A Simple Guide to Skincare in Your Thirties

If you’d asked us a few years ago what was on our skincare shelf, we’d rattle off a laundry list of trendy products and a routine longer than your favorite Netflix show. We’d also go to bed without washing our faces (😱) and sheet masked way too often (...all in the name of #selfcare). 

In our thirties, however, we understand there are a few universal truths to taking good care of your skin. Your skincare in your 30s should not be the same as what you used in your 20s, but more than that, your routine should feel sustainable and slot into your schedule.  

In your thirties? Here are six skincare swaps you should make ASAP. 

1. Ditch the Makeup Wipes 

Oh, makeup wipes. They had such a moment in the sun, and in our twenties, we lived and died by these little wipes. Sure, makeup wipes were helpful for those nights when you're staggering home from the bar, but in your thirties, you need a cleansing routine with more staying power. 

The TLDR about makeup wipes

  • They’re often formulated with barrier-stripping ingredients like alcohols, can irritate sensitive skin, and cause breakouts for acne-prone skin 
  • Certain wipes can inflame and irritate the sensitive skin around the eye area
  • They also don’t always penetrate deeply enough to remove all the makeup and dirt your face can accumulate during the day 

Instead, opt for a gentle cleanser that maintains your skin’s pH balance and removes makeup without harsh scrubbing. 

2. Wash Your Face Every Night 

This is one of the simplest changes you’ll make when you’re transitioning into your 30s skincare routine. Instead of saying, “Oh I’ll do that in the morning,” true skincare fanatics won’t rest their weary eyes until they’ve cleansed (at least once). Some are obsessed with double cleansing, but the takeaway is this — preventing signs of aging and caring for your skin is best achieved with a clean canvas. 

When it comes to washing your face, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends: 

  • Cleanse no more than twice per day (morning and night)
  • Avoid scrubbing the skin, as this can irritate the face 
  • Use a face wash that’s non-abrasive and doesn’t contain alcohol 

3. Level Up Your Antioxidants 

Skincare in your 30s also means cozying up to antioxidants. The main reason is to limit the amount of free radicals the skin takes in. The term “free radicals” is thrown around often in the skincare world, but generally, these are unstable molecules that react within the body. 

Free radicals oxidize the skin, contributing to collagen loss, fine lines, and dark spots. By adding antioxidant ingredients to your routine, you can counteract the effect of free radicals. For example, regular use of antioxidants can calm inflammation and stimulate collagen production.

Not sure what counts? If you’ve used any of these ingredients, you’ve already incorporated antioxidants into your routine: 

4. Ask Your Derm About...Everything

We firmly believe your relationship with your derm can be so much more than your yearly skin check-up. Instead, your derm is a treasure trove of skincare insights, and there’s probably very little they haven’t seen before. 

Think of your derm as your personalized skincare consultant. They’re there to help you meet the goals you have for your skin! So, when it comes to skincare after 30, remember that the word of a derm is likely more scientifically sound than that IG Reel or TikTok you saw online. 

5. Never Leave the House without SPF 

Even if you’re super consistent with your routine, incorporate antioxidant and anti-aging products, and drink tons of water daily, the reality is this — sun damage can negate all that good work you’re doing for your skin. Luckily, gone are the days where we praised the sun and passed the tanning oil thoughtlessly. 

UV damage can happen at any age, and it can cause a breakdown in the skin’s collagen and elastin production. These are what keep skin looking supple and healthy. UV radiation is also a huge contributor to fine lines, hyperpigmentation, inflamed skin, and, of course, skin cancer.

Here are a few tips for better sun protection: 

  • Wear a hat or sunglasses on sunny days to protect your scalp and the sensitive area around the eyes
  • Use SPF 30 or higher, and opt for a broad spectrum formula to block both UVA and UVB rays
  • Apply more than you think you need for maximum benefits (Check out this helpful chart from Healthline)
  • Follow best practices from the American Academy of Dermatologists and stay up-to-date on all things sunscreen 

6. Keep Your Routine Simple 

Over 30 skincare doesn't have to be intimidating! As we get older, our urge to simplify, organize, and purge what doesn't work continues to increase. We get excited for a trip to The Container Store or Target. We've got jars for our pantry ingredients. The same is true for over 30s skincare. 

Finally, affordable skincare in your 30s requires a more minimalist approach to buying products. In your twenties, it’s common to head to the drugstore every time a new product goes viral, rush to try a heavy-duty spot treatment at the first hint of a blemish, mix acids, or switch up cleansers every week. 

Instead, the key to healthy skin in your thirties comes down to three things: consistency, simplicity, and efficacy. Find the ingredients, antioxidants, and SPF that works for you, and stick with it! 

Your Best 30s Skincare Routine (AM and PM)

AM & PM - Start with a gentle cleanse

Some prefer to simply splash their face with water first thing in the AM, but we love starting off with the Covey First of All Cleanser to leave skin squeaky clean, soft, and ready for the rest of your routine. 

For skincare in your 30s, look for cleansers that can remove every trace of makeup. Not only is it a time-saver, it also contributes to fewer breakouts (which yes, can definitely happen in your 30s, especially if you sleep in your makeup). 

AM - Go in with antioxidants 

After cleansing, your skin will be baby smooth and ready to absorb all the good ingredients in your other products, whether you apply a toner, serum, or essence. Here's where you'd pat in a couple of pumps of your favorite Vitamin C serum, for example. 

PM - Apply an anti-aging serum

Your thirties is where anti-aging ingredients become a staple in your nightly routine. Retinol might be the reigning queen of the realm, but sensitive skin types can opt for milder alternatives to skip retinol-induced irritation, dryness, and flakiness (which often happens when you start using a new retinol product). 

For example, Covey's Sleep Tight Bakuchiol Serum uses bakuchiol as its anti-aging hero as well as hydrating hyaluronic acid and tripeptide to deliver a nourishing, non-irritating experience with each application. 

Not sure if retinol or bakuchiol is better for your skin in your 30s? Read all about it in our guide. 

AM & PM - Hydrate hydrate hydrate 

After your serum absorbs into the skin, follow with a moisturizer like Covey's Last But Not Least formula. You want a moisturizer tailored to your skin's unique needs. Drier skin might need a creamier, heavier moisturizer to weather the winter months, while oily or combo skin will thrive with a light, whippy moisturizer that soaks into the skin within seconds. 

AM - SPF all day, everyday 

For daytime, finish with SPF 50+ and reapply every two hours. Even if you're simply sitting by a window, your skin is being zapped with UV rays. For over 30s skincare, sunscreen is a must

Sun damage is one of the things that ages skin the most considerably, and dutiful sunscreen application in your 30s can benefit your skin well into your 40s, 50s, and beyond. 

Putting it all together 

There you have it — a complete breakdown of over 30 skincare — including 6 easy swaps you can make at any age for better skin.

Looking to simplify your 30s skincare routine? Try Covey’s three-step ritual. 

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