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I can remember one evening in March 2007, when I was about to turn 50, I was watching a cutting-edge BBC current affairs program called Horizon when an item came on that immediately grabbed my attention. A beauty product, Boots No7's Protect & Perfect Serum, had been clinically tested by the Skin Research Team at Manchester University and had proved without a shadow of a doubt that it helped boost levels of fibrillin, one of the key proteins in the skin's elastic matrix. This was the first time that the performance of a cosmetic product had been clinically tested in this way. Up until this point, I had spent a small fortune on department store creams and potions that promised much and delivered little. Nothing ever really worked and we all knew it. We were paying for expensive packaging and false hope. Finally, here was a cream, scientifically proven to have long-lasting anti-aging benefits.
Protect & Perfect sold out overnight. Along with millions of other women in the UK, I ordered my bottle and waited expectantly for it to arrive. The results were fantastic. It worked. I even felt it working, tightening my skin and easing away the lines. I knew that things in the beauty business were about to change. Forever.
A year later, we moved to California, and I discovered Marta and her burgeoning website, Truth In Aging, which had taken this revolutionary discovery and run with it. I never bought another beauty product from a department store again. Here was an intelligent, questioning, discerning group of like-minded women (and men) who examined the research and questioned the evidence before ever recommending the products that claimed to be anti-aging. The pipe dream was a reality.
And my world really started to change. I used to believe that the most important thing was what you put into your body. That an organic diet of green, leafy veggies, less meat and more exercise was the real magical formula to keep you young and beautiful. Now, I know that what you are putting on your face and body is also really important.
And so it is that I have become an anti-aging junkie. I devour Marta’s 5 Best Awards; the products that win Olympic Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals; the reviews from the TIA community and all the starred products. Eight years on, I have whittled these down into my own top 10. These are the ones I can’t live without, those old faithfuls that I return to again and again and have come up with a list of the ones I would take if I were shipwrecked on a desert island:
I never thought there would be a better eye cream than YBF Correct. I probably bought about 10 bottles of the stuff and never so much as flirted with another eye cream. Until Marta said this was “the one.” She was right. It’s amazing, and although it costs an arm and a leg, it’s worth every penny.
2. Osmotics Micro Peel 3-Step Resurfacing System
It may sound like something you put on the roads, but this works. It really, really works. It takes time to do the three steps (Polish, Peel and Protect), but boy, do you look better in the morning. It smooths, it hydrates and it makes me look great, even after a heavy night of drinking. Tea.
3. Suki Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser
I use this about three times a week. It feels like it’s going to strip your face with sandpaper, but once you wet your hands and blend the cleanser between your palms, it goes on like a dream with the added bonus that it smells like lemon meringue pie.
4. Royal Nectar Face Mask with Bee Venom
This is the product I use when I wake up, look in the mirror and see my grandmother staring back at me. I slap it on, make the kids porridge and wash it off before walking them to school. When it’s rinsed, my skin looks dewy and refreshed.
5. Moana Night Repair Serum
I road-tested this New Zealand serum a few months back and liked it SO much, I bought another bottle before even finishing the sample. It’s that good. I have since bought the Moana cleanser and the night cream. It’s what Marta would call a "heavy-hitter," and does exactly what it says on the bottle: “restores vitality overnight.”
6. Osmotics Lipofill
Although my skin is in good nick, my neck and marionette lines are an age giveaway. I’m still looking for a miracle solution, but in the meantime, rubbing this into the lines along my nose and mouth has helped soften them.
Another miracle product. I use this on its own or layer it with other creams, and it’s not just a heavy-hitter. It’s an exocet missile.
This is new to my arsenal, but I fell for the blurb (regenerates and increases the lifespan of skin cells, noticeably restores elasticity and firmness), tried it and noticed a difference after only a few days. It is a pale green, light weight gel with a strange cool texture, but anything that smells like cucumber sandwiches and tightens up the skin the way this does gets to come to the desert island with me.
9. Osmotics Blue Copper 5 Prime
This cream feels like silk when it goes on. It is for the more "mature" face, and you can feel it tightening and lifting the skin. It adds radiance, smoothing the fine lines. It’s what I would recommend to anyone going through the menopause.
I can’t believe I once used Vaseline Petroleum Jelly to keep my lips soft. It’s paraffin for pity’s sake! Luckily, I now use Define, which is great for dryness and diminishing the tiny lines around the mouth. It’s also good for smoothing and softening the lips, and I have gone through countless tubes of it.
Actually, I forgot to mention that I also rescued a back pack on this desert island, and there are a few more products in there that deserve a mention:
• Stemulation Body Lotion because it is truly hydrating and just bloody marvelous.
• Truth Vitality Shampoo and Conditioner because they both work.
• MD Solar Sciences SPF 30 Sunscreen because it’s very protective and has a natural tint. I use it on my face and neck every day.
• Stemulation Rescue Repair because it’s the most nourishing hand cream I’ve found.
• La Vie Celeste Exfoliating Cleanser because it’s a Sherman tank of a cleanser.
Well that’s the desert island sorted. By the time I return to civilization, the TIA community will have cracked 3 things that I haven’t quite found yet:
• A fantastic neck cream (Necollete is good but my turkey neck needs something stronger)
• A solid cure for marionette lines
• A hand cream that sorts out sun spots
If that all happens, I reckon I’ll be good for my 60s.