In honor of my upcoming 30th birthday, I’ve researched countless “things to do before 30” lists. And while there are plenty to choose from, I kept coming back to “Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30.”
The List was originally published in Glamour by columnist Pamela Redmond Satran in 1997. Over the next 30 weeks, I’ll be tackling each item on The List and reflecting about it here… publicly (gulp). I hope you enjoy and we can grow together. After all, turning older is a privilege denied to many.
By 30, you should have…
14. A skin-care regimen, an exercise routine, and a plan for dealing with those few other facets of life that don’t get better after 30.
Actress, model and all-around superwoman Angie Harmon wrote this week’s response to The List, and she addresses the ever-present promise of growing older: how to look good while doing it.
I’ve paraphrased Harmon’s “10 tricks for looking fierce at any age, especially the one you are now” below and added my own commentary (of course):
1. Eat foods that are good for you…
This is plain and simple — the more fresh, natural, unprocessed foods you consume, the more your body will thank you. I finally learned this myself with my recent month-long challenge at removing caffeine, alcohol and added/artificial sugar from my diet. Do I still crave and consume pizza, fried foods and other junk? Of course. But I’m a hell of a lot more cognizant about where all of that is going to end up, even if I sweat myself silly at the gym.
2. Make friends with the elliptical machine…
Speaking of the gym, Harmon glorifies the do-it-all elliptical, of which I’ve been a longtime fan. Now, because I live in SF and boutique classes are much more “in,” I’ve tried my hand at boot camps and barre in recent years. But the good, old-fashioned elliptical certainly torches calories and works multiple muscle groups faster than most classes a gym can offer.
3. Buy swimsuits that fit.
If you’ve seen any episode of “What Not to Wear,” ever, you know fit is the most important component to fashion. You can have beautiful pieces, but if they don’t fit well, they won’t maximize your potential. Similarly, if you’re trying to squeeze into a swimsuit from summers long ago, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Forget about the number on the tag and focus on fit: You won’t regret giving your body the support, coverage, or whatever it needs to feel fabulous!
4. You need to exfoliate for young-looking skin.
This tried-and-true beauty tip is timeless for a reason: It works. Even with my sensitive skin, exfoliating a few times a week brightens and tightens my face and neck like nothing else can. I invested in a Clarisonic a few years ago (thanks, Macy’s discount!) and rotate through various face washes, depending on my needs. The satisfaction of seeing the crap that comes off your face is just a bonus.
5. Never underestimate the power of a bright lipstick.
I haven’t ever been much of a lipstick, or lipgloss fan, for that matter. Except for a few years of middle school experimentation, I tend to keep my lips bare. But I see Harmon’s point and have never failed to receive compliments the few times I bust out a bold red or pouty pink. PS, if you have a crave-worthy color I should try, let me know!
6. Sun protection is a must, always…
There’s absolutely no arguing this one — sunscreen is a vital component to everyone’s skin regimen. I personally prefer buying moisturizers and foundation with SPF for foolproof normal days, and I add on sweatproof sunblock for days I’m outside more. Even in the overcast climate of SF, there’s no better shield for your skin than slathering on this stuff.
7. Let your moisturizer sink in…
Of all the beauty advice I’ve read over the years, I don’t recall coming across this one, but Harmon suggests letting your moisturizer sit for three minutes before moving on to your next step. I’ve tried it for all of one day, so I can’t speak to the results yet, but the quickest of Google searches shows her advice is worth taking.
8. Reconsider your beauty routine…
Just as our bodies change with time, so does our hair and skin texture and color. The curls I wanted so desperately during my stick-straight years have finally come, and the color has changed — often with help from a professional — countless times. These changes require different products, treatments and care… if we learned nothing else from “Legally Blonde,” we should all be aware of our hair (and skin) care needs.
9. Know there’s always going to be something about your body you’re not going to like…
Although our beauty standards have progressed by leaps and bounds, there’s still much work to do in self-love and care. I’ll probably never be 100% satisfied with my stomach, for example, but other women would kill for my chest. We want curly hair until we have it. We want thinner limbs but ignore the strength of our own. It’s cliché for a reason: We want what we don’t have. Accepting what we DO have, however, never gets old. Love the body you’re in. Be grateful for it. Accept the things that make you unique, because you’re perfect just the way you are.
10. There will be times when self-acceptance comes less easily…
As Harmon notes, there are going to be days when you just can’t seem to accept the things that irk you most about your body. And that’s OK, too. Spanx and concealer and baseball hats are all helpful tools in getting through a blah day. You don’t have to suck it up and smile, but it is ideal to know what your go-to is on those days so you’re not stuck falling down a rabbit hole of envying others.
Now, Christina and TLC, play me out!