Last month, we ran two polls: your favourite James Bond and your 50-plus beauty icon, in association with the Anti-Ageing Beauty Bible Awards. See our exclusive video of the awards
Mwah-mwah. That’s the sound you’ll hear in the background on our video of The Anti-Ageing Beauty Bible Awards (co-sponsored by high50) on Tuesday: a roomful of beauty editors, PRs and skincare gurus congratulating each other on their ‘wins’ in the new paperback edition of the age-defying book co-authored by me and Sarah Stacey.
These are the people whose products scored highest on our Beauty Bible website. Among the 100-strong throng were such women as Britain’s home-grown beauty magnate Liz Earle and Aromatherapy Associates’ founder Geraldine Howard (who helped introduce the power of essential oils to the UK), as well as Organic Pharmacy’s Margo Marrone and Elemis’ Oriele Frank. (Some shared their anti-ageing tips and observations with us.)
They were joined by a handful of high50 readers, who won tickets after voting for their winner and being entered into a draw.
Quite right, too, that they should have been celebrating. Because in a world of hype (and occasional raps on the knuckle for airbrushed advertising images), what we’ve been doing at Beauty Bible for 17 years is to identify the products that really work. Nowhere is this information more valuable, we’ve always felt, than in turn-back-the-clock territory.
20,000 people have tested the products
As you might expect in a war on wrinkles, the Beauty Bible testing programme is complex, long-winded and involves much liposome/ceramide/peptide-powered weaponry. Because what Sarah and I set out to do all those years ago was to put that hype aside, and find out whether products really do work, on real women, used in real-life situations.
So since 1996, when our first book was published, we’ve had almost 20,000 people trialling products for us. And this isn’t just a matter of sending one product to one woman, another to another, and finding out what they think after smearing an anti-ageing cream on a forearm. (Trust me, it happens on some magazines.)
Via Beauty Bible HQ, every product goes to ten women who share similar beauty concerns. These panellists trial products over a period of months, and have to follow guidelines to use them on one side only: one side of the face for ‘miracle’ products, one thigh (or, er, buttock) for a cellulite treatment.
But how do we know they play along…? Because of the emails we get from testers after a month or so, complaining that they have become ‘lop-sided’ (a word used time and again!), along with pleas to be allowed to use the product on both sides, now, so they can ‘catch up’. (At that point, we cave in, as they’ve already seen with their own eyes the improvements.)
What this means is that Sarah and I can put our hands on our hearts and tell women, when they ask, that yes: there really ARE products that deliver on their often-extravagant promises.
The top anti-ageing product
Certainly, to notch up a score of 9.31 averaged across ten women after a three-month trial period, a product must truly wow. That’s what Temple Spa’s Skin Truffle all-round anti-ager has done, becoming the highest-ever-scoring ‘miracle’ treatment we’ve ever trialled. (Skin Truffle, £80 for 50 ml, Victoria Health.)
It is the comments we elicit that really say it all, in every case. Here are Skin Truffle’s wows: “This is a wonderful cream: I’m so in love with it, you can look out for the announcement in The Times! Skin tone is brighter and all my nasty lines – even the deeper ones – appear to have lessened.”
Then there’s “face looks younger and not a needle in sight”, and “skin looks glowy and dewy, forehead grooves smaller – and husband says I look great”.
We have always felt that products that really do work deserve trumpeting, so that’s what the awards evening was all about: a chance to give a pat on the (exquisitely-exfoliated) back to the beauty names that trust us enough to support our mammoth, ongoing testing operation with (literally) lorry-loads of product.
And to celebrate, too, with a sprinkling of high50 readers who won tickets to the awards by voting in The Anti-Ageing Beauty Bible/high50 Readers’ Icon Award for the woman who perfectly embodies 50-something beauty. The shortlist featured Sade, Annie Lennox, Ali Hewson and Julianne Moore; who were in the event trumped by a resounding vote for – ta-dah! – Nigella Lawson.
Sadly, she was one beauty unable to be there to mwah-mwah on the night. (Shame: the canapés were rather splendid, though we gather the Domestic Goddess is going through a phase of spurning those.)
Nigella: a role model for us
But congratulations to Nigella, for being a fantastic role model for the high50 generation. We’d like to know her secrets and – if all goes to plan – we might even share them with you here soon.
Meanwhile, with over 200 award-winning products in 44 categories (from stretch marks to age spots via redness treatments and cellulite-blitzers) The Anti-Ageing Beauty Bible remains a celebration of all that truly works.
Still, because this is an industry that doesn’t stand still for a moment (except, occasionally, to eat a risotto ball or a goujon of sole in a party setting) we’re already testing just-launched products, in preparation for next year’s awards.
What we have learned at the Beauty Bible is that it is indeed possible to hold back time – but not the tide of products that seek to do so. So we’ll be continuing to make a noise about those that really work. Though more with a drum roll or a trumpet voluntary than a crescendo of double kisses…
Connery: your hands-down winner
Two weeks ago, we asked you to choose your favourite film actor in the role of James Bond. The incentive? Entry into a prize draw for tickets to a Bond Gala next week at the Ritz Club in London.
With a guest list featuring Roger Moore and Shirley Bassey, and a crowd comprising some of the city’s high rollers and best-known faces, champagne, gaming, Aston Martins and more, it promises to be quite an event.
But if one Bond had to stroll through those elegant portals, who would high50 members want to see? Moore, all sardonism and raised eyebrows? George Lazenby? (Who?) Timothy Dalton? (You know…) Pierce Brosnan, flicking the ash of an incinerated baddie off his sleeve? That upstart Craig?
Of course not. Of the hundreds of votes cast, more than 60 per cent went for the original and the best. The name’s Connery, Sean Connery. high50 has shpoken.