When it comes to locking down the ultimate skincare routine for your 20s, I've had a whole decade to test, trial and fine-tune the beauty basics that I think everyone should be using, and I now have a never-ending list of recommendations for anyone who asks. Skincare for your 30s, however, has been a much steeper learning curve. After hitting the big 3-0 in April, I quickly realised that the regimen I'd perfected in my 20s just wasn't cutting it anymore. Why? Well, pretty much overnight it seems that—alongside my ever-present breakouts—my skin has become more prone to dryness (particularly around my nose and on my chin), my under-eye bags are increasingly obvious, and I've even noticed the very first signs of fine lines thanks to my concealer starting to set up camp in the creases around my eyes. (Sob.)
While a lot of what I learned during my 20s definitely still stands (always wear SPF, exfoliate regularly and use an eye cream), I've definitely upped the ante since arriving in a new decade. There's a new addition to my family of serums for when vitamin C and salicylic acid just aren't cutting it. I've become a firm advocate of night cream (rather than just using my daytime moisturiser before bed), and I've introduced a couple of facial tools to help my products work that little bit harder for me. Keep scrolling to discover the four changes I've made to my skincare routine now that I'm 30 and to shop some of my favourite products.
#1: Hello, Retinol
Although I've dabbled with retinol on and off over the years, it was only as I was about to enter my 30s that I started to integrate it fully into my routine. After all, ask any dermatologist what the secret is to maintain a youthful glow and they'll tell you there are three key products: SPF, vitamin C and retinol. The skincare holy trinity, if you will.
Derived from vitamin A, retinol works by speeding up the turnover of your skin's cells—helping to reduce fine lines, acne and pigmentation and bringing fresh skin to the surface. It's especially ideal if you've spotted any baby fine lines like I have or you're dealing with scarring left behind from old breakouts.
For best results, start by applying gentle retinol once or twice a week at night. Once your skin gets used to it, you can build up how often you apply it and experiment with higher concentrations. Always use an SPF the next day, as your skin will be more sensitive to sun exposure, and avoid retinol entirely if you're pregnant.
I was scared of retinol until I tried this one from Indeed Labs. It does a great job of brightening and resurfacing the skin when used once or twice a week.
Specially designed with sensitive skin in mind, this serum contains a low dose of 0.25% retinol, so you'll still get those great skin-smoothing benefits without the risk of irritation.
This new retinol is combined with gentle jasmine flower to soothe, protect and repair the skin. Plus, it's at a really affordable price point.
#2: Daily Exfoliation
Although I was always into regular exfoliation in my 20s (three or four times a week was standard), I've found that giving my skin an extra helping hand when it comes to removing dead skin cells has proved a successful tactic in my 30s so far.
My morning cleanser of choice, this purifying formula uses natural hydroxy acids (derived from foods like sugar, apples and almonds) to gently lift away dead skin cells and unclog pores.
A great option for spot-prone skin, this cleanser uses salicylic acid to remove excess oil and refresh your skin.
For a quick fix to brighter skin, this lathering cleanser is infused with exfoliating glycolic acid to boost radiance.
#3: Night Cream Is Necessary
I'll admit it: I didn't used to think that night cream was really a thing. Much like how I thought eye cream was just a tiny pot of moisturiser, I firmly believed night cream was exactly the same thing as the day stuff. However, I've swiftly discovered that my skin really needs the chance to recover overnight and a good night cream genuinely can make all the difference.
At night, my daytime priorities (like sun protection, skin mattifying and blemish control) go out of the window, and I focus on formulas that restore moisture, elasticity and radiance to my skin. Plus, having introduced retinol into my regular routine, night cream has proved integral at keeping my skin feeling soothed and comfortable.
Although this is coined as a mask, I've been using this evening treatment daily. Apply it over your moisturiser if you have really dry skin or on its own if you're oilier like me. It supports your skin's natural barrier function to restore hydration and leave your complexion dewy and plump come morning.
Specifically formulated to target the effects of stress on the skin, this whipped moisturiser feels so refreshing and does a great job of improving bounce and elasticity. It smells amazing too.
Whenever I've had a particularly long day, I'll apply a generous helping of this vitamin C–infused cream before bed and will wake up to seriously glowy skin.
#4: Time for Tools
Jade rollers, gua shas, electric face cleansers… There are a serious amount of facial tools on the market, but it's only recently that I've started using them on a daily basis and not just to enhance my Sunday night pamper routine. So what are the benefits? Effectively, using a facial tool is like giving yourself a good massage each day. It helps to drain away excess fluid from your face and reduce puffiness. There are even some facialists that believe it helps ease congestion and brighten skin.
This travel-friendly cleansing tool uses sonic technology to emit 8000 pulsations a minute. I use it at night to help deeply cleanse the skin, exfoliate and remove almost all traces of dirt, oil and makeup.
When applying my morning vitamin C serum, I use this nifty contraption to give myself a quick morning massage and help work the product into my skin. The small end is great for de-puffing under eyes and feels amazing if you keep it in the fridge overnight.
Not only does this help to firm and sculpt the face when "scraped" over your skin with a serum or oil, but at night, this also helps to ease away all tension from your face from the day.