Louise McSharry: Want to stay youthful looking in middle age? Try these hydrating foundations

Our beauty expert has the lowdown on the best brands that will make you look fresh faced

Light foundations that will give your face a boost

Louise McSharry

I read an article recently about millennials being ‘in crisis’ as they reach middle age. In 2021, we began to turn 40, and apparently lots of us are struggling to accept it. As a 40-year-old millennial, I think that makes sense. We are aging in dramatically different times to the generations before us. We have access to more culture and information than any previous generation, thanks to the internet, so keeping abreast of trends and what might have been previously considered ‘youth culture’ is easy.

Of course, not everyone wants to be plugged in, but some of us don’t recognise the lives we’re living as the lives we perceived middle-aged people to be living when we were children. We don’t feel middle-aged. But then, does anyone when they reach this stage of life?

Whether you feel middle-aged or not, there’s no denying the changes your face will confront you with in the mirror each morning as you get older. You can live the life of a 22-year-old (and more power to you if that’s what you want), but your skin will not follow suit. Therefore, it’s important to consider the changing needs of your skin, even in the middle of a middle-aged millennial crisis.

As we get older, our complexions gain texture and lose hydration. It’s totally normal to see an increase of lines on the face as well as expanding pores, as much as we may not like it. The key is to ensure you’re using the right products in the right way so as not to emphasise anything you’re not loving. Heavy foundation won’t do you any favours, so avoid matte, full-coverage formulas. Instead, look for a hydrating formula you love. This will melt into the skin, leaving you with a fresh, healthy looking face.

Sculpted by Aimee Second Skin Dewy Finish Foundation (€27 via brownthomas.com)

There are lots of solid options available in this category these days thanks to the move toward glowy skin. Sculpted by Aimee Second Skin Dewy Finish Foundation (€27 via brownthomas.com) comes in a wide range of shades and in dewy and matte formulas. Even the matte formula doesn’t look heavy or drying though, so it’s absolutely suitable for mature skin.

It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream with SPF 50 (€39.50 via brownthomas.com)

It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream with SPF 50 (€39.50 via brownthomas.com) is rich in skincare ingredients which leave the skin beautifully hydrated and glowing.

Jones Road What the Foundation (€42 via jonesroadbeauty.com)

Jones Road What the Foundation (€42 via jonesroadbeauty.com) was originally formulated by 66-year-old Bobbi Brown for herself, so it’s no surprise that it’s richly hydrating — a little goes a long way with this one, making it ideal for those who don’t like to wear a lot of makeup.

L’Oréal Age Perfect BB Cream (€13.59 via boots.ie)

Finally, L’Oréal Age Perfect BB Cream (€13.59 via boots.ie) is a super product. Infused with hydrating serum, it also includes niacinamide, which means it never dries out or looks cakey. It’s comfortable to wear and leaves the face looking natural and radiant. Actress Helen Mirren wears this, and if that doesn’t sell you, I don’t know what will.

Whatever product you choose, applying with your fingers will ensure a natural finish that isn’t too heavy. If you’re committed to a brush or sponge, no problem, but I find the warmth of the fingers helps the product to melt into the skin beautifully. Also, avoid too much foundation powder — it’ll only make the makeup look heavy instead of beautifully natural-looking.

Buying Irish

Bellamianta Face & Body Tan Booster Drops (€43 via bellamianta.com)

Bellamianta has become one of the biggest brands in tanning since it was founded in Northern Ireland in 2015. Its newest launch is Face & Body Tan Booster Drops (€43 via bellamianta.com), a product which can be added to any moisturiser to tailor-make your desired shade. As someone who isn’t a big fan of an intense tanning routine, but whose friend recently commented on the ‘white socks’ I was wearing with some sandals (reader, I was not wearing socks), this appeals. Plus, I can add it to my favourite scented moisturiser, what’s not to like?

Something old…

Bouclème Scalp Exfoliating Shampoo (€33.80 via cultbeauty.com)

Ever since I entered the curly world, I’ve been a devotee of Bouclème. Founded in 2014, the brand is focused entirely on helping people to get the most out of their natural curls using plant-derived ingredients. I love the fact that the brand is all about encouraging people to let their hair be its natural self, but let’s be honest, an ethos is only good if the products work. Bouclème products work. The range suits a variety of curl types, and there is something for every crisis you might have. I am particularly fond of the Scalp Exfoliating Shampoo (€33.80 via cultbeauty.com), which combats the build-up curly haired people often experience due to the nature of their cleansers, and Curl Defining Gel (€19.99 via boots.ie) that results in lasting curls.

... Something new

Curly Co Curly Hold Gel (€24.99 via thecurlyco.ie)

Curly Co is the new curl-focused brand founded by Irish hair expert Denise Walsh. Walsh has more than 25 years’ experience in the hair industry, but still spent years fighting against her natural curls. Once she set out to embrace and care for her curls, she became passionate about encouraging other curly haired people to join her. Infused with essential oils, the range has been formulated with all curl types in mind. From shampoo and conditioner, to styling products like Curly Defining Mousse and Curly Hold Gel, with prices from €15.50 to €24.99, they are available via thecurlyco.ie. It’s great to see an Irish brand in the ring.