Are There Any Makeup or Beauty Related Things You Wish You’d Done Differently?

Published in: Just For Fun

As a wee girl of 31!

I’m really doing my best to embrace the aging process with as much style and grace as possible, but as I make my way through my mid-30s and notice ever more fine lines and wrinkles, there are a few things related to makeup and beauty that I wish I’d done differently…


And most of them have to do with anti-aging.

1. I wish I’d started wearing sunscreen regularly when I was in my teens

When I think about all of the sunny afternoons I spent outside without sunscreen, the hours of marching band rehearsals and the days spent frolicking at the beach, I can’t help but sigh… Very few people in my circle of friends and family used sunscreen back in the early ’90s, though. Shoot.

2. I wish I’d had the good sense to start applying sunscreen to my neck, hands and feet sooner

Learn from my mistakes, and avoid that chilling moment when you look down at your feet and shout, “WHOA!”

3. I wish I’d started using Retin A sooner

Oh, well. Like Cher says, “If I could turn back time…”

How about you? Are there any makeup or beauty related things you wish you’d done differently?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 67 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. 1) ) I wish I had gotten into eyeshadows sooner.
    2) although my derm says I have no sun damage, I also wish I had worn sunscreen when I was a kid.
    3) I wish when I started antiaging that I had remembered by decolette area. I do it now, but didn’t back then.

  2. Wendy says:

    I wish I’d tried Accutane much sooner!

  3. Karo says:

    I am 31 and I wish I started antiaiging 5 years ago!
    Karo recently posted … (meine Neue) Herbst Accessoires / Haul

  4. Melitina says:

    Dear K. why apply sunscreen to the neck? Do you mean the cleavage? neckline? (I am not a native English speaker, so maybe there’s something I don’t understand).
    I’m with you on the hands part: I have adopted a kitty cat early this year, and were it not for sunscreen I think the scatches would show for another 50 years ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I wish I’d had discovered high quality makeup brands long before! Why did I think that makeup could not be long-wearing, waterproof, lightweight, that brown skins could not find proper foundation coloours or that professional brands were for professional only??? So many years lost and so many horrible makeup failures…

  5. Chris25 says:

    I wish I had more confidence in my makeup skills. I could have learned more and done better in the past (including at beauty school) if I believed in myself more. Things have worked out (I’ve gotten a lot of experience under my belt), but when I think of that meek, scared girl I was back then, I know she would have felt less scared and intimidated by others if she had more faith in herself.

  6. Pato says:

    Dear K, I am right there with you on the sunscreen regret! How I wish I would have been introduced to Amlactin and sunscreen as a teenager.. OH the regrets!

  7. Appu says:

    I wish I’d used eye creams a little early and more frequently. I’ve been a lil lazy with that & I see quite a bit of fine lines creeping up! ๐Ÿ™
    Appu recently posted … New Launches from Amika for Holiday 2011!

  8. Sonya says:

    I hear ya on the sunscreen! I just started wearing sunscreen regularly (in my early 20s) but considering how much time I’ve spent outside in my teens, I can’t help but think that a lot of damage has already been done :/

  9. Jenn Staz says:

    I wish I didn’t tug at the outer corner of my eye to apply eyeliner when I was a teenager! I’m 26 and already have wrinkles at my lower lash line… and have had them there for a couple of years ๐Ÿ™
    Jenn Staz recently posted … 6 Ultra modern decor items from

  10. Vijaya says:

    I started using Retin-A at 16. xD
    Vijaya recently posted … Zoya Nail Polish in Marina

  11. i wish i was more diligent w/ removing makeup and got into better, more natural skincare sooner…
    dani@callitbeauty recently posted … Want All Natural Sun Protection? Look No Further, Pure+simple Has You Covered

  12. Coral says:

    I too wish I had started wearing sunscreen sooner. Although I wear it religiously now, I could have started a lot earlier, as in when I was in high school.
    Also, I almost wish I never dyed my hair. It’s such a burden to make sure I have the right products and the things I don’t use fade my hair. Not to mention to be careful that I don’t over do it as to fry my hair. But it’s almost like an addiction now and I can’t quite let it grow out long enough without getting the itch to dye it again.

  13. Kaitlin says:

    I wear sunscreen like a maniac. But, I wish someone had told me earlier that apricot scrub will tear open your pores more than they already are. I was trying to get rid of my medium-sized pores and was stumped when they just kept getting bigger. Now you could serve chips and dip out of my pores and I know better about apricot!

  14. nicole says:

    I wish I had not spent any money on drugstore products when I was younger (or even now) and just saved up for a few good quality pieces of makeup and brushes. Good quality products and brushes make a huge difference. I wish I had known about the Clarisonic sooner. It has absolutely changed my complexion; I finally have clear and smooth skin.

  15. Ava says:

    Definitely sunscreen for the hands! My neck and decolletage (sp?) still look OK, but I’ve started to pay more attention.

    Melitina, until very recently there WERE NOT any long-wearing, lightweight makeup for brown skins! Frankly, it’s still a challenge depending upon your skintone.

    Is it your birthday, Karen? Best wishes!
    Ava recently posted … Nordstrom National Makeup Artist Event: Chanel Prelude Makeover

  16. gio says:

    I wish I had started wearing sunscreen sooner!
    gio recently posted … Product Review: L’Oreal Elvive Damage Care Repair Conditioner

  17. Elle says:

    I agree with everyone on the sunscreen. I also wished I had held out longer to get more quality stuff, and I also wished I hadn’t always bought the more expensive body lotions…stuff from Target works just as well (if not better) for me. Oh well ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. mango the mango says:

    I wish I’d known that using multiple super-harsh, alcohol-based products to try to combat my oily skin wasn’t the greatest. Now I’ve switched to alcohol-free products, and my previously oily, dehydrated, easily inflamed, acne-cursed skin is now just oily. And less so, at that!

    I wish I’d known oily skin needs moisturizer too.

    I wish I jumped on the mascara train sooner…I used to not bother because I have sparse, short, thin lashes, but I finally found a mascara I liked, and putting it on just makes me feel tons better!

    Heck, I wish I’d gotten on the makeup train sooner! I only started wearing makeup at 22, and I’ve since realized just how much I’ve missed out on!

  19. Harshleen says:

    Ditto! I am going to be 31 soon and wish I had started using sunscreen in my teens…..I am already seeing a few brown spots on my cheeks ๐Ÿ™
    Harshleen recently posted … Inis Arose from Fragrances of Ireland

  20. Nina says:

    i agree w/ you about the sunscreen. when we’re young, we think we’re invincible.

    i found out the hard way that i’m not. im still trying to get rid of three stubborn sunspots that just won’t go away.

    i wear sunscreen religiously now.

    if only …. ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Kim says:

    I agree, like everyone else, with the anti-aging. I also wish I had started tweezing my eyebrows sooner (I was about 22; dang, I know). I guess, lastly, I wish that I’d gone to a dermatologist and never had to deal with a single pimple. OK, that’s unrealistic, but still. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Christine says:

      yeah, I didn’t start tweezing till now and I’m 22. fortunately I never had acne, but I still had to see the derm for other skin issues.

      @ Karen’s original post: I marched for 5 years and never used sunscreen – I SHOULD have been using sunblock, because I had an ex-boyfriend think I was black (I’m Asian!) I’m sure the UV damage will catch up with me someday…

  22. LauraA says:

    Definitely more sunscreen usage, particularly on my neck–the beginnings of turkey neck are appearing. Face and body otherwise look pretty good, despite several bad sunburns (I’m a redhead). I literally forget about my neck most of the time when it comes to moisturizing or sunblock.

    About makeup, I wish that I would have worn it more for fun over the past ten years or so. For a while, I was working as a stage performer which meant very heavy eye and face makeup. Putting it on and taking it off got to be a chore, so I just didn’t wear any the rest of the time mostly to give my skin a break. Since mostly getting out of that biz a couple years ago, I’ve enjoyed experimenting with more products and sought out other reviewers, which is what brought me here as a reader. There are a lot of good products that have been out for a while that I either never had time to shop for, or didn’t necessarily have a place in my stage arsenal.

    Also should have paid attention to my brows, sooner……..

  23. Gabi says:

    I’m actually only in 8th grade, so I can take this all as advice ๐Ÿ˜€
    I’m already a huge sunscreen fanatic (I have been since 12)
    The only thing I really wish is that I had waxed my eyebrows before the middle of seventh grade. I almost had a unibrow! Haha. At least now I’m very satisfied with them

    ^Click on my name to visit my blog!

  24. Casey says:

    1. Sunscreen – I wish I started using it on my neck and chest on a daily basis much sooner.

    2. Eyebrows – I was so scared to get them shaped. I don’t know why. But I waited to get them done until I started college. Oh if I could turn back time and retake the senior portrait on my mom’s living room wall ๐Ÿ™‚

    3. Nail polish – I wish I started painting my nails at a younger age. It’s the only thing that keeps me from biting my nails! I know it’s a disgusting habit, but I just couldn’t help myself.

  25. Julia says:

    I agree with the sunscreen. I played four years of tennis in high school and never even bothered with applying sun screen. I started applying sunscreen everyday in college, but I wish I had started earlier.

  26. I wish someone pried the tweezers from my grubby younger self. My brows used to full and heavy and naturally arched ๐Ÿ™

    • Instant Karma says:

      AMEN. I originally had really thick brows, and I tweezed them for eight years without realizing that my brows were slightly uneven at the inner part (one is a tiny bit closer to my nose than the other). I’ve been trying to grow the hair back for over three years, but most of the follicles just seem dead :(. I’m starting to consider applying Rogaine, but I think I should ask my dermatologist first before going there, lol.

  27. Trumpet Chic says:

    Hey Karen! Ive been reading your blog for a long time, but this is only the first time I have commented, it’s about time, huh?

    I’ve gotta ask, what instrument did you play in the band? I (obviously) am a trumpet player ๐Ÿ˜€

  28. Jess says:

    Im 28 and slightly freaking out now lol Does anyone have product recs for what I should start using now?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jess,

      If you have health insurance, it might be a good idea to visit the dermatologist for Retin A. Also, find a really great sunscreen that you love. I’ve used and loved sunscreens from Shiseido (the one in the blue bottle), Oily of Olay and Clarins.

    • NeenaJ says:

      Absolutely Jess! These are the few active ingredients that have actually been scientifically proven to delay the aging process and reverse damage:

      – Retin A or Glycolic Acid at night (never at the same time) several time a week to increase collegen production. If the Retin A is too strong for you at first, start with an over the counter AHA treatment (like ROC) or something with a lower level of retinol (like 0.01%) and work up to Retin A (which is 0.05%) as your skin gets used to it.

      – Lactic Acid treatment (such as a mask) or AmLactin Body Lotion as needed to gently chemically exfoliate and soften dry skin.

      -Vitamin C serum in the morning prior to applying sunscreen (this boosts the ability of your sunscreen as well as works to eliminate discoloration in your skin). But, you must be sure the Vitamin C hasn’t oxidized or it won’t be beneficial. I make my own, DIY style, using the Vitamin C C-1000 (l-ascorbic acid) powder from The Vitamin Shoppe because it’s much cheaper and I can make it in small batches so I can use it up before it oxidizes.

      Taking safe supplements such as Evening Primrose Oil, Fish Oil and B vitamins will also improve the overall health of your skin, hair and nails from the inside out.

  29. Su says:

    Wish I had started wearing sunscreen earlier, I’m 24 and just regularly made it a mandatory part of my routine. I also struggle with remembering to use eye cream even now, but I’m starting to notice a couple of tiny fine lines under my eyes and they’ve got me scared ๐Ÿ™

  30. Soos says:

    Love the Lilo and Stitch cake – too funny! Ditto to #s 1 and 2. But no regrets or looking back for me. I wish I’d figured out sooner that I need a variety of cleansers – both gel and creamy – for my finicky facial skin. And several moisturizer/sunscreen combos, as well as different foundations. We’re all works in progress!
    Soos recently posted … September: What I’ve Read/Am Reading

  31. Chenee says:

    Great post Karen. Can you please expand on the retin a. Where do I get it? Where do I apply it? Thanks

  32. Natasia says:

    Nothing! Smile lines show everyone you have had a great life!

    Seriously though, I’ve been using Oil of Olay Regenerist with SPF 15 since I was 24. My wife laughed at me then and…well she still laughs at me now that I’m 27. But I’m going to look great!

  33. marisol says:

    Sun protection is a big one. i still forget a lot of the times.

    I wish i had started to get into doing my hair at an earlier age. Seeing all those pictures from high school & college make me cringe.
    marisol recently posted … You gotta rub the oil

  34. Brandy says:

    I have been a dedicated sunscreen user way before it was cool just because I’m so darn pale and I burn so easily. I started wearing daily sunscreen when I was about 12 and I’m now 31. I must admit, it’s starting to show, too. My friends all look older than I do (I still get mistaken for being in my early 20’s). It’s to the point that even my husband notices that I look younger than other women my age and he has started wearing sunscreen daily because of it.

    It’s not directly related, but I wish I had the discipline to floss more often. I’m a once-a-day flosser, before bedtime, but I think it would be a great habit to do twice or three times a day. Teeth are the most important part of a smile, and I’d like to keep mine will into old age.

  35. Instant Karma says:

    I wish I hadn’t plucked my eyebrows to high hell when I was younger. I plucked too far back in on one brow, and they start at slightly different points. It’s probably not noticeable to anyone else, but it drives me crazy — especially since the one that is closer in just doesn’t go out quite far enough. I’ve tried all these different products for the past three years, and the hair just isn’t growing back. I wish my mother had stolen my tweezers, lol. I’m tired of penciling them in every single day!

    Also, ahhhhh, SVU premieres tonight. I have no idea how it is going to turn out without Stabler and with Benson shifting to a more minor role (and Dr. Huang will be gone, too). If there’s more Munch, I think I’ll be able to deal, but I’m still sad about Meloni’s departure! ๐Ÿ™

  36. Stef Smith says:

    I wish I had learned that blush makes a huge difference in how young I look! I had a traumatizing blush incident in the 8th grade, I’m 36 now, and didn’t end up wearing any for years and years. The last two years actually. I remember putting it on the first time, and being shocked at how young I looked! Blush is awesome!

    I’ve been an avid sunscreen user since I was 12, but there are still some fine lines from sun damage I got before I was 12. That’s bad. I think I’ll invest in some Retin-A or Strivectin though, it’s time!

  37. jen. says:

    I wish someone had given me better hair advice! I have super thick, sorta-curly hair. After tons of bad haircuts, I finally just grew it as long as possible to weigh it down (which resulted in waist-length hair through HS and half of undergrad). Why didn’t any stylists ever thin out my hair and hand me a flat iron???

  38. Jen W says:

    Great tips Karen! I think all those things are really important, particularly the sunscreen (which I have been a bit lazy on).

    I’m starting Retin A!

  39. Wendy says:

    I turned 41 last month. I only started retin A last year. Honestly, I really didn’t feel like I needed it for anti-aging until last year when my skin started looking a little papery from several trips to Thailand. Time spent on the airplanes and the brutal sun (even with tons of sunscreen) seemed to take its toll.

    I do wish I quit soda and started drinking more water in my 20s. I quit drinking soda at 35. I wish I didn’t drink as much coffee during my early 30’s as well. I’m finding it’s more about what I’ve put in my body rather than on my body.

  40. Christy says:

    I’ll be 31 at the end of the year. I think I would’ve told my younger self to ease up on the acne creams and many other acne concoctions. I think they caused quite a bit of scarring, drying out of skin and general skin imbalances. I think I’ve recovered from it, but it would’ve been nice to not have dealt with that at all.

    I’ve been pretty good about sunscreen since my mom is a pharmacist and my stepfather was a doctor. I got that drilled into me when I was about 10-11 years old. I wish someone had taught me how to properly use blush sooner. I only got into blush about 8 years ago. I didn’t realize how much of a difference it made to my look. I think I look happier and more relaxed when I wear the right shade.
    Christy recently posted … FOTD: MAC Semi-Precious Dark Indulgence Gem of Roses Crystal Pink & Warmth of Coral

  41. Tessa says:

    I might only be 21 but I wish I spent money on some sort of stretch mark cream/lotion when I was younger (and not waste it on junk) so i could of at least helped the situation.
    And im already seeing lines on my forehead and under eyes, and im so fair i really need to get into a sunscreen i can wear under my lotion and primer.
    Good point about the feet and hands, thats really a way to see the age on some people.

  42. Melody says:

    I stayed out of the sun as a teen and still do (I’m 21), but I still wish I had known to wear sunscreen everyday. But my biggest beauty regret is not figuring out how to deal with stress. I’m 21, but I already have some fine lines right under my eyes from anxiety and marathon crying sessions as well as not getting glasses when I needed them. Stress can really wreck your glow!

  43. Maggie says:

    Great question! If I think about it, these are the things I would change:

    1) Sunscreen, definitely. I wish I had started using it earlier and more consistently. Though in all fairness, the formulations back in the 90s were not particularly kind to oily, acne-prone skin.

    2) Concurrently, I should have started using anti-aging products with more diligence. Now in my thirties, my skin still looks ok, but I know it could be looking better. What’s that saying? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?

    3) Looked for more sophisticated treatment for acne sooner. I was still using topical antibiotics, when I should have been asking for retin-a and the BC pill. Nothing kills your beauty confidence as much as out-of-control acne.

    4) Pursued a career in makeup artistry sooner. In my family, anything less than a college degree isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on, so I put my dream on hold while I did the ‘responsible’ thing. Now, with a mortgage and a husband, it’s very difficult to make the kind of sacrifices needed to achieve what I would like to in this field.

    5) Realized that there is no single standard for beauty, and embraced all my quirks earlier.

  44. Sarah says:

    Gosh…I am in my mid 30s now with young children and I so wish that I had spent more time on “me” things before having the children and developing better beauty habits and experimenting more when I had the time and I was younger. (and didn’t have the black circles around my eyes!)

    Seriously, I think I should have sorted out my skincare regime earlier.

  45. viva says:

    I wish I had never picked on my blackheads/occasional acne!

    I could have avoided many marks!!!

    Wats the best remedy for them????
    viva recently posted … Red HOT ! Deborah Milano Lipstick Rosetto Atomic Red Mat

  46. PS says:

    My regret is not wearing sunscreen & not eating healthier at an earlier age. However, I have been able to reverese a lot of damage by staying out of the sun for the most part since my mid 30’s and I have overhalled my diet. I have to be careful because I don’t want to lose weight, but I eat a ton of fruits & vegetables now & juice fresh fruits/vegetables at least several times a week. Drink a TON of tea, no soda & rarely do I eat sweets. Very diligent about applying moisturizers/serum on face & neck for years so I think I’ve taken about 5 years off & I’m in my 40’s.

    Not a regret, but I wish I was able to afford nice make-up at an earlier age & knew how to apply it! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Happy Friday, have a great weekend everyone.

  47. Cristina says:

    Oh yes Dear! I wish I stoped laying like a iguana on the beach so many times! Wear sunscreen instead of tanning oils, drink lots of water! But never It’s too late I’m 32 and I have been taking care of my skin since my 25.. Thanks for ur great post!!

  48. Rudin says:

    1 – Buy more drugstore brands. They get the job done.

    2 – Gone WITHOUT make-up more often. I’m never happier than when I’m just “me” … but sometimes I used to feel self-conscious.

    3 – Gone WITH dramatic make-up more often. If I wanted to go for a look, I wish I learned sooner to just go for it. Like, just go with red lips, don’t dab tinted lip balm.

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