Wednesday 13 December 2017

The beauty panel: Show your age

You can't hold back time, but you can make it pass a little more easily, says our beauty expert, with some small effort

Pictured, from left, Vichy Neovadiol Compensating Complex Advanced Replenishing Concentrate; Skinician Pro-Radiance Enzyme Peel; No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Moisturising Body Serum; Philip Kingsley Elasticizer; Estee Lauder New Dimension Tighten + Tone Neck/Chest Treatment
Pictured, from left, Vichy Neovadiol Compensating Complex Advanced Replenishing Concentrate; Skinician Pro-Radiance Enzyme Peel; No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Moisturising Body Serum; Philip Kingsley Elasticizer; Estee Lauder New Dimension Tighten + Tone Neck/Chest Treatment

Sarah Caden

No matter how much we embrace where we are in life, we are all anti-ageing to some extent. We know that we should be happy to be alive and to be relatively healthy and to enjoy the journey, but, let's face it, we associate looking older with looking closer to death. And, further, to various degrees, we are all vain.

Even if you eschew 12-step skincare routines and a strict rule of never leaving the house without "your face" on, you want to look good. And no one wants to be the person about whom they say: "She was very pretty". It's the "was" that hurts. And no one wants to be asked if they're tired. And no one wants to rush into looking aged any faster than they must. So, to some degree, we all want to hold back the tide.

The problem is, of course, that nothing can really do it. Not really. Loss of muscle tone, the slowdown of collagen, the wonder that is gravity: they all work against anything that any skin cream can do. No matter what that skin cream says, some things you just can't beat. There are products that produce results worthy of recommendation, though, and we have some here that won't stop the clock, but might turn down the volume of its ticking.

Best overall

Vichy Neovadiol Compensating Complex Advanced Replenishing Concentrate, €36, selected pharmacies nationwide

Vichy's Neovadiol products have been prized by post-menopausal panellists in the past, but the new products in the line are quite something. Loss of density and elasticity, and increased pigmentation are among the complaints this range claims to tackle. The new day and night moisturisers also rated highly in our testing, but the serum was a stand-out favourite, and the price is not to be sniffed at, either. "I loved this," said a panellist. "I'd forgotten what it was like to glow! I feel my skin has firmed up a little along my jawline, which has sagged noticeably since the menopause."

Best Magic Mask

Skinician Pro-Radiance Enzyme Peel, €24.95, Harvey Nichols, Dundrum Town Centre, D16, or selected salons nationwide

This is one of those acid-peel masks that are counter-intuitively more gentle on the skin than a scrub. It's important to steer clear of scrubs as your skin ages, thins, and becomes more prone to broken veins, the last affliction being a real problem for delicate Irish skin. Skin-friendly acids, however, melt away dead skin cells, leaving a smoother surface that will absorb other skincare products more efficiently. "Very gentle and very effective," said a panellist, "which is what my increasingly sensitive but paradoxically rough skin needs."

Best Full Body Lift

No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Moisturising Body Serum, €34.50, Boots nationwide

With peptides and antioxidants to tackle diminished collagen and uneven skintone, as well as argan oil for essential fats and hyaluronic acid to plump out skin cells, this is advertised as a product that allows you treat your body as well as you treat your face. And it's hard to argue with that. "I like the serum quality of this," said a panellist. "It feels lighter than a body cream, but it's doing more work."

Best Hair Today

Philip Kingsley Elasticizer, €22, Marks & Spencer, or see marksandspencer.ie

In truth, this is a brilliant hair product regardless of your age. But, let's face it, older hair needs more love, particularly post-menopause, when it becomes more coarse and dry. This is a pre-wash mask, if you will, and it will allow your hair to blow-dry better, faster and smoother. "If you consider it a faff to apply this product 20 minutes before you shampoo your hair, then it's not for you," said a panellist. "But you'd be missing out."

Best Neck Rescue

Estee Lauder New Dimension Tighten + Tone Neck/Chest Treatment, €80, Estee Lauder counters nationwide

The late Nora Ephron famously wrote that she "felt bad" about her neck, and anyone over 43 - which was her cut-off for irredeemable turkey neck - can relate. It's like your neck has let you down in some way, as it starts to crumple. She might have liked this, though. "This is rich but not sticky, and it most definitely made the skin on my neck and decolletage look less crepey, lined and defeated," said a panellist.

Email thepanel@independent.ie

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