In Your 20s
Unless you're an SPF slacker, your skin doesn't need much help — yet. "You're nestled between baby fat and fine lines,” says Debra Jaliman, M.D., a New York City dermatologist. "Typically, acne is the only thing to plague a 20-something. If this is the case, see a dermatologist to avoid scarring." Makeup-wise, go wild: Your creaseless skin can pull off frosts and bright hues with abandon.
Sunscreen: Ward off sun damage now with a minimum of SPF 30, says Jaliman.
MC recommends: Prescribed Solutions Up the Anti SPF 30, $50.
Cleanser: Wash twice a day for at least 30 seconds.
MC recommends: Aveeno Clear Complexion Cleaner, $7.69.
Defense against discoloration: A niacin cream will ease acne-induced blotchiness.
MC recommends: Olay Definity Foaming Moisturizer, $27.99.
Exfoliator: "Exfoliate once a day if you're prone to clogged pores," suggests
MC recommends: Bioré Pore Minimizing Exfoliator, $12.99.
Mineral makeup: "A light dusting of mineral makeup is all you need,” says Kate Somerville, a Los Angeles–based celebrity facialist.
MC recommends: Jane Iredale Mineral Makeup, $31.
Highlighter: Play up your youthful, smooth skin with a dab of shimmer cream on your brow and cheekbones, says Shalini Vadhera, founder of Global Goddess Beauty.
MC recommends: Lola SkinLuminous Cream, $35.
Bright palettes: "Smooth skin is the ideal canvas for brights," says Sonia Kashuk, who perfected Porizkova's make up for this story.
MC recommends: Hard Candy Shadow Palette in Party Mix, $15; Maybelline Shiny-Licious Gloss, $5.99.
In Your 30s
Alas, no eye cream erases newly etched "squints," and teenage sun-worshipping is now evident, too. But even if neither applies to you, getting on an at-home antiaging regimen is a must. Audrey Kunin, M.D., a Kansas City, MO, dermatologist, even suggests that those with more obvious damage consider Botox or Restylane: "Otherwise, you'll face a rude awakening in your 40s." As for makeup, Kashuk believes that a 30-something should be refining her look, not re-creating runway fantasies.
Retinoids: These vitamin A–derived formulas promote cell turnover. Think your skin needs more rejuvenation than the OTC formulas offer? Ask a dermatologist about Retin-A or Avage.