Let’s face it — it’s pretty much impossible to escape the world of skincare, makeup, and general beauty tips these days. Whether it’s the never-ending stream of dermatologists showing up on your TikTok For You Page, the hosts of your favorite podcast talking about a new brand that’s sponsoring the show, or just your friends sharing their favorite products on their Instagram stories, it can feel like every day there’s a new habit or product you should be implementing into your routine, especially when it comes to skincare hacks in your 20s.
Although my skincare and makeup habits have always been a bit of a work in progress, after recently graduating college, I felt like it was time for an overhaul more than ever before. My makeup wipes, harsh acne cleanser, and trusty mascara that I’d been using since high school got me through college, but when combined with nights of falling asleep in my makeup after going out, or going full semesters (or longer?) without cleaning my makeup brushes, it seemed like the perfect time for a fresh start. After all, with pretty much everything else about my life changing after entering the “real world” where I want to look more polished and professional, why not overhaul my skincare and beauty routine as well?
I interviewed two professionals about their thoughts on beauty upgrades post-college: Liana JnoRose, a licensed esthetician, and Alicia Hunter, a celebrity beauty expert. The TL;DR? There are certain products and techniques that can definitely help you to achieve a desired look, but at the end of the day, it’s all about making a few simple changes to your regimen. Here’s what you need to know.
Sleep & Hydrate Above All Else
Both JnoRose and Hunter agreed that getting enough sleep and keeping your skin and body hydrated is essential for looking and feeling your best. Hunter explains, “Two of the most important things to achieve glowing, dewy skin is sleep and hydration. Sometimes we get so busy and don’t drink as much water as we need to, which results in dull, dehydrated skin and the appearance of fine lines, even in our early 20s.” Just another reason to add to the ever-growing list of why we should be drinking more water.
Hunter added that “sleep is crucial because that’s when our skin repairs itself from the elements.” Although it was pretty much standard to be sleep-deprived in college (at least during finals week) the more regular schedule that (hopefully) comes with post-grad life means that achieving those eight hours in bed is a little more doable.
Consider Professional Treatments, But Only From Reputable Providers
In college, I definitely didn’t have the extra time or money for professional beauty treatments — I was lucky if I took the time to get my nails done during the semester. Now that I have a little more disposable income from my first full-time job and am not packing my free time with studying, internships, and extracurriculars, it makes more sense to potentially invest in quality beauty treatments.
You may think you don’t need to, but JnoRose suggests, “Everyone should go to an esthetician on a monthly basis if possible. Routine facials train the skin to act normally and provide targeted treatments that aren’t available at home.” Even if going every month isn’t realistic for your schedule or your wallet, it makes sense that a visit to an esthetician can help introduce new upgrades to your routine. JnoRose explains, “Your esthetician [can] grant you access to professional-grade products that are way better in quality compared to what’s on the market or drug store.” Those products can then be part of your everyday routine, even if you’re not getting other treatments.
Hunter also mentioned the benefits and popularity of treatments such as eyelash extensions and microblading, but emphasized the importance of making sure you’re going to a reputable provider. She tells Her Campus, “Lash extensions are a big time-saver, and most of my clients find they don’t wear nearly as much eye makeup as they did prior to getting extensions. Another benefit of extensions is the need for a lash curler and mascara is negated. Make sure you go to a reputable lash artist who has been doing it for a long time and get a personal referral if you can.”
Similarly, she mentioned microblading as a way to get polished and well-groomed brows, but again emphasized the importance of going to a “professional with experience.” As with most big investments, it definitely pays off to do your research.
Prevention Is Key (So Ditch The Makeup Wipes)
Both of the professionals that I spoke with mentioned the importance of wearing SPF on a daily basis to protect against skin cancer. In the words of Hunter, “Daily use of sunscreen is vital to maintain supple skin and to avoid skin cancer. Also remember to apply it to your décolleté and tops of your hands.” I personally didn’t start wearing sunscreen every day until the summer after graduation, but “the earlier the better” is definitely the right way of thinking here — BRB while I go put some sunscreen on my hands!
While you’re adding SPF to your routine, it might also be time to cut out the oh-so-popular makeup wipe. I’m been using a trusty makeup-removing wipe every night since middle school, and they were a lifesaver especially during late nights in college. But in the words of JnoRose, “Makeup wipes are very harsh on the skin and usually don’t remove all of the makeup anyway.” She suggests upgrading to an “oil or cream cleanser [that] will break up the makeup in the pores, and a second cleanse [to] wash it all away.”
Getting products from an esthetician is best, but if you haven’t been able to book an appointment yet, many beauty stores and drugstores sell cleansing oils you can use in the meantime, like the Boscia MakeUp-BreakUp Cool Cleansing Oil or the Uoma By Sharon C Go Awf! Au Naturel Cleansing Oil, for example.
If you’re like me, this might be a big transition — after all, the ease of the makeup wipe is what makes it such a staple — but it definitely is for the best for your skin.
At the end of the day, there are a million pieces of advice you could follow about how to change up your beauty regimen. One of my favorite things about being in my early 20s is the freedom to try new things and experiment with my look. Skincare is no exception, but it also can be overwhelming to shift through all of the different advice out there. Luckily, as summed up by Hunter, “The transition from possibly skipping makeup and skin care altogether, due to a demanding school schedule, to working professional doesn’t have to break your bank or suck up your time.” By incorporating some of the simple tips above, I’m planning to upgrade my beauty practices, just like I’m upgrading so many other parts of my life after college.
Liana JnoRose, Licensed Esthetician
Alicia Hunter, Celebrity Lash Extensionist