Channel 4's new beauty series is expert-led and refreshingly honest about beauty - we like it, writes Judy Johnson
The beauty industry is rife with products that claim to keep ageing at bay and help you to stay young for as long as possible - but how much of it is really true? So many products and procedures purport to be 'anti-ageing' but in reality, all they'd need is an SPF in order to cover their labelling backs. This is where the media plays a crucial role; on the way out are advertorials and celeb-led recommendations and on the way up are honest beauty bloggers, expert-led sites such as yours truly and more critical, no-nonsense programmes such as Channel 4's How Not To Get Old which aired its first episode last night.
In the series, Anna Richardson and Louise Redknapp promise to test out 'all those expensive treatments' (aren't they kind!) and other more natural methods which should help you to retain that youthful glow and hide the signs of ageing. The first episode covered tummies, eyes and thighs and was refreshingly useful in that it focused not on celebrities and false promises, but on true experts in the field and case studies of those who have had work done before.
In the hour long episode we saw a girl who can't get rid of her post-baby belly and was investigating whether or not a tummy tuck was the right move. Anna Richardson and Dr Rozina Ali showed her case studies of people with tummies shaped like her goal tum and revealed how they got there. Apart from one who said her flat tummy is from holding it in (in the photo, we can only hope - not permanently!), the results were interesting and by no means flawless. There was still the odd bulge, some stretch marks, people who explained that it was a very painful process and that they can no longer do housework - all the balanced information someone needs before undertaking such a huge operation. The result? A well-informed decision to have a tummy tuck under the care of a true expert who left her with the figure she's always wanted.
It was brilliant, too, to see a man being included in this kind of show; a plasterer who felt he looked a decade older than his years due to too much time outside and huge bags under his eyes. After a strict talking to from Rozina who explained the risks of surgery (blindness being one), he went for it - because he trusted her knowledge. His transformation was incredible and just goes to show that in the right hands, surgery can have a positive outcome.
At the other end of the spectrum was natural beauty Louise Redknapp who with the help of top make-up artist Charlotte Tilbury helped two women to knock the years off with nothing more than good make-up skills. From contouring along the jawline to highlighting every shadow and lifting the eyes with a flick of liner, Charlotte showed what she's made of and proved to these ladies that they don't need to go under the knife - they just need to get their brushes out.
Our only peeve was Anna's testing of Cool Sculpting, a fat freezing treatment which she had on her thighs in the hope of banishing the wobbly bits. Seeing GTG expert Dr Vicky Dondos for the treatment and reporting back after a couple of months, Anna said she saw no difference at all - but admitted she'd not measured before and after. If you're going to test fat loss, surely whipping out the tape measure is a no brainer? It's no lie that everyone's results will vary - for some it'll work, for some it won't. Our Going South columnist Imogen Edwards-Jones tested it out earlier this year and was impressed with the results but it's not a one-for-all.
We'll be watching the rest of the series with great anticipation to see which experts crop up in their search for the truth about anti-ageing and we're already impressed. The overriding message from last night's show was think long and hard before you opt for surgery, do your research, and no matter whether you're going for drastic surgery or simply a makeover, all you need is someone who knows exactly what they're doing.
Watch the first episode on Channel 4's 4OD here .