Today, in the final part of our definitive guide to looking fabulous for life, is everything you need to know about anti-ageing your body.
From a toned tummy and perfect legs to reversing the tell-tale signs of time on your hands, our writers have put the latest treatments to the test. Here they reveal what really works . . .
First, warm oil is massaged into the skin from top to toe, then a salt scrub is applied. While the oily goodness seeps in, there’s a mini facial, a shower, then you are slathered in body cream.
HOW IT FEELS: Pure indulgence. You can choose between the invigorating lime and ginger scrub, or the frangipani version — the scent of exotic holidays.
I opt for the latter, and almost drift off during the massage combined with deep breathing exercises.
Some body treatments leave you cold and clammy, but even the bits not being worked on are wrapped in blankets, so you stay toasty throughout.
THE RESULTS: Seriously silky skin that looks and feels plumped and glowing for days. The divine fragrance lingers until I shower the following day.
WHERE: House of Elemis, 2 Lancashire Court, London W1S 1EX, £50 for 30 minutes. Treatment available at cosmetic salons nationwide, see elemis.com for details.
Laura Mercier Soufflé Body Crème £45, johnlewis.com - This cream has a light, whipped texture to help it soak in quickly. It also contains honey, which is naturally soothing.
Champneys Indulgent Body Butter £10, boots.com - A delicious-smelling body butter that softens the skin a treat. Apply after a bath or shower and leave to soak in before getting dressed.
Kiehl’s Whipped Body Butter £36, kiehls.co.uk - ResTore skin’s suppleness with Kiehl’s cult moisturiser, Creme de Corps. It contains jojoba oil to keep skin hydrated for 24 hours.
L’Occitane Ultra Rich £32, uk.loccitane.com L’Occitane’s cream contains 25 per cent shea butter, so nourishes dehydrated skin. Apply before bed.
Jo Malone Body Creme £50 jomalone.co.uk A luxurious moisturiser that hydrates and smooths the whole body. The bluebell fragrance lasts all day, so you can skip perfume.
First you have to suffer the humiliation of being measured in your bra and pants (never fun). Then you are tightly wrapped in bandages and soaked in clay-based gloop, before being tucked up in a foil body suit on a heated bed for an hour.
You emerge markedly less bloated. You haven’t actually lost any fat, of course; it’s just fluid and toxins. But if you suffer from water retention, it’s an effective way of de-puffing. A course of treatments is recommended. It’s especially good if you’re about to embark on a beach holiday and haven’t been diligent with the dumbbells.
THE RESULTS: They promise you will temporarily lose at least six inches with your first treatment. But that’s six inches overall, from all the areas they treat. That said, your waistband will definitely feel a little looser.
In essence, Remodelage is a massage of fat rather than muscle. Massage expert Pauline De Jessey works on the adipose tissue beneath the muscles. The theory is that by ‘unsticking’ the fat, the body can release built up toxins and metabolise fat more efficiently as well as improve circulation and lymphatic drainage and restore the natural plasticity of muscles
The first session can be rather painful — albeit in a good way. Subsequent visits allow Pauline to delve deeper.
HOW IT FEELS: At first it’s like being pinched, hard, all over your fatty bits. But the results more than make up for any discomfort, and Pauline is receptive to pleas for mercy. The feeling afterwards was exhilarating. Not only was I fully energised, I also felt half a stone lighter.
THE RESULTS: It is recommended to have six sessions to start with, then one every six weeks or so. My trousers were definitely baggier and my mood far lighter.
The Babyface Drip is an intravenous vitamin and mineral infusion that promotes a host of alleged health benefits.
Before the main drip is attached, my blood pressure is taken and an IV with a saline solution is inserted to rehydrate the body ready for the vitamin cocktail.
What’s flowing through my veins is a combination of wrinkle-erasing ingredients, including vitamin C which helps the body produce more collagen, vitamin B complex and glutathione — described as ‘the mother of all antioxidants’.
THE RESULTS: For the first time in years I find myself clear-headed, suffused with energy and happily working at 11pm. Two days later I still feel like the Duracell bunny. Geeta Sidhu-Robb, founder of the Nosh Infusion Clinic where I have it done, tells me this bright and bouncy effect should last for several weeks.
Do I look any different? Well, not really. But I feel younger, and my revitalised brain is worth much more to me.
WHERE: Geeta Sidhu-Robb, The Nosh Infusion Clinic, Baker Street, London, £199, email@example.com, 020 3697 1366.
Brilliantly named, this is a pleasant alternative to massage, and ideal for those with water retention who want a simple, targeted solution.
Used for many years to aid healing after procedures such as liposuction, these enormous inflatable leggings have only recently made the transition to simple beauty treatment.
Lie on a bed and slip your lower limbs into the vast leggings that consist of seven chambers that are gradually filled with air.
Select a programme from nine options — such as Relaxing, Stimulating or Intense Drainage. I tried Intense Drainage, as I like instant results.
As they inflate (starting from the feet), the leggings squeeze very slowly upwards, chamber by chamber, to my tummy, stimulating the circulatory system and expelling excess water and toxins as waste through the lymphatic system.
HOW IT FEELS: There is a slight tingling, then a weight settling onto my toes. It’s like having a large dog relax on your extremities.
As the leggings tighten, the gentle pressure feels as though I’ve been buried in sand. I can only just wiggle my toes.
By the sixth chamber my buttocks are being squeezed and by the seventh — at my stomach — it’s like a firm, lower-body hug.
THE RESULTS: My bloated-looking stomach emerges almost pancake flat. But best of all, my legs feel as though I’ve had a thorough workout — energised but not painful.
WHERE: Centros Unico, Intu Shopping Centre, Derby, £40. See centrosunico.co.uk for clinics nationwide.
CoolSculpting freezes and kills fat cells. Small pockets of fat (think inner thighs, lower abdomen) are vacuum-sucked into a mouthpiece attached to a cryolipolysis machine which, safely but literally, turns the bulge into a frozen lump over the space of an hour.
Thankfully, it quickly defrosts once the machine is removed — but by then, the fat cells are already dead.
For outer thighs, there is a larger, curved CoolSmooth paddle that is strapped onto your legs — though it doesn’t have vacuum suction, so it takes two hours.
HOW IT FEELS: Like freezer burn (a bit stingy) when the fat first gets frozen, but after three minutes the area goes numb. You are made comfy with pillows and blankets. The treated area can feel a bit bruised afterwards.
THE RESULTS: Over the two to three months that follow, the body naturally expells the dead cells, and you slim down.
TIME TAKEN: One to two hours per area, although some clinics offer the new CoolAdvantage mouthpiece which takes only 35 minutes.
WHERE: Magda Szczukiewicz at London’s Cosmetic Skin Clinic, cosmeticskinclinic.com. Costs from £560 per area. Visit coolsculpting.com for clinics nationwide.
A high-tech massage machine, the Venus Legacy uses magnetic pulses and radiofrequency waves to tackle puffy, saggy body skin, fat and cellulite to create a smoother silhouette. It acts like a form of lymphatic drainage to beat water retention while the radiofrequency also boosts collagen, particularly on the stomach, hips and thighs.
HOW IT FEELS: Like a painless, warm massage, and I start to doze off. Though the actual massage wand makes an unnerving slurping sound like a hungry sea-monster.
THE RESULTS: I’m surprised to find that my cellulite-ridden thighs feel firmer and look smoother. I’ve seen great results on a friend, but the downside is I’d need eight to ten treatments for an optimum result, which is time-consuming and expensive. I’ll save this one for summer.
WHERE: Neville Hair and Beauty, 5 Pont Street, London, SW1X 9EJm nevillehairandbeauty.net. Stomach or legs cost £120 a session. Treatment available in cosmetic clinics nationwide, venustreatments.com
Ultrashape power is a new procedure that melts surplus body fat without pain or the need for invasive liposuction — the holy grail of body-sculpting treatments. It uses pulses of focused ultrasound to shatter fat cells without harming surrounding tissue.
HOW IT FEELS: Very unusual. For the machine to get at the ‘saddlebags’ on my thighs, I have to lie on one side and have wide elasticated straps put around my legs. These squeeze the fat up into a bulge to present to the machine. While I can feel each zap, I wouldn’t call it painful.
THE RESULTS: After three weeks, as the broken-down fat is processed by my liver and eliminated from my body, I can tell my saddlebags have definitely lost their edges. A small change but I’m pleased with it.
WHERE: Dr Ariel Haus, 140 Harley Street, London W1G 7LB, drhausdermatology.com, £500. Ultrashape is available in selected clinics nationwide.
This consists of standing in an extremely cold chamber (as low as minus 135c), clad in little more than shorts, a vest, gloves and a facemask for a few minutes.
The extreme cold draws the blood away from the extremities to protect the core organs and muscles. Then as you leave the chamber, all that blood is pumped vigorously back around the body and can treat fatigue, dry skin, stress and even reduce the appearance of cellulite.
How it feels: Though it lasts only a few minutes, they are the most uncomfortable of my life. To keep from freezing to the spot, I was encouraged to jump up and down and swing my arms. It moves from being bitterly cold to bracing but endurable.
Results: Back in the comforting warmth of the spa, I felt oddly elated and energised and my skin turned a healthy-looking rosy pink.
Where: I had my treatment at Champneys health spa in Tring, Hertfordshire. But for a newer version of the treatment, 111CRYO is now availableat Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge, £95 per session or £375 for five.
SculpSure is the newest device to treat the sort of recalcitrant fat that doesn’t respond easily to diet and exercise. It uses laser energy to heat up fat cells beneath the skin to between 42C and 47C and effectively evaporate them without damaging the skin above or the muscle beneath.
HOW IT FEELS: A belt holding the laser-emitting diodes is fitted onto my flanks. The pads then heat up alarmingly; a bit like lying too close to a hot water bottle. For the next 25 minutes the treatment cycles between the burning hot phase for 45 seconds, followed by the blissful and too-short cooling phase of 25 seconds. It lasts for only 25 minutes but I’ve had enough by then. My flanks are a bit sore and swollen for a few days.
THE RESULTS: It takes three months to see full results, but already after one month my jeans are definitely looser. I’m well on track to shed the expected 25 per cent of the fat in the zapped area.
WHERE: Dr Rita Rakus, 34 Hans Road, London SW3 1RW, drritarakus.com, from £250 per diode. She also has clinics in Edinburgh, Manchester, Bath and Axminster. Other London clinics provide this treatment — for practitioners see cynosureuk.com/product/sculpsure/
Microslerotherapy involves injecting a liquid directly into thread veins and then waiting a few weeks for them to be absorbed into the body.
Before treatment, the Whiteley Clinic insists on an ultrasound scan. As vein expert Professor Mark Whiteley explains, research has shown that in 89 per cent of cases, patients with thread veins have underlying hidden varicose veins, which need to be dealt with first.
Afterwards, the treated veins need to be continuously compressed for 15 days to stop blood returning to the vein.
HOW IT FEELS: I have a mesh of thread veins down my thigh, calf and ankle. (People have always asked me if I have bruises on my leg.)
Thread veins are tiny so Professor Whiteley uses a very fine needle to inject the liquid. Each time it’s only a small scratch, but it’s definitely a weird sensation — as if something is running down my leg, but on the inside. Afterwards I have to wear compression stockings for two weeks without taking them off.
THE RESULTS: When I finally take the stockings off there are still a few marks on my legs — the ghosts of the veins — and a bit of bruising as expected, but it fades away over the next three months.
After that I’m amazed. My legs look clear for the first time in years and I can wear shorter skirts. Very pleased.
WHERE: The Whiteley Clinic operates in London, Birmingham, Guildford and Bristol, thewhiteleyclinic.co.uk. From from £982.
Professor Francesco Canonaco’s Capri Palace Leg Spa Kneipp therapy is a seven-day residential medical programme of complex vascular and circulatory stimulation.
It is a favourite of A‑list celebs and sports stars whose legs suffer from water retention, thread veins, poor muscle tone, cellulite and general unsightliness.
It includes daily leg mud packs (using special Ischian mud containing 27 minerals), cold bandaging, hot and cold hydrotherapy and stone massages, plus traditional medical examinations, metabolic testing and nutritional and dermatological assessments.
HOW IT FEELS: Clammy, cold and strange. Tired legs are daubed in smelly mud, wrapped in crinkly plastic and left to tingle for 20 minutes.
Next they are showered off, mummified in cold medicated bandages for 20 minutes and then given a workout in two long hydrotherapy pools — one hot and one very cold — to stimulate circulation further.
CELEBRITY FANS: Liz Hurley, Gwyneth Paltrow and Roger Federer are for ever helicoptering in across the Bay of Naples for annual top-ups.
TIME TAKEN: Each individual mud/bandage/hydrotherapy treatment takes about 90 minutes, but the results are cumulative.
WHERE: Professor Francesco Canonaco’s worldfamous Leg School, at the Capri Palace Hotel, Italy. Costs £3,780 for a seven-night stay. The same leg treatment is also available at Grace Belgravia in London, prices from £220 for 90 minutes, gracebelgravia.com.
Vela III is the latest incarnation of the Velashape technology that combines mechanical vacuum massage with radiofrequency skin tightening and fat-zapping, which is as odd as it sounds. The treatment head is worked across the body, sucking up the skin as it goes and delivering radiofrequency energy. This heats the skin to 41 degrees, to prompt the creation of collagen and break down fat.
HOW IT FEELS: Around 20 years ago, the skin on my stomach stretched out with each of my three huge babies, and never quite recovered.
It’s a bizarre sensation as the machine grabs up handfuls of my tummy, like being slowly munched by a huge mechanical snail. But it’s not unpleasant. The radiofrequency is hot but not unbearable, and the vacuum massage also releases tight fascia — the tissue that surrounds muscles — as it works, which I love.
THE RESULTS: There is an immediate difference, and my skinny jeans are clearly looser after each session (I have four in total). After a month, there’s a definite change to my stomach. The whole area has shrunk and tightened just enough to make me think I can wear a bikini.
Where I really see the difference is when holding a plank position in my underwear (no, not something I do in public). There is still loose skin that hangs away from my tummy muscles, but it has reduced from festoons to a modest bit of draping.
WHERE: Dr Ariel Haus, 140 Harley Street, London W1G 7LB, drhausdermatology.com, £320. Also in clinics nationwide.
With brown sugar and four plant oils, including grape and argan, this exfoliates, hydrates and leaves skin smelling lovely. Use twice weekly.
Micro-exfoliating particles of Tahitian sand gently buff away dead skin. As it’s massaged in, the scrub slowly turns into a softening milk.
Amazonian nut oil and salt crystals smooth lumps and bumps. The nut oil replenishes skin so you can skip moisturiser.
This natural exfoliator scrubs skin using sea salt and lavender. It is suitable for even sensitive skin types.
420W Diode Machine
The Sweet Orange and Cedar Wood fragrance is a joy to apply. It contains sugar to buff away dead skin.
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Picosecond Laser, 808nm Diode Laser, Nyd Laser, Hifu Machine - ALWAYS Beauty,https://www.alwaysdiode.com/