skincare regimen for my specific skin type (fair, combination, and sensitive), changing my diet, so it actually helps my body feel good (incorporating nutrient-rich foods, more vegetables, healthy fats, and fish), and taking very specific care of my fine, dry, breakage-prone hair.
I mask more than I ever did, monitor the food I eat for better sleep and more energy, as well as invest time in perfecting each one of these routines every single day. I never used to do that—but now it's inherent to my happiness.
- Have Patience
The last and perhaps most important lesson I've learned throughout this tumultuous decade is to have patience, to trust the process. I don't have all the answers. In fact, I have very few. But just like with skincare results, learning to live your life in a satisfying, comfortable, healthy way takes time. All I know is to try one thing and pivot to something else if it doesn't work.
To be kind to myself and understand success and wellness are not out of my reach, even when failure and insecurity leave and breathe inside my body.
Don't be so hard on yourself, and know you'll get there. :)