The Panel: Boob jobs
As summer approaches and thoughts turn to the potential baring of bits that have been happily covered up for months, there are some areas over which we annually despair. Thighs that are dimpled with cellulite generally top of the list of complaints, but less discussed and less enthusiastically dealt with is the often-disappointing bust area.
In a way, it's as though we feel at a loss to fight back as age and pregnancy and, breast-feeding take their toll and while nothing can be done about gravity or loss of volume, aside from surgery, there's no need to give up entirely.
We approached testing bust creams with some scepticism, and we kept our expectations realistic. Could crepey skin be smoothed? Could those ageing creases in the cleavage be reduced? Could a textural improvement give an overall impression of improved pertness? Our Best Overall was the winner by a long chalk, with a far more pronounced result than the others.
Across the board, however, panellists became aware of how, generally, they ignore this area and how their efforts at improvement also amounted to a breast check, which is no harm.
Mama Mio Bootcamp for Boobs, €70, Arnotts; or tel: (01) 461-0645
A box containing two products and two bust-improving exercises, this was quite a revelation. Skin Tight Toning Serum is a watery lotion, over which you put a layer of Boob Tube cream. Each contains ingredients to exfoliate, feed and hydrate the skin and, while it isn't surgery, it's quite remarkable, even if you ignore the exercises. "This surpassed expectations," said one panellist. "I'm not back to the way things were before I had the twins, but it's a definite improvement. I've used it on my tummy as well."
Best Specific Serum
Olay 3 Point Super Serum, €41.99, available nationwide
A rich serum that plays back-up to the Olay 3 Point Cream for eyes, necks and decolletage, this is a sheeny, lightly creamy serum that targets the issues associated with these areas of particularly thin skin. Its beauty is in how light and easily absorbed it is, and the skin's texture definitely improved with use. "I liked the sheeny quality of this, which made skin immediately look better," said a panellist, "and made it a nice product to use before a night out."
Best Quietly Creamy
Liz Earle Superskin Bust Treatment, €29.75, Wilde and Green, Milltown, D6, or see www.lizearle.com
This pump-action bottle is packed with the organic, natural ingredients that one expects from Liz Earle, with rosehip and cranberry seed oils, pomegranate extract and omega 3. It smells fruity, it's nicely creamy, but it sinks in very easily and has particularly good instructions on how to use it properly. "The smell is lovely and a very little goes a long way," a panellist said. "It did good work on the crepiness."
Best Lightweight Gel
Decleor Aroma Sculpt Bust Beautifying Toning Gel, €51.10, Clerys; selected salons nationwide
If you really can't stand the idea of using a creamy product in this area and instead favour something that's light and immediately absorbed, then this is the one for you. Almost like water to apply, it needs no working into the skin and has an immediate tightening effect. "I know it's a bit yucky to say, but I find creams a bit sweaty," one panellist said. "This was light-but-intense hydration in an area where you can tend to not bother."
Best Simply Smoothing
Clarins Bust Beauty Firming Lotion, €43, Clarins counters nationwide
Claims of acting as a "natural bra" might be stretching it, unless you have no need of a bra anyway, but this has a nice effect on the skin. Creamy and smelling recognisably Clarins, it contains pomegranate extract, an ingredient which keeps popping up and has a smoothing, refining action. "I felt that this fulfilled the promise of hydrating this thin skin without weighing it down, which is the last thing you need in this area," said one panellist.
Sunday Indo Life Magazine