Miracle slimming creams work - but their makers may not be pleased

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Never mind the crash diet. There is hope yet for last year's bikini. A French test involving the thighs of 200 women has found that what say in the adverts is true: "miracle" slimming creams do reduce cellulite.

Never mind the crash diet. There is hope yet for last year's bikini. A French test involving the thighs of 200 women has found that what say in the adverts is true: "miracle" slimming creams do reduce cellulite.

Pharmacies in France say they have been overrun by women seeking slimming ointments since the French consumers' association published its test results on Monday. The best of 10 slimming creams - L'Oréal's PerfectSlim and Elancyl's Chrono Active, which are among the cheapest on the market - reduced the circumference of women's thighs by up to two centimetres in two weeks.

Marie-Jeanne Husset, editor of 60 Million de Consommateurs, France's answer to Which?, said: "We have tested ... creams on three previous occasions and never found them to be more effective than a ... thigh massage. Nevertheless the market for the creams has grown by 10 per cent annually since our first test in 1992." French women spend £50m on slimming creams every year. "This time, our test has come to the very conclusion that women want to hear. People ... have been astonished to find us giving the thumbs up," she said.

Each of the10 creams was tested by 20 women and a further group was given placebo moisturiser. Each woman was asked to rub her test cream into one of her thighs twice each day and this was measured at two-week intervals.

Ms Husset was unable to reveal whether makers had hit on a magic ingredient. "We did not carry out laboratory tests and since the slimming creams are not classed as medicines, all their ingredients are not listed," she said. "Ironically the companies will not be pleased with our findings as they strengthen the argument for regulation. The last thing they want is for slimming creams to be listed as medicines."

TEN CREAMS

Clarins Body Lift Contour Control: High quality cosmetic, non allergic, easy to apply.

L'Oreal PerfectSlim: Good slimming lotion, pleasant, easy to apply and comfortable.

Elancyl Chrono-Actif: High slimming qualities. Failed on packaging.

Christian Dior Bikini Anti Cellulite: Good slimming qualities, easily absorbed.

Lineance Heat Slimming: Effective but the heaty effect is considered unpleasant.

Biotherm Celluli-Choc

Vichy D-Stock Gel cream

Lierac Body Lift 10

Yves Rocher Spa Énergie végétal minceur

Oenobiol Lipo Reduction Gel

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