7 Ways Your Perception Of Beauty Might Change Once You Reach 30

For many people, perceptions can change quite a bit between their 20s and 30s: Things like the way we approach work, friendships, and even our perceptions of beauty evolving as we reach the big 3-0. What used to make us cringe might now be beloved (like the appearance of wrinkles or cellulite) and vice versa. And while our personal style doesn't always drastically differ between the decades, chances are that our lives are running on slightly different timelines, and the way we view beauty in ourselves might have more to do with functionality than short-lived trends or standards deemed important by the mainstream.

When I turned 30, my worldview spun. Not only was I working in two very new careers, but each morning as I looked in the mirror, I couldn't find myself. I second guessed my love of hoodies, because I felt that was expected of me, and spent about half a month ditching jeans (my lifelong standard) in an attempt to look more adult. While I ultimately clung to my love of denim, my style did evolve slightly as I adapted to how I now perceived beauty at 30.

Like me, when you reach 3-0, you'll probably still be in love with one or two pieces in your closet that more closely resemble college life than your current state of affairs. But things can shift, so don't be surprised if beauty takes the following shape once you wave goodbye to your 20s.

1. You May Have A Shift In Makeup Preference

When I was in my 20s, I had the prevailing sense that my makeup was never quite what it should be. I found myself chasing trends, experimenting with different techniques, and vacillating a lot between which shade of eyeliner really exemplified the look I was trying to achieve. By the time I reached 30, I felt I finally understood my look, and almost as importantly, how to achieve it quickly and with ease.

There are a whole bunch of "rules" regarding what a woman should and shouldn't wear in terms of makeup after a certain age. And while it may seem early, many of those rules start to set in around 30. Personally, I think a more you do you sort of approach is called for across the board, whatever your age or style. But still, it seems many women have a tendency to ditch the "makeup as warpaint" approach in exchange for the personal style they've developed.

2. You May Be More Inclined To Embrace What Makes You Unique

In our teens and 20s, many of us struggle to find ourselves, often seeking first to fit into a perceived norm, and then moving toward breaking out of it. Lucky for many of us, however, by the time we've reached our 30s, we've come to a place of really appreciating the physical traits that make us stand out. Instead of longing for a different leg shape, for instance, I've come to care for the stems I have, and enjoy the way my brows may be more quizzical than fleek. For me, those are now the things that speak to my individuality.

3. Beauty May Be Less About Physical Attributes

Turning 30 turned out to be much more trying for me than I initially anticipated. I struggled with the way my body had changed, cringed at meeting the inevitable effects of careless living in my 20s, and spent about six months feeling generally bummed about what I perceived beauty to be, and how I seemed to think I lacked it. Finally, after some self searching, quite a few in-depth conversations with friends and family, and a really great cross country trip, I came to realize (yet again) that beauty has far more to do with who and how we are than how we look.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder — certainly that's something most of us can agree on. But as we near 30, many of us find that what we focus on when we look for beauty is less tangible, less physical, and more based off of a full package. Not only when we look at ourselves and our accomplishments, but also as we search for beauty and attraction in others. Attributes like poise, attitude, charisma, and kindness go so much further toward defining beauty in your 30s than they likely did in your 20s or teens.

4. You May Find Beauty In Functionality

Again, this is not to say you'll ditch your stilettos for flats. Or at least not entirely. However, you may find an innate beauty in the comfort of a lovely, comfortable bralette, where you previously found push-ups to be exquisite. Personally, I've discovered that I find clean lines in clothing and makeup far more striking and lovely than I used to. Simplicity and the way a garment moves with me have become beautiful in my eyes.

5. You May Discover You Find Beauty In Boldness

Bold choices are empowering, and with 30 often comes the realization that empowering actions are incredibly lovely. (I found this out earlier this year when I chopped my long locks off in exchange for an ultra short pixie cut.) Like confidence, the ability to be bold truly is beautiful, and as such, you may find that you gravitate toward unique lip tones and fashion risks you might not have considered before. Your inhibitions have probably lessened, and you're likely comfortable enough in your personality and skill sets these days to experiment with highlighting your strengths in powerful ways.

6. Beauty Can Be Experiential

In our youth, it's often easy to see beauty as purely physical: Perfect hair, soft, glowing skin, gorgeous eyes, or an unforgettable smile. But sometime between the fading of your 20s and the dawning of your 30s, it's possible that you'll come to find beauty to be much more akin to watching the sun rise. Sure, that sounds a bit contrived, but seriously, try sitting down with a perfectly brewed cup of coffee or tea, and watch as the dawn breaks. I dare you to not find subtle beauty between the steam warming your lips and the pastel glow of the morning sky.

7. Beauty May Become Self Love

Just as experiences can become much more lovely and a pivotal part of beauty at 30, so too can taking adequate time for self love. If you're anything like me, that might mean a long bath and quiet time with a good book (maybe sans kids, or your work to-do list)? Could it mean manicures, pedicures, and having the 2016 Pantone colors on your nails? Absolutely. Does it mean doing yoga, going for a walk, or lighting candles and spending some quality alone time? Yep.

All of these things bring beauty to our lives and in turn make us feel beautiful and appear that way to others. The funny thing is that turning 30, for all of the bad rap it so often gets, is kind of like a crystalline moment when it comes to beauty — because it helps you realize that "beauty" is simply what brings you joy and enriches the experience of life.

Images: larisabirta, nigeriandescent, seemisamuel, jakemelara, mili_vigerova, fpark1, goian/Unsplash