15 Beauty Products You Should Own by the Time You're 30
We're all for having fun and experimenting, but by the time you hit the big 3-0, you should be able to commit to a few reliable, no-fail beauty products. We asked top hair, makeup, and skin pros to reveal the stuff they think should be in every 30-something's bathroom.
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Eyeliner That Doesn’t Make You Look Like a Raccoon
Unless your name is Kate Moss, that smudgy, I-slept-in-my-makeup eyeliner just doesn't work for real life. It looks like, well, you just slept in your makeup. "For budge-proof liner, gel and long-wearing formulas are mandatory," says Fiona Stiles, a celebrity makeup artist and founder of online beauty website Reed Clarke. "The latest formulas really stay put and give you rich, luscious colors." At the cosmetic counter, put the liner to the 30-second test: Swipe it on the back of your hand. If it doesn't smear or rub off after half a minute, it's going to last all day, Stiles says.
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A Blush That Brightens
Here’s the thing about the bronzer you’re using: It was never meant to take place of your blush. “We have this idea that tan skin gives the illusion of a healthy glow, when in fact, blush does,” says New York City-based makeup artist Ro Dietrich, who uses bronzer more for contouring the skin. When used alone, bronzer can even make skin look muddy, not fresh and glowy. A no-fail way to brighten up any skin tone: Dust cheeks with a bright or rosy pink blush, says Dietrich.
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Mascara That Solves All Your Lash Issues
File this under sad but true: When picking a mascara, you often have to choose between volume, length, definition, or curl. But if you're like us, what you really want is all of that -- all at once. Fortunately, there are all-in-one, multitasking formulas out there that get the job done in two coats. A makeup artist favorite: Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara, "It tackles all your lash needs. Plus, it's super conditioning," says Dietrich.
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A Foundation That’s Perfect For You
At some point, tinted moisturizer just isn't enough and it's time to graduate to foundation. The right one will even out your skin tone and give skin a flawless look, fast. But load on the wrong formula for your skin tone and texture and you'll only end up with cake face. Not pretty. The trick to acing your base is to know not only your skin type, but also the label lingo, says Stiles. Here's the breakdown:
Dewy = oils to give skin a slight sheen, so steer clear if you have oily skin. Try it: Clinique Supermoisture Makeup ($26, clinique.com)
Matte = smooth finish with no sheen and usually more coverage. Try it: L'Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte 24Hr Foundation ($13, ulta.com)
Luminous = finely milled shimmer that looks beautiful on some, but can go greasy on oily skin tones. Try Nars All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation ($48, sephora.com)
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An Everyday Eyeshadow
Runway-inspired eye makeup has its place, but let’s face it, that place is usually not your office. For a SFW shade that’s far from boring, Stiles suggests a medium-toned bronze. “It’s the most versatile color,” she says. “It can look chic worn on its own, or incredibly elegant when played up with deep chocolate liner, curled lashes, and lots of mascara,” she says.
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Perfectly Blended Undereye Concealer
Stop what you're doing and scroll through your Instagram pics. Now be honest: Do you have a white-ish halo surrounding your undereyes in every single selfie? Yeah, it's time to change that. The goal is to conceal undereye imperfections, not shine a spotlight on them. The first step: Start with the right shade. The rule of thumb is to go a half-shade lighter than your skin tone or foundation, says Dietrich. "It will oxidize during the day and get a little darker," she says. Then tweak the undertone. If you're undereye area is blue, go for a concealer that has a yellow undertone (try Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealers, $25). If it's brownish, opt for a peachy concealer (try Pixi Corrector Concentrate in Brightening Peach, $12). And don't forget about your tools. Dietrich says to skip the traditional, tight-bristled concealer brush. "It deposits too much color, if you're not careful." Instead, apply it with a concealer brush that's fuller. "The brush bristles aren't as tight as a regular concealer brush, so it gives a lighter application," Dietrich says (try Sephora Airbrush Concealer Brush No. 57, $24).
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A Cleansing Regimen Customized for Your Skin
If you’re still using the same ultra-foaming cleanser you used back when you were a breakout-prone teen, it might be time to switch things up, says Tanzi. “Women who have had acne in the past are so afraid of letting go of the regimen that once worked for them, but they have to pay attention to their skin in the decade they’re in,” she explains. If your skin is still an oil slick, carry on. But if you’re now normal-to-dry, an oil-zapping face wash is probably too harsh. Instead, try a mild, creamy cleanser or a hydrating, oil-infused formula.
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A Daily SPF (No. Matter. What.)
It's usually in your 30s that the sun sins of your past (baking on the beach, visiting tanning salons, skimping on the SPF) start to catch up with you in the form of fine lines and dark spots. Of course there are anti-aging products that work (more on that later), but to really save your skin, you have to stop accumulating new damage. Now. "By the age of 30, you need SPF 30 every day," says Tanzi. "It's really the cumulative effect -- a few minutes of unprotected exposure here and there -- that ages the skin rapidly," she says. Get it in your daily moisturizer, your BB cream, or layer on a separate sunscreen product -- however you are more likely to wear it.
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A Preventative Anti-Aging Regimen
So getting back to what we said about the signs of aging appearing in your 30s…you can stay ahead of the damage by using preventative products now. “This is the time for a retinoid, the gold-standard of anti-aging,” says Tanzi. The vitamin A derivative keeps skin cells turning over (something that starts to lag in your 30s) and skin-smoothing collagen stimulated. “Dermatologists can always tell if a woman has been using a retinoid for decades,” she says. “It’s not a quick fix product, but rather a long-term investment for your skin.” Try the over-the-counter retinoid called retinol. Or, see your derm for a stronger version.
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An Eye Cream (It’s Time)
It's a delicate matter: Your undereye area, that is. It's often the first place to show the signs of aging, or heck, even just the signs of a really late night. "When you're younger, you can slap a moisturizer on your entire face, but by the time you're 30, it's time to invest in a decent eye cream, formulated for that delicate skin," says Tanzi. The best ones, she says, are really hydrating, but with hyaluronic acid, which draws moisture into the skin, so it's not too greasy.
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Nail Polish for All Seasons
Picking a cool, new nail color for #manicuremonday is fun and all, but it's also a good idea to have a classic shade (or two) in your collection that you can always count on, says nail pro Jin Soon Choi. Her suggestions: "A true red because it's a classic, universal color that works with any outfit and through any season" and/or a sheer nude. "It will give you that natural-but-better look," she says.
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A Signature Fragrance
There’s something so grown-up about having a signature scent. After all, you have to have a pretty strong sense of self to be able to pick just one scent that defines you. “A signature scent is something that comes from your insides and translates your personality into a fragrance,” says Caroline Ivanica, perfumer at Drom Fragrances. So how do you choose? “People who are very extroverted will tend more toward fragrances that are loud, sexy, and dazzling; whereas people who are more quiet may identify themselves more with a transparent, sheer scent,” she says. “When you smell something that completely captures you, you will know in an instant -- it's a bit like love at first sight.” When shopping, Ivanica suggests saving the scent strip for a few hours. “You can love the perfume when it’s just sprayed and hate it twenty minutes, or two hours, later.”
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Shampoo That’s Meant for Your Hair
One size fits all doesn't apply when it comes to shampoo. "Your hair will not be at its best if you're not using one designed for your specific texture," says Rhys. You need lightweight formulas for fine hair (try Herbal Essences Naked Volume Shampoo, $5); curly shampoos and conditioners (which tend to be more hydrating) for wavy and curly hair types (try Aveda Be Curly Shampoo); and rich, moisturizing shampoo and conditioner for dry, coarse hair (try Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Sulfate-Free Shampoo, $31).
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A Blow Dryer That Gets the Job Done, Fast
A 30-minute DIY blowout? Never. Going. To. Happen. "Your time is stretched to the max in the morning," says Jet Rhys, a San Diego-based stylist and salon owner. "You need a reliable blow dryer." Her current fav: Cricket Q-Zone Professional Dryer, $149. "It's quiet and fast, with air that blows up to 50 miles an hour, so you can get on with your day faster," she says.
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A Curling Iron That Does the Work for You
Technology is a beautiful thing. Even a curling iron novice can get Victoria's-Secret-worthy waves in no time. The latest curling irons self-rotate to create the most perfect, uniform curls, every time. Sarah Potempa Beachwaver S1 Ceramic Rotating Curling Iron ($199, sarahpotempa.com) turns at different speeds with the touch of a button.
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