Turning 35, which I do in just under two months, has got me thinking about ageing in a way that I thought I got out my system five years ago.
It’s partly down to my look. My stock in trade is “cute”: bright patterns, full skirts, plastic jewellery, flower crowns. Most days, I’m dressed somewhere between oversized flower girl and children’s party entertainer, and contrary to what would seem like the logical progression of things the older I get – and the more comfortable I am in my own skin – the more eccentric I become.
I smile a lot, and I can be quite chatty. Sometimes it’s because I’m fronting like crazy, but most of the time I really mean it. The sides of my eyes are permanently crinkled with laughter lines, and I dimple when I giggle. People find me approachable. On my good days, I cheer them up; and, on my not-so-good days, they return the favour, sneaking me teacakes and bringing me drinks and calling me “hen” and “wee pet”. When I write this down it sounds forced, almost transactional – but it’s not like that at all. There are parts of my life in which I am everyone’s big sister, and there are others where people want to look after me.
But can you still be somebody’s “wee pet” when you are 40?
Part of what has been driving this somewhat philosophical state of mind is the two-week trial I’ve been carrying out of La Prairie’s newest product launch, the Line Interception Power Duo*. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, in my introductory post, this new product is the first on which La Prairie has attempted to put a timeline on the results that it promises: after 14 days, the user can expect a notable reduction in three different types of lines and wrinkles.
The beauty industry has, of course, been waging war on wrinkles for longer than you’ve been alive, promising to bottle the secrets of eternal youth (but not so effectively that you shouldn’t buy the next miracle product). Those Oil of Ulay/Olay adverts were like wallpaper during my childhood, back when you couldn’t just fast forward through commercial breaks; all soft light and hands touching faces and suspiciously youthful women worrying about the “seven signs of ageing”.
What if we rejected it? What if lines on the skin were seen not as faint defeats, but as traces of our histories written on our faces? The creases from laughter, the way that anxiety furrows a brow – I welcome and I celebrate them. They are the proof that I am alive.
But hey: so is vanity.
The Line Interception Power Duo is exactly what it sounds like: two premium skin treatments designed to complement each other in a single bottle; one for day and one for night. The day cream, which has a pinkish tint, works on the surface to smooth the appearance of existing lines and prevent the formation of new expression-related lines without blocking muscle movements, and contains SPF30, UVA and IRA sun protection. The night cream repairs and renews, stimulating the production of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid and optimising skin renewal.
As you’d expect from a premium brand like La Prairie, the sleek, silver bottle is a work of art. Combining the two products in a single package makes it ideal for travel, and there’s a neat lock on the bottle to prevent any spillage or waste in transit. It does, of course, come with a La Prairie-style £244 price tag, giving you all the more reason not to waste any – but when you consider the product are being marketed as a far less invasive replacement to the likes of Botox and other injectables, you could almost – almost – see it as a bargain.
As with my previous experience of La Prairie products, the quality is obvious when you apply it to the skin. Both creams are really lightweight and sink effortlessly into the skin. I’ve been using a single pump of the relevant cream morning and night as my sole post-cleansing treatment and my skin feels balanced and blemish-free – and the velvety-smooth feel and luxurious scent of the creams add a little bit of indulgence to what would otherwise be a 30 second slapdash routine.
As for the lines? Well, that’s probably open to debate. I’ve cycled between the “before” (green dress) and “after” (black romper) photos here so often, searching for points of difference, that I would barely recognise my own face anymore were it not for the three little eye-crinkles that punctuate my smile. My under-eye crease is definitely less pronounced, and there’s a baby-softness at the side of each eye that, perhaps, wasn’t there before – but it’s late, and I’m relying less on science there than my own familiarity with these creases and folds.
I’m blessed in that my skin is hardly a pitted and ravaged battleground, and the folds within it are ones that I have come to love. But I’d urge you, if you are at all curious, to pop by the La Prairie counter at House of Fraser and try a little bit of luxury for yourselves.
As for me? I’ll be indulging myself right to the bottom of the bottle.
This post contains PR samples, but all views are my own and unbiased.