Consuming beauty

Every one of us would love to have a slim figure to show off in a stunning bathing suit this summer - without having to sweat to lose weight.

Every one of us would love to have a slim figure to show off in a stunning bathing suit this summer - without having to sweat to lose weight. Lots of creams promise that we can lose the fat on our thighs and firm the skin by just rubbing in the cream once or twice a day. Sisley's Phyto-Sculpt Global Anti-Cellulite cream, a combination of plant extracts and essential oils, promises to be slenderizing, smoothing and firming. The aromatic cream smells delicious, does not sting (as some of these creams do), and does indeed give a soft feeling to the skin, but I'm not sure about the promised reduction of up to two centimeters in the circumference of my thighs, or a reduction in the number and size of "spongy" areas. Interestingly enough, the cream comes with a little sheet of exercises you can do for your abdominals and buttocks, making you wonder what's supposed to be working: the cream or the exercises. At NIS 650 for 150 ml., this is certainly a very expensive weapon in the fight against cellulite. Another cream that promises slimmer hips and thighs is Clarins Total Body Lift, which is supposed to firm, refine and tone. I felt the cream was "doing something" immediately upon applying it, since it made my skin sting slightly, after which my skin felt warm for a while. Again, I cannot say the cream, supposedly a "stubborn cellulite control," is making me drop a pants size, but it feels good, and smells okay too, with its plant extracts of mint, green tea and geranium, among others. Clarins recommends applying the Body Lift with the Self-Massage Body Contouring Method, which is supposed to increase the effectiveness of the cream by encouraging drainage. I admit I didn't have the patience to follow through on that; a 200 ml. tube is NIS 269. A brave colleague tried out the Epilady Duet electric shaving device, and even though she compared it to "Chinese torture," since it takes a long time and hurts like hell, she thought it was worth the pain, somehow. The Epilady Duet has two different heads, one for shaving and one for epilating; the heads can be taken out and cleaned easily. My colleague reported that once you get past the initial "damn, this hurts" reaction, the endorphins start flowing and you can carry on for a while. After her skin calmed down and the red dots went away, which took about a day, the benefit of using Epilady instead of shaving became evident: her legs stayed smooth for weeks. The price for the Epilady Duet is NIS 329; it comes in an elegant aluminum carrying-case. Another colleague tried out the new Veet Rasera hair removal cream, a less painful method of getting rid of unwanted hair, but something that needs to be repeated more often. The cream has to be applied for three minutes, before a shower, and then must be taken off with the supplied spatula. My colleague reported that the cream felt nice and cool, but it did cause a slight rash on parts of her legs. Usually these creams smell pretty bad, but in this case, the smell was okay, and re-growth occurred after about a week, which was thought to be quite good. It is a little more hassle than just shaving, but better than strip wax, where you have to let the hair grow long before you can take it off. Veet Rasera is suitable for body hair removal but not for facial hair. Despite the rash, this test subject was quite impressed; the cream is available in two different fragrances, for NIS 40. Avon's Anew Ultimate Transforming Lift day cream for the face was loved by a pregnant colleague, whose skin is especially dry now. Although the cream, which has an SPF of 15, didn't seem to smooth out creases within seven days or make the face look "lifted" after two weeks, as a facial moisturizer it got a thumbs up; the cream is available through Avon salespeople (03-648-5316), at NIS 223 for 50 ml., until the end of the month, after which, the price will be NIS 279. Mandarina Duck eau de toilette is a pleasant fragrance for summer time. A woman who tried it said it reminded her of the smell of Spanish hotels when she was a kid, and she wasn't surprised to learn that it came from another Mediterranean country, Italy. The flowery scent, with notes of yellow freesia, gardenia and jasmine, was described as "pretty innocuous," perfect for use as a daytime fragrance. A 30 ml. bottle is NIS 279; 50 ml. is NIS 399, and 100 ml. is NIS 539.