10 Essential Makeup Skills Every Woman Should Master Before Age 30

Model Lily Aldridge

We fully support the mindset that 30 is the new 20, but we also think certain makeup skills are important to master before you turn 30 to help you embrace the new decade of your life with utmost confidence. After all, there are certain less-than-amazing-moments almost every woman experiences in her 20s—whether it's oversleeping your alarm (again) or waking up with a zit the size of Kim K's wedding ring before a big presentation—that we'd all like to bid adieu to, or at least know how to deal with swiftly and with vengeance.

Ahead, you'll find the 10 things Byrdie editors all agree are the most important makeup skills to learn and add to your arsenal in your wild, wonderful 20s. So yes, 30 is the new 20 because you'll be looking just as bright-eyed entering this new decade of your life as you did the last. Cheers to that!

Keep scrolling to see the 10 makeup skills every woman should master before age 30.

1. Swiftly and Skillfully Covering a Zit

Soft Matte Complete Concealer Vanilla 0.21 oz/ 6.21 mL
Nars Soft Matte Complete Concealer $30

Adult acne is a thing, whether you like it or not. By age 30, you should know exactly how to handle the situation when you wake up to a surprise breakout (and no, whining about how your life is over isn’t part of the equation). In case you need a refresher, this is the makeup artist-approved way to cover acne.

2. Giving a Little Glow (and Taking Away When Needed)

Rituel de Fille Rare Light Luminizer in Lunaris $29

Whether dewy skin or a matte complexion is trending when you’re in your 30s, you should be able to effectively execute both—regardless of your natural skin type. We’re on team dewy because it’s easier to pull off (you only need some careful strobing and a few key products to keep your look sweat-free), but in case matte comes back, we’ve got you covered there, too.

3. Looking Awake (Even When You're Not)

Illuminating eye treatment
Onomie A.C.E Illuminating Eye Treatment $40

Think long nights and tired mornings are left in your 20s? Think again. On days when you wake up feeling like you’ve been hit by a ton of bricks, you should be able to remedy the situation ASAP with some carefully placed concealer and perhaps a spritz or two of face mist (check out our full step-by-step guide). Sometimes, you get a full eight hours and still feel (and look) exhausted—especially in your under-eye area (aka bag central).

4. Faking Fuller Lips

Lip liner
Huda Beauty Lip Contour Matte Pencil $19

We’re going to go out on a limb here and say that the day small, shriveled lips become the beauty norm is probably not in our near future. You may lose volume in your lips in your 30s, so make sure you know this handy trick for making them appear fuller and plumper (and thus more youthful) instantly.

5. Perfecting Your Eyeliner Technique

Eyeko liquid eyeliner
Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner $22

The art of creating the perfect cat eye can be elusive—but regardless, you should still be able to create a sleek, wobble-free line (winged out or not) before you hit your 30th birthday. The first thing you should take into account is your eye shape. Then, just follow these steps. (If you have a shaky hand, here's how to ensure your eyeliner is always perfect.)

6. Contouring Without Looking Like You Contoured

W3LL People Natural Contour and Highlight Duo
W3ll People Natural Contour and Highlight Duo $25

Will the Kardashians still be relevant when you’re in your 30s? All signs point to yes (Kimye baby number three is a very real possibility), but either way, the technique they’ve made their signature (contouring, obviously) is still something you should have under your belt. The key is to make it look as natural as possible—you don’t want to look like you contoured, after all. Plus, the possibilities are endless: You can use a creamy stick formula to make your nose look smaller, or brush a powder formula below your cheeks to add a little depth and carve out cheekbones.

7. Filling In Your Brows

Brow gel
BrowGal Skinny Eyebrow Pencil $23

If you’re Cara Delevingne or Lily Collins, you can skip this one. If you’re anyone else, here’s a major skill you should make it a goal to master in your 20s (or before): filling in your brows. It can be a touch-and-go process—you need to find the right formula, right product, right shade, right shape… The list goes on. Luckily, we want to help you. Here’s a handy little guide for filling in your brows, some of our favorite brow products, and more tips on how to get the best-looking brows of your life. You’re welcome.

8. Naturally Applying Foundation

Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Foundation 1C1 Shell 1 oz/ 30 mL
Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Foundation $48

One word: blend. By the time you’ve hit your 30s, we hope you have become a master at blending, applying, and swirling your foundation for a super-natural, airbrushed-looking finish. Some fine lines might creep up by then, so consider a primer (we like Too Faced’s Hangover RS Replenishing Face Primer, $34) and a more light-reflecting, full-coverage formula.

9. Mastering the Art of Bronzer

Terracotta Original Bronzing Powder - 02 Natural Blondes
Guerlain Terracotta Bronzing Powder $54

Everyone wants to look sun-kissed—and the wise know how to do it without any sun. The key to a natural-looking bronzed glow? These five easy steps. Also, we suggest a matte, glitter-free formula, like Benefit’s Hoola($29) or Ciaté’s Bamboo Bronzer Longwear Bronzing Powder ($28) to avoid any Oompa Loompa comparisons.

10. Blending Your Blush

Certified Organic Baked Blush Rose 0.28 oz/ 8 g
Antonym Certified Organic Baked Blush $36

In case you haven’t realized it yet, blush is your secret weapon against tiredness, aging skin, and a dull complexion. In other words, you should know how to wield this powerful tool—and wield it well. Whether you prefer powder or cream, the key here is knowing exactly where to apply and how to blend. Here’s a visual guide for applying blush so you don’t ever end up looking like a Raggedy Ann doll. For a silky, finely milled powder, try Marc Jacobs’s new Air Blush version; for a creamy, dewy finish, try Tom Ford’s Cream Cheek Color in Pink Sand ($68).

Have you checked all of these off your list? Sound off below!

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