“Enjoy yourself. That’s what your 20’s are for. Your 30’s are to learn the lessons and your 40’s are to pay for the drinks.”   – Carrie Bradshaw

While many think that their 20’s are the years of their “last hurrah,” that could not be further from the truth.  What I’ve learned through writing this post is that you really need a balance throughout your 20’s, 30’s, & 40’s.  If you spend all of your 20’s enjoying yourself, your thirties are going to be crammed with “grownup” stuff.  To better define this perfect ‘balance’, we have decided to compile a list of things that we’ve learned, wish we had known, and some extra advice from some of our best 20-something girlfriends!

NO. 1 // Get a killer “C.T.M.” routine:  Our version of “GTL!”  Cleanse, Tone, and Moisturize, twice per day!  Cleanse to remove excess dirt, oil, makeup residue.  Tone to restore the skins pH balance and kill bacteria (pick one suited to your skin type)  Moisturize – Even for those of us that may be oilier, moisturizing is so important.  There are endless formulas suitable for any skin type, like gels (oily skin), creams (dry/normal), even serums(normal/oily)!  For dryer skin it helps get rid of those rough patches, and for oilier skin it gives your skin healthy moisture, and actually helps to keep your oil glands from over producing!  And your 20’s are the perfect time to start applying moisturizer to your neck.  Women show their age first in their neck, and then around their eyes.  Apply your moisturizer in a gentle upward motion towards your chin.   Once or twice a week, throw in an extra exfoliant, like a scrub to get rid of that layer of dead skin that is clogging your pores, or keeping your moisturizer from soaking in.

NO. 2 // Dress your age: Just because your Hollister jeans still fit doesn’t mean they are appropriate for a business woman, regardless of how trendy you are. You can still (obviously) follow the latest trends, just not the ones that you did in high school.  Start spending money on nice jeans that fit. Muffin tops are not cute and a great pair of jeans will last for a LONG time.   Also, it’s okay to wear a jacket and scarf out for a drink. It’s no longer “cute” to run into the bar in your tank top.  Stick with chic/structured blazers, dark/polished denim, and crisp/clean T-shirts!  Your 20’s are when you really get to know yourself and become the confidant woman that you’re meant to be.  Dress like it!

NO. 3 // Friends – Quality over Quantity: It’s not about having a ton of friends anymore!  It is always nice to have a lot of friends, but you really need to focus on your core group and realize that those are the friends that will be with you through it all: marriage, kids, everything.  Throughout your 20’s, you will realize who your good friends are, and those are the relationships that you need to focus on and cherish!

NO. 4 // Swap the sun for some SPF: Believe it or not, most of the sun damage that middle aged women face actually happened before they were even able to order a Cosmo.  The sun damage happens, but doesn’t become visible until many years later.  That’s why sun protection is so important.  Pick a great sunscreen and please, please, please reapply throughout the day!  The sun is just as damaging throughout the winter months, so just because you’re not spending the day at the beach, your face needs SPF!  Not only does the sun cause dark spots and discoloration, but it is also the main culprit for breaking down the collagen and elastin in the skin.  Collagen is what keeps our lips plumped and our foreheads firm.  Elastin is what keeps our skin taught.  Working in the beauty industry I always hear women say “Oh, my foundation has SPF 15, I’m fine!”  That statement couldn’t be further from the truth!  You need a shot glass worth of SPF covering your face and neck to get the full benefit.

NO. 5 // Become a networking pro: Your 20’s are a time of going to school, job hunting, and then, hopefully, landing the dream job.  And while you may have been the social butterfly in high school, you’re going to need to do even more socializing once you graduate college.  You will need to know how to professionally communicate and form lasting business relationships with everyone you meet.  Networking is so important, just as important as having a college degree.  That guy you met in the elevator might be friends with the President of your dream company, you never know!  Another thing you might want to do is work on your elevator pitch

NO. 6 // Start investing: Your 20’s are a time that you can finally afford to invest.  You will probably have more control over your finances in your 20’s than you will later (In your 30’s, it’s all about the kids). The key is to open an investing account and regularly transfer money into it.

NO. 7 // Spend quality time with your parents & grandparents: Be interested in their stories and make it a priority to spend time with them.  Just because your life is busy, you cannot forget about the people who spent the last days of their youth hanging out with you when you were a kid!

NO. 8 // Speak up: A huge part of being a strong, confident woman is learning to speak up.  Whether it’s making an awkward phone call, being the first to apologize, proactively seeking a promotion, or even quitting a job, you have to learn how to have those conversations.  Learn how to be assertive and say the things you want to say in person.  The more you do this, the less you will dread it!

NO. 9 // Stop putting things off: Tackle everything in your life, regardless of how big it is. That doctors appointment? The oil change? Be a doer now. Get things off your plate and automate your schedule.  Another part of this is being independent and getting things done yourself.  You bought a new shelf?  Put it up yourself!  You want to have a bonfire but have no clue how to start a fire?  Google it and do it yourself!  You’d be surprised of all the things you can accomplish if you just try!

NO. 10 // Travel: Post college. Pre baby.  A little more money in your pocket. It’s the perfect time to take those trips!

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