The Powder Room

The latest lotions, most perfect potions, hottest hairdos and salon secrets from The Lady magazine's beauty bloggers

Women spend more than two months of their lives shaving their legs

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on Monday, 15 April 2013
Spring is finally here and even though one of the longest winters is almost at its end few UK women will rejoice because it brings on their most hated springtime beauty chore - shaving their legs.

According to a new beauty poll by online beauty retailer Escentual.com, leg shaving comes top of a long list of most hated beauty chores with 35% of women despising this preening routine the most – and during a lifetime
British women spend 72 days doing this most hated task.

The average women spends four minutes removing the hair from their legs, six times a week which adds up to an incredible 21 hours every year. And now as the tights are put away as warmer spring weather approaches this weekend it’s going to be a necessary part of women’s weekly beauty regime all over again.

Escentual.com Beauty Editor Emma Leslie said: "Leg shaving was by far the most hated beauty chore for British women, but most women felt they could not go without doing it."

The second most detested beauty chore is hair styling, 17% said they hated having to do it but admitted spending 16 minutes every day teasing their locks into place which amounts to almost a year during their lifetime (294 days).

The third most hated beauty chore was plucking eyebrows (14%) which took 11 hours a year. Next was taking off make-up, which is hated so much by 6% of British women, that they simply refused to do it! The majority of women (68%) begrudgingly remove their make-up daily but two fifths remove their makeup twice a week at most.

Words by Katy Pearson

Fifth of Women Use Sunbeds for Base Tan Before Holiday

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on Wednesday, 03 April 2013
New research by an online independent travel agency has revealed a rise in the number of women using sunbeds, despite their dangers, in the run up to going abroad in order to achieve a ‘base tan’.

Sunshine.co.uk carried out the research as part of an ongoing study into the holiday preparations of people around the UK. More than 1,900 women from around the UK took part in the poll, all aged 21 and over.

When asked, ‘Have you ever used a sunbed to achieve a ‘base tan’ before going on a hot holiday abroad in the past?’ 19% of those taking part said ‘yes’.

These respondents were asked how many minutes they had used a sunbed for, in total, leading up to a holiday abroad; to which the average answer was ’30 minutes’.

When asked why they had wanted to build up a ‘base tan’ before going on holiday abroad, the majority, 62%, admitted that they didn’t want to appear ‘pale’ on their first day of the holiday, whilst 14% claimed that they thought it would prevent them from getting sunburn on holiday. 19% said a base tan helped them to get a darker tan when on holiday. All respondents were asked if they thought using a sunbed was dangerous, to which less than half, 43%, said ‘yes’. When asked if they had been sunburnt on their last holiday abroad, 77% of those taking part said that they had.

Chris Clarkson, co-founder of sunshine.co.uk, said: "Holidays shouldn’t be about getting a sun tan; they are about relaxing and spending time with family, friends or loved ones. There’re no two ways about it – using sunbeds is a dangerous habit and it’s something that should be avoided at all costs.

"So what if you look pale on a trip abroad. Holidaymakers should always put their health and safety before vanity."

Words by Katy Pearson

Majority Would Opt for Cosmetic Surgery over Healthy Eating and Exercise

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on Thursday, 28 March 2013
Some 59% of us would rather have cosmetic surgery to get a better body than eat healthily or exercise, reveals a new survey.

Online sport and exercise equipment retailers, Sweatband.com, surveyed more than 1,700 people on their attitudes towards cosmetic surgery.

The poll found women are more likely to consider cosmetic surgery to improve their appearance, making up just over half, 57%, of the respondents who claimed to prefer cosmetic surgery; compared to 43% of men.

When those who’d said they’d opt for cosmetic surgery were asked, ‘Why would you prefer to undergo cosmetic surgery rather than exercise and eat healthily?’ the majority, 62%, admitted that the ‘effort’ it took to exercise and eat well was a prohibitive factor, while 41% said they didn’t believe a healthy diet and exercise could ‘work for their body, from experience’, and 35% said they didn’t have the time to achieve their ideal body naturally.

According to the results of the study, the top 5 most desired cosmetic procedures amongst women are:

1. Liposuction – 78%
2. Tummy tuck – 65%
3. Breast implants – 43%
4. Breast lift – 39%
5. Bum implants – 17%

In contrast, the most desired cosmetic procedures amongst men are:

1. Liposuction – 68%
2. Breast reduction – 42%
3. Tummy tuck – 31%
4. Pectoral implants – 19%
5. Abdominal implants – 16%

Of the respondents, 26% said that they would consider themselves ‘regular exercisers’. Over a third, 35%, said that they believed they had a healthy diet.

Maz Darvish, CEO of Sweatband.com, said: "As you’d imagine, we entirely advocate a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise when it comes to improving your physique, but we wanted to see just how many people would consider surgery as a quick-fix means to achieving the body of their dreams.

"It appears that more needs to be done to counter the damage being done by members of the public constantly seeing cosmetic surgery as the easy option. Although it may help with confidence and outward appearance in the short term, only through a healthy lifestyle can you improve your fitness and ensure your body, particularly your heart and lungs, function as healthily as possible. The benefits of exercise in prolonging life and combating disease are very well documented, but this is lost on people who’d instead prefer to pay their way to a better body."

Words by Katy Pearson

French women look 7 years younger than Brits

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on Thursday, 21 March 2013
French women look seven years younger than British women by the time they reach 40, says a new survey.

More than 80% of British women think that French women are the best preserved in the whole of Europe and that they age much more gracefully than us Brits.

In a survey commissioned by UK beauty retailer Escentual.com, British women judged their French counterparts to look seven years younger than them by the time they hit 40. And in the case of some famous French women it was more than seven years. Politician Segolene Royal, 59, was thought to be 12-years-younger at 47, and actress Catherine Deneuve, 69 was thought to be 10-years younger. French actress Audrey Tautou, who is 36 – they thought was 29. Actress Juliette Binoche, 48, was judged to be 41.

The vast majority of British women (89%) said the secret to French women’s youthful visage is their anti-ageing skin care regime. French ladies start using skin repair, anti-ageing creams and serums at least five years earlier than British women – 33% of French women start as early as 15, and by the age of 20, nearly two thirds of French women are using specialist anti-ageing French pharmacy brands like Avene, La Roche-Posay and Caudalie.

On our side of the English Channel women generally don’t start on their skin-care routine until the age of 25, and even then it’s only half of British women that would have a consistent regime of anti-ageing skincare.

Escentual.com skin-care expert Emma Leslie said: "British women tend to start using anti-ageing products when they start to see the first effects of ageing, which can be a bit too little too late. Whereas French women will often take preventative measures even when they are in their mid to late teens."

The French are by far the biggest spender on anti-ageing products in Europe – spending £1.9 billion on facial skincare in 2009, an average expenditure of £78-a-year for every female over 15 in France. British women spend less than half that (£854 million) which may go some way to explain the comparatively wrinkle-free French visage.

When British women were asked if French women’s increased expenditure had worked for them 90% said they thought it had, and 51% of that number said they would be happy to spend that much more if they could get the same results.


Turn Mother’s Day into a Spa Day

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on Wednesday, 06 March 2013
Perhaps the biggest thing about being a mum isn’t the years of perpetual tiredness, hollering up the stairs to question why the day’s activities are now decorating the living room, and a never ending stream of questions that can be summed up by the phrase ‘I want something’, but simply the sheer weight of responsibility it involves.

For this reason, it seems that the great benefit of being a ‘grown up’ child, so to speak, is that rather than simply buying a gift for our mums on Mother’s Day, arranging something special for her to do without her having to worry about the organizational details is likely to be the best gift of all. So naturally, being the spa fan that I am, I can see no finer option than to do this in the form of a spa day (or break if you’re feeling flash).

This is a conclusion I come to, not just as the Editor of Spabreaks.com you understand, but also because, with that privilege, comes the knowledge that in 2013, a spa day can encompass a whole catalogue of different things to suit all manner of mums. So I thought I would share a little selection with you …

Sofitel So SPA
Sofitel So SPA, London
www.spabreaks.com/venues/sofitel-so-spa

For a really decadent treat, you would be hard pushed to find somewhere as beautiful and well located as Sofitel So SPA St James. Practically next door to St James’s Palace, it was once a Lloyds Bank subsidiary and owned by The Crown Estate, so the layout of the spa is anything but what you would expect. The ceiling in the reception area, where there is also a long marble table to sit at with a glass of Kir Royale, is impossibly high, and above you can see the stuccoed ceiling that has been retained. Detail is key here, and the part I particularly like about their So Mumnifique spa package, is the inclusion of a Rose Kir Royal, and rose macaroon to match.

Amida Spa Farnham, Surrey
www.spabreaks.com/venues/amida-spa-farnham

If you plan on making your mum’s spa day a group occasion, Amida Spa Farnham has a wealth of facilities to occupy you from morning ‘till night, and enough space to make you feel as though you pretty much have the place to yourself, despite its popularity. We are talking saunas for 20, multiple pools, underwater speakers, and five relaxation rooms!

Lifehouse Spa and Hotel, Essex
www.spabreaks.com/venues/lifehouse-spa-hotel

With an on-site naturopath who works tirelessly to create spa experiences where everything from the food to the treatment complements one another, this is the place that makes being healthy fun. It is an ultra modern building that’s all white and slate grays peppered with modern art, but it is constructed around the remains of a 19th century manor house and 130 acres of gardens, which pay homage to historic visitors including Winston Churchill and Rudyard Kipling. If you want to address a particular health issue and treat it as a day of detox and fitness, this is your chance, but if you would rather, Prosecco and organic cakes are also on the menu.

Lighthouse spa and hotel

Danesfield House Hotel, Buckinghamshire
www.spabreaks.com/venues/danesfield-house-hotel

A converted Victorian country mansion with views across the Buckinghamshire countryside, the spa and hotel at Danesfield House Hotel are in separate buildings and have contrasting vibes – one being modern, the other historic, and it is definitely a place to stay overnight. The last time I visited it was snowing, and the hotel looked like a fairytale castle, all white against the pristine backdrop. Suites have four-poster beds, and living areas are fit for a Tudor queen, so when visiting you need to leave enough time to simply luxuriate in the different spaces – from sitting by the fire, to a swim with a view, and a stroll around the grounds.

The Garage, County Durham
www.spabreaks.com/venues/the-garage

It’s a bit of an unusual one for Mother’s Day, but The Garage is a day spa that’s wonderfully characterful and homely without compromising on style. Its name comes from the site’s history as a resting place for travelers to stop and refuel their various modes of transport – depending on which era you look back to that could be a horse or a car – they have seen it all. These days, they keep the history alive with a slightly different sort of MOT, in the form of rest, recuperation and lots of spa treatments using locally sourced ingredients such as honey and rose petals. I think it is particularly charming that the spa packages have been thoughtfully named as well, including The Coastal Path, and The Scenic Route.

Ruthin Castle, Wales
www.spabreaks.com/venues/ruthin-castle-hotel

A fusion of Finnish, Russian and Siberian spa experiences, Ruthin Castle is unique for its indoor/outdoor elements in the grounds of a medieval castle, so there is definitely something of the earth mother about this one. It also provides a fascination for history buffs as the castle itself was built by Edward I in 1277 with later owners including Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. Completing the picture, they also use Welsh mud, and bespoke treatments featuring ingredients such as ginger, argan oil and tea tree, many of which are locally sourced – which for all its old fashioned charm is really the ultimate in contemporary escapism!

Words by Bonnie Friend


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