I’m a beauty editor and these are the beauty tips I wish I’d known in my early 20s

Treat your 22-year-old face better than I did, I beg you

Editor / September 25 2023

You know how they say wisdom comes with age? Well, turns out it’s true! At 28 now, I’m completely certain that Beverly Hills is by far the best Real Housewives franchise. Back at 21, I would’ve sworn it was the OG New York… See, I told you: live and learn. What a naive young lass!

That’s not the only major lesson I’ve learned, though. And as someone who talks about beauty for a living, some of the most valuable realisations I’ve had have centred around what I did wrong on my personal beauty road.

But because I refuse to let anyone else learn the hard way, I’m going to let you in on all the wisdom I’ve picked up along the way. Here are the beauty tips I wish I’d known in my early 20s…

#1: Introduce preventative skin care steps earlier

When certain skin care ingredients first entered the beauty arena, there was definitely more of a ‘don’t worry about that yet’ attitude toward them than there is now, especially for those who hadn’t yet hit the age-25 collagen peak. Sorry to break it to you, but collagen production literally goes downhill from there.

A phrase I wish had emerged earlier? ‘Preventative skin care’. Yep, there are things you can do to combat certain skin concerns (fine lines, sagging, loss of plumpness) long before you’re even actually dealing with them. And boy, I wish I’d done ‘em!

Actives and powerful ingredients like collagen and retinol are so important for maintaining a plump, youthful complexion through your 20s and beyond. My advice? Start with low strength actives and build up slowly.

You could also introduce a supplement such as Nature's Way High Strength Adult Vita Gummies Collagen Beauty Complex ($19.99 at Chemist Warehouse) to help boost your collagen formation. Formulated with 2500mg of hydrolysed collagen per dose to enhance elasticity and firmness, supplements like these are a stellar way to support radiant, glowing, nourished skin.

Another option? The Nature’s Way Adult Vita Gummies Hair Skin Nails ($18.99 at Chemist Warehouse), which similarly support collagen formation for healthy skin, while also aiding in maintaining healthy hair and strong nails. Quite the trifecta!

Nature's Way High Strength Adult Vita Gummies Collagen Beauty Complex

Nature’s Way Adult Vita Gummies Hair Skin Nails

#2: Never pop your pimples

I know you know this: popping pimples is a no-go. But sometimes what we know we should do and what we actually do live in completely different neighbourhoods.

Well, I’m here to tell you (from painful personal experience) that one of my very biggest skin regrets is the time I decided the ‘squeeze method’ was the only way to return my face to normal when dealing with a rudely prominent blemish. It was my 23rd birthday, and I decided it simply had to go! So, did it? Of course not. It bled, (and so was angrier and more obvious than ever), and in the end, scarred permanently.

Would it have been a bummer to have a spot on such an occasion? Sure. But now I’ve got a constant reminder of said popping faux pas. The positive? It serves as a sign that says ‘don’t even think about it’ whenever I’m tempted to take matters into my own hands. And so let my words be that deterrent for you: Don’t. Even. Think. About. It.

#3: Switch to silk pillowcases

Silk pillowcases aren’t just chic, they’re a genuine game-changer for your skin. And while I’d never sleep without one nowadays (I even cart one around on holidays to cover hotel pillows), I sure wish I’d converted sooner.

On top of looking and feeling luxurious, silk absorbs way less of your expensive skin care, plus it’s far gentler on skin than traditional cotton or linen. Long story short: you won’t wake up with any dreaded pillow creases, and that ‘dragging’ feeling of swiping your skin against a regular pillowcase will be long gone.

#4: Hydration doesn’t come solely in a jar

Up until about 27, I was the girl who would wax lyrical about the struggles of my eternally dry skin while hypocritically toting around the same completely full water bottle I’d avoided drinking all day long.

I was dealt the dry skin type card, there’s no doubt about that, but hydration is a two-way street. What you put on the outside (lotions, potions, etc.) can obviously work some wonders, but unless you’re hydrating your insides with adequate water intake, you’re simply never going to see the best results possible. Water is amazing for flushing out toxins while also enhancing overall skin health, so you’re going to want to drink up in a bid to ditch dry skin.

My advice? Team the two (approximately two litres of water a day and two solid skin care application sessions) together, and then tell me your skin’s not plump, juicy, and positively glowing.

#5: Never go to bed with makeup on

Like, ever. We’ve all gone through the classic ‘can’t I just go straight to bed?!’ bargaining with ourselves after coming home from a long day/cocktail-fuelled night. At least I sure have.

I knew it was a bad call, but sometimes it just seemed downright impossible to double cleanse at 2am (or hell, even 6pm). And hey, I was still a baby-faced 20 year old! I thought time couldn’t touch me.

After one overnight instance, I actually had a pal tell me our faces age a week for every night we sleep in our makeup. Scare tactic? Absolutely. Effective? You bet. After a quick mental horror movie montage of every night I’d committed such a sin, I vowed to never climb into my sheets without fresh skin again. And I haven’t since!

Sleeping in your makeup is a one-way ticket to breakouts, dull skin, and major dehydration. Plus, you’ll feel positively foul the next day; you know I’m right! If you want the quickest fix possible, an oil cleanser is a serious godsend for late nights! Here’s to never, ever making this mistake again…


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Delaney began her career in the Australian beauty media industry in 2015, landing amidst the glossy world of women’s lifestyle magazines (or more literally, in their beauty cupboards). Since then, she has gone on to write across a multitude of beloved Australian media brands, including OK!, NW, InStyle, and Harper’s BAZAAR. She’s covered every side of beauty content, from directing beauty editorial shoots to rounding up the best glossy serums for golden hour skin. Having spent nearly a decade immersed in the beauty realm, Delaney’s knowledge of beauty is as extensive as her collection of tinted lip oils (read: extremely extensive). Delaney is currently the Digital Managing Editor of BEAUTYcrew, and her beauty wisdom also appears across beautyheaven, ELLE and Marie Claire. She enjoys channelling her personal hobby (testing beauty products) into her professional work (talking about testing beauty products), and considers perfecting the art of a cat eye in a moving car her life’s greatest accomplishment.