Fashion: Dream creams

Is it Worth It?: Kanebo Sensai's Ex Series anti-ageing lotions are wrinkle-inducingly dear, sighs Lucy Williams
WHEN YOU are in your twenties, bags are something you put your shopping in, and crow's feet really belong to crows. You live in the bliss of ignorance, as you skip footloose and fancy free past the face cream counter. But, in the blink of an eye, you're 30 and that counter beomes strangely appealing. You find yourself joining ranks with those in their 40s and 50s and waging war. For the uninitiated used to dabbling with the occasional cold teabag, the world of anti-ageing creams can be a confusing place to find yourself. If you're buying Kanebo's Sensai Ex Series, it's going to be a pretty expensive place, too.

The series consists of La Creme, pounds 330, La Lotion pounds 150 and L'Emulsion, pounds 205. For the price, you'd expect them to contain essence of caviar or fragments of gold. In Kanebo's case, the expense is accounted for not by ingredients but for 14 years' worth of research. Compared with other anti-ageing creams, you won't find traces of AHAs, Retin A or Retinova, only natural ingredients: apricot essence, silk and bergamont oil to name just a few.

The ritual begins with the glue-like L'Emulsion, second the soft and silky La Lotion and finally the gloopy La Creme. And after the final cream had been applied, my skin felt plumped-up, hydrated and smoother to the touch.

On the other hand, there is the psychological factor - I found myself drinking more water, and applying my make-up more carefully while using the creams (no use ruining pounds 650 worth of maintenance on a bad face day). "Anti-ageing creams work, but within reason," admitted a beauty therapist from The Sanctuary. "Anything that retains moisture will plump up the skin cells which makes the skin look radiant and youthful but you can't reverse the signs of ageing."

So, if you're at that time in your life when you're waging war on wrinkles, and more importantly, you've got a spare pounds 650 lying around, maybe the Sensai Ex Series is for you. But don't be fooled, either - entering the world of anti-ageing heaven doesn't necessarily have to cost the earth.