Anti-ageing apples, collagen fillers for feet… Find out the latest buzz in skincare
Beauty pioneer Procter & Gamble (which spends over $2 billion a year on research and development) has kick-started an exciting new trend of utilising genome technology. P&G’s Genomics Group Leader Jay Tiesman, who has spent the past 10 years studying the DNA sequences of everything from skin to dandruff, says: ‘As we learn more about the sequences of the genes associated with skin ageing, and how they differ between people, we should be able to come up with the next generation of skincare ingredients. Now, for example, we understand which genes become either disabled or overactive as your skin gets older, resulting in the physiological changes we see as wrinkles and age spots.’ On the cards are a host of powerful new anti-ageing skin creams, while Olay has just launched the Professional Pro-X range in the US and competitor Lancôme has created Génifique Youth Activating Concentrate, also using genomic research.
A rare variety of Swiss apple, called the Uttwiler Spatlauber, has been causing a storm in the skincare world (Michelle Obama is a big fan, apparently) after the discovery of its unique anti-ageing properties. Stem cells from the fruit – which stays fresh for up to four months after being harvested, long after other varieties have become wrinkled – are thought to delay the onset of wrinkles by encouraging stem cells to protect skin-cell regeneration and have an increased ability to help prevent UV damage. Over 90 beauty companies around the world have snapped up its extracts. 3LAB uses it in its Super ‘h’ Serum, available at Harrods.
Our love of high heels has spurred on one of the fastest growing cosmetic trends: collagen fillers for the feet, sales of which increased by 500 per cent last year. The simple, pain-free procedure, which lasts three months, involves injecting protein into the balls of the feet to create a cushioning effect when you’re wearing heels. ‘When women who’ve had the treatment put on their shoes,’ says The Harley Medical Group Director Liz Dale, ‘the transformation is immediate. They feel more comfortable and are able to dance the night away.’
Organic beauty has had a huge makeover during the past five years. What was once a niche market, stocked in health food shops and lacking in appeal to shoppers who associated organics with strange-smelling unctions, has become mainstream. In part, this is thanks to our increased interest in the environment and what we put on our bodies, but, in the main, the products on offer have become seriously good. Now organic beauty has moved on to the next stage: Organiceutical, a term coined by skincare brand RevaléSkin to mean a product that is both ‘organic’ and ‘pharmaceutical’. Its hero product RevaléSkin Night Cream, which won beauty bible Allure’s best anti-ageing night cream award, contains the super-antioxidant coffeeberry and sets a new standard in natural skincare.
According to eminent futurologist and anti-ageing expert Ray Kurzweil, taking a supplement called phosphatidylcholine is something we should all be doing to stave off ageing. ‘The cell membrane in a child consists of 90 per cent phosphatidylcholine; in a 90-year-old it’s typically down to 10 per cent,’ Kurzweil says. ‘Over the decades, the phosphatidylcholine depletes and the cell membrane gets filled in with inert substances like hard fats and cholesterol.’ In his book, Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever, you can read more tips about how to live longer (and look younger), such as why calorie restriction diets may hold the key to a longer life and why we should all be eating anti-inflammatory foods.
‘The days of the all-over, one-tone tan are well and truly over,’ says celebrity tanning artist James Read (who keeps the likes of Lindsay Lohan and Lady GaGa looking perfectly sun-kissed). ‘Airbrushing technology and new formulations mean you can create a whole range of looks that mimic the way your skin naturally tans in the sun.’ Discerning fakers now have a menu of finishes to choose from: ‘Holiday-inspired tans are a big trend at the moment,’ says Read. ‘People concerned about sun damage want that jet-set look. I do a “just-been-skiing” tan, a light bronze on your face and hands; and “two-weeks-in-the-Caribbean”, a double coating of product that gives an incredibly intense colour.’ And if you want to look show-stopping for a night out, there are party-specific looks. Lots of women ask for the ‘fashion tan’, which concentrates on the bits of your body exposed in a party dress, or the ‘Hollywood finish’, which incorporates a dusting of shimmer. Find out more tanning tips at Read’s street-style blog www.thetantalist.com.