Gwyneth Paltrow, currently three months off 50, has unveiled her latest beauty obsession and it doesn’t cost hundreds of pounds (at least, not until she comes up with her own gold-plated Goop version).
Maderotherapy, known rather wishfully as the non-surgical Brazilian butt lift, involves what looks like a selection of 1970s kitchen implements one uses to knead your stomach, thighs and posterior in a bid to combat cellulite.
For £49 you get a wooden cup that claims to use suction to break down fat; a contouring board ‘facilitating the reconstruction of entrapped toxins’; and roller sticks that allegedly break up ‘adhesions’ when dragged across skin.
I am immediately transported back to department store Rackhams in the 1980s and pilgrimages to the Elancyl counter with my mother. This shrine to Gallic chic was overseen by an immaculate French woman, who was quite the most glamorous specimen Birmingham had ever seen.
Gwyneth Paltrow, currently three months off 50, has unveiled her latest beauty obsession- maderotherapy. It is a non-surgical Brazilian butt lift and involves a number of tools to knead your stomach, thighs and posterior in a bid to combat cellulite (stock image)
Her ‘slimming’ system involved a hand-held plastic massager, plus divinely scented unguents. She would invite us to stroke her satiny skin — shoulder not rear-end — and we Brummies would swoon and invest, high on the brand’s ivy aroma.
We didn’t really know what this ‘orange-peel’ thing was, but we knew we wanted in. My mother had an Elancyl kit, I had one aged 12, and I’m pretty sure my ten-year-old sister had one, drunk on scent and sophistication. I’m tempted to acquire one now (£29.95 for a massager and gel, amazon.co.uk).
But here’s the bad news. There isn’t a cream that can make your cellulite magically vanish, not really. It’s the surface manifestation of fat cells, pushing against the connective tissue beneath your skin, medicalised to flog beauty treatments.
And the good news? In midlife, we are less likely to be engaged in this level of perfectionism.
What you can achieve is for your skin to feel a tad smoother and thus firmer. The first step is exfoliation. The cheapest, quickest and least messy option is a brisk whisk over the dimpled zones with a dry body brush.
I wield an ancient, natural- bristle Organic Pharmacy version (£20, organicpharmacy.com), but they can be had cheaper (£6.50, boots.com). In two decades, I am yet to discover a body exfoliator I rate higher than Clinique’s Sparkle Skin (£26, clinique.co.uk): gritty, hard-working and not leaving a great oil slick, with a galvanising menthol boost. Although, bargain hunters rave about the doggedness of Soap And Glory Scrub Of Your Life (£5.95, boots. com). Having sloughed, you then smooth. The French continue to be obsessed by the old peau d’orange.
Back in the day, Caudalie boasted a bath oil that did appear to debloat one’s flabbier bits temporarily. Now you’d be talking about the brand’s Vinosculpt Contouring Concentrate (£25, uk.caudalie.com) which — and I quote — ‘tones and smooths the stomach, thighs, hips and buttocks for a more defined silhouette . . . eliminating excess water and toxins and reducing the dimpled look of cellulite’.
Hannah Betts says that Clarins Firming/Toning Tonic Treatment Oil smells sublime and helps with smoothing the skin
Some of us love a ritual. If you’re feeling particularly obsessional, you might want to eat healthily for a bit, and take some exercise, while partaking in the brand’s Vinosculpt Firming Programme (£79, caudalie.com). This consists of its Crushed Cabernet Scrub, Lift and Firm Body Cream, Contouring Concentrate and Draining Organic Herbal Tea.
Otherwise, I’d head straight to Clarins, which has been endeavouring to perk posteriors for the past 40 years. Its Firming/Toning Tonic Treatment Oil (£42, clarins.com) is one of the brand’s most popular and hotly loved products. Not only does it smell sublime, it does seem to make matters less wobbly.
The Extra-Firming Cream (£42) and Extra-Firming Gel (£48) Clarins launched in February were the fruit of a 13-year study into the role collagen plays in skin tautness. This involved a lot of talk about ‘hypodermal mesh networks’ supported by petasites (a purified plant extract), mitracarpus (a herb with medicinal benefits) and green banana. So, plant power.
After a month’s use, 94 per cent of women reported that their skin was firmer and 96 per cent that it was better toned. That’s enough to have me crack open a tube.
RACE YOU TO IT
In its biggest launch ever, this 60-plus-year-old British brand is releasing products to thicken, stimulate and preserve hair, while creating optimal conditions for new growth. Clinically proven to help slow hair loss after three months’ use, the Density range (from £19, philipkinglsey. co.uk) is already a best seller.
MY ICON OF THE WEEK
Jerry Hall, pictured, who is turning 66 this weekend, uses expensive products such as Creme de la Mer but nourishes her hair with olive oil
The model, who turns 66 this weekend — and who has hit the headlines for her reported divorce from Rupert Murdoch — uses Simple Biodegradable Cleansing Face Wipes (£1.80, boots.com), followed by Sisley Radiance Soapless Gentle Foaming Cleanser (£61.20, sisley-paris.com). She says, ‘I like expensive products: Creme de la Mer, La Prairie Concentrate, and the Skin Caviar cream’, but she nourishes her trademark mane with olive oil, apparently.
RAVISHING ROSE SCENTS
An uplifting de-stresser, it boasts damask rose, geranium and palmarosa.
Green, vibrant and exhilarating, Ostens has captured the freshest of true rose scents
This symphonic rose, released in 1979, is potent and passionate, yet retains an absolute refinement.
NHS workers love this hand cream, due to its non-greasy, smoothing effect as well as resolutely calming scent.
Cosmetics a la Carte was founded in 1973 by scientists Christina Stewart and Lynne Sanders.
Their aim was to create the slap and skincare they themselves wanted, in a relaxed and personal context, a million miles away from department store pomposity.
Now in Chelsea, their boutique pioneered bespoke formulas. Never found your lipstick shade? Ask the girls to concoct you one. Craving application skills?
Book a class. I was reminded how brilliant their cream eyeshadows are while having my face professionally painted.
New for June are the Luminous Cream Shadows in Faith, a silver gilt, and Grace, a fetching lilac