The market research company said a critical shift in makeup use occurs in women between the ages of 35 and 44.
Emptying out the contents of handbags reveals that women switch from lip gloss to lipstick and from foundation to blusher as the years tick by.
For example, the percentage of women who have used lipstick in the past year increases from 29 in the 18-24 age group to 69 for women aged between 35 and 44, according to data from NPD.
Use of color also changes with maturity. Women begin to use more color on their face and lips and less on their eyes as they approach middle age.
Anti-aging influences makeupbuying habits
NPD said heightened concern about aging played a key role in the evolving preferences that women express at the beauty counter as they approach 40.
This theory is played out in the eye category where concern about wrinkles and fine lines around the eyes leads women away from eye shadow and eye liner.
According to NPD, nearly 80 percent of women between 18 and 24 years old use these products but their popularity drops as women near 40 and by the age of 55 only 54 percent use eye liner and 68 percent use eye shadow.
Women not only change their preferences with age but they also become bigger consumers. By the their mid-thirties, 42 percent of women use five or more products in a typical day compared to only 28 percent aged 18 to 24, added NPD.
Potential remains in makeup market
Commenting on today’s market, NPD analyst Karen Grant said plenty of opportunities remain despite the deteriorating economic situation.
Grant said: “During tough economic times, consumers want affordable items, but they still want and need things that make them feel good.
“On both fronts, makeup works - as the most economically priced beauty category, makeup is the arena women can come to play and invest in themselves for little more than the price of a good lunch.”