Skincare Routines in Your 30’s – 7 Essential Steps

Hollie Shirley / Hair & Skincare Editor

When you get to your 30’s, It’s time to start upping your skincare routine and taking your skincare seriously. We put together a list of the most important habits to incorporate into your daily routine.

If you are reading this, congratulations, you survived your 20’s. Here come the 30’s. You’re a real adult now. Your 30’s are a time of stress, hormones, and for most of us, still figuring out who we are and where we are going. All this stress and hormonal swings can wreak havoc on your skin. The growth hormones start to slow down so your skin can’t repair itself as easily as it did in your 20’s, breakouts can occur in the form of adult cystic acne (nope, you will never catch a break from those) and you might start to see fine lines and expression lines that weren’t there a few days ago.


It’s time to start upping your skincare routine and taking your skincare seriously if you want to keep it looking its best for longer. We put together a list of the most important habits to incorporate into your daily routine.


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Get your 8 hours of sleep

Odds are you didn’t get a full eight hours of sleep each night in your 20s, and that undoubtedly took a toll on your skin. Long gone are the days of 5 hours of sleep, beauty sleep is very important, as it is at night when the skin along with the rest of your body repairs itself. The longer and better you sleep regularly, the more time it has to do just that. Make it a habit to go to bed at the same time every night and have a great sleep routine – read more tips on how to get a great night’s sleep. Sleeping on a silk pillowcase will be highly beneficial to ensure your skin doesn’t crunch against the pillow and sleep lines do not form, and it won’t absorb any of your skincare products allowing them to do their job effectively overnight. 

Start using Retinol

By starting using anti-ageing products such as retinol in your 30s you can delay the signs of ageing earlier. Therefore, you will have less to deal with in later life, making it easier to keep your skin looking younger for longer. Retinol is a form of vitamin A that strengthens the deeper layer of your skin, increasing collagen and boosting skin cell renewal, which is essential in your 30s as this has naturally begun to decline. Although creams containing low strength retinol are perfectly fine in your 20s, now is the time to upgrade to stronger retinol to use at night. Also make sure you apply it to your neck and décolletage, as these areas show early signs of ageing. Retinol should only be used at night, and depending on the retinol (check the instructions) it should usually be applied on toned skin, before your moisturizer.

Start treating neck, decolletage and under eyes

As you age, it becomes especially important to treat your neck and décolletage, as these areas will be one of the first to show signs of ageing.  Rubbing the leftover moisturizer from your face down to your neck isn’t good enough. While the intention is good, it’s truly not helping that much in the quest for smooth, moist skin on the neck. Instead, the neck deserves its own step in your skincare routine. This means applying one application of moisturizer (with sunscreen during the day) to the face and then a second full application to the front and sides of the neck to keep it looking soft, smooth, and damage-free.

It’s also time to pay attention to your under-eyes on a daily basis – not just when you’ve been up all night. The skin around your eyes is super delicate as it’s much thinner than anywhere else on your body, which means it loses moisture more rapidly. Take care when applying your cream – pat the product into your skin using your fourth finger – if you rub it in, you’ll tug at the skin that could promote skin sagging. Remember to apply it morning and night after your serum and before your moisturizer.

Have differing AM/PM routines based on your skin’s needs

Many people fall into the habit of using the same routine morning and night, but it’s important to understand the needs from day to night are different, and therefore need a different approach when it comes to your skincare routine. 

During the day, our skin is exposed to the UV rays and environmental stressors that age us, so you should lean towards products that have SPF and anti-pollution ingredients; then at night, our skin goes into repair mode to recover from all that. Thus, your morning skincare routine should be all about protection, involving an antioxidant serum and sunscreen. Then your nighttime routine should focus on rejuvenation and repair incorporating products like retinol, peptides, and chemical exfoliation, followed by night cream.

Protect your skin from the sun and other environmental factors

Another daily step you can’t afford to skip is SPF. Considering that the most common skin issues of women in their 30s are pigmentation, dark spots, fine lines, and wrinkles, which are made considerably worse by sun exposure. You should use SPF with 5-star UVA rating each day– during the summer months, you should use SPF 50 to protect against the sun’s dangerous UVA and UVB rays. Most people don’t actually wear enough sunscreen to get true protection, so wearing a foundation that has an SPF every day “as an insurance policy” is a great alternative. In other words, that layer of makeup serves as an extra barrier between your skin and its worst enemy – UV light.

If you’re worried about daily foundation clogging your pores, don’t be. As long as you’re using makeup that’s appropriate for your skin type, you shouldn’t run into any problems.


In order to boost skin cell renewal, you need to exfoliate using a chemical exfoliator at least twice a week. As your dermis loses support and your skin becomes less supple, it can often become dull as the outer layer is not being renewed as regularly. By introducing a chemical exfoliator that contains AHAs and BHAs, you’ll prevent the buildup of dead skin, improving tone and texture while minimizing the appearance of pores. Aim to exfoliate in the evening after cleansing (no more than two or three times a week, and less if you have dry or sensitive skin), as it gives our skin time to recover and absorb all our serums and moisturiser while it replenishes overnight.


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Invest in serums and acids

When you reach your 30s, it’s time to invest more in skincare if you can, and serum is a perfect product to splurge a little more on as they deliver a higher concentration of active ingredients making them more effective. It is also a great way to address a number of concerns at once by layering your serums in your nighttime routine.  Serums typically have a lightweight formula with a smaller molecular structure so they can penetrate your skin further, helping repair the skin at a deeper level. Serums containing antioxidants vitamin C and E, which will brighten and improve skin tone, leaving it with a radiant glow. Whilst those with hyaluronic acid will deliver deeper moisture to your skin.

Hollie Shirley
Hair & Skincare Editor

Hollie Shirley is SILKUP’s hair and skincare editor. She’s obsessed with all things hair care and results-driven skincare, that is kind to the environment and your wallet. She has a weakness for limited edition eyeshadows and is always testing out the newest and greatest deep conditioners. Hollie has a passion for hair and is studying Trichology, working towards becoming a Member of the Association of Registered Trichologists.