A decade ago, the term ageing was practically a swear word. To ask a woman her age was (and, who knows, still might be) among the most tasteless questions anyone could utter. We've come a long way since then, but the truth is that our culture is still woefully youth-obsessed. Don't get us wrong: Progress has been made. Among the many areas of the beauty industry that have changed for the better is the newfound sense of community and conversation dedicated to sharing the products and practices we're each using to stay looking our best for longer. No longer are women hoarding their skincare secrets under lock and key. We're sharing, we're learning and best of all, more than ever, we're prioritising healthy, happy skin and bodies over all else.
Enter Catherine McCord, author and founder of family-friendly, health-conscious food community Weelicious. Not only is the 45-year-old mother of three a former model who graced the covers of major glossies and walked runways for the biggest labels, but she's also got a wealth of knowledge about building an inner and outer skincare regimen that makes for radiant, glowing skin.
Here, McCord shares her take on the generational shift from prioritising matte skin to prioritising dewy skin, the importance of applying skincare products on your neck and chest and embracing all of the oils. Read on for her skincare and makeup routines that keep her skin glowing, and be sure to note the age-old beauty tips she's picked up from the best skincare pros and makeup artists over the course of her career.
"I used to avoid putting cream on my skin because I hated being shiny. I just wanted my skin to be matte," she says. But McCord was not alone in her marriage to matte skin. It was definitely a popular beauty trend, and only recently has the exaltation of dewy skin taken hold. "I do think there's this generational shift where glowing skin is considered healthy skin. So that was definitely a shift for me, too, to want my skin to be glowing, whereas when I was in my 20s, I just wanted it to be matte."
McCord also calls out the importance of applying oils and creams to the neck and chest in addition to the face. "I feel like a lot of people under 40 stop at their jawline and don't moisturise their neck or chest. You don't realise that skin is so tender," she says.
"I think first time you see that one fine line, you're like, what's that? How did that get there? I didn't used to use under-eye cream. You just think that you're going to look young forever no matter how much your mother is like, 'Just wait.' So incorporating eye cream was a big shift from 20 to 30. That's when I started putting it on every night. (I always put eye cream on in the morning too.)"
"I'm so bummed out at myself every time I think of being on modeling shoots in Miami for 12 hours and thinking I wouldn't get a sunburn," McCord recalls of her early modeling days. "I feel women in their 20s and early 30s know better. They grew up much more conscious sunscreen and protecting their skin." She says this Elta MD tinted sunscreen is the one item of her routine she actually couldn't live without.
"The truth is I have that skin type that needs oils in the morning. Especially if I'm going to have a long day out, I just try to keep my skin as hydrated as possible from the start."
"I think a lot of women are scared of oils, but not as much as they used to be. I use a lot of oils on my skin because they're super moisturizing, and I feel like it gives me much more of that glow that I want."
"Taking care of your lips and making sure that they're also really hydrated and moisturised is important, too," McCord says. "As you get older, you can also get fine lines around your lips, which most people don't realise. It's one of those early signs of age that show up." She likes this German lip balm and calls out how the light tint looks beautiful across all different skin tones.
McCord also calls out the importance of sleep in retaining that youthful glow. "[When I was younger], I was just going, going, going and not getting the amount of sleep I needed," she admits. "I used to sleep face down in my pillow. Another big tip is to learn to sleep on your back so that you don't get all those lines on the side of your face, which add up as you get older."
"A good makeup artist hack I picked up is using Weleda Skin Food for dry and rough skin. It's a good one to keep in your purse for your hands and face."
Just about everyone with enviable skin will tell you that water intake is among their top tips for glowing skin. "I have very dry skin, so I have to drink a lot of water and use super-hydrating products," McCord says. But it's not just the dry-skin population who needs to be conscious of their water intake. Everyone needs to keep this at the forefront of their minds. "If just one woman reads this and learns to start drinking more water and wear sunscreen, then I'll be happy," she says.
Aside from her skincare, McCord also treats her complexion from the inside out with plenty of healthy fats in her diet. "I eat chia seeds and hemp seeds for omega-3 fatty acids. That's a big one for me. I don't think people get enough omega-3 fatty acids," she says.
If you're unsure of how to incorporate chia seeds and hemp seeds into your diet, look no further than McCord's latest book, Smoothie Project: The 28-Day Plan to Feel Happy and Healthy No Matter Your Age (£15), for tonnes of smoothie recipes to get you started.
"I don't wear a tonne of makeup, because I think that skin is the new makeup. As I've gotten older, I love that I'm taking so much good care of my skin, and I think that's what other people really notice. At least for me, when I see other women, I'm looking more at her skin as opposed to any makeup she's putting on top of her skin. That shift happened between 30 and 40—the light bulb went off when I started to notice other people's skin."
For her light day-to-day makeup, McCord likes to start with this radiance-inducing primer by Charlotte Tilbury. "It's amazing. Especially for women in their 40s, it gives you that total glow, but it's light and really multitasks," she explains.
We've already discussed McCord's love for this particular sunscreen, but, surprise! She's got a major pro tip to share for working it into your makeup routine: "I personally don't wear foundation day-to-day. I just wear this, and it does the same thing. I just tap a little powder on top of it."
The powder McCord adds on top of her glowy primer and tinted sunscreen comes in this handy Charlotte Tilbury highlighter-and–soft sculpting powder duo.
"I love seeing people with glowy skin, eyelashes and a little lip," McCord continues about her preferred minimal daily makeup. She loves the subtle wash of colour she gets from the Tata Harper lip tint, which also deeply moisturises and plumps the lips, minimising the look of fine lines and wrinkles in the area.
"I learned that if you take a blow-dryer to your eyelash curler before curling your eyelashes, they'll stay perfectly up all day long. I do that every day," she shares.
"I loathe taking my makeup off. Sometimes I don't want to wear makeup just so I don't have to take it off, but I think it's just so important to always go to bed with very clean, hydrated skin," McCord says. "For 25 years, I've been using the Shu Uemura High Performance Balancing Oil to take my makeup off at night. I still do a lot of TV, and they're always putting fake eyelashes on me and tons of super-heavy makeup for high definition, and it's the best for removing encrusted eyeliner and all that. One bottle will literally last for a year."
"You've got to take your makeup off, you just have to," McCord implores. "Coconut oil is also a good hack for getting even waterproof mascara off."