6 Timeless Beauty Tips You Should Be Using

Imagine the most beautiful woman you know. Twenty-six or sixty-two, we'll bet on a few things: She's no slave to trends, she smiles genuinely, and she's confident. We waste time — three full years of our lives, on average — trying to mold ourselves into an ever-changing ideal dictated by runways and celebrities, when the jaw-dropping-est beauties in our lives seem to do just the opposite.

Real beauty is within, but even your natural beauty can be expressed in ways that don't rely on the latest palette from this year's beauty brand. Who needs to swap out her main lipstick every year just because Pantone released a color and says it's the best?

Think Audrey Hepburn, Bette Davis, and Grace Kelly: These were paragons of beauty who lived authentically, aged gracefully, and never let anyone else tell them who to be. Why should we?

Inspired by those legendary women, we rounded up timeless beauty tips that work for everyone. And some beauty tips have nothing to do with makeup, putting on your face, or shame-inducing if you forget (yup, because there's always tomorrow for things like makeup remover). And, with any luck, we can get those three years down to two.

Invest in your skincare, not your makeup

If you take care of your skin, you've got less repair and cover-work to do down the line. French women have this down. Virginie Courtin-Clarins of Groupe Clarins says, "A good skincare regimen is the best kept secret that all French mothers give to their daughters." They learn to cleanse and tone religiously at an early age, hit a pharmacy (with actual, knowledgeable pharmacists) to score their products, and consider spa treatments a necessity rather than an indulgence. (Um, when are we moving?)

Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner, $9, Amazon

Never go to sleep with your makeup on

This is in the same vein as investing in skincare, but it deserves its own bullet point. If you don't wash your face at night, the free radicals encountered throughout the day stay on your face all night. That's roughly twice the damage you got from just wearing makeup during the day. Over time, this breaks down the collagen in your skin faster.

On top of that, makeup can clog your pores — the effect of which is also cumulative — causing breakouts and acne you then have to conceal with (here it comes) more makeup. It's a vicious cycle. You've heard it a million times, but if you can't make it to the bathroom, at least keep a makeup remover wipe by your bed to swipe across your face before passing out. It DOES make a difference.

Neutrogena Make-Up Remover Wipes, $5, Amazon

Always wear sunscreen

As if skin cancer isn't enough of a reason to be wearing sunscreen, add premature aging to the list. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends SPF of 30 or higher on any areas not covered by clothing. That's whether you're lounging by the pool all afternoon or just running errands for a half hour. Seriously. This is a big one.

Sun-Bum SPF 30, $14, Amazon

Eat fresh fruits, veggies, and fish

You've heard the phrase, "It's what's inside that counts." It doesn't just apply to your personality. These are pretty much the best things you can put in your body for longevity, health, and glowing skin, hair, and nails. Fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants which increase cell turnover, and fish is chock-full of omega-3 fatty acids, which can decrease inflammation.

Basically, eat like the hunter-gatherers of Paraguay, and your face will be giving Cate Blanchett's a run for her money.

Moisturize after every shower

Moisturizing any time is a good thing. Moisturizing right after a shower, when skin is wet and your pores are open, means skin holds onto more moisture than it would otherwise.

Palmer's Cocoa Butter, $10, Amazon

Embrace your face

If your skin isn't cooperating, or your nose feels especially big one day, it can be tempting to pile on the makeup until you look like a different person. But, what you might not see is that in the process of hiding the things about you that you don't like, you've hidden yourself, too. Embracing your appearance and using makeup as a tool to highlight your favorite features creates an infinitely more attractive result than trying to disappear.

Next time you feel the urge to start erasing, picture Lauren Hutton's tooth gap, Jennifer Aniston's Roman nose, Angelina Jolie's full lips — these features could be sources of insecurity, but they make each of these women stand out in a way they wouldn't otherwise. Confidence works wonders no makeup ever could.

Images: Getty Images (2); Jammy Straub/flickr; Brian Barbutti/flickr; PJD-DigiPic/flickr; Chloe Moloney/flickr.