Anti-Ageing: The new Beauty Bible to worship
Sarah Stacy and Jo Farley are the award wining authors behind the hugely successfully Beauty Bible series. Having just finished their latest book, The Anti-Ageing Beauty Bible, we thought it high time we got the lowdown on their own unique and hugely popular beauty philosophy.
How did you get interested in beauty writing?
We were both covering lots of different subjects, and somehow editors lured us into doing beauty subjects around the beginning of the 90s.
How did the books originally come about?
I think we met at a beauty launch in the early 90's and as we both had the same approach to beauty, our columns probably became the genesis of the Beauty Bible series. One day a friend of mine asked me what AHA's were and if cellulite creams really worked and we decided we'd have a go at getting products tested by panels of women and working the results into the original Beauty Bible.
Why did you decide on an investigative approach to beauty products?
As we are really sceptical of press releases, it seemed natural to move toward books based on product testing. The consumer tests Jo and I prepare for each edition are reckoned to be the biggest independent surveys of beauty products worldwide. We've somewhere in the region of 8,000 testers on our database and we use real women in real situations.
With all that testing are the results a foregone conclusion?
No. We've never lost the thrill of opening packages and playing with products but every time the scores come in and Jo adds them up we find surprising new award-winners. When Neals yard Remedies Frankincense Nourishing Cream came in second for the miracle creams award, it led to a world shortage of blue glass for the jars the product came in.
It's good to know people trust us and we take absolutely no money from the companies involved. We are truly independent.
Does price reflect how well a product will perform?
In many cases yes but when products belong to the big beauty stables like L'Oreal then the research and development aspect is quite intensive and this in turn can trickle down to the cheaper products we like to call our 'Beauty Steals'.
So are you both brand loyal?
No. The brands would probably like to shoot us but we don’t see any reason to believe that using all of one range enhances the synergy of products. If you like the range and it works, fine. If you don't, don't feel you have to go out and buy. At the end of the day, consultants are there to sell you more products.
The new book deals with anti-ageing, why do you think we're all so afraid of getting old?
Evolution! It's in our DNA because age indicates our fertility and for women that has a cut off point. In these days, ageing is a big issue in every arena and because of that there is more emphasis on the idea of ageing well. In the case of women, this means gracefully, gorgeously and, most of all, happily.
Do you think advertisers exploit our insecurities about ageing?
Yes, of course advertising will use it. Even to the extent of using 16-year-old models as the face of 'miracle creams'…
Why have our beauty routines become so complex in recent years?
Well, the market has endless potential for more products, more types of product, more advertising and more coverage in the media because of the dependence of magazines on advertising. When my beautiful grandmother was cleansing and moisturising there was the simple choice of Ponds cold cream and more Ponds cold cream! Advertising wasn’t an issue although we're not against new products. In the books, we always recommend you edit your beauty buys and get the things that work for you and enhance your appearance.
Are there too many chemicals in anti-ageing products?
In a strict sense, everything is chemical but if you mean synthetic chemicals I think there is now a great choice for consumers of natural or high tech and even the high tech products often include natural ingredients and plant extracts. Consumers demand performance in every product they buy and more and more customers want to be sure of the ethics of the company.
Have you noticed a movement away from expensive routines and products towards more traditional products?
Our experience and consumer surveys show us that, in many cases, women are not economising on individual beauty products, but they are cutting down on the number of purchases they make on a whim. Women want to know something works, which is where we come in. If we take oils for instance, these can be very expensive but as you only use a tiny amount, a good oil can be a great investment.
When should you start introducing anti-ageing products into your routine?
Of course that depends on the individual but certainly use an SPF from childhood and work in other products from the age of 35 onwards.
What would be your desert island beauty buy?
Facial oil. Currently Triple Rose Luxury Organic Facial oil by a tiny Somerset business called Orchard View Naturals.
What really makes a good beauty buy?
Something that works for you. Whether you're spending €5 or €50, if you only look at the product sitting on the dressing table it isn't a worthwhile investment.
Name one thing we can all do to look younger?