5 Women Talk Turing 30 & Their Reactions To Beauty

Even if you love birthdays, turning 30 can feel a little daunting. (I should know, I'm turning 30 today, and the past few weeks have been a wild ride.) Not only do people expect a certain level of self assurance and responsibility from you, but for many people, 30 marks that magical transition toward becoming... old. Sigh.

And although old certainly doesn't equate to bad, in a society where a fair amount of the female beauty construct revolves around youthful radiance (thanks, beauty industry), certain milestones have a tendency to feel particularly weighty for us ladies, especially in the beauty department. So, it's no wonder a lot of women experience a significant little wave of panic at the prospect of facing the big 3-0.

Some of our concerns are actually rooted in the way we identify with ourselves. It may sound trite, but coming up on 30, you find yourself wondering if you can still pull off your favorite alternative fashion from Hot Topic, or if you'll have to trade all of your skull shirts for button downs from Banana Republic. Which, believe it or not, can be kind of an emotional adjustment, especially if you've spent the past 15 or so years of your life identifying with skulls and novelty t-shirts.

Of course, as the majority of us have likely bridged the gap between being wholly party-centric and slightly more settled, contributing members of society by the time we reach 30, we're well on our way through one of the major self discovery periods of our lifetime. Beauty and style begin to shift toward what's practical for our daily lives. But that doesn't mean entirely giving up the unique, sometimes "age-unexpected," aspects of our personality.

From what I've heard, as you transition between your late twenties and early thirties, your identity as a woman solidifies (finally!), and apparently, things in your thirties are rumored to get pretty good. Between finding confidence in your skill sets, gaining the ability to more eloquently express your opinion, and knowing enough about yourself to actually make informed and educated decisions (most of the time), your personal and professional lives are probably on their way to being quite a bit more enjoyable than they were in your twenties. And with any luck, your personal style and beauty perspectives have begun to reflect your increased self-esteem.

Recently, I reached out to a handful of friends and relatives to get their scoop on what the milestone really meant to them. Because postulating is fun, but when it comes to preparing for a momentous change, there's nothing quite like wisdom from a woman who's actually been there — or a woman who's about to face it herself. Here are a few of the thoughts they shared.

Marcia, 58

"For me, beauty at 30 meant feeling empowered in my life, knowing life was full of possibilities, and having a beautiful daughter that I loved. It meant beginning to feel comfortable in my own skin.

Beauty also became less about physical attributes, and more about knowing I could make a difference by the work I chose to do and supporting my family and friends."

Bri, 30

"I turned 30 this year.

In my teens and twenties, I think it was more about trends than beauty. Natural aging signs (like cellulite, wrinkles, etc.) were not an issue yet. I didn't think they would be — at least I didn't until I looked in the mirror and noticed faint wrinkles on my forehead — should have worn more sunscreen.

But as 30 hits, it's more of preserving what you have and finally taking care of yourself... and fashion is now more functional rather than stylish.

Don't get me wrong, I still love my old Hot Topic baggy pants... but I shouldn't wear them now. (Although they were very functional — you didn't need a purse with those pockets! But with work and professionalism, um, unfortunately no. *sad face*)

My suggestion is, whatever style you love, let it age with you rather than letting it go. I wear grown up dress pants and shirts, but I will throw in a classy anatomical heart necklace, because it's a great conversation style. I say, own it! All and all, beauty should really be an expression of you."

Sarah, 30

"Well, honestly, I always thought 30 would end up turning into 'motherly beauty,' like having a mature look but adopting a conservative style. At least that's how I imagined beauty. I don't have kids kids yet (even though I thought I would by now), so I find style and beauty for myself around the same as when I was in my twenties.

I feel more sure of myself now, where I don't feel like I have to wear makeup everyday. I wear far more skin care products to help nourish the skin I'm in as long as I can, and perhaps, don't find myself wanting to wear as many revealing tops as I used to. Before I was a one shirt sort of gal, whereas now, I actually enjoy wearing an undershirt the peeks out of the bottom of my shirt for some added color and an over wrap on top of all of that. I never really wore clothes like that before. I guess I never really felt like I could feel sexy by wearing more clothes instead of less clothes, but now I do."

Jillian, 29

"Beauty at 30 is about bravery in acceptance... facing yourself and finding joy in what you see, instead of yearning for what you don't."

Betty, 45

"The first thing I can think of is that the cosmetics industry gets heavy handed with 'preserving your youth' in their products. Fear as a selling point irritates me. To me, beauty is holistic — mind/body/emotion/spirit, and the synergy of these energies."

All of those opinions considered, maybe 30 doesn't have to be quite so daunting. Maybe 30 is just a more refined, wiser version of 20 — when beauty gets to be about celebrating personal style and enjoying who we've become as we prepare for the future.

In any case, cheers to my fellow ladies celebrating 30 this year, and cheers to the wonderful women in each of our lives worth looking up to. We all have matriarchs, friends, and family who embody beauty at any age, from many backgrounds, and who can be a source of great comfort and inspiration, no matter how old we turn. So, look up to your ladies — they know where true beauty's at.

Images: Jen Schildgen; Giphy