Want Glowing Skin For Life? Start With These 20s Skincare Basics
Whether you’re in your 20s or just new to the skincare world, it’s never too late (or too early) to start turning back the clock and setting yourself up for a lifetime of gorgeous, healthy skin. Get glowing with these 20s skincare basics.
Your skin has made it past the volatile teen years and has graduated into adulthood, much like you have! It’s now time to lay down the strong foundation for beautiful skin that will last a lifetime. Welcome to your 20s: Your skin is gorgeous and young, so let’s keep it that way.
It’s all about prevention
Your 20s are a time of prevention. Short of leaving the earth and its evil gravity behind, the biggest weapon against premature aging is sunscreen.
Maybe you weren’t lucky enough to have someone drive home the importance of sunscreen when you were younger, but you have no excuse now. UVA rays penetrate deep and cause wrinkling, sunspots, and a whole host of photoaging related messes. UVB rays are the ones associated with cancer and painful burns, but they’re both the #1 enemy to your skin and you need serious protection from both.
If I could go back and change anything about my life, it would only be that I would never smoke cigarettes and I would spend my entire life enrobed in sunscreen! Cigarettes and sun are basically a prescription for looking like a desiccated Sponge Bob. And while I can’t recommend any nicotine patches, I can recommend some of my favorite sunscreens.
Sun protection seems to be such a highly personal thing. What is my favorite might be someone’s hated. It really depends on your skin type, what formulas your skin plays nicely with, and sometimes even how pale you are (as a lot of physical sunscreens leave a visible white cast that’s more visible the darker your skin). I have amassed an army of sunscreen favorites, ranging from French brands to Japanese, but for today I’m only talking about my two Korean beauty faves.
Innisfree Eco Safety Perfect Sunblock SPF50+ PA+++ is one of my favorite of the creamier sunscreens. It doesn’t leave too much of a white cast, the formula is somewhat moisturizing, and it smells kinda herbal, which is rare in the world of sun protection.
Missha All Around Safe Block Waterproof Sun Milk SPF 50+ PA +++ was one of my first K-beauty purchases and is still a favorite of mine. This is true to its name in that the product is more of a milk than a cream. It dries down quickly, has a lot of nice ingredients, and it doesn’t irritate my eyes.
Get into good habits now
On days when your skin is misbehaving it may be hard to believe it, but in your 20s your skin is at its peak visually. Dark age spots haven’t appeared yet, your tone is even, and the texture is supple and smooth with a lot of bounce. If you get into a good routine now, this is the time when you can get away with eschewing foundation altogether if you want.
But in order to get your skin in order, you’ve got to dedicate yourself to putting in the work. Luckily, you don’t have as much work to do as you will in your 30s. Right now is all about building the foundation for your later years.
Start by always doing your best to double cleanse. It sounds silly, but it’s a huge thing, especially if you’re wearing as much sunscreen as you should. The only way to properly remove it is with double cleansing.
This is a song I sing often, I know! Just get yourself into the habit, and it will become muscle memory. If I’m sick, if I stumble home drunk (hello, it’s your friendly soju ambassador here), if I’m just plain tired, I will always double cleanse. It didn’t come easy, it’s something I had to train myself to do.
Double cleansing will go a long way to help keep pesky breakouts at bay. Acne can follow you well into old age; some people even need medical intervention. Even if that’s the case, nightly double cleansing will help to make treatment more effective. There is a wide variety of cleansing creams, oils, sherbets, and even the famous Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick. There is something out there that will work for you! Find something that gives you pleasure to use — it makes the habit that much easier to pick up. (Damn, that’s how those cigarettes got me, too.)
Keep it simple
Remember how I said earlier that you don’t have to work as hard during this decade? Here’s where you get some respite. You probably don’t need the six to 10+ products that your older sisters in their 30s might need. You can quite possibly get away with a very, very minimal routine. Once you get your skin in shape, keeping it that way is a lot easier. Your first cleanser, a good quality low pH foaming cleanser, a serum, (a BHA or AHA if you’re acne-prone), and a great emulsion (and cream if you’re dry) is probably all you need. Find a good nourishing ampoule or serum that works for you and don’t slack on it. You also don’t have to go crazy on the spendy serums either. There are great budget options from brands like Innisfree, Banila Co., and Goodal.
If oily skin is something that plagues you, there’s a lot of relief to be found in a weekly clay mask pack. My husband has very active oil glands and a favorite of his is the Innisfree Jeju Super Volcanic Clay Pore Mask. It’s under $15, and it does a magical job of absorbing excess oil. For everyday touch-ups, 3CE blotting paper will do the same on the go. Plus the papers are purple — super cute.
Sheet masks are the most fun part of self-care, in my opinion. They’re relaxing, pampering, make for the craziest selfies, and they’re also damn good treatments. I’ve always called sheet masks “portable spa days,” because that’s how your skin looks after using a good one. Polatam, Papa Recipe, Benton, Naruko, and Moksha are some brands I’ve been using a lot lately.
Another kind of mask you can do is a sleeping mask. These are masks you leave on and don’t rinse off until morning. You do have the option to never rinse them, or to rinse them after 15 to 20 minutes — it’s totally up to you. You can go with a budget choice, like the Holika Holika Pig Collagen Jelly Pack, which is excellent for moisturizing without feeling heavy or oily. Also, it’s awesome to keep in the fridge in the summer and wear to bed. So refreshing!
A nighttime mask is also a place where you can do a bit of a splurge, as these tend to last a while and are overnight treatments. For a well-deserved, high-end splurge, I highly recommend the Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing Mask. Your skin will look incredible and radiant in the morning after a night with this mask. It’s also one of the most affordable products in the Sulwhasoo line.
All in all, your 20s are a time of self-discovery and working out exactly what you want out of life. It’s pretty safe to say we all want great skin; follow this advice and you’ll be well on your way to getting it. But my most important piece of advice is have fun. To quote the book Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis: “Life is a banquet, and most poor sons-of-bitches are starving to death!”
What does your 20s skincare routine look like? And if you’re no longer in your 20s, what would you tell your 20s-self about beauty looking back?