There’s two things we can’t stop: time and the aging process. While the beauty industry has come up with tons of expensive surgeries and products to aid us in our quest to remain as youthful and beautiful as possible, there’s a much easier way to address the issue. Don’t dig your heels in the earth and try and change what you can’t; embrace your natural beauty and consult our guide, a rundown on what types of products and philosophies best suit women in their 20s, 30s and 40s! We tell you what to look out for, what route to go and some lines to try, as well as suggesting a current icon of your generation, who represents someone to look to for inspiration.

The 20s:
Icons: Keira Knightley, Rihanna

Yes: Experiment. Be daring. Play with trends. Create them. Adopt them. Don’t be afraid to try bright shades, new formulations and go out on a limb by doing things you’ve never done before. In essence, don’t fear bright blue eye shadow if it looks gorgeous on you. Your 20s are prime time for experimentation, throwing caution to the wind and attempting daring, provocative makeup looks. Take advantage of the youthful aplomb that your young, healthy, line-free skin affords you at this period in your life. You can also play with sparkly, shimmery products, cream shadows and blushes and lip gloss, since those products will adhere more to your firm, taut skin. Drugstore brands are your friends, if you want to try a trend, but you should also investigate and start adopting higher end product. Your complexion should look dewy fresh and the entire color spectrum is at your disposal for your eyes and lips.

No: Being conservative is a bad idea. You’re young and carefree, so let your cosmetic choices reflect your spirited nature. Don’t forget that you can look back and laugh at that glittery gloss or those ultra-long false lashes you wore on dates and think, “I was young!” Overplucked brows are a bad idea too. Since this is the period in your life when your brow hair is at its thickest, keep thee brows full and enjoy the fact that you don’t have to use eyebrow pencils!

Lines to Shop: MAC, Benefit, Stila, Tarte, DuWop, Urban Decay

The 30s:
Icons: Katie Holmes, Jennifer Garner

Yes: You can straddle the line between carefree experimentation and sophisticated chic. But first things first. Your skin is aging gracefully but regardless of the condition, your makeup must match your stature and status in this point of your life. You’re most likely a few years into your career so your colors and formulas should fall in line accordingly. If you notice those first few fine lines, it’s best to go with matte formula foundations and add a base or primer for your eye shadow so it clings to your skin and lasts. You can still have fun with your eye makeup; just choose more neutral, muted colors. That doesn’t mean “be boring.” It just means act age appropriately. You can still wear gloss but now is the time to start transitioning to a classic shade of lipstick. If you never took the time to discover that perfect red in your 20s -and it’s okay if you were too busy trying too many other things – you can start your search now.

No: Don’t be afraid to break longtime habits. Start making serious makeup investments with pricier brands. Cultivate a regimen and repertoire of new products. Don’t fear lip liner, either; your lips may start to lose their fullness or definition in the northern half of this decade, so you’ll probably need to add lip liner to your makeup bag to help create the illusion of fullness. Don’t rely too much on cream formula products, like blush and shadow.

Lines to Shop: Lancome, Bobbi Brown, Smashbox, Chantecaille, Estee Lauder

The 40s:
Icons: Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Aniston

Yes: Softness is key and less is more. Combat fine lines and under eye circles by using a quality concealer. Primers are essential at this stage to prevent product from settling in those pesky little lines. Cheek highlighters can be used to call attention to other features too. In terms of colors, naturals and neutrals work best. Also, you may want to lighten your makeup load, so to speak. Instead of trying to mask the imperfections in the skin, that are a result of a life well lived, by piling on the products, use lightweight products that accentuate the positive and enhance your God-given beauty. Our lovely skin care editor Candice Sabatini weighed in, offering some advice and saying, “I no longer use iridescent eye shadow but I do use shadow that’s slightly pearlized. Wearing shadow that’s too matte can have the opposite effect too, making a woman’s face look dull and older.”

No: Low-end products are not the way to go. Splurge on quality items that are comprised of only the finest ingredients. Candice weighs in again, saying, “I’ve stopped using concealer. This was a tough choice since I had to choose between lightening up under-eye circles or making my wrinkles appear worse than they actually are.” This was a personal choice, which obviously, every woman is free to do according to her specific set of circumstances. Glitter is not a viable option at this point and bronzers may be used, but sparingly.

Lines to Shop: Dior, YSL, Clinique, Clarins, Chanel

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