This year I am turning 30. I won’t sit here and lament the big 3- 0, nor will I talk about how “old” 30 is because I don’t think of it that way. If anything, I think your thirties are an improved version of your twenties as (hopefully) you have things more figured out, more money in your bank account, have kissed those terrible side jobs and entry level days goodbye and are in a healthy, drama-free relationship.
As I approach my 30th birthday in November (and of course focus on planning an epic birthday trip to go along with it), I have started to think of all the things I’ve (more or less) figured out in my twenties. Little things like what face wash works, what mascara is my go-to and what workout routine sticks. Little things I have tried and tested over 10 years, to finally arrive at products, routines and diets that just work for me. So, if you’re approaching 30 or – are in your early 20s – here are the things you should have figured out before your big 3-0. All products are available below!
1. Have your skincare routine nailed down.
I won’t go through the list of every product I’ve tried over the years (we’ll be here for ages) but I will say that my skincare routine is finally nailed down. So here is my winning formula: first, I wash my face with Neutrogena Visibly Clear scrub, followed by 100% organic tea tree oil to swipe on my problem areas. Tea tree oil is a trick I picked up from my mom last year. I figured if it works for my mom – from whom I inherit my skin issues – then it will work for me.
For under eyes, I use Clinique Pep Start, and for my face I use Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Cloud Cream. I cannot say enough good things about this cloud cream (and no, this is not sponsored). It’s hydration and anti-aging mixed into one perfectly light, non-greasy formula that I practically dip my face in each morning and night. The main takeaway here is find what works for you AND start using under eye cream and anti-aging cream early!
2. Figure out your hair routine.
I recently made the switch to the organic Avalon thickening shampoo and conditioner. As it goes, I tend to gravitate towards more natural and organic choices when I can. I follow my shampoo and conditioner with Josie Maran 100% pure argan oil, which I find works wonders for both my hair AND scalp. When it comes to my hair, I keep things pretty simple. I don’t dye my hair, flat iron, curl or do much else beyond brush it and let it air dry. I figure that one day, I will be dying my hair routinely to hide those nasty grays, so I might as well enjoy it au natural while I can.
3. Find your makeup favorites.
I have big pores and am prone to break outs, so I opt against using concealer or anything else that cakes onto my skin. Instead, I use Laura Mercier Matte Translucent Power to combat unwanted shine or redness. For lipstick, it’s key to find a good nude and a good red lippy color. My go-tos are Laura Mercier Creme Smooth Lip Colour in Creme Coral for nude and Nars Velvet Matte Lipstick in Cruella for a serious bold, red look. For mascara, I like Benefit Bad Gal Mascara and Stila Eyeliner for the perfect cat eye, while for brows I also go with Benefit Gimme Brow. I’ve experimented with make up over the years and eventually landed on the ‘barely there’ look that is just enough to play up my features, without looking like a clown.
4. You are what you eat, so eat well!
In college, I ate terribly. I remember full weeks where I had nothing but sugary cereals, drunken pizza and other assorted snacks. Once out of college, I started to improve my eating as the old adage of “you are what you eat” sank in. I have cut red meat out of my diet completely as well as coffee. I eat primarily veggies, tofu and fish with the occasional chicken; and for caffeine (because I am human and need a pick me up) I drink a ginger green tea from Yogi.
I also take vitamins daily including fish oil, tumeric and an organic women’s multivitamin. Being a New Yorker, I admittedly order delivery and go out to eat more often than I cook, but I still make conscious choices to choose healthy meals over fried, processed and fattening.
5. Lock in your work out routine.
This is perhaps my longest running struggle of my twenties – figuring out a workout routine I don’t dread! I use CLASSPASS, which is available in different cities and allows people to pay monthly to try classes at multiple studios. I like Classpass because it keeps things fresh and exciting – whether that is an aerial yoga class, a hip hop dance class, a trampoline work out or yes, a Beyonce class. For the most part, my weekly workout is now centered around yoga at least once a week and cardio twice – whether it be a Classpass or just a regular old gym workout.
6. Let’s talk finances.
Let me start by saying I’m hardly a beacon of financial prowess. By your 30s, at least aim to have a savings account, credit cards that you use and pay off regularly and a retirement fund.
7. Be on the right career path.
My twenties were a constant evolution of career choices. From advertising to public relations to marketing to journalism, I stumbled (yes, stumbled) around industries until I finally found the right career path for me: travel writing!
There’s no right or wrong way to go about searching for your career path so long as you listen to your intuition and passions.
8. Discover your passion.
Perhaps you’re not in the career of your dreams, but hopefully by 30 you have found your passion. Whether it’s music, art or writing—your passion is what inspires you on a daily basis, is an outlet for your emotion, creativity and dreams. For me, my passion is travel and writing and it took the better half of my twenties to get to the point where I could (finally!) pursue both. Whether I’m toting a selfie stick in Rome or researching the best backpacks for my upcoming trip to Asia, I decided in my mid-twenties that I would prioritize travel and save every penny I could for globetrotting. This of course came at the cost of other expenses but that was my choice to pursue this passion now, when I’m young.
As my grandma once told me, take care of your body, mind and health because one day – far from now – your body will turn around and hand you the check, and you better be able to pay it. So, if you smoke and eat poorly now then the day will come when you pay for it. It’s for this reason the best thing you can ‘figure out’ before turning 30 is to prioritize your health and take care of yourself.
What do you think you need figured out before 30? What are YOUR go-to products? Comment below!