Posted in My Stuff

10 Make-up Essentials for your 30s

After many years of misusing cosmetics and abusing my purse strings, I’ve come to refine my make-up routine and accepted the school of less is more. I used to experiment with colours and do lots of crazy things with wild eyeshadows and super bright (read green) eyeliner even to work. Eventually, my office look became a pared down 5-minute morning thing because you know… It’s the morning! I’d keep extra make-up in my drawers at work for occasions that required more of me.

I don’t think that expensive make-up is necessarily better all the time and I don’t think it’s important to load your face with too much junk. Let it breathe!!! It’ll thank you! Also, I don’t like clutter, so having 10 types of concealers, 15 tubes of mascara, 20 lipsticks etc just seems kinda excessive to me.


As I approach my 40s, I accept that my eyelids are a bit droopier, my double chins are never going away and I’ll never have baby smooth skin again. While I am not against cosmetic surgery, I feel like it’s not necessary just yet.

So what then?

Here is my list of 10 essential items to improve on the canvas nature has provided:

1. CC cream or BB cream with SPF
In lieu of foundation which I think is unnecessary for most people on most days, I think a CC (complexion corrector) or BB (blemish balm) cream will do just to even out skintone. Your own skin will still shine through and it’ll look more natural. It won’t cover all your flaws but you don’t want to cover everything, including the “good parts” of your skin.

2. Concealer
What the CC or BB cream didn’t cover, this will. This goes over and not under. Use sparingly. Mostly under eyes and parts where you have blemishes – like last week’s zit scars. Beware of being over zealous with the application as it will show up fine lines through caking!

3. Loose powder or light compact powder
Not a 2-way cake, please! Those are way to cakey and belong in the 80s! Just something light and sheer to help set your make-up after you’ve put it on and also for touch-ups when there’s shine. I prefer a compact powder because of the convenience even though other people think loose powder with a big brush gives a more natural finish.

4. A natural blusher
Depending on your skin colour and undertones, don’t pick something too bright or bronzy. While the contouring thing is popular now, unless you want to spend time blending different shades, stick with the colour closest to when your cheeks are flushed – not how you think you want your cheeks to look when they are flushed or how a colour looks on another person’s cheeks.

5. Neutral coloured eyeshadow
Again this depends on your natural skin colour and can range from ivory to peach to browns. It should be a few shades lighter than the skin on the rest of your face and when dusted over your eyelids, will help your eyeliner stay and your eyes look more alert!

6 & 7. Eyeliner and Mascara
I think that with age, our eyes tend not to be as perky and bright as before. While not absolute, the eyeliner and mascara combo when sparingly used, enhances the peepers by defining them. Also when eyeliner is not used in conjunction with a mascara, I see gaps at the lash line and it irritates me. I like it seamless and I always go with black for both!

8. Eyebrow pencil, shadow or gel
Choose a shade slightly lighter than your hair colour. Defined brows pull together a look but watch those arches! Don’t go too thin or too extreme! I prefer a pencil because of better control though a gel is supposed to be more natural.

9. Highlighter
Instead of some crazy 10-brush, 3 tone shading and contouring kit, I use a very simple technique – just sparkly white eyeshadow applied with my pinky finger in 3 areas. I dab and blend (with a clean finger) in the inner corners of my eyelids, the bridge of my nose and a small triangle between the outer corner of my cheekbones and under my eyes.

10. Tinted lip balm
I don’t wear lipstick everyday. When I do, I lean towards a bright orangey red and richly pigmented pinks. On regular days though, I want a hint of colour so that I don’t look sickly. Pick a colour that is similar to when your lips burn from eating spicy food. Trust me, it works! A lip balm is great even for humid climates because with age, the fine lines on your lips start getting deeper so this is the best time to get into the habit of gently exfoliating and nourishing it to keep them puckers supple!

What do you normally use in your everyday make-up routine? What gives your face that glow without looking too made-up?


I produced an indie music festival in Singapore for 7years before I moved to the US to be with my indie game dev husband Tom who made Axiom Verge and Axiom Verge 2. We live in Los Angeles, California with our son Alastair (named for Alastair Reynolds) and our dog Goliath (named for his size).

6 thoughts on “10 Make-up Essentials for your 30s

  1. These are excellent tips! I have a pretty basic daily routine. I wear a light high SPF foundation, black mascara, a soft pink powder blush and always intense lipstick usually red, plum or pink. I don’t generally wear eyeliner or eyeshadow because I have bizarrely wrinkly eyelids and getting a good application is a nightmare and because I always have bright lips I want to avoid overkill. I also used to go nuts with the eye make-up when I was younger. Some old photos I just think what the hell! Lol!

      1. My best was actually Dr Jart BB cream which was factor 40 but I can’t afford it unless it’s on special! At the moment I have the Maybelline better skin one but it’s only 25, which is high by London standards. My blush is Benefit Hervana.

  2. Great list. The only thing is BB/CC creams aren’t suitable for people with tans 😦 I’m not even heavily tanned (usually), about a MAC NC30/35 and I can’t wear a lot of BB creams!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s