Monday, 6 April 2009

Now with special squirrel protein biospheres

It is finally springtime in Brussels. Do you know how I can tell? No, not the pale sun glinting off the giant orange rabbits, the pallid, dazzled eurodrones blinking and bumping into things, or the waffle vans diversifying into dubious, food poisoning friendly ice cream. Not the CFO brandishing his poly-cotton short sleeved shirts threateningly. Not even a thoroughly cheering ride into work on the midlife crisis in patent red heels pretending to be in a hairspray advert.


I can tell it is springtime because the cellulite advertising is out.

For such a tolerant country, Belgium is oddly passionate about the eradication of cellulite. I suppose there must be a reason this is the cosmetic surgery capital of Europe. From April onwards, pharmacy windows are a solid wall of perfect, smooth photoshopped arses and wildly implausible claims. Thigh reduction claims of between a pathetic 0.3cm and a frankly impossible 7 cm are regularly displayed (tested on sample groups up to and including four humans and a pygmy goat, the small print at the bottom of the poster reads). I wonder quite how this fits with their whole-hearted, unapologetic enthusiasm for the best kinds of lardy goodness in the world. It must be one of those inherent contradiction things. I have a few of those myself, I suppose.

The rampant anti-celllulitism that characterises Brussels is Just FINE with me, anyway. I am drawn inexorably to cellulite potions and their fantastical promise of a beautiful bottom and thighs, worthy of display in 4' high technicolour on the Avenue du Toison D'Or. Perhaps in this way I try to ward off ageing and death? Perhaps I am compensating for washing my face only twice a week, never drinking water and having a morbid fear of body lotion? Who knows. But god, I love cellulite potions. I have EVERYTHING, as showcased last year:

Of course, having them is not the same as using them. What in fact happens is that I have a brief flurry of enthusiasm for a week or so, get discouraged by the lack of results and forget about them. The CFO goes back to brushing his hair with the body brush. I shove the reproachful jars and bottles into a corner of the bathroom. Part of me hopes that their mere presence in the bathroom cabinet will be sufficient. The rest of me is off, chasing after the latest set of quixotic snake oil promises.

The last few years' batches were hardly edifying.


"The mere smell makes you thin!" says the hype. I say "OUCH, that tingles like fuck get it OFF ME I AM BURNING AAAAH". The CFO says (hilariously) "shit, I touched you! Aaaah, my fat is melting off before my very eyes! I am disappearing!" Ha ha.


Purchased using the Belgian Waffle patented, and deeply flawed, benchmarking method: so dear, it must be good. Utterly forgettable.


Proto-medical looking. Lots of instructions on how to massage in. I got bored very quickly with being lectured by gloomy French dermatologists on the correct way to put cream on my thighs. Also, sticky.

Jeanne Piaubert

Jeanne Piaubert is the cellulite ninja. She LIVES for cellulite, really she does. Her USP is different cellulite creams for different parts of your body (including one for KNEES) and times of day. Cellulite creams for those with ADHD, if you will. Many in the vast range of brightly coloured potions come with entertaining accessories, like nylon shorts much in the manner of Spanx, for wearing at night to allow the magic pixies in the cream to do their work. The CFO looked at me with an entirely impenetrable expression whenever I wore these. It was not lust. It might have been pity.


"Natural, yet extraordinarily effective" rave the testimonials. "Gloopy" says Jaywaker, with distaste. "Smells of hippies. Where is my implausible pseudo-science?".


Tried and bought over-enthusiastically in the afterglow of a treatment at a eurotedious jolly to the Hôtel Martinez in Cannes - ah, happy pre-global financial apocalypse days. Now we are lucky to get a bike riding trip to Knokke. If anyone is thinking that a bike riding trip to Knokke would be a better and more economical approach to cellulite reduction, they can shut the fuck up. Cannot remember what happened to this one. Or anything else about it. Just the sun and the deathly seminars, and having to make a short film based on the Lord of the Rings as a team building exercise, without any of the 'team' ever having seen it.


Cheap. Whilst quite as useless as all its competitors, it did give my skin a not unwelcome metallic finish. I liked looking metallic; I felt it gave me an intriguing robotic quality. Good name. Lipo-Dissolve? Lipo-Reductor? Lipo-Terminator? I forget. I became moderately enthusiastic about this for five minutes last year, but oh, the massaging is such a fag. If there is a winner in this lacklustre bunch of attrape-nigauds, it is this. But don't go rejoicing Vichy, you are just slightly less crap than the others.


Cheap, again. Follows the Jeanne Piaubert model of different creams for day and night AND there are patches. Too cheap for me to trust, and the placebo effect is everything in cellulite creams. The patches were fun, especially combined with the Jeanne Piaubert anti-cellulite Spanx, but ended up stuck to my ankles most nights. Or the pillow. Another winner with the CFO "C'est quoi ce TRUC?! Pouac!"

So now, ever the good consumer, I am on the look out for this year's bunch. I am not asking you for serious recommendations (though if you have any, I will doubtless run out and get them anyway). I want you to keep your eye out for the most ludicrous claims and pseudo-science, and we can have some kind of a special 'Bad Cellulite Science' post later this month.


Roshni Mitra Chintalapati said...

those models seem to have used the same panties!
Thanks for the extensive reviews... if I ever had a compulsion to buy one, it has completely died out!! I guess I have to just deal with seeing my cellulite infested thighs for some more time... till the next cream comes out!

Gill Alexander said...

I remember buying a cellulite "banishment" system with some kind of cream and green rubber thingy that one had to rub vigorously over the thigh area. It didn't work primarily because I only kept up the programme for about four days then lost interest. I have decided Princess Di's cellulite excuse ("I haven't got it, I was sitting on a chair that left a dimpled pattern on my thighs") is the way forward.

Mrs Trefusis... said...

I am going to talk to Dior P R and score you their new product which claims to completely re-sculpt your body. Hopefully not in manner of henry Moore or giacommetti but in style of one of canova's callipygic nymphs

fabhat said...

I have a cupboard like that. And thighs of doom.

Work verification "modol" - are the netbots taking the piss????

Léonie said...

All those pictures are just biologically implausible. I saw a picture of Cheryl Cole yesterday and she looked like a nine-year-old. It is worrying.

Cellulite is cruel, but being made to spend money on cream that really has no effect is crueller.

Iheartfashion said...

I've got a jar of Fat Girl Slim taunting me from my bathroom shelf.

So Lovely said...

None of it works. I say have indulge yourself in something sugary, washed down with a glass of two of potent and alcoholic liquid, and call it a night!
Over the years I have been given it all. That Strevectin is the worst. Almost blinded me with its smell.

Grapes 2.0 said...

Those creams are the reason Belgian pharmacists all drive around in Porsches and Lamborghinis to go to their yachts. It's something to sell while you're waiting for the next hypochondriac to come in with 85 different prescriptions. If you've ever wondered why there are more pharmacies in Belgium than baker's shops, it's because you can go for a day or two without fresh bread.

These creams could be subsidising the luxury you have in not having to walk an extra 200m to get some Sensodyne.

Mya said...

I swear by a brillo pad and a smear of rancid lard salvaged from the grill pan. It's much cheaper, and it doesn't work either.

Mya x

M. said...

I love cellulite treatments. I devour cellulite cream descriptions like a good novel. So technical! So full of promise! So deceitful!
My favourites:
- Karin Herzog's oxygen cream: last summer's extravaganza. Nobel prize winning (or something)! There were very convincing before and after pictures in the Daily Mail, AND it was MSN endorsed. Yes! MSN! Dweebs have cellulite too.
Too nauseated by the disgusting pungent old lady smell to know whether it made a difference.
- The Philips Cellesse, bought one hot summer in the South of France when my thighs had swollen to the size of Iberian ham. It's a handheld device that's meant to emulate the "drainage lymphatique" beloved of French fillies. Makes a sound like a chainsaw, and sucks in your flesh rather satisfyingly. Might just dig this one out again actually, and try to use it more than twice.
- The Lipocontour pants, as seen on LORRAINE KELLY. Oh yes. This is the one I've been eyeing for a while.
Tantalizingly scientifically proven. Meant to make you sweat like a bitch. I would buy some this instant if you weren't supposed to wear them without knickers. Gross.

Wow! Karin Herzog have just sent me an email in a most timely fashion. Their cellulite cream kills the superbug! Nobel prize winning I tell you!

mothership said...

I do not have cellulite
You too can achieve this miracle by the clever combination of not looking at your rear view in the mirror and encouraging your spouse/significant other to lie to you.
It is extremely cheap and effective. I have not yet perfected this technique in regards to wrinkles but failing eyesight is proving to be a staunch assistant in my scientific endeavours.
I recommend thoroughly

Vanessa said...

Fat Girl Slim and Biotherm seemed to work for me, but I also started up guilty exercise at roughly the same time, so hard to tell. Once used hardcore firming facial serum, which REALLY worked, but oh Nathan, unsustainable practice.

Please tell me Bruxelles is the plastic surgery capital of Europe because of a unique combo of quality and affordability?

GingerB said...

I fully agree with Mothership, once again. If you don't look at your thighs or ass, you don't have cellulite, period.

You of the Spanx set are made of much stronger stuff than I. Spanx make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry.

Jaywalker said...

Hmm. This is making me even more unreasonably giggly than I was before.

Roshni - yes! I hadn't spotted that. you are eagle eyed.

Gill - the magical powers of "ivy". Oh yes.

Mrs T - oooh yes, I wish to be resculpted. maybe into a prehistoric totem.

fabhat - word verification can be very, very cruel.

Léonie - but each one brings this tiny burst of unfounded optimism. is like buying a lottery ticket (but way, way dearer, sadly)

solovely - ooh yes, strivectin. tried to use on actual stretch marks = rubbish.

I heart - and? the usual groundless promise?

grapes - it is true. 5 pharmacies visible from end of street at corridor of ennui. magnificent.

Mya - you could do a whole book of similar thrify beauty treatments. Very France profonde, beauté du terroir.

M - you, me, Lorraine Kelly's pants. Photos. Oh, that sounds rude now. You know what i mean. I will let you know if I manage to blag us some free ones.

mothership - spouse is in thrall to bizarre french concept of jambes lourdes (heavy legs). he is no help at all.

vanessa - I simply have no idea about Brussels, but the availability comforts me in my lower moments. facial serum as ass cream? correct?

GingerB - cannot summon energy to be wrathful in spanx. concentrating on breathing, when possible.

Jessica K said...

I will research the downmarket cellulite lies, namely Rite Aid and Avon, here in lower slower Delaware. Just for you!
I dont look at cellulite ads (denial is lovely) but I read face cream ads like they are porn. I only read them, as I cannot afford them and everything makes me have a rash (youthful but in the wrong way). But I spend hours looking at them online lovingly.

Liberty London Girl said...

Just cannot be bothered. Although have baskets of the stuff from work, I'd rather be eating cake. Anyway, I can confirm, after 22 seasons of sitting at arse level at the fashion shows, most models have cellulite LLGxx

justme said...

Cellulite??? If we don't accept it doesn't!
Do men ever have cellulite??
LOL! Word ver is refillu. How appropriate.

Jkab said...

Goodness this made me laugh - exactly the same thing happening on this side of the border in France...although we also get the POTIONS - yes, hundreds of capsules, liquids, powders all claiming to burn your fat from the inside out...terrifying, but terribly, terribly, tempting...

TitansFan said...

All of these products seem like they would work well with a Vichy Massage Table. I had a great experience the last time I had one of these massages. Ahhh!

disa said...